Posts Tagged ‘vacation’

It’s not always bad news…

Note- just a reminder that this was written and published before my wife, Nadyne, passed away. I will be continuing to hit the road and visit family around the country, as I described.

Reason #31- Hiking Trails

My first hike occurred when I was in the Boy Scouts at age 14 in the Los Angeles area.  My troop’s leaders drove us up into the San Gabriel Mountains to a trail head and we proceeded to hike 6 miles up into the forest.  I hated every minute of it.

We set up camp for the weekend and, on Sunday, we broke camp and hiked back down the trail — a bit easier walk, but I was still not a fan.  I had overpacked, which wasn’t ever going to happen again.  A few months later, we hiked one of the Seven Peaks trails in the San Bernardino Mountains.  That was the first time I had climbed to a mountain peak.  Looking down over the valley below was exhilarating, despite poor visibility through the smog.

Health-wise, hiking is one of the best all-round activities you can do.  Here are the Top 10 from Health Fitness Revolution and author of the book, “ReSYNC Your Life,” Samir Becic:  hiking increases fitness, allows you to take control of your workouts, tones the whole body, helps prevent and control diabetes, lowers blood pressure and cholesterol, and may improve the antioxidative capacity in the blood of oncological patients, helping to fight off the disease.  It’s a social activity that increases creativity, increases happiness levels, curbs depression and allows you to commune with nature.

My own preference for hiking really stems from my vagabond spirit — there is only so much of nature to see from the highway.  On one of my hikes in the mountains when I was in my 20s, about 5 miles from the road, we came across a car, probably circa 1920s, terribly rusted and nearly completely imbedded into the mound of dirt in which it was sitting. 

On another walk at Lake Mead, outside of Las Vegas, I found a dilapidated pleasure boat from the ‘50s or ‘60s sitting on the desert floor, in an area exposed from the lake’s recent retreat due to drought. You just never know what you’re going to see.  Also, the farther you are from civilization, the more apt you are to witness wildlife — in the wild.

In America, we are so fortunate to have city, county, state and federal departments that create and maintain hiking trails in all 50 states.  You can hike in so many terrains, too, including sandy desert, rocky mountains, thick forests, alpine elevations, spongy tundra, dripping wetlands, lake or ocean beaches, and so much more.  Although public abuse of those trails has begun to force some trail closures or additional fees, there still seems to be a commitment by the appropriate agencies to keep lands available to use.  Also, there are many volunteer groups that periodically tend to trails and trail heads.


I’ll end with a quote from American journalist Nicholas Kristof, who said, “Wilderness trails constitute a rare space in America marked by economic diversity. Lawyers and construction workers get bitten by the same mosquitoes and sip from the same streams; there are none of the usual signals about socioeconomic status, for most hikers are in shorts and a T-shirt and enveloped by an aroma that would make a skunk queasy.

Read Full Post »

It’s not always bad news…

Note- just a reminder that this was written and published before my wife, Nadyne, passed away. I will be continuing to hit the road and visit family around the country, as I described.

Reason #30- Holidays

When I was a kid, especially growing up the eldest of seven siblings, holidays were the stepping stones of happiness through each year.  As soon as one was celebrated, we immediately looked forward to the next one.  My grandparents held huge family 4th of July, Thanksgiving and Christmas parties and dinners every year, and I attended all of them until I was 17.

When I had my own kids, two of whom were born on Halloween (three years apart), I continued the tradition of celebrating as often as holidays came upon us.  It was especially nice when they were a national holiday, meaning I could get an extra day off to stay with my family.  Yes, Halloweens were extra-special in our house, with us usually having a double-birthday party with lots of their friends.

My kids grew up and I remarried, and with great distance between me and my kids and relatives, holidays became more of a meaningless chore than a reason to celebrate.  It stopped making sense for Nadyne and me to give each other presents for birthdays or Christmas, since we usually bought whatever we wanted without waiting for a holiday or other excuse to do it.  Besides, she was spending our money on me and I was spending our money on her.  Holidays, other than getting time off work, stopped having the importance they had when there were children around.

Now that we are retired and not working, holidays are back to being happy stepping stones through the years, though without the excitement they once evoked.  Being on the road, we love to visit all of our family members, wherever they are, but don’t necessarily wait for holidays to do so.  It’s more about the geographical timing of our schedule.  Independence Day fireworks at a son’s house or birthday dinner with a daughter are always something to look forward to. As a young adult, I enjoyed watching classic movies.  Holiday Inn (1942, with Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire and Marjorie Reynolds with music by Irving Berlin) became one of my favorites.  This is about a quaint Connecticut inn that some popular show business stars buy and hold holiday performances in.  This is the first venue in which Bing Crosby sang White Christmas, and it was so popular that it spawned his movie of the same name.  I never miss Holiday Inn when this movie is on at Christmas time.

One thing about not getting caught up in the commercialism of each holiday is that we can enjoy the holiday itself.  Also, we are happy to take advantage of seasonal sales for our own purposes.  Why buy electronics in August when the Christmas season is around the corner?

One great thing about being in campgrounds during holidays is that campers are in a festive mood and are wanting to share good times with strangers.  Many strangers become friends and we love to catch up with them as our itineraries cross.  Thanksgiving in an RV resort can be wonderful!

Just as a sunrise can fill someone with hope and determination for the coming day, so can New Year’s Day be a day of resolution to be better, with wishes for dreams and ambitions, and hope for humanity.  After all, it’s called “New Year’s Day,” not “Old Year’s Passing Day.”


I’ll finish this topic with a quote from Canadian actress Rachel McAdams, who said, “I had a lovely childhood. For family holidays, we went as far as the car could take us – we would drive to Florida, even though it would take three days. I didn’t know we didn’t have a lot of money because there was always food on the table. I didn’t have a lot of stuff, but I did figure skating for a long time, and I always had my skates.

Read Full Post »