Saturday, October 23, 2021

Road Trip First Stop: Logistics

When I take my urban infusion months, I live in a place. I become a resident, not a tourist. This trip was different (and not just because Tim was with me); it was a sightseeing trip. We stayed in hotels, not apartments. We ate out; we didn’t cook. I didn’t get a library card; Tim never unpacked his suitcase. We didn’t become “regulars” anywhere.

Becoming a resident means some days you just hang out. If the African-American History Museum is closed Mondays and Tuesdays, that’s okay because you’ll still be here on Wednesday; you don’t have to kill yourself to fit it in on Sunday.

We were going to be gone two months. We couldn’t do it. We cut it short. Tim said I could always stay on and do my “month,” but I’m tired. I want to lie in my own bed, sleep and wake on my own schedule. I want to do nothing for as many days as I feel like it, walk around the house in just a T-shirt. I am pooped. This New Yorker cartoon says it all.


By the end of this trip, I was traveling bench-to-bench. Time to go home, the bench at the end of the rainbow.

I did learn a few things. That’ll be today’s post. Then I’ll get to the good stuff.

Things I learned schlepping four bags across the country:

  1. Never schlep four bags across the country. If you’re going to camp, go on a camping trip and bring a duffel of camping supplies. If you’re going to stay in hotels, bring a bag with clothes and stuff. Do not even think of bringing both at the same time.

  2. If you’re going to schlep four bags, do it once. Don’t rent a car, take a plane, another car, switch to a train, take a taxi, back to a plane, onto an air train. With hotels in between. With staircases, streets, long hallways, and curbs in between.

Things I learned staying in hotels:

  1. The people who write reviews of hotels online are very crabby people who seem to run into a lot of stained sheets, hair on pillows, worn-out carpet, and nasty check-in staff. I stayed in some of those places, and I liked them just fine (except for one, but I should have known better). Some places were even great. I’m going to give them 10s to offset all the crabby people.

  2. Towels multiply. You start out with two of each towel. You leave them hanging up to use again, but when the room is serviced, there are now three washcloths and four big towels. By the time a week is out, there are zillions of towels. At least they aren’t pillows.

  3. The pillow situation is out of control. Why would any bed require six pillows – plus decorative ones! – and no place to move them so you can actually sleep? I haven’t had to clear out a bed like that since Tim evicted my stuffed animals years ago.

  4. I need to buy new towels. Hotel towels are fluffy and white and they absorb water. While I like the color of my towels at home – and have liked them for many, many years – I’ve learned that towels are not supposed to be threadbare in places. Unless you’re outfitting a hotel for a crabby hotel review.

Things I’ve learned about hot places:

  1. The only reason to go to a hot place is to swim and loll around a pool or ocean. Otherwise, hot places are just hot. Hot, hot, hot.

  2. If a hot place comes with beige-colored terrain, it is just a hot, hot, beige place. Avoid in the future.

Things I’ve learned about places with mask mandates:

  1. Life is good! Things are open, people feel happy and comfortable! People walk around, pause before a doorway, reach into their pockets for their masks, put them on, and enter. Occasionally, they have to show a vaccination card, but that just means something wished-for is finally able to open (whether it’s live theater or a restaurant). It’s no big deal! (Thank you state of New Mexico, District of Columbia, and New York City!)

  2. You cannot imagine how nuts the rest of the country thinks Alaskans are right now. Anti-mask lunatics in Alaska are spreading disease at crisis levels because – wait for this – they think it’s unbearable to put a little mask on. And in the process, they have to trivialize the murders of the Holocaust by comparing that little mask to genocide? Really? Theirs are not protests, they’re tantrums. With consequences for all of us.
But I got to vacation in Adult Land – good stuff next post!


  1. Great insights! Next time you pack for a trip invite me over! You’ll be pulling a carryon and wearing a Fanny pack, or upgrade to a Baggalini- very best travel crossbody ever. Forty two days on the Camino with a 17 lb pack! Welcome home!

    1. Judith, the problem was the tent, poles, and sleeping bags. But I do want to see your packing list! And your Baggalini.

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    1. I did hang them all up on the rail. I think it was a Covid thing; like, they left mine hanging up but added new ones -- lots of new ones. And that happened despite places saying that due to Covid, they wouldn't be entering the rooms to service them anyway. It remains a mystery.

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  3. Great observations. I am very encouraged by point #1 in "Things I've learned about places with mask mandates." I am looking forward to traveling to such places soon(ish). And yet, now that we have a mask mandate here (albeit with no enforcement mechanism), I can't say that I expect anything to change and I don't feel ok about going to a restaurant or show here.


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