Buy the Ticket, Take the Trip
AUGUST 29: Living the life of a full time RV’er gives the perception of travel freedom and doing things on a whim. While there is validity in that, most of our travels are dictated by workamping jobs we seek out since we are dependent on some sort of income. However, it does provide much more freedom as we pick the locations that intrigue us, rather than in corporate world which dictates where your next assignment will be. Having a home with wheels, makes this transition from one location to the next fairly easy. But it also spoils you. In our travels, we are used to having all of our belongings with us at all times. None of the packing garbage. You know when you have to pack for a trip, there are those who plan everything out weeks in advance and those that throw things in a bag on the way out the door. My type A personality (some may call it OCD) desires to have everything packed and planned out while my newly developed despise of packing makes me more like the latter - so it’s a struggle. I first world problem, most definitely, but what do you mean I can’t take everything with me like I am used to? Okay, fine, get out the suitcase.
So why all this talk about travel freedom and packing?? Well you see it started with an evening of Russ sorting through his email. Little of the emails received are usually wanted or needed, but instead of clicking on the little trash can to make the email disappear into the dumpster of the interwebs, Russ was intrigued enough to open up an email from Frontier Airlines. Upon further investigation and the usual sequence of searches, Russ said “We’ve got to book this flight!” Two round trip flights to Columbus, Ohio for a total of $56 all while fitting into our work schedule; I think “yes!” It nearly cost us more to drive to the San Antonio airport than for a 2,279 mile round trip flight to Columbus. We arrived in San Antonio in time for a late lunch at Torchy’s Tacos. Coincidence, I think not, more like a planned trip to Torchy’s. I mean our time here in Texas is ticking away quickly which means the opportunities for this Texas-taco staple are winding down as well. Carpe de Taco, my friends.
We arrived at the airport with way too much time to spare, always a good thing in travel. We walked the terminals and enjoyed the free wifi before boarding the plane for a early departure. While the accommodations are far from first class, we appreciate the no frills style of air travel Frontier Airlines provides, I mean what can you expect when you purchase a $28 round trip flight. We touched down in Columbus just after 7 PM. My mom and dad were waiting outside the gates with smiles and their hugs felt just great. We were a bit chilled upon arrival as our bodies hadn’t felt 70 degree temperatures in quite some time. We enjoyed dinner before heading to my parent’s house (my childhood home) in Waldo, Ohio. The next morning, we joined my parents at the church where we got married almost 10 years to the day . It was fun to be there and reminisce about the wedding weekend and catch up with church family. On the drive to and fro, both Russ and I kept commenting on all the big trees and how green everything was. A contrast to surroundings of mostly flat farm land with only a mild green color and next to no tall trees at our current home in Texas. The cornfields were still green and vibrant, while the corn fields in Texas had been harvested more than a month ago. These are the things that make us appreciate the opportunity we have to travel and see and experience our country - the scenery, the seasons, the differences, but also how amazingly similar some things can be.
We finished off the evening with a wonderful dinner (Thanks, Dad!) with my aunt & uncle who live right next door to my parents. They had recently taken a several month cross-country camping trip, so we enjoyed hearing about their travels. When I say camping trip, they are true campers as in tent camping, not like us softies who have big and boisterous RVers. I admire them for that. Maybe someday?
Monday we had a field trip planned to visit a campground that is for sale in Sandusky, Ohio. Russ spends at least a little bit of time researching and looking for campgrounds every day. It becomes almost like a puzzle trying to match the listing of an unnamed campground for sale with locating the actual campground to obtain just a bit more information. We headed up to Sandusky which is along one of America’s Great Lakes - Lake Erie. Growing up most of my trips to Sandusky were for a thrilling day at Cedar Point, but others involved time splashing around in Lake Erie. Cedar Point is the second-oldest operating amusement park in the United States behind Lake Compounce in Connecticut, where we actually stayed at the campground on the grounds of the park on our journey from Maine to Texas a little less than a year ago. We met up with the owner of the campground in Sandusky which will stay anonymous (You know those disclosure agreements? Well, we signed one of those!), and he gave us the rundown of the park. There were some things we liked (location, wooded-feel), but felt like there were things missing that were important to us. Could we add/change them, of course? But, it didn’t feel like it was the one. In the meantime, you will find Russ continuing his search for an established campground or a plot of land. That’s another, maybe someday item?! It would move up on the maybe someday list a few notches with an interested investor. Anyone? Anyone?
After the campground stop, we were in need of some nourishment. Via the Gluten Free Near Me app, we landed at Ciao Bella due to excellent reviews. The reviews were right on and the lunch specials were a bargain for their size. But most important, it is my obligation to provide you with this PSA - You must order bacon-covered dates any and every time you find them on a menu. Applewood-smoked bacon wrapped around delicate dates, then oven-roasted in a maple balsamic glaze. OMD - Oh My Date! I’m telling you trust me on this one. To walk off a bit of the meal, we headed to downtown Sandusky for a quick walk around.
Tuesday rolled around with a late start, finishing up a lazy breakfast with just enough time to get ready to head to lunch with a local friend. Shannon and I grew up together, continuing our friendship as college softball teammates. She is pretty awesome and I try to not miss a chance to catch up when visiting my hometown. In true camper fashion, we picked up some Panera and met at a park for some fresh air. Thanks Shannon for sneaking away from your audit for a quick hour of catchup. Let’s plan a longer get-together at Christmas, mm-kay?
While in Marion, I wanted to visit the local jeweler for a necklace repair. Ten years ago, I was given some diamonds of my Grandma’s and had them made into a necklace that I wore on my wedding day and many, many days since. However, a few months ago, the chain gave way. While, I could have picked out a chain anywhere, I headed back to the same jeweler and was glad I did. Not only did I leave with a chain they exchanged at no cost, but I also got the best anniversary gift. It was just my kind of gift, cheap at $30 (remember we were in a jewelry store surrounded by high pricetags) and practical. I had my wedding bands rhodium-dipped. I had no idea what that even meant which would explain why my rings were starting to look a bit dull. While we waited, we walked around downtown Marion and right into Main Squeeze Juices & Smoothies for a smoothie and a quick game of checkers. As usual, Russ put me in my place with a quick victory!
Wednesday morning looked quite a bit like Tuesday morning with a relaxed start and lovely brunch while my dad volunteered at Mobile Meals in Marion. My mom helped us prep a variety of smoothies in the Vitamix with their cool new scale which weighs all the ingredients for you. No need to measure and dirty all sorts of utensils. It made me wish, I still had my Vitamix. Maybe someday? Sorry, just had to use that line again!
Liking to check out new things nearby, Russ and I did some more downtown walking in the every so cute Main Street in Delaware, Ohio. As usual, our first stop was the local coffee shop, Coffeeology, where we chatted over some iced lattes before checking out the visitor’s center and some downtown storefronts. The local farmers’ market was setting up on the Main Street, which may have been dangerous if we wouldn’t have been jetting back to Texas later that day. My already heavy luggage, didn’t need any additions. However, some homegrown tomatoes and Ohio sweet corn would have really been welcomed once we returned to Texas.
We headed back to Waldo before heading off to the Columbus airport with my parents as chauffeurs. We stopped for a early dinner, but our timing was just about 3 minutes off. The clouds had been darkening all around us and we pulled into The Noodle Company, just minutes after the ceiling dropped out of the heavens. Even with an umbrella in tow, we were soaked from head to toe. It appeared to be a storm that would last well into the evening, however if we would just have waited a few more minutes we could have walked into the restaurant high and dry. I was the odd ball out with all the others enjoying Pad Thai while enjoying more time spent together. Finding our way thru a little rush hour traffic, we made it to the Columbus airport in plenty of time.
Still soaked, I changed clothes before dropping our bag at the ticket counter. Unlike our flight on the way to Ohio, our flight back was delayed a few hours due to an oxygen tank needing to be replenished due to a guest on the previous flight falling ill. She got a EMS escort off the plane, but seemed to be in good spirits and feeling much better. We sat on the plane for quite some time, but before long the wheels lifted off the runaway and met the runaway again about 2 1/2 hours later in the Lone Star State. It was a few minutes before midnight when we headed off the San Antonio airport grounds with about a two and half hour drive between us and our home, “Charlie” in Port Lavaca. We frantically raced to the nearest Starbucks, to just sneak in for an iced coffee before the doors locked at midnight. Now we were ready for our late night drive. We also left with our heads down low, realizing we might have just looked like crazed caffeine addicts. Okay, we might have not only looked the part, we were the part! Guilty as charged.
Man am I glad that the Frontier Airlines email was opened by Russ rather than quickly deleted as it allowed us to enjoy a few days with my parents. Trips like that remind us to take advantage of the freedom and flexibility our lifestyle usually provides. Also I’m reminded that packing for a flight is much easier than packing for a road trip as you can always stuff one more thing into a car, but not necessarily one more thing in a shared suitcase. Thanks Russ for always letting me take more than half of the bag! But, without a doubt my favorite way to pack will always be to tow my house right along with me. Mom & Dad - thanks for always being gracious hosts, a reliable taxi service and providing a joyful place to visit.