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Category Archives: Arizona

Epilogue Part 1…Driving Across the United States 2017

We are home.  After 14 days of driving across 11 states…mostly western and mid-western states…we have many thoughts of who the United States is and changed in the past eight years when we took the same drive.  Our experiences are about simple things that we observed.. 

Infrastructure improvement is exploding across the West especially the upper mid-west.  Roads, hospitals, airports, colleges, and bridges.  North Dakota looks to using their windfall of taxes from their oil/gas bonanza to rebuild their state from scratch.  Montana seems to be right behind them.  The rest of the country should thank North Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, Texas and Oklahoma for all of the wealth they are providing the rest of the country.

The gas prices were an eye opener, $1.99 in Minnesota to $3.51 in California.  Looks like the far west state governments are taxing the heck out of their residents who use gasoline.

By the way, if you can, never drive through Denver or Las Vegas.  Horrible traffic any time of the day.  Matches Los Angeles or San Diego. 

The good news is that gas mileage on cars have improved dramatically in the past eight years.  We averaged over over 33 miles per gallon with the Honda CRV driving the speed limited.  One thing I noticed this trip was the impact driving into a 20 mph head wind has on your gas mileage.  Drops it from 33 to 25 mpg.  When are the car company engineers going to improve the aerodynamics of our vehicles?

Part 2 tomorrow on the food, service, hotels and family.

 

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Planning Two More Trips This Year(2017)

With our next trip fully planned, a 14 day driving jaunt of 4000 miles that covers thirteen states, I have been planning two more trips.  One a 9-day cross country visit to the Washington D.C. area and a four day 100th birthday party trip for my Dad in Minnesota. 

Washington D.C. Trip

Image result for photo washington mallWe decided to stay in the United States this year as the flights to Europe are such a pain.  If I could afford first class air fare, things wouldn’t be so painful but, the cost for this addition doubles the price of the trip.  What a pain. 

So instead, we decided to head to the center of our Federal Government, Washington D.C..  This will be our third trip there but we feel we have barely scratched the surface of the things to see. 

This trip will be very different from prior trips.  We will not have a car.  We will be using Uber, We rented a one bedroom apartment in the suburbs within walking distance of supermarkets, restaurants and the train system that will take us directly into Washington, D.C. within in 20 minutes.  The cost of of our apartment is 1/2 or less than a hotel in D.C., we will be saving a chunk of $$$$ on food with our own kitchen and no rental car or parking costs.  This is how we do it on our trips to Europe so we figured we might as well see how it works here the United States.

100th Birthday Party(Minnesota)

20170429_121009We will be making our third trip this year to Minnesota, this time for Dad’s 100th birthday.  Four days with our daughter, we traveled there with our son earlier this year,

The cost for airfare to Minnesota is more than to Washington D.C.. Plus, renting a car is key as we must drive 100+ miles to the small farm town where Dad lives. 

We are all looking forward to this trip as we are expected see a good part of the community who are always supportive to family and friends. 

More later. 

 

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Planning…Trip 4 of the Year 2017…Driving to Minnesota

I have often said, “Planning for a trip is at least as fun as taking the trip itself.”  That is what I have been doing the last few days for our two week driving trip to Minnesota.

2017 is the 100 year celebration for our family.  Dad will be 100 years old in November and he is really excited.  He was hoping he could celebrate it with Mom but she passed on  three years ago and will be celebrating in spirit with him and the family.

I am planning to visit Dad four times this year year if all goes well and the trip I am planning is a 14 day round trip from California to Minnesota.  Just got back two weeks ago from a four day turn around fly in visit to Dad with my son Jeff.  It was a great trip and even “enjoyed” the snow in May.  Dang that global warming.

Now about the planning for this trip.  Read an article about traveling in this year.  They recommended Europe as a good place as the dollar buys much more there than in the past.  Part of that reason is the ISIS terrorists are expected to be hitting Europe this year hard especially in tourist hotspots.  Americans will be staying home for vacation.

My planning, especially in hotels/motels, sure are showing that is true.  Our last driving trip cross country, October 2015, down highway 10 to New Orleans, had the cost of hotel rooms around $90 including tax per night for 2-3 star rooms.  This trip?  $120 per night.  At least a 25% increase.  I expect a 35% increase in the cost of food on the road as well.  The only thing that is less expensive will be gas.  Once you leave California, gas will be less than it was two years ago.  Plus, my gas powered Honda CRV gets and average of 35 MPG.

Getting my CRV oil changed and tires rotated next week.  Getting excited about this trip.

 

Salt Lake City, Day 1, March 22, 2015

Spring trip!  The first big trip of the year.  We decided that we wanted to drive to Salt Lake City/Park City area this year.  We stopped at a great hotel in Provo last year and we’re heading back there for three nights.

cracker barrelWe took off from home about 7 a.m. grabbed a quick breakfast at McD’s…been doing that for 20 years…and headed straight through to St George, Ut and our favorite road restaurant, Cracker Barrel.  It was Sunday Dinner(lunch) and it was fried chicken time.  Oh my goodness.  Best ever. 

Filled up with gas at Costco for $2.30 gallon a dollar and 10 cents less than Cali.  Oh yes food at least third less than good old Cali as well.  Another reason to smile on this trip.

An hour later we are at 6500 feet in Cedar City, Utah with snow capped mountains all around us.  Oh yes, 37.6 mpg for Honda CRV.  Great first day. 

 
 

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Packing Today…Gas Prices

Getting ready for the trip by starting packing today.  Traveling in the Spring/Fall always gives you a pain as you never know if it going to snow or be 75 degrees.  As they say “layers.”

I understand the cost of gas, which went up $1.05 a gallon in 30 days in California with no explanation, is going down again.  Wanna bet the decrease will not be as fast or far as the increase?  When the government(gas taxes and sales tax) are in cahoots with the oil companies(increased profits) against the consumer…be afraid, very afraid.

 
 

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No Decent Hotels In 657 Miles?

imageOk, Ok, before I get blasted for the above question, here are my criteria’s.  We are driving home from the Salt Lake City area to the Palmdale, CA area, 657 miles.  It is too far for one day for us and we want to stay in a reasonably priced($75.00 or less), clean hotel room and that’s all we need.  No gambling necessary, no pool, no fancy restaurants.  We have tried Mesquite, NV…crummy rooms but good prices.  Las Vegas, crazy expensive rooms, and moderately expensive rooms with resort charges, parking charges, gambling push push push.  Primm, NV, gonna try it.  Reasonably priced rooms with small resort fees.  Will let you know how this works out. 

Could it be true there is not a decent motel room meeting my criteria in 657 miles.  By the way, forget Baker, CA. Too far to drive in one day. 

 
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Posted by on March 6, 2015 in Arizona, California, Driving, Nevada, utah

 

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Planning 2015 Trips; Utah and New Orleans

I have been working on one of the best part of traveling, planning for the trip.  With the Web at your fingertips and your traveling experience, you can put together a really good trip at a cost that you can afford. 

We are traveling this year to places that we have visited or at least driven through/flown into in our traveling career;  Salt Lake/Park City, UT and New Orleans.

Salt Lake/Park City comes first.  It is a highway 15 driving trip all the way via Las Vegas, with stops in St. George(restaurant), Cedar City(hotel), Beaver(world’s  best local Gouda Cheese factory) and finally Provo, UT. as our home base.  We have come to really enjoy Utah.  Interestingly it reminds us of Germany.  Mountains, pristine wilderness and farm country, excellent roads with speed limits of 85 MPH, friendly hard working people and great universities. 

The hotel we’re staying is located just down the street from BYU on a creek that is roaring clear mountain water from snow pack, run by the college students, has a great breakfast included in a very reasonable cost.

We are going to spend some time in Park City, UT skiing the Black Diamond runs…LOL…not at our age.  Instead, we are going to take horse drawn sleigh up into the high mountains and stay in a mountain lodge which serves a big “home made dinner”  with entertainment.

Finally, testing some great rated restaurants, exploring the Temple Square area, and museums.  I will be ranking our experience in restaurants and and visits on Trip Advisor.  Should be fun.

Travel vicariously with us via this blog.  We leave in about three weeks. 

 

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