Alligator Lizards In The Air

One of the great joys of retiring at my age is that my wife and I can travel. We go on a lot of adventures, enough that the shuttle bus drivers at the airport greet us by name.

Last year on one of our trips, I saw the Pacific Ocean for the first time. At the end of this week, we’ll see it again, and then fly over a lot of it to Hawaii. There are a lot of things we’re looking forward to from our two week journey way out west – volcanoes…a canoe trip to see whales…learning new Hawaiian words with far too many vowels in them…and finding out what the hell poi is. These adventures will pale in comparison to the very first thing that we’ll do on our trip.

Ventura Highway


Alligator lizards fly above this sign. (image by Tony Webster CCbySA4.0)

We arranged our trip to allow for two days in Los Angeles before we head out to Maui. While we are there, we are taking a day trip to Ventura. I am looking forward to being on the Ventura Highway.

Yes, the Ventura Highway. The road in the song by the same name, recorded by the band America back in 1972. I know from that song that “the free wind will blow through my hair”, or what’s left of it, while I’m there. Also, on Ventura Highway, “the days are longer and the nights are stronger than moonshine”. Moonshine is strong stuff. Read the rest of this entry »

A Better Way To Board Airliners

Whenever I travel, I can’t help but notice the different ways that airlines load passengers on their planes.

That first sentence isn’t really true. Whenever I travel by plane, I can’t help but notice the different ways that airlines load passengers on their planes.When I drive to my destination, I’m indifferent to anything the airlines do.

Back then, airlines weren’t good at boarding passengers. Some things never change. (image by Bill Larkin CCbySA2.0)

But the ways airlines have us board flights are nearly universally consistent in two respects – they’re inefficient and dull.

It seems to me that lining people up in the order in which they’ll be sitting, from the back of the plane to the front, and then sending that line on to the aircraft would get passengers aboard in the fastest way possible. Any flyer who boards a flight out-of-order, thus gumming up the process for those behind them, would be subject to verbal abuse by flight attendants and fellow travelers. Read the rest of this entry »

Comfort Inn, My Ass

I’m taking on a delicate subject. I find that when I’m touching on delicate subjects, doing so in a gentle and soothing way is best. This is a tale of things that should be handled gently, handled in a way that is anything but gentle.

After a long day of travel, I wanted a few minutes of peace before enjoying a visit with my son at his university. I’d selected a Comfort Inn for my stay. I checked in, dropped my luggage, plugged in my iPhone and walked in to the bathroom to take some relief which I really should have taken miles and miles sooner.

I told you this was a delicate subject.

It Gets Worse From Here, Hang On

This is not the toilet paper in this story. It’s really not fair for me to use it as an example. I apologize in advance. (image by TristanB CCbySA3.0)

So after that relief, I reached for the toilet paper. A tug at the end of the roll got the amount of paper I needed. My finger tips told my brain that this was not my usual grade of toilet tissue. My brain was too focused on the task at hand to listen to my fingers. I went on and did what we all do with toilet paper.

Not only was this not my usual grade of toilet tissue, it was nearly as harsh as my usual grade of sandpaper. Read the rest of this entry »

What’s Wrong With This Picture?

Take a look at this photo. Yes, that’s me, without a hat or sunglasses. I do come from attractive parents; apparently the attractive genes are recessive. But anyhow, look at the photo.

Can you tell me what’s wrong with it?


Yes, it’s a little out of focus and there are shadows. The original doesn’t have those problems. Why are you so picky?

If you said anything like “I don’t like your stupid smirk” or “you’re so old; what’s with the faux-hipster goatee?”, you’re right. Those closest to me might also add that the blank background does not give adequate perspective to let the viewer know how truly large my cranium is. Read the rest of this entry »

Can I Get A Witness?

I am going to hire an employee. That person will have one duty – they will have to be with me so that I always have someone to turn to and say “did you see that?” when I witness something.

Unfortunately, I have not hired that employee yet. You’re going to have to take my word for it – the story I’m about to tell you is true.

Traveling Man

(public domain, wikimedia)

A six a.m. flight had me up and moving early. I wasn’t moving fast, but I was moving. There were all the usual hygiene procedures, then I got dressed and carried my bags out in to the hotel’s hallway. Read the rest of this entry »

Five Simple Steps To Better Air Travel

English: Travel Air 3000

Maybe we’ve come a long way, maybe not. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Air travel. It isn’t hard to find someone to complain about it. So many fingers get pointed at the airlines. To a certain extent, I agree.

The airlines make their own bed. Is it reasonable to charge passengers extra if they’d like to bring along clothes to wear at their destination? This policy favors nudists above all others. While I’ve nothing against nudists, I’m not in favor of them getting breaks that the rest of us don’t.

Do you know who truly makes air travel unpleasant? Our fellow passengers. You and I, we’re nice folks. But we fly with some real jerks. Here are five issues other passengers could address and make travel so much better for us all. Read the rest of this entry »

Truck Stop Love

Truck Stop sign, Van Horn, Texas

Truck Stop sign, Van Horn, Texas. I’ve never been to Van Horn, Texas. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Driving on the Thanksgiving holiday weekend is a brutal ordeal, one that shouldn’t be undertaken by the faint of heart. The weird mix of aggressive, sleep deprived drivers, truckers, and people who seem to be behind the wheel for the first time in their lives makes driving any distance dangerous and no fun. Only New Years Eve is a worse time to drive.

The road took its toll on me. Tired, hungry and needing to off-load the ocean of diet soda I’d finished, I pulled off the interstate and into a truck stop. Read the rest of this entry »

My Adventures With TSA

English: TSA insignia

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I know there are folks who have their issues with the Transportation Security Administration. I’m not one of them.

TSA was given the job of protecting us. They do the best they can with the tools they’re given.

Yes, things happen. Grandmothers get searched. Babies sometimes become suspect. I get searched sometimes. I’m comfortable trading those things off for the added safety the agency provides.

We don’t have to agree on that. You’re not wrong if we disagree. I just needed an opening paragraph or three for some jabbering about TSA.

Yeah, Check THAT Out

On a trip a few months ago, I passed through one of the x-ray scanners. I’d carefully triple checked to make sure that there was nothing in any of my pockets. I put every bit of metal I had in my carry-on. The only thing that I thought could cause some alarm is a titanium plate and screws that were part of a surgical repair to my neck. I passed through the scanner, then waited for a TSA officer to clear me. Read the rest of this entry »