Tag: trips

Our Day Trip

⌘ My wife and I haven’t been out of town for almost 15 months and we have been planning a day trip somewhere for quite a while. Of course, I know I can come up with the plan, but she determines when it will happen. 😊  Her schedule is a lot more complicated than mine, so I always to defer to her and that works fine.

Well, to my surprise, she informed me we would take our trip in a few days, so we made plans and waited. It arrived with abundant sunshine and, as I rolled out of bed, there was an illegal smile pasted boldly on my face. I put on my robe and trotted quickly down the hall to start my coffee and turn on Einstein (my PC). 

I immediately went to Google Maps and searched for a destination on the DelMarVA peninsula (Delaware/Maryland/Virginia). Our plan was to drive 90 miles, visit several interesting places, then find a place to eat a takeout lunch (Hardee’s/McDonalds) in the truck. 

We planned on visiting Smith Beach and Silver Beach, both of them near Exmore, Virginia (my wife likes to walk on the beach and find shark teeth). With my cup full of coffee and a thermos lying in wait with more of it, we climbed aboard our truck and headed off, looking forward to our trip across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. This engineering phenomenon is 15 miles long and takes us out into the middle of the Chesapeake Bay and allows us to ride across the water alongside tankers of all sizes headed out into the Atlantic Ocean. It’s like taking a boat ride with no boat. During the 15-mile ride we went through two underwater tunnels and encountered very little traffic. I set my speed control to 55 mph and leaned back, with our radio blaring out Hank Williams, Charlie Pride, and other well-known country artists, and just watched the beautiful scenery in front of us. Within a couple of years, I expect we will have an autonomous vehicle (self-driving), and that trip will be even more amazing. 

The two beaches (Smith & Silver) turned out to be a disappointment. Neither had a beach you could walk on and cottages on the waterfront blocked visitor entry to any portion of the beach. We had our takeout lunch in our truck at the Hardee’s in Exmore, Virginia, watching the traffic swishing by on Route 13 as we talked about nondescript things. 

After finishing what turned out to be a pretty decent lunch, I started up Blue Bullet (my name for our truck) and we headed home. As we traveled across the bay, a feeling of contentment spread across my thoughts. The expected excitement of “getting out of town” delivered the serenity I was hoping for. I looked over at the woman I love to see if she had arrived at that place, but sadly I could not discern if that happened. I believe she enjoyed the trip but being unable to walk the beaches disappointed her and took some fun away. 

We have made plans for another trip next month, as we try to enrich our life by visiting places we enjoyed before this dreadful pandemic entered our lives. Our state (Virginia) has moved on to vaccinate everyone in the “1b” classification, which includes us (age 75+). With some luck, I’m hoping we can get it by the end of this month, or early February. 

Thomas Jefferson said it well: “I find the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have.” I’m gonna be working the phone to make it happen. 😊

⌘ A few days ago I noticed that both headlight lenses on our 2013 Prius were cloudy, which made driving at night extremely difficult, so I headed off to the auto parts store to buy something to remove it. I read an advertisement online about a special pad you could buy for $40 that, upon rubbing the headlight lens several times, would magically make the cloudiness disappear. I kinda felt uncomfortable with that, so there I was, standing in the auto parts store asking the attendant to tell me what to get to accomplish the task. A very personable young man led me over to the location and selected the one he uses for such a task. There were perhaps seven items that promised to be exemplary in doing what I needed, ranging in price from $5 to $25. The one he recommended (Raintree) was $7.75, so I followed him back to the register, paid for the item, and headed home. 

After getting back to the house, I sat in the truck and read the instructions, which were pretty simple: 

1. Make sure both lenses are clean.

2. Dampen a cloth, squirt some of the creamy liquid in the bottle onto the cloth and apply in a circular motion.

3. Wash clean.

Boy, was I surprised!  90% of the cloudiness disappeared. I dried them and repeated the process to see if I could get to 100%. After looking closely, I decided it was 95% effective. Now, the plan is to see how long it stays away before returning. I know it will return, but now I know an easier way to remove it. And now so do you, but I want you to keep it a secret. Benjamin Franklin said that “three men can keep a secret if two of them are dead.” Naw, I don’t believe that,… you and I can keep this secret. 😊 

⌘ I recently purchased a Kardia Personal EKG device for $85, which is about as big as your index finger. It is powered by a coin size battery and gives you an EKG reading any time you want it. All you have to do is download the app to your phone, connect it via Bluetooth, and it’s ready to take a reading. Mine sits beside my blood pressure monitor and now, every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, I take my blood pressure, then place two fingers on each pad of the EKG device and in 30 seconds it has a reading, showing the graph as it progresses. It then quickly analyzes the results and tells you if there is a problem. It also gives you the option of sending it to one of their doctors for a detailed report (for a fee of course 😊). You also can key in your blood pressure to enhance the results. 

I’m not sure how reliable this device is, and I certainly wouldn’t use it to replace anything my doctor wanted to do, but I think its primary purpose is to alert you when something isn’t right and needs to be looked at by your family physician or a specialist, and keeping a history of your readings, which could be very helpful. 

One morning it told me I had an-Fib (arterial fibrillation), which was discerning. I looked at the chart and I couldn’t tell anything (because of my lack of medical training), and I didn’t feel any different, so I waited until the next day to take another reading and it was back to normal. But I suspect it is a good thing to have that in the device’s history file. 

As I have gotten older, I have included things I believe will help me keep track of my health better than just asking myself how I feel. We all have often heard the phrase “silent killer” used for blood pressure and other maladies. I’m thinking the thrice-weekly BP & EKG thingy will pay dividends. It only takes a few minutes to accomplish those tasks. 

An old Spanish Proverb says, “A man too busy to take care of his health is like a mechanic too busy to take care of his tools.” My thoughts exactly! 

Coffee And Skunk

Some of my most favorite memories of younger years come by way of road trips.  When my dad took a new job in a different state, regular road trips “back home”, became a common habit.  We would make the long trip from the coast of Virginia, to the Northeast mountains of Tennessee at least three times a year.

There are a lot of things that continually remind me of those happy road trips with my parents and sister.  But one in particular always leaps out front of the others.

Science tells us that a smell can be one of the strongest catapults that emotionally thrust us back to our past.

I warn you, the smell for me is strange.  It’s the aggressive smell of skunk, and fresh brewed coffee.  I’m not talking about the smell of skunk spray and coffee, but skunk with coffee!  As if the two smells are blended together in one of the most potent of nature’s perfumes.

You see, every time I drive or ride down the road and smell skunk, I smell fresh brewed coffee with it.  I’m sure you will understand when I tell you that never, have I ever, shared this with anyone.  Needless to say, for the risk of being thought of as completely bonkers 😊.  I have always had the impression that people tend to think of me as being on the weird side anyway.  I usually shy away from intentionally offering information that might confirm this opinion.

So that being said, I have kept this skunk and coffee thing to myself.  Surely thinking I am the only person in the world that would think such a peculiar thought and never speaking of it out loud, until I met someone new.

A few years ago, I needed to make a long road trip to a new job.  I was going to a brand-new city to care for an elderly lady that was the aunt of an extended family member, and my latest travel buddy.  She had generously offered to drive me herself to my newest home and place of employment.  Although she was an extended family member, we were complete strangers, having never met or communicated with each other until now.  I was a little nervous and uncomfortable to be with a stranger on such a long road trip, but I smiled and planned to make the best of it.

Lucky for me, my newest acquaintance was very comfortable taking the lead with our conversations.  But my anxiety did creep in after a couple hours on the road.  Just when it did, she said something that would flip my switch and make her an instant best friend.

As we proceeded along, suddenly, the car was filled with that ever-familiar smell.  I let out a “Whew!”.  She responds with “I always think that smells like skunk and fresh coffee!”

Whaaaat?!  She didn’t!  Did she?!  I was speechless, but my heart was joyfully calmed.  Right then and there I knew that Lisa June and I would be lifelong friends!  And we have been.

But after doing some research, I found out this skunk and coffee thing is not so extraordinary.  It seems that when a skunk has been dead for a while, it’s mercaptan levels (sulfur compounds that cause the powerful, offensive odor), have faded considerably, thus giving an aroma similar to fresh brewed coffee.

As the 1940’s radio star Edgar Bergen use to say, “Who would of thunk it?”

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