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] 

Road Trip Dreams

coffee, cup, laptop, memeHello, Thursday morning friends! I hope you’re enjoying a lovely morning. You’ve almost made it through the week by now, and we’re well on our way toward Spring. In the northern hemisphere, anyway.

I was scrolling through my posts when I happened upon one that I love—Midwinter Daydreams—filled with “not my shoes, not my feet” photos. It was a popular post. I thought I’d do another one and call it…well, you already know what I called it. 🙂 I hope you enjoy this latest version.

Pour another cup and enjoy!

These are not my shoes, and these are not my feet, but this is the perfect photo for spring. Any day now, we’ll see beautiful blooms in the landscape. This is definitely something I would love to do. Biking on a warm spring day, and I would not be alone.

These are not my shoes, and not my feet, but don’t you love those quirky boots! This is definitely something I would do. Take off the shoes and enjoy the feel of grass and blooms on my bare feet!

These are not my shoes, not my feet! But I love hiking through forests and fields, climbing mountains, finding new paths. One with nature. Observing nature, listening to the sounds, breathing the fresh air. I’m ready to go.

These are not my shoes, or my feet, but this is my summertime uniform. I LIVE in sandals. I’ve never really been a flip-flop girl. I buy walking sandals, because I go everywhere in them. I respect the health of my feet. 🙂

And red is one of my favorite colors! I could walk a lot of miles in these and look great in the process.

[Click to Tweet] Too often, we spend the winter months sitting somewhere. We may be hard at work, but our body suffers from lack of exercise.

We need to get out there and walk, run, bike, hike, and play. Spring sunshine draws me outside.

Where can we go this summer?

These are not my shoes, not my feet, but it looks like fun, doesn’t it? Wherever our plans take us, adventure awaits.

Ahhh…yes. Definitely my kind of spot to leave “not my shoes”. I hope you’ve enjoyed our little excursion. If you’ve managed to stay with me this far, I’d like to issue a little challenge, or maybe just a request. As you go out and about this spring and summer, snap a photo of your feet and/or shoes.

Share them with me on my Facebook page, or at Instagram. You’ll find the links below. Who knows, maybe I’ll feature them on another post. Hmm…what should the title be?

Facebook: betty.owens.author

Instagram: batowens