Frooty Loops and the Man

Today’s guest post comes from Anna.

I am not a wilderness camper, nor am I a fisherwoman. While I am a fan of the great outdoors, I prefer running water, a flush toilet, a bit of electricity and a lack of fish guts while I am on vacation. Call me a wimp, but there it is. I have been to the BWCA, I have piloted a canoe, I have even shot a rifle (once) – but it just doesn’t suit me. I can take the bugs, it’s the lumpy ground for a mattress I can live without.

Last year, on a bit of a whim, Daughter, Mom and I made use of a Memorial Day weekend deal at one of the Big Resorts in the Brainerd Lakes area. An opportunity to be in the great outdoors, but I could sleep on a real mattress and we could visit with my mom’s sister who lives nearby. We returned this year with the added knowledge that the free breakfast was plentiful, there would likely be baby ducks to feed (25 cents for a bag of corn in the marina), an indoor pool if it rained, and all the wax worms a kid could drown in an effort to land a sunfish from one of the docks (Aunt would take care of removing anything Daughter might catch and throw it back – so no fish guts for me – yay!).

When you choose a resort over camping, you are choosing the amenities: swimming pool, golf course, access to a lake for water-related activities. Our resort also sets up events throughout the weekend including a parade (complete with marching band), carnival games, pontoon and wagon rides, bonfires, even a movie on the beach (weather permitting). Our resort also has a staffer we’ll call Jake (not his real name).

Jake ‘s domain at the Big Resort is the dining room. Every morning over the summer Jake is up at a crazy hour, giving up late nights with his pals, so he can bring coffee to people like me while we over-indulge at the breakfast buffet (I am a “both-and” kinda gal, especially if waffles are involved). He also is the bringer of Frooty Loops (as he calls them), delivering joy to 8-year-old girls in the form of colorful cereal. Last year by morning #2 he had ascertained that Daughter preferred Fruit Loops to anything else on the breakfast buffet. When they were not on the buffet on the third day, he went off in search of the brightly colored Os for my daughter as soon as he saw her dismay at their absence; before we could even ask, he was off to the kitchen.

This year when we saw him at the Friday night welcome dinner (what was he doing working at night?), he stopped to chat, asked how the year had been, and ensured Daughter they still had Frooty Loops on the menu. Jake had a bowl ready for her by the time we were shown to our breakfast table the next morning, even though we were seated in someone else’s section. He brought her Frooty Loops every morning we were there.

We will likely go back again next year. Daughter might catch a sunny or two. We will likely go on a pontoon ride and a wagon ride and rent a pedal boat again. Jake may or may not be there. He graduated from the local community college this spring and there is a chance he will decide to move before next Memorial Day weekend. Daughter is crushed. Who will bring her Frooty Loops?

Someone will, it just may not be Jake.

What makes a vacation ”just right” for you?

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110 thoughts on “Frooty Loops and the Man”

  1. Nice post, Anna, and one with which I can totally relate! I’m quite like you in terms of holiday preference – my bare minimum for acceptability is a working toilet (as we have ascertained via my post yesterday, I prefer the standard “regular toilet in a regular bathroom” type of arrangement), a decent shower and a comfortable bed. If I have those three elements in place then I can be happy enough.

    Here in my particular patch of Florida, “the great outdoors” is usually the beach, and having one of those nearby always works for me. Even the most basic accommodations are just fine if they are within walking distance of a shoreline. If I am outside of Florida, I am good with any type of scenery, city or country.

    As you pointed out in your post, it’s a real bonus to have someone who is exceptionally helpful when you’re away from home. Whether it’s their ability to anticipate your preferences and make sure you get them whenever possible (like a bowl of Frooty Loops in the morning!) or whether it’s simply being friendly and easy to deal with when you’re tired, aggravated or otherwise just not right for some reason, good service is always something I notice and appreciate a great deal when I’m on vacation.

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  2. Rise and Shine Awl Jahl:

    My oh my, yesterday was a potty party! Now we move onto a vacation.

    A just right vacation for me used to include camping (sorry Chris and Anna), but my body will not cooperate with that anymore–too much arthritis and too many allergies. We sold the camper 3 years ago.

    So now it means a comfortable cabin or Inn, that might include a jacuzzi for said aches and pains, located in a place with trails or sidewalks that allow lots of walking (usually cities with a public transportation system or countryside with trails or paths). I like my own kitchen available, as well, so I can go to a market that provides food for 2 meals/day. To round out the other meal I like a place with interesting restaurants that features fabulous food. Eating well is a large part of my vacation. The includes lots of naps and down time interspersed with interesting locals who like to visit.

    Florence, Italy was nearly perfect. But I will have to go back to make certain it was really that good.

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    1. Awl Jahl – I like it! :)

      I couldn’t agree with you more about the food, as going somewhere that has the type of eatables I can’t get/make easily at home is a real treat for me. So is the whole not cooking/not cleaning up part.

      I have the exact same thing going on with Florence – a return trip is most definitely in order, though when that will happen I don’t know. I do know it WILL happen, though. That city is too good not to go back to.

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  3. Morning all. Teenager and I are campers, but not hard core. We have a huge tent (way more than we need), air mattresses for under the sleeping bags, a really bright lantern and we don’t stay at any campground that doesn’t have hot showers and toilets. We also don’t cook much over a fire. Occasionally we’ll roast some veggie dogs and make our vegetarian s’mores, but at least half of the time, we eat breakfast and lunch out of our cooler and then dinner at a local restaurant.

    What makes good vacations for us is stuff to see/do. All of our trips are filled with animal parks, monuments, museums, miniature golf, historical markers and our annual shopping “spree” in Hayward. Every summer we send away for various state tourism guides and then we pore through them to see what is close to our route that we might be able to see. This year the Colorado book has already come and we’re waiting for Nebraska!

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    1. Vegetarian s’mores? You mean not the ones where you toast some paté over the open fire, top it with a blob of lard and slap it between two pieces of raw pork? You don’t know what you’ve been missing!

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  4. In the strict sense of the word, I have only had one vacation in my adult life. That makes comparisons difficult. But what I have had (mostly as a freelance magazine writer-photographer) is a great many “trips” of four or five days. I learned a lot from those.

    I used to obsess about planning those trips. Would the hunting/fishing be good enough to generate a story and photos? Would the weather be tolerable? Was there a chance we could find or prepare decent food? Would the price for all these things be acceptable? Would our accommodations be at least marginally acceptable? (You guys wouldn’t believe how “marginal” my motel accommodations usually were! In 30 years of taking dozens of trips a year, I never spent as much as $30 a night. Even allowing for inflation, if you pay $17 a night to sleep somewhere you can expect less than the Hilton standard of luxury.)

    In the end, it all was so simple. I invented a little maxim: “There is no such thing as a good trip with bad people, and there is no such thing as a bad trip if you travel with good people.” If your travel partner is smart, funny, and a good sport, you’re gonna love that trip or vacation. If your travel partner is sulky, selfish and blessed with horrible judgment, expect your trip (no matter how splendid it is in other ways) to be a trip through Hell.

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    1. Excellent point about the quality of your traveling companion(s), Steve. I guess that’s the most important element of any shared journey, when it comes right down to it.

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    2. steve for hunting and fishing you are talking backwoods northdakota and montana and while you can get a room in montana during the flyfishing season taht cost 100 a night you have to search. north dakota was heading that way where super 8 was spiking at 69-99 on the freeway during july tourist season as travelers crossed n d or route to anywhere else thank you very much and did a quick crash and burn in clean sheeted vanilla inter design based traveler foray to accompany the applebees perkins etc in the south the alabama fishing rivers are near waffle houses for sure. the last cabin i had down ther had the chiggers in the mattress that kept me up all night. when i complained they said sorry we thought we got those. i love those back woods hotels with the cigeette burns on the bedside tables for where the previous tenants left the cig burning and forgot so it burned to the end an the table is covered with burn scars. the carpet is that canry stripe that is cheap to install and covers the stains left by previous nights vomit issues. but the smell is still there. oh we thought we took care of that. anywhere you hunt and fish is beautiful outdoors and not so in the motel that oyu are staying in. but the hash browns and pies at the local restaurant are way better than the freeway exit joints near the hilton garden hotel and such. i am an ac dc vacation person i love hyatt with egyptian cotton sheets and chocolate on my pillow and a bartender with snappy patter in the lobby. i also love a creekside primitave spot where i can light a fire, drink a bottle of wine and do the crash and burn with the sound of the babbling brook in my sleepy ears. lumpy ground is a pain so i have one of those little inflatable pads that ends up being a thick as a cell phone. my family prefers the disney properties in orlando or the view odf the lake from grandmas house before she left but i am ok with or without the frills. guitar and a campfire are about s good as it gets.

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      1. tim, this is a typically fun post from you. I’ll bet if I were still out there hustling for magazine material I’d have to break that $30 limit. The kind of place we used to patronize had snarky attitudes to go along with the mildewed carpets and cigarette burns on the tables. I treasure the memory of the place in Black Duck, MN, where the signs in the rooms said “If you smoke in bed the ashes on the floor will be yours” and “Don’t throw cigarettes in our toilets. We don’t pee in your ash trays.” One little Montana campground we found had proprietors who talked nonstop about shooting any hippy who might wander onto their land, but they had a sweet little trout creek running right through the campground. You could throw your sleeping bag down beside the creek and fall asleep with the gurgle of the creek drowning out all other sounds.

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  5. OT – is WordPress changing the font on anybody else? As I read through entries this morning, the font changes occasionally. One blip was an Arabic looking language, but mostly back and forth between a serif font and a non-serif font.

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    1. Later yesterday I thought the font was smaller than usual, and more like Times Roman.

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  6. We also have camped, in less or more primitive conditions, and that can be fun, but a real vacation for me gives me an opportunity to stay in a place that is nicer than the house I live in. I love fancy hotels and the fantasy of opulence. We can’t stay long in such places, but even a short time is wonderful. We stayed in a boutique hotel in Montreal, The Hotel Nelligan, a couple of times, and that was great. I don’t see us getting back to that area at least until next year. Next May, our son will graduate from graduate school and our daughter from high school, and son and daughter in law are lobbying for a family cruise on the St. Lawrence from Montreal to PEI. Daughter isn’t so sure she wants all that family togetherness, but a young man from Toronto she is rather fond of is attending Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia,which is on the cruise route, so perhaps we can convince her without too much arm twisting.

    This summer, our main vacation will be a few days on the Pine Ridge Reservation helping some evangelical friends of ours at a Baptist mission. My husband is a member of a rock and roll/gospel group that plays at the mission on occasion, and I have been lassoed to fill in for the bass player/lead singer who has had some sort of existential crisis and has disappeared from the radar. This is pretty odd and funny as I am a liberal Lutheran and not Baptist,and I don’t really have a lead singer kind of voice and I haven’t played the bass since I was a senior in high school in 1976. The group leader is absolutely confident that I can pick it up pretty quickly, and has been scouting out local pawn shops for used electric basses. Our accomodations will be in Kyle, SD, in the one hotel in town which is not opulent but is probably nicer than most of the homes on the Reservation.

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    1. Oh, man…the old “bass player having an existential crisis” thing. You know how many bands have broken up on account of an existential crisis? ;)

      And I don’t require a fancy hotel, but I don’t mind them. My husband won a trip to Fiji last year through a contest at work, and we were sent to an absolutely amazing hotel which we would never have stayed in had we been paying for it ourselves (hell, we wouldn’t have been in Fiji at all if we had to pay for it!). I’ve never been anywhere so nice before and who knows when/if I’ll stay anywhere like it again, but having that opportunity was just extraordinary. Coming home from that trip was way, WAY harsh. :)

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    2. Don’t know if anyone is familiar with a beautiful small hotel in Perry, Iowa called Hotel Pattee. As far as I know there’s no other reason to visit Perry, but the hotel is extraordinary with incredible original art work all over. It’s more of a boutique hotel than a posh luxury hotel, but well worth a visit for a special occasion. Here’s a link to their website: http://www.hotelpattee.com/

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  7. I’m with Steve – my choice for main criteria is good people to hang out with. If that’s in place, then I’ll have to say that a train is my other favorite ingredient. Our recent trip out west included a near-two-day buffer on either end of the trip – time to rest up before and after! Will talk more about this in a guest post that’s in progress.

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    1. When I hosted a gathering of baboons at my cabin last August, it never occurred to me to worry because I was so sure I’d like the people, even the ones I didn’t know well.

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        1. I cheerfully make trips to the excellent coffee shop in town for those who really need a latte or something more exotic to get the day started. And somehow Linda, the idea of you at your worst doesn’t strike me as being all that scary. :)

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        2. If that coffeemaker breaks, Steve, you should be Afraid – Very Afraid.

          You make trips into town for those who need a latte – do you also transport those guests who require a bathroom???

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        3. No, Edith, that isn’t part of my service. I grant folks permission to take a whiz basically anyplace outside the cabin. When they’ve had enough coffee, even the hard cases that insist on a prissy conventional bathroom find that going behind a bush is not so bad.

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        4. Sounds good to me, Steve.

          I still think you might be surprised by Linda if she doesn’t get coffee in the morning…I suspect there are hidden depths of her character you haven’t seen.

          (just kidding…)

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        5. Have you checked the silverware from the last time I was at your St. Paul house? Or is it just the stuff at the cabin that is precious?

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  8. Morning–

    Steve is right; it’s the people that make most *anything* fun. Buying a water softener can hinge on if we liked the salesman or not.
    We’ll go to a resturant and ask the hostess to be seated in the area with the server that’s the most fun.

    OT today, but got to the blog too late last night, we randomly host a ‘Porta Potty Party’ at our house. We rent a porta potty and have a party. I put some funky lighting in there and you can sign the guest book. Sometimes we have a live band. (Not in the porta potty, it’s too crowded then and it tends to inhibit people.)

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    1. I dunno – I used to work at Renaissance Festival and on slow days my pals would see how many bodies you can fit in a porta potty…bet you could fit at least a four-piece band in there (but the amps might need to be outside).

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  9. I don’t do vacations on a regular basis anymore; actually now that I think about it, I never have. Somehow I don’t think of our trips to Denmark as vacations; there are too many obligations and people to visit. Not that I don’t enjoy that, but being on a schedule just doesn’t seem like a vacation to me.

    I’ve done my fair share of camping and have enjoyed every minute of it. I love sleeping in a tent and hearing all the sounds of nature as I drift off to sleep after a day of strenuous activity, but I’m afraid that long hikes in the mountains or portaging a canoe in the BWCA are behind me now. But I did it when I could, and I loved it!

    Now I like 4 day weekend trips with husband and good friends with the occasional longer stay somewhere. Last year husband and I spent 21 days in adjacent private homes in a small fishing village in Mexico with four good friends. We had a wonderful time! With coffee cups in hand, we’d start each day watching dolphins swim by from the balcony of our bedroom. In the evening, we’d sit on the patio sipping a glass of wine waiting for their return. After a morning dip in the Sea of Cortez, Anne, Charlotte and I would walk the beach, separately or together in whatever combination felt comfortable at the time. Our days were full of excursions into the desert, birdwatching, digging for clams, visiting with neighbors, shopping at flea markets, talking and reading. Mike, an artist with late stage Parkinson’s, managed to finagle time in a local blacksmith shop where he created a wrought iron dolphin fence to go with the existing bird fence he made years ago. Husband was busy photographing whatever struck his fancy, and ended up with some very nice photos. Bill, a retired entomologist from the U of M, spent hours every afternoon identifying sea shells. Once a scientist, always a scientist I guess! Anne, a French trained chef, took charge of most of our evening meals, while Charlotte, Bill and I took turns cooking most breakfasts and lunches. Good food and good conversation were the hallmarks of all of our meals. This was as perfect a vacation as I can remember in a long time. On day 10 of our vacation, husband and I agreed that we were glad we had decided to stay 21 days, and yet, on day16 we both realized that we missed our home and our pets.

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    1. Sounds lovely, PJ! Twenty-one days is a long time to be away from home, and I’ve never had such an extended stay as that while on vacation. Won’t be happening until the young ‘un is moved out, though, so I have a loooong while to wait for that opportunity! :)

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    2. Interesting because Bill and I have talked about this too — the ideal length for a vacation. It seems to vary widely between people. For us, a week to ten days is just about right for a real “vacation” (and we miss the kids and animals), but since we can only manage that every 5 or 6 years, most of the time we take little 2-4 day weekends. We really like wandering road trips with a general destination, always open to taking a road not traveled, stopping at country cemeteries, watching for birds and critters, hiking at a state or county park. . . My mission for the last few decades is to find the perfect root beer float (no soft serve please!) and I will not rest till it’s in my stomach.

      An extended train trip like BiR mentioned is in our future, I hope! I haven’t ridden a train since I left Japan in 1966, but grew up riding them almost daily. Would like to take the Canadian railway coast to coast some day after we retire and combine Nova Scotia and British Columbia in one fell swoop!

      Next week I’m going up to Bayfield for a few days with some galfriends — walk, knit, read, lots of coffee and wine, gaze out over the Lake, rent scooters on Madeline Island :-) Think I’ll take “Devil in a Blue Dress” along — I’m determined to finish the book before Blevins this time. This is a perfect little 3 day weekend in my book.

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      1. Please give the Island a little extra “enjoy” for me-we won’t be getting there this year.
        Make sure you stop at the Sugar Shack-it is right next to where the scooters are rented out, I think.

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      2. I’ve been working on a project that will go through Bayfield for the past month at work. It won’t happen this summer, so no worries ;)

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      3. Thanks for the tips Mig and Steve :-) I’m sure we’ll be eating non-stop. I do hope the scooters have horns for our beeping pleasure, which is by way of saying it doesn’t take much to make my day. Have a good weekend, everyone, and stay cool as possible. I suspect Edith has a nefarious plan in mind; like maybe watching her black currants grow.

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      4. Robin, I think those extended weekends are the best, for a lot of reasons. They generally don’t require too much planning in terms of lining up people to take care of your pets and watering your garden, and you’re not gone long enough to miss home. They’re also cheaper and can usually be arranged with short notice. Today through Tuesday I’m on chicken sitting duty for Helen and Sarah, my friends and neighbors down the street. Over Memorial Day weekend I fed Michael and Leslie’s (our next door neighbors) cats and watered their garden. Within an eight block radius, we have four families that we exchange such services with. When we want a long weekend at a friend’s cabin, we have no trouble at all finding someone whose schedule can accommodate our needs. One of the many reasons we love our neighborhood.

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        1. Yes, we’ve chicken sat for our neighbors also — they have 18 chickens, 2 ducks and 2 cats so it was quite a time commitment on our part morning and evening, but we loved being urban farmers for a week. On that occasion they paid us, but I’d like to establish an exchange type of arrangement with them, in future, for short term animal and garden care. So far we haven’t minded paying some neighbor children to feed and walk our animals because it’s a first experience with responsibility and earning their own money and they take it very very seriously. :-)

          I’m visualizing you dangling weightless in your anti-gravity chair — betting it relieves pressure on your lower back, too. Hope you finally got your flower pots planted, too — yesterday I spent the afternoon digging and planting with my mother in Northfield and going through old family photos. She’s 91 and I only hope I have half her wits and energy at her age. Take care PJ — I think you got your antigravity chair just in the nick of time — that and a good book and a cold beer and you’re set for a hot weekend.

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  10. I am off midday today to a friend’s cabin where there will be relatively comfy beds, a coffee maker, a lake, some running water, a two-seater outhouse (with a fabulous chandelier – the local country station comes on, too, when you turn on the chandelier), and wonderful friends. Oh, and lots of chocolate and I’m sure plenty of wine and other “adult beverages.” :D

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    1. I’m actually on my way out this afternoon as well – a neighbor’s having a block party to celebrate the end of the school year. My daughter and husband being otherwise engaged, I will have to go solo, but we will have some barbecue and maybe one or two of those “adult beverages” of which you speak, so I reckon I’ll manage without them somehow! :)

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      1. If we get motivated, we might saunter into Nisswa for the Stamman (lots of Scandinavian music and probably some dancing)…but only if we get motivated. Eric Peltoniemi is a draw, but so it sitting on the back deck of the cabin reading a book or two…

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        1. Anna, there’s also a terrific trio of young Danish women who call themselves Fiolministeriet, violin, viola, and cello. We heard them Wednesday evening, they are terrific. They play dance music too.

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        2. Argh – not Eric, Kip…don’t know why I said Eric – but I bet you know who I meant…and it looks like Fiolministeriet is playing a couple times on Saturday – if we get into Nisswa for the Stamman, will definitely have to find them.

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      1. Yeah – it’s a sight to see…lots of postcards and stuff on the walls for your reading pleasure, too. It’s a full-service outhouse. :)

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  11. Vacations while my three kids were growing up were quite rare and only taken along the North Shore where Lutsen was the final destination. Two things have held me back over this lifetime: being low income and not having someone with whom I could enjoy getting away. Late this winter, I went on a 7-day “cruising for credits” excursion. Dancing Latin & free style five hours every night was the highlight of my decade, and the price was so low that I was suspicious. I’ve since learned that cruises are indeed the cheapest vacation form around – about $85/day including gourmet food around the clock!

    I’m now planning to treat my daughter and granddaughter to a cruise next winter as I think this would be the memory of a lifetime. In the meantime, I’ve just connected with a woman in her 60s whose goal in life is to “dance around the world” and participate in every dance form in each culture that her longevity and income allows. Having a buddy to adventure with and who also feels quite comfortable making travel arrangements seems like the best of both worlds for me.

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    1. I remember a funny “revolving email” to the effect that this old lady lived by just taking cruise after cruise after cruise… Maybe could be my life work.

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  12. Putting aside the issue of companionship, nothing ruins a vacation so well as all those factors that can ruin sleep. No matter how bad things are, if we can sleep well at night we can face fresh indignities in the morning. But when our nights are hellish because of noise, poor bedding, unwanted animals sharing our space, foul air, bugs, freezing or sweltering temperatures . . . we will not be cheerful when morning finally comes. And, oh my, I can tell stories about this!

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    1. I remember a time camping – not only did I have one companion whom I could barely stand being around, but some other campers across the way would sit by the fire late at night and talk. They were not loud and drunk or anything, but most people at the campground were in campers and we were in a tent. Tent walls are thin, and I felt like I was trying to sleep on a lumpy, hard couch in a living room where other people were sitting around gabbing. I was already short of sleep and tired since there had been a death in the extended family shortly before, but by the end of this “vacation” I was totally exhausted.

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    2. I’m reading a good book now, “Travels with Myself and Another”, by Martha Gellhorn (who also was one of Hemingway’s wives) which is all about some of her hellish but incredible travels in the course of her work as a war correspondent in WWII. Read the first chapter on China last night after signing off the Trail and it tied right in with yesterday’s topic. But even moreso. Written from her 30 year old journal notes, funny, raw, incredibly observant, a slice of that time. If you like that sort of thing :-)

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  13. I had a friend (“had” because he died last winter) who thought of sex even more than most men. So instead of thinking about six once every minute, with Michael it was five or six times a minute. When we stayed at a motel in Pine River to hunt grouse nearby, Michael had the luck of getting the room right next to that room in the motel that was the “hot sheets” spot for all the teenagers in town. Every 40 minutes or so, one couple would leave and another couple would rush in . . . with Michael listening to it all, since the walls were paper-thin. Michael tried to hear every word spoken, but some were muffled, and that just inflamed his imagination and curiosity all the more. Of course, the bed next door was hammering the walls all night. Toward 2 AM he heard one girl coo, “Oh Gawd, a camera! That’s so KINKY!” Michael scarcely slept a minute that night and the next morning he was hollow-eyed and in a foul mood.

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  14. We don’t really do “vacations” as such for a multitude of reasons-the one “real” vacation was a Spring Break in the Black Hills-very memorable.

    We make the most of living in someplace that is a vacation destination for other people. Working at home makes this possible as well as necessary.

    One summer, we made it our business to “vacation” at Minnehaha Falls, every Wednesday. We packed a lunch, books and my quilting, and away we would go.

    This was before the renovations in the area we refer to as The Lagoon, so there was adequate muddu sandy-ness to make it seem like we had been “up north”. Each week, my son would meet new members of the “corps of engineers” and they would set to, rearranging the rocks in the stream to create pools and dams and even something like a waterslide one week.

    comfortable beds-check
    hot shower-check
    adequate kitchen facilities-check
    excellent company-check
    and all at a price we could afford

    Today is the last day of school here. I did my stint of basement clearing for the tday first thing in the morning (I don’t recommend excavating your child’s early childhood on the last day of 7th grade, in which you realize that you don’t actually have a child as such any more-but wisdom in these matters has never been my strong suit).

    I’m giving myself a nice mom vacation for the rest of the day-at the St Kate’s duck pond. That includes 2 of my other criterion. Minimum people, nice variety of wild life (egret, blue heron, turtles, ducks and geese and of course, the red-winged blackbirds).

    It is amazing, the similarities between teenage boys and teenage geese.

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      1. Randolph and Cleveland is where I tend to park. I need to get back in shape so I can walk this again.

        Very near the Tea Source and Highland Grill as well. Best of all possible worlds.

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    1. Perfect mig! I totally agree. The city on a weekend when most everyone else has gone elsewhere is tranquil, isn’t it? And there’s always something new to explore. I want to bike down to find the new rookery on the river now that the old one was wiped out by last year’s tornado.

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      1. Where is this?

        We used to go down to Crosby Farm all the time. Now that the s&h is getting into biking, I think we should try and do that (taking our lives into our own hands getting across W 7th being the nervewracking part…..)

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  15. PJ has mentioned another factor that affects my good time – scheduled time. I am happiest with the least amount of scheduling, but often the people we visit have big plans when we’re visiting. My idea of a vacation morning is to to get up when I feel like it, have our tea or coffee while we muse about what we might be in the mood for today, and then leisurely do that. If there is a pre-scheduled event, please may it be someplace the host has been before and so knows the way, the hours open, and if there are… yes… restrooms available.

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    1. Ah, reminds me of another things we like to do (actually, 2 things)
      We sometimes declare a jami day-no obligation to get up and get going for an entire day (admittedly, we eventually do-but there was the Labor Day I read all of the final Harry Potter book…..)

      We also declare days without clocks. We actually might DO a lot on those days, but there is no schedule. Pure heaven. I suspect I am going to need to have a couple of those to actually finish excavating the basement.

      Clyde, was it you who literally excavated a basement under the house, one bucketload at a time? I’m sure I read that here at some point. Very inspiring.

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      1. This is what I’m talking about: a day or two without clocks!

        My S-i-L and husband did the excavation from under their front porch and created an extra basement storage room there – we were part of the soil bucket brigade. Remind me not to answer the phone next time they have a big project…

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  16. Anna’s question was what makes a vacation “just right.” What I’ve observed is that many folks like vacations where they escape the world they live and work in and lose themselves in a world that looks, smells and feels different. And then it helps if that world features a few personalities–the quirkier the better–who seem never to change. That makes vacation time feel like a return to a different community that is all about relaxing and having fun. Many of us, I think, enjoy creating new traditions and rituals when we are on vacation. It somehow helps if the vacation time is grounded in familiarity by the presence of fun characters. Of course, vacations into the unknown can be delightful too.

    When we were getting to know Cornucopia, near our cabin, it was fun to meet the local characters. And then it was so satisfying to see them again later on and find that they hadn’t changed while we’d been back in the Cities. For example, we adored a big guy named Jim who was the town Dumpmaster. Twice a week he’d stand in the dump and monitor what was coming into the place. If you were throwing out a lamp that didn’t look just awful, Jim would seize on it, saying, “Oh, now, you don’t want to throw out a GOOD lamp like this!” He’d put it in a special area where he displayed his dumped treasures, and anyone coming into the dump that day was sure to hear how they should go check out his secret trove of salvaged items. Going to the dump was recreational while Jim was there. And it helped us feel we were on vacation to form contacts with people who were familiar and friendly.

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  17. I haven’t taken many vacations and certainly not many in places exotic or far away. Madislandgirl’s ideas of “vacations” close to home sound like something I should try.

    If I was going to go on a vacation, like many of you, the presence or lack of congenial companions would determine how good a vacation is.(A vacation by myself would be preferable to vacationing with bad companions.)

    Add in some quietness (I live in the city and a chance to get away from the sound of loud people, lawnmowers, traffic, sirens, planes overhead, and the d*** helicopters from the nearby hospital that seem to hover over my backyard for 10 minutes at a time – sometimes several times a day or night – would be heaven.

    It would be a huge plus if I did not have to plan or cook meals, although if the food duties were shared or at least sincerely appreciated by others, that would be tolerable.

    And something beautiful to look at…nothing feeds my soul like beauty surrounding me.

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      1. I think you’re right, Steve. Outhouses don’t scare me.

        Well, I take that back…I was scared once. It was a very, very dark moonless light and I didn’t bother with a flashlight because, hey, I could find my way there in the dark since I was so familiar with the path. I found the way there fine, but somehow I got turned around inside and lost track of where the door was. A dark moonless night can be pretty dark inside, but inside an outhouse? Totally pitch black. It felt like ages before I felt my way to the door latch.

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      2. When I visited Isle Royale, I opened the outhouse door, tried to step out until I noticed the moose walking by–it was so close the door hit the moose and it nearly stepped on my foot.

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  18. My anti-gravity chair just arrived. I think I’ll take a mini vacation in it on the front porch this afternoon! Thanks for the tip Jim and tim.

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    1. Happy to report the chair is so comfortable I actually fell asleep. Weather has dried up, I can continue my mini vacation in the back yard after Jeopardy!

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  19. Good afternoon. I’m enjoying reading all the stuff about vacations. Some how this hasn’t been my day for finding time to comment. Maybe later.

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  20. Va-ca-tion? What is this word? Who has time or money for vacation? The last time I went on vacation was our first big family trip to the Black Hills. We were missing my younger brother and his (at the time) fiance (they’re now married) because my brother had just started working. I would go back in a heartbeat. I loved the Black Hills. We stayed in a cabin in a tiny town called Silver City. I slept on a couch in the living room :) It had one bathroom, very tiny, but it was indoors with running water. It had a big dining room so we could all eat together, and we made most of our meals in the kitchen (when we weren’t out sightseeing).

    Other than that, we only ever visited family on vacation. One set of grandparents used to live in Arkansas (they just recently moved back to MN) and the other lived in the UP (they’re deceased). Both were long car trips, but once we were there, it was fun checking out all the local entertainment. Arkansas was very interesting because it was so different than the Midwest. There were actual hills (hard to find in Minnesota) and strange accents and a completely different way of life. The UP was great for all of the outdoor activities :) Cross-country skiing, downhill skiing, hiking, swimming in Lake Superior…Makes me miss it.

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      1. No, I was working in the UP then. I had gone to school up there, then got a job after college. Then I was laid off, moved back home (MN) for a month, got a job in the UP, moved back up there, was laid off again, moved home again, then got a job in WI. In the past year, I’ve lived in 3 different states. Too much moving.

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  21. Now it takes my own pillow, comfort and some family event. I’ve done more than my fair share of traveling. My favorite trip was West Africa. I went to Dakar, Senegal and my luggage went to Lagos, Nigeria—it was the best thing that could have happened. There is no way I could have lugged that suitcase through 3 weeks of rough travel. It was nice to have clean clothes when I returned to Dakar and packed for the next leg of the trip. Taught me that my idea of what was necessary was waaay off. Didn’t even need those malaria pills.

    When I was working, I kept a picture of my living room, sun streaming through plant filled windows onto the old maple floors. I used to think, why did I buy a house, I’m never there. Retirement has me feeling as if I am on vacation every day. I love the feeling of losing track of hours, days, months, years.

    I’m pretty attached to my garden in the summers. But try to take a “vacation” day once a week. I hang out in cafes to read, write or use computer, with or without a friend or mentee, or go somewhere beautiful and peaceful. If I get too social, I long for solitude. I try to balance “we” days and “me” days.

    Anna, sweet story and warm memories for your daughter. Just read through today’s posts. This is a travelin’ crew.

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    1. I hope my retirement will be JUST like that, Nan. Feeling like vacation every day because we can choose how to spend our days. Losing ourselves in activity or non activity of our choosing. Hmmm, will this be a “we” day or a “me” day today? How lovely to have the freedom of choice.

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      1. : ) Robin, I didn’t mean to make it sound so perfect. Of course, I still have the typical human struggles. But sometimes, I do feel a little jealous of myself. And surprised and grateful that through it all, I have watched out/taken care of myself—it was a little iffy there for a bit.

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        1. I understand, Nan. In a busy world, to reclaim some time for yourself from all the requirements and obligations of living is a good thing. I work three days a week now and it’s a good balance for the time being.

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