All Aboard! The path to the Klondike

The White Pass and Yukon Route were brutal, but, if you wanted to join the Klondike Gold Rush of 1897, it was the route you took. In 1900, train tracks were laid and gold ore began its journey to Skagway, Alaska where the ore was loaded onto ships. That train and Skagway are still active to this day.

The First Rule of Bears

Tomorrow we explore the wilds of Juneau, Alaska and I’m told there may be bears wandering around.

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My twisted little mind drifts to the story I wrote for “A Year of the Sun Flower Muse” called “Travel Safety and the First Rule of Bears.” Here is the gist of the story:

1. If pursued by a bear, you need only remember to run faster than the slowest member of your group.

   2. If you are alone, haul-ass towards the group and see #1.

My immediate problem is this: It may be just Lilly and me and she’s in pretty good shape. I was busy trying to hunt up a couple of senior citizens to join us when, as luck would have it, Lilly wrenched her back in the ship’s gym and is now all gimped up. Three thoughts: 1. Gyms are vacation buzzkills and should all be burned to the ground, 2. I am definitely faster than she is now, and 3. When she wakes up and reads this, being chased by a bear may be the least of my worries. Happy Travels! 😊

Traveling Zen:::The Paperback Version is now Available!

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Awesome Travel in Your Own Backyard.

Sometimes we are so anxious to travel to new places, that we forget about the gems in our own backyard. I give you the Hotel Vandivort of Springfield, Missouri. An incredible boutique Hotel in the popular downtown area. Apparently, it’s a big deal to take your photograph in the lobby bathrooms, #vandivortbathroomselfie

3 Refresher Tips For the Airport; Play Nice!

Rule #1. When at the Airport, Don’t mess with TSA.  Rarely will a confrontation with TSA staff end well. Don’t try and deceive them or cut corners on the rules. Travel can be challenging enough, so just “play nice”.

 

Going From A to B. The Second Half of 2017; By the Numbers.

 

Our return from St. Louis marked the end of our 2017 Travels.  It’s been an amazing year and I am looking forward to 2018.  Our next trip is to Florida in January. In an article dated July 31st, 2017, I broke the numbers down for the first half of our year.  I’ll list the numbers for the second half of the year and then I’ll do a grand total for 2017. We started the second half with a trip to Santa Fe, NM and ended the year in St. Louis, MO.

  1. 12 trips, ranging from 1-7 days
  2. Stayed in 12 different hotel Brands
  3. Stayed in 1 VRBO
  4. Stayed in 1 AirBnB
  5. Flew ~11,000 Air Miles
  6. Drove ~8,740 Miles
  7. Rented 6 Vehicles
  8. Used 3 Ubers
  9. Endured 9 different Airports
  10. Held Lilly’s hand for 24 airplane take-offs and landings
  11. Visited 12 US States

Clearly the second half of the year was a bit more sedate than the first half.

Here are the combined numbers for Travelinggump.com’s 2017 Travels:

  1. 28 Trips, ranging from 1-17 days.
  2. Stayed a total of 119 nights in various Hotels
  3. Stayed in 2 VRBO’s
  4. Stayed in 1 AirBnB
  5. Flew ~60,000 Air Miles
  6. Drove ~15,440 Miles
  7. Rented 13 vehicles
  8. Endured 31 Airports ( A few more than once).
  9. Held Lilly’s hand for 86 take-offs and landings
  10. Visited 19 US States
  11. Visited 5 different Countries
  12. Took 7 buses
  13. Took 4 Taxi’s
  14. Used Uber 9 times
  15. Used Lyft once
  16. Used one Roller Coaster to get to and from the Great Wall of China
  17. Used 3 Tuk-Tuks
  18. Added well over 1.5 Million Points/Miles to my travel portfolio
  19. Reached Diamond status with Hilton, Platinum with Marriott/Ritz and Starwood, Spire Elite with IHG (Intercontinental and Holiday Inn) and Discoverist with Hyatt (Ho-Hum).
  20. Loved Every Single Minute Of It All! (except maybe the tummy bug I caught in Vietnam, not so much).

Wishing you Happy Travels and a Wonderful 2018!

Michael

The Last Trip of 2017; St Louis, Mo

As the year draws to a close, I realized we had no travel plans for New Years. The year can’t end this way! 2017 has been an amazing travel year that came in like a lion.  A quick check of Hotels and a trip to St Louis was added for the 30th-31st.  I’m doing the Marriott Platinum Challenge and St. Louis will make #8 of the needed 9 stays.  The St. Louis Marriott Grand and a nice dinner at Mizu Sushi Bar made for a great end to a wonderful year. It’s hard to believe that this time last year, we were in New York on Times Square.  I wish everyone the best and blessed 2018 possible and as always, Happy Travels!

Pull Back The Curtain; New Orleans, Louisiana

If New Orleans were a vegetable, it would be a sweet onion.  It’s all about the layers. This amazing city offers to you what you seek. Want a light historical stroll? Fine, no problem. Want to experience more, keep digging and this City will open it’s Soul. But beware, the more layers you peel back, the “deeper” you go and it can be overwhelming.  I’m good for about 5 layers of 10. The voodoo and spirits freak me out, yet I just can’t stay away. (Maybe it’s the food). This is definitely a bucket list City!

I Just Can’t Resist; I Think Arizona May Be For Sale.

While driving through Kingman, Arizona we are stopped on a side street by a traffic jam.  It seems this house is having a “State Sale” and it’s causing quite the fuss.  I’m considering putting an offer in for Hawaii or maybe Oregon, if the price is right.

Btw, to the rest of the world, this is called an “Estate Sale”.

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Why I Write, Post and What I Want From You. (Tip: It’s not cute pet pictures)

I write two Blogs. Travelinggump.com and Thesunflowermuse.com.  The first, mostly for travel and travel tips/ideas, the second, for opinions, thoughts and articles about our social condition.  I post on Twitter, Instagram, WordPress and Facebook.  Three sites are “blowing up” (Instagram, WordPress and Twitter) with followers.  Facebook is “meh” and I would like that to improve.

What I know:

  1. If I don’t write or post articles or pictures of value and interest, I should expect nothing in return.  Generally, I put an enormous amount of thought into most of the articles that I write, especially on Thesunflowermuse.  I’m trying to get to the core of the issues.
  2. That there is a “process” for getting your posts to the right audience, which I’m working on.
  3. That people are inundated with “stuff” and “like” whatever is easy to see/scan and are generally too busy (understandably) to read in detail. Hence the enormous popularity of pet pictures/videos.  Ugh.
  4. Despite having a large amount of followers, I am not getting the traction I want, especially on my personal facebook page, which supports the theory; “You can’t be a prophet in your own land” and/or you really need to improve your articles. The first I get, the latter I don’t feel the need to change at this point. Going forward, I’m going to try and confine myself to the two sites listed above.

What I want from you:

  1. If my articles are of no interest to you or my opinions are too this or that, leave.
  2. If they are of any interest, entertain you, provoke or evoke a thought or passion, acknowledge it somehow.  On Thesunflowermuse.com, my thoughts and opinions can be challenging and are written to be thought provoking.  Feel free to complain, gripe or even correct my grammar (please!), something! If you don’t agree, say so!
  3. And lastly, on Travelinggump.com, I am fortunate to have excellent advertisers (Amazon, Holiday Inn, Expedia, Orbitz, Trivago etc…).  Please search and book through my page as it costs you nothing extra and helps me to keep them happy.

There is so much “noise” on the internet today and I am trying to rise above the cute animal pictures/videos and provide great Travel Tips and Ideas (https://travelinggump.com) and Thought Provoking Stories and Opinions on The Human Condition and Society (https://thesunflowermuse.com). Please Engage.

Best Wishes, Michael

 

Grand Canyon Brewing Company, Williams, Arizona.

Williams, Arizona is home to a fantastic Brewery called the Grand Canyon Brewing Company. Excellent food and locally brewed beer make for a wonderful evening surrounded by the unique wood crafted interior of the restaurant/pub.  Williams is a quaint historic town located approximately 34 miles west of Flagstaff, Arizona on I-40.  Williams is known as the Gateway to the Grand Canyon.

 

Transylvania, Romania. The Roadtrip Videos

One of my favorite trips! Transylvania has yet to suffer the effects of “tourist fatigue” and it’s residents appear eager to please. Hotels, dining and travel are inexpensive and some of the smaller villages still offer a chance to look back in time as families still practice farming methods used in the 1800’s and before. ” Gypsies” are common and seem to be as curious about us as we are of them. We were on our way to Sibiu and I just turned on my phone video to capture the countryside. Enjoy and let me know what you think.

These Precious People are My Life.

912E83B3-ED1A-4ABD-9222-A8B9811E8CD6I’m taking a moment to be thankful for my wonderful family,  Like us, they are all travelers, braving life’s challenges to see the world and to live their dreams.  They are all successful in their chosen fields, driven by an incredible urge to succeed and to make a difference.  Spending time with them is our favorite thing either here or abroad and we are always left with a sense of awe at the way they continue to face the world head on.  They are our greatest success although with the mistakes we made as parents, I  really don’t know how they did it.  They have each conquered the world on their own terms while we have enjoyed a front row seat.  I am truly the luckiest Dad in the world and I have loved every minute of it!