As soon as we crossed the border to Utah, a loud crack hit the windshield right at my head. “Welcome to Utah,” Siri announced from Apple maps. Large trucks barreled by us throwing up rocks in their path.
Last time we drove home from Utah our windshield got cracked due to big trucks. We’re two for two on Utah and windshields.
We left our Sonoran desert, crossed the green forest of Flagstaff, passed by the Grand Canyon’s south and north rims across Navajo Country to Lake Powell. Once in Utah (with the cracked windshield) we drove the final one hour leg of the journey to Kanab, Utah to spend the night.
It was an adorable town of 4,998 people filled with mom and pop motels where you pull your car up to the room’s front door. The woman at the motel desk told us the town’s best restaurant was next door, “The Rocking V Cafe.” Dinner was both delicious and affordable.
We walked around town and discovered why Kanab is known as “Little Hollywood.” My husband said, “This looks like where Westerns were filmed.”
What sights traveling have you enjoyed? What things were new to you?
What other joys of road trips — besides cracked windshields — have you experienced?
Just a bit of the stuff we’re taking on vacation. I miss the days when we first got married. We’d throw our sleeping bags in the car and take off.
Now we bring half the kitchen with us. That includes our small Keurig because hubby drinks decaf and I like caf. A pot of coffee doesn’t work for us and we both like just one cup each.
One of the biggest things taking up space is vitamins. We are hefty consumers of anything that promises a return to youth and the end to pain.
I also take fruit, a cooler full of condiments, frozen steak and chicken to cook in the airbnb — and sandwiches for the road. Cheese and crackers and a bottle of wine. I have to take a jug or two of water. We are traveling through the desert.
Then there’s the swim gear, hiking sticks, hiking boots, hats, sunscreen etc.
My husband likes his own pillows. So why not take four?
The computer is packed, so I’m trying to write this on my phone.
When you travel do you pack light or full on Clampetts like us?
We had a seven-hour drive to get our friend’s children’s wedding in Temecula, Calif. We left Friday afternoon and drove to Riverside to sleep for the night. Saturday morning we took a walk while the temps were in the 60s. It felt wonderful. We stayed downtown in a hotel we often stayed at for CIF (California Interscholastic Federation, the governing body for California high school sports) for our son and daughter’s championship high school swim meets. It felt nostalgic. Memories surfaced about the hours spent in the hotel between prelims and finals. Our daughter would take ice baths after her morning swims and put her legs up against the wall while laying on her back. This was her way to recover and prepare for finals.
We were craving a breakfast burrito — probably because that was the staple breakfast at swim meets throughout Southern California — prepared by the hosting swim team.
We found one spot during our walk that was packed! So it had to be good. It’s called the Taco Station.
What are some of the fun, off-the-wall diners or restaurants have you discovered? Where were they and what type of food did they serve?
One of the best things about beach vacations to me is fresh seafood. For more than 30 years, we’ve gone to a restaurant with fresh, fresh seafood in Santa Barbara. It’s called Brophy Bros. and it overlooks the boats at the Marina.
Brophy’s added a small taco shop with outdoor tables downstairs called On the Alley.
Whenever we’re in Santa Barbara we stop at On the Alley. This past trip we went twice for fish tacos. And we took our good friends to Brophy Bros. to treat them to dinner after enjoying many of their home-cooked meals. They introduced us to the restaurant in the early 1990s!
Yesterday, my husband and I went to the Farmer’s Market and had a hankering for a fish taco. On the Alley had a huge line out the door to order. They had people milling around in droves waiting for picnic tables to sit. They held on to their order numbers, hoping to to sit down before the food arrived. I saw some people sitting on the curb.
My husband suggested going upstairs to the main Brophy’s restaurant. The hostess stationed at the bottom of the stairs told us it would be an hour wait for a table. But the bar was first come first serve.
Guess what? Two seats smack in the center of the bar — complete with open air marina views — were ours! We each had a cup of chowder and split an order of fish and chips. My year-long quest for the best fish and chips is over! The fish was piping hot, moist, delicious and the batter was light, crunchy and not heavy.
Well worth the wait — but even better without it.
Do you have favorite restaurants to go to on vacation? Or certain food you savor? What are they?
I’m looking back on August’s past. Here’s a beach reflection from 2016.
I’m a much better vacationer today than I was in my 20s. I’ve learned how to relax.
When I was in my 20s, my yearly vacation was spent going home to Washington where I grew up. I had to see and do all the PNW things. Ride a ferry to the islands, dig clams, fish, go hiking in the woods, go to the city, ride a bike around Greenlake, go to my cabin and spend the night, visit my best friend and my other best friends—and all my friends. Visit my favorite professors. I had my Daytimer with me and scheduled events by the half hour! It would drive my husband crazy and soon I made my annual jaunts home by myself.
This year, we rented a house in a sleepy little beach town near Santa Barbara. Our good friends live close by and we had many fun meals together, planned at the last minute. We spent hours walking on the beach, riding beach cruisers through town and sitting on the beach reading. I am reading the third Neapolitan novel by Elena Ferrante and there’s nothing better in my mind than having long stretches of time to read a good book.
My daughter came with us plus a swim friend from her age group days. Isn’t it amazing how swimming bonds friends through life? They’re both college swimmers and they ran, lifted weights, swam and got massages.
The only downfall of vacation was the spotting of great white sharks at the beach. Only two hours after the girls had an ocean swim, a 15-foot great white was spotted exactly where they had been swimming.
A lifeguard told me that last week, she watched a seal by the swimming dock. It was pulled underwater, tossed up and eaten by a large creature with a fin. She said it was like watching National Geographic as the water turned red.
I was looking forward to ocean swimming and kayaking. I was going to try SUP (stand up and paddle) for the first time. But, like I said, I’m better at vacations now and sitting on the beach with a book made more sense, given the great white sharks.
Video of the girls swimming before the sharks were spotted:
We escaped the heat and the change of surroundings had a healing effect. I was getting riddled with anxiety sitting at home in 120 degrees with just my husband and zero outside socialization. Every day seemed the same and I didn’t know what month we were in, let alone if it was a weekend or a weekday. Way before COVID-19 hit the world, we planned a trip and booked an Airbnb in Park City, UT. We stayed there last summer, too, and I loved the fresh air, outdoor activities like hiking and how good I felt. It’s a great escape from the desert summer.
A week before our trip, the homeowner of the Airbnb cancelled our trip! He was taking this summer to remodel due to few rentals. At first I was devastated and then thought it might be for the best. Maybe it wasn’t the time to leave our home in the middle of the COVID-19 crisis. But, in the end I looked for another place and found something that would fit our needs. I needed a quiet private place for my husband to work, space for me to write and an extra bedroom for my daughter and any other family members who might join us.
As a person who literally hates to drive, strangely this time I was looking forward to a road trip. It’s a 10 1/2 hour drive, but easy with very little traffic and great views. The only rough spot is driving through Las Vegas, but this year there wasn’t the usual bumper to bumper traffic. I packed a cooler with sandwiches for the drive and off we went.
I love Park City. It was exactly the break I needed. At an altitude of 7,000 feet, it took us a few days to acclimatize. Everyday we hiked the trails on the ski slopes and walked to Main Street along the stream and forested path. I had a pool a few steps away where I swam laps. And we adventured up the chair lifts in Deer Valley. Of course, it wasn’t until the second to last day that we ventured in the hot tub in our courtyard. Wow! That would have been something to try out after the mountain hikes!
I can’t wait to go back next summer and do more exploring. I’m so thankful for the mental and physical break this vacation gave me. It was needed more than ever this year.
Do you think you could quit social media, texts and emails and have a real vacation? Have a vacation where you’re not interrupted by your smart phone every few minutes, but instead are present in the here and now in the place you’re visiting?
I read about this concept on the Medical Express website from the UK called “Study reveals the emotional journey of a digital detox while travelling,” provided by the University of East Anglia. They did a study on how people are affected by disconnecting when they’re on vacation. People have different responses and some go through anxiety while others are more overwhelmed when they reconnect. Many people felt their experience on vacation was much better without social media if they were out in the wilderness or rural areas. People who vacationed in cities were stressed without map apps.
Here’s an excerpt:
New research reveals the emotional journey that tourists go on when they disconnect from technology and social media while travelling.
The study, by the University of East Anglia (UEA), University of Greenwich and Auckland University of Technology (AUT), investigated how engaging in digital-free tourism impacted travellers’ holiday experiences. It involved losing access to technologies such as mobile phones, laptops, tablets, the Internet, social media and navigation tools.
The researchers, who also took part in the study themselves, examined participants’ emotions before they disconnected, during their disconnection, and after they reconnected.
Published in the Journal of Travel Research, the findings show there were initial anxiety, frustration and withdrawal symptoms among many of the travellers, but later growing levels of acceptance, enjoyment, and even liberation.
The findings come as the demand for so-called ‘digital detox’ holidays is on the rise. Lead author Dr. Wenjie Cai, from the University of Greenwich Business School, said: “In the current ever-connected world, people are used to constant information access and various services provided by different applications.
“However, many people are increasingly getting tired of constant connections through technologies and there is a growing trend for digital-free tourism, so it is helpful to see the emotional journey that these travellers are experiencing.
“Our participants reported that they not only engaged more with other travellers and locals during their disconnected travels, but that they also spent more time with their travel companions.”
As well as looking at emotions Dr. Cai, working with Dr. Brad McKenna of UEA’s Norwich Business School and Dr. Lena Waizenegger from AUT, used the theory of affordance to understand the loss or gain of technological opportunities while travellers engage in digital-free tourism. For example, Google Maps affords navigation and when taken away, the participants lost the ability to navigate, which caused anxiety for some.
Dr. McKenna said the findings have valuable implications for tour operators and destination management organisations to gain a better understanding of travellers’ emotions when developing ‘off-the-grid’ packages or tech-savvy tour products.
The road to our family property.
This reminds me of our cabin in the Pacific Northwest. We had no running water but a pump. No shower, but an ice cold river, and no TV or electricity of any kind. Plus, an outhouse instead of indoor plumbing.
My parents would take us up there for long weekends and we were fully engaged with shooting down the rapids on air mattresses, fishing for small rainbow trout, and jumping off the rock into the swimming hole. Mom and dad let my brother and me invite friends and that was even more fun to share the experience with them.
Cabin in the woods.
I caught one!
Mom used to joke that it was a perfect marriage test. She said that when we found “the one” we should spend five days to a week with them at the cabin. My husband and I went early on and we did just fine. We’re still married 34 years later, so I guess my mom was right.
Article excerpts: ‘Turning it off: Emotions in Digital-Free Travel’ Wenjie Cai, Brad McKenna and Lena Waizenegger, is published in the Journal of Travel Research on August 14, 2019.