Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

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Good dog

August 12, 2009
Our Kooper, full of vim and vigor!

Our Kooper, full of vim and vigor!

Only northerners head to Fort Lauderdale in August…and while hubby and I have been in Florida six years now, I guess we are still northerners at heart. We just spent a long weekend there.

For the past few years we travel mostly with our dogs. The two older ones are gone now, and the new guy at just nine months is full of “vim and vigor” as my dad used to say. All that means when we travel, we look for pet-friendly lodging and restaurants.

Easier to find now than it used to be, but still proved to be a challenge in the “Venice of America,” Fort Lauderdale. We stayed at the Hilton Marina, billed as pet-friendly; however, as soon as hubby told them we had a dog, we felt snubbed. The friendliest hotel staff was a bellman as we checked out. Disappointing.

Many of the restaurants we called did not allow dogs. Not even at their outdoor seating. One place said another dog bit someone once so no more dogs. We have heard similar stories at home, and that most likely means that their insurance companies told them no more dogs. Understandable, but people — control your dogs!

Don’t ruin it for the rest of who do. We keep our dog on a leash and we monitor him the entire time we’re out. We don’t want him to disturb anyone who doesn’t want to be disturbed. If your dog isn’t social and won’t behave, even on a leash, leave it at home!

And to hotels and restaurants who claim to be pet-friendly, make sure your staff know to treat guests with pets as well as they treat guests without. I’m not sure we’ll use Hilton Marina again, even though it’s a lovely property.

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Airlines – attention please!

June 1, 2009

I traveled recently for the first time since airlines added the checked baggage fees. Paid $15 per bag each way, on top of the nearly $500 ticket! But anyway…

What annoyed me more were the other travelers who in their “brilliance” [and that is laced in sarcasm] decided their gynormous bags were in fact carry-on size so they could skip that little extra fee! Annoying because THEY ARE NOT CARRY-ON SIZE. [yelling intentional here]

More annoying is that the AIRLINES SEEM TO ALLOW IT! What kind of b.s. is that? They all post those cute little boxes by the check-in kiosks so we can make sure our carry-on bags fit there. Yet airline staff ignore all those who walk by with bags two and three times bigger than that box.

One very overweight woman had two “carry-on” bags, each so big she could not even lift them into the overhead bin. And yet…none of the airline staff said a word.

Come on! Either enforce your rules or skip the extra fee. It’s not fair to those of us who do play fair, who go along with the system and pay the stupid fee.

For you passengers, if you really cannot afford the extra fee, maybe you can’t really afford to travel by air. If you can, then do the rest of us a favor and check your bag or pack lightly enough that you can board with one-count-em-one carry-on and a purse or briefcase.

It’s a matter of courtesy and safety.

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Holiday travel

December 24, 2008

I know it stinks to travel right now with bitter cold temps and massive amounts of snow clogging all methods of travel. But I hope everyone remembers that not one of us controls the weather. It is up to God (or your higher power of choice). So please be kind to the airline, train or bus staff who are trying to help you. Be patient with other drivers and do your best defensive driving.

It is the holidays after all so spread some holiday cheer, even in those difficult, uncomfortable situations. If all else fails, stay home. You don’t have to travel for the holidays. It’s a privilege. Sometimes it’s just not possible.

Whatever you decide to do, I hope you will spread tidings of great joy wherever you are, to all you meet.

Merry Christmas!

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Destination Downtown

May 18, 2008

In my adult life I’ve lived in three cities now (sad, I know!). My hometown of Bismarck, North Dakota, that state’s capital, has a population of about 55,000. By North Dakota standards it’s urban, but the whole state is rural by American standards. Downtown shuts down by 7 at night, except for two or three restaurants. They may stay open til 10 on weeknights, and 1:00 on weekends. But that city has never fooled itself into thinking that its downtown can ever be a destination.

Contrast that to Florida’s capital, Tallahassee. That city has declared its desire to make downtown an 18-hour destination. So far I haven’t talked to anyone who ever even heard of that as a goal before…chalk one up to ingenuity for this little city of 160,000. Granted that does not account for the college students from the cities two universities (Florida State Uuniversity and Florida A&M University), but they aren’t residents. And while this is the capital of a major state, it’s still a small town. Here’s the funniest thing about the 18-hour destination goal: downtown Tallahassee shuts down at 11:00, even on weekend nights! Not sure exactly which 18 hours the city fathers were targeting, but apparently it’s more of a 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. slot than say a 10 a.m. to 4 a.m. slot.

Finally there’s Jacksonville in northeast Florida on the Atlantic coast. This formerly little red neck city grew up fast when the NFL brought the Jaguars to Jacksonville and has much to offer: A&E, concerts, pro sports, college sports, shopping, dining and more. Yet the 18-hour downtown destination would be a stretch for Jacksonville, but the leadership there set its sights on loftier goals. They want a 24-hour downtown. Of the city’s 1.2 million residents, only 10,000 live downtown. The rest drive 30 minutes to get home at day’s end and are not inclined to return to downtown for much of anything. Except football of course, this is the South after all!

As the saying goes, “goals are dreams with deadlines,” so it’s optimistic that both Jacksonville and Tallahassee dream big. A first step in achieving those dreams might be grasping that if Saturday night’s last call is at 10:45, the 18/24-hour destination is a stretch!