Travel Month

I read that June is the biggest travel month of the year. Happy thought, since that’s when we scheduled our few days away.

June is usually perfect because the spring rains have mostly ended and it’s not yet summer hot. Well, this year is a little different. Not surprising, since the last year or so has been different. Our weather map is showing rain for the foreseeable future from the Mississippi River to the east coast.

Should be an interesting vacation.

Time away is time away, though. Even if rain pours all over it. We’ll find indoor things to do. What that means for me is a quiet phone, no computer, and time with my favorite person.

Favorite vacations? Happy memories? Funny or poignant vacation memories? Please share in the comment section.

My personal favorite was several years back. It was late June and one of us (not naming names) was feeling a bit depressed after another episode of empty-nesters syndrome. We made a spur of the moment decision to head to a gulf beach. I think we settled on Panama City and found a brand-new beachfront hotel with special pricing for their grand opening.

The “hotel room” was more like a condo and it was beautifully decorated and so comfortable. The ample balcony was the perfect place to hang out in the early morning hours. We usually had breakfast there.

We could rent those beach chairs with the umbrellas for the week, and a “cabana boy” served us icy drinks and moved our umbrella when needed. It was worth every penny. We felt anchored to those chairs. So lazy, but healing.

As our departure date approached, my husband said, “Hey, let’s see if we can stay a couple more days.”

Aww! They said yes! We called our employers and took a couple more days off. Those two extra days were the best of the whole week. We enjoyed every moment and arrived home more rested than we’d felt in ages.

That’s what a vacation should be. A time of relaxation and restoration. I still smile at the memories of that week. It has never been repeated, though I have tried.

I can still hear the waves rollin’ in…

Rainy Day Post

It’s raining today. I don’t hate the rain, but it does tend to keep me inside. But hey, I have plenty of coffee and lots of things to accomplish today. Writing, writing, and writing!

Sometimes you just need to let your imagination run free. I read a recent post about “our” childhood–specific to the boomers–when being inside was a punishment. We spent our days running free, only going in the house when we had to. Stayed out till the streetlights came on, if you lived in the city. Stayed out till the fireflies rested in the country.

Voices carried from numerous front porches where folks sat and whiled away the final hours of daylight before they “stepped inside” to watch their favorite show. Chuckled at Hoss and Little Joe on Bonanza. Laughed out loud at Red Skelton, Lucy, and Carol Burnett. Sat on the edge of their seats to see if Perry Mason would win his latest case.

Paladin. Sheriff Andy Taylor. Gunsmoke. The list goes on. Watched for an hour, then to bed.

Vacations for our family usually meant piling in the car and heading west. Most of Dad’s family lived in Tennessee. Mom’s family…well, they were spread out all across the west. Many lived in Texas, a few in Arizona. Grandpa lived in L.A., and others lived up the coast in Seattle.

Having family along the way helped with lodging as we headed to Southern California to see Grandpa. Dad drove long hours, stopping only when necessary. Mom shooed us out of the car and encouraged us to run and rid ourselves of pent-up energy. We weren’t used to sitting for long hours.

I saw a lot of the West. Route 66, old boom towns, last gas stations for 100 miles.

I still remember those times, spent close to our loved ones (sometimes a little too close!). Did I pass the wonder along to my sons? I hope so. It’s a thing that should never be lost, that wonder. The fascination with new places. The desire to spend time with family, those who are near, and those we’ve only known from letters, long ago.

So, I suppose the rainy day has brought on this nostalgia. If you’re still reading, thank you so much for your time. If you have a favorite childhood memory, please feel free to share it in the comments below.

I’m getting ready for the release of my next book–it’s a mystery! I don’t have an official title, cover, or release date yet. Just September. I’ll keep you posted. Meanwhile, enjoy your time this summer. May God bless you as you gather with your loved ones. May we never take that for granted.

…have a little laugh at life and look around you for happiness instead of sadness. Laughter has always brought me out of unhappy situations.

Red Skelton

Which Path Are You?

Hello, Thursday Morning readers. I usually mention the weather here, but honestly, I’m getting pretty tired of it. It’s mid-May and winter paid a visit. So, here we are shivering in our sweatshirts and heavy socks.

Maybe it’s the unpredictable weather that has me longing for a getaway.

Being shut-in for a few weeks can make you long for the great outdoors. We missed our vacation this year and travel is still restricted, so I’m looking at photos of places I’d love to go. I love leisurely walks. Honestly, it doesn’t matter whether it’s on the beach, or in a park. A scene like this one invites me in.

But then, there’s this–I want to go there, too.

Ah, Lake Cumberland—this is where we went last year.

I’ve been here, too. I’d love to go back for another look.

How to choose?

What’s your favorite vacation destination?

Tracy Ruckman’s Big Adventure

My good friend, Tracy Ruckman, along with her husband Tim, set off on the adventure of a lifetime last year. I kept up with their journey via her blog and social media posts, and I have to say, she certainly kept my attention!

So, of course, I was excited to learn she’d written a book about their experiences. I interviewed her just in time for the release of Go West, His Momma Said.

 

“Go West, His Momma Said” – Great title! What’s the story behind the title?

Tracy: My husband Tim inspired the title. He loves to tell people that all his life, his mother always said, “Go West, young man,” but then he married me, and I took him east instead (when we moved from Alabama to Georgia.) This trip was finally following his momma’s orders.

Many of us desire to “take to the road” and seek adventure. What spurred your decision to do it?

Tim and I have dreamed of going on the road since we got married, and even independently since we were kids. On December 26, 2018, we got some difficult news and realized that many changes were ahead of us. We started toying with the idea of traveling again and realized that, at the ages of 71 and 55, time played a crucial role in our doing this now or never. We decided ‘never’ was not an option, so we began selling or giving away almost all our belongings, packed a few things into storage, and set off on January 8, 2019. We spent 189 days tent camping our way around the country – 36 states, more than 25,000 miles.

Most adventures also include adversity. It’s the unknown factor that makes the experience a true adventure. Can you share a moment like that with us?

Tracy: In some ways, it seems like our whole trip was filled with adversity, because we were tent camping in the winter! We didn’t have an RV, we didn’t have any savings, we didn’t have a plan, or even a destination. We just packed up our SUV with camping gear and took one day at a time. We saw God’s hand on us the whole way, though. We didn’t have one bit of car trouble – none at all – no accidents, flat tires, faulty belts. God gets all the credit for every bit of that.

Our biggest challenge was the weather – we spent much of the first three months trying to dodge the cold. Texas winds took out our tent in our first ten days on the road – broke two tent poles and ripped one of the walls, and we were in it at the time!

Somewhere along the way, I also developed an irrational fear of mountains. I haven’t had any bad experiences with mountains, but on the road, I became fearful of driving in them. I still haven’t conquered that fear completely, but on the second leg of our trip, the mountain fears weren’t quite as bad.

What is the greatest positive you gained from this journey?

Tracy: As I compiled this book, I was amazed at all we saw in such a short time. Go West, His Momma Said is only the first half of our journey, and I’m still amazed by it. I know we could have done things differently (better, slower) than we did – but we actually made this trip, even with our limited resources and planning. Now, when I hear a town name mentioned on the news or in a book, I can recall the terrain, the people, the personality of the place, and say, “We’ve been there.”

What would you like to share with any of our readers who may be considering a similar experience?

Tracy: Don’t wait for perfect circumstances to make your dreams reality. We kept waiting, thinking, hoping we’d have an RV or a pile of savings to travel with, but we could never make those things happen. We just decided to take the LEAP and go. In fact, we dubbed ourselves the LEAPFROGs, which means: Leaving Everything Always Praying Fully Relying on God. We did just that and He proved reliable every hop of our journey.

Click-to-Tweet: Don’t wait for perfect circumstances to make your dreams reality. Tracy Ruckman’s Big Adventure! #travel #camping #travelogues


Tracy Ruckman is an author, artist, and book publisher. Her book, Go West, His Momma Said, detailing the first leg of the Ruckman’s tent-camping journey released January 8 and is available on Amazon. Tracy’s artwork is available for purchase on FineArt America. She loves to connect, and invites you to follow her online:

Website

Amazon Author Page

FineArt America Art Page

TMPixArt blog

Facebook Author Page

Buy the Book at Amazon [Kindle Version] 

A High-Low Day

Hello, Thursday Morning! Hey, is it raining much near you? Remember earlier this year when I was all, “woe is me” over the rainy weather? Yep, you guessed it. We are in a drought in the state of Kentucky.

That’s kind of the way it rolls, isn’t it?

I’ve just returned from a too-brief visit with Mom. She lives in Lexington and she’s within half an hour of some of the most beautiful countryside around. Even in its crispy state, it’s still beautiful.

This time, we visited Wilmore, home of Asbury University, and High Bridge, home of a Victorian-era railroad bridge and park. We stood above the Kentucky River Gorge and looked far below to the green puddle of a river. I’ve never seen it so low.

I have not included the picture of Mom. She made me pinky-promise not to share it, as she is due for a haircut. But really, these photos don’t do the park justice. It was absolutely beautiful out there, and so quiet, until the train went through. Yes, the old bridge (built in1877) is still in use.

While riding in the car, Mom told me how much she’d enjoyed Annabelle’s Joy. She loved being back in the small town and remembering the folks. She could almost smell the cookies baking, along with some of the other tasty dishes they cooked back then.

She also told me about one of her favorite scenes in the book. Annabelle is uncertain why the new woman in town rankles her nerves. For months, she struggles with guilt over it. Do you know anyone like that, who grates on your nerves and you either don’t know why, or you don’t really want to contemplate why?

Here’s the scene:

The pixie sat at the well-worn, upright piano, running a lacy handkerchief over the keys. Annabelle turned her gaze away. Why did the woman rankle her so? Maybe because she was everywhere, into everything. She’d already insinuated herself into the choir, taken the pianist’s position, among other things. Of course, Hattie Overton, the former pianist, was only too happy to give it over. At ninety-two, she was ready to retire.

Annabelle had stifled a twinge of disappointment when Rosella never hit a sour note. Every song, even the most difficult came out perfectly.

It didn’t help to hear such words as “effervescent” used to describe the newcomer. Effervescent. Made her think of those seltzer tablets you used for an upset tummy. Something Annabelle could use right about now.

Thankfully, Lillian slid in beside her as the music started. Everyone stood for the Doxology. Annabelle did her best to let go of her ill feelings toward the pianist. She managed to keep her thoughts away entirely. She did not want to contemplate the reason for her attitude.

I love that scene, too, and I know the reason for her ill feelings!

Do you love an imperfect character? Do you prefer to see their character changed by end of book, or would you rather not have all the ends neatly tied?

Click-to-Tweet: At High Bridge Park in #Kentucky, we stood above the Kentucky River Gorge and looked far below to the green puddle of a river. I’ve never seen it so low. #travel