Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Planning A Trip

It is a cure for the Winter Blues, sadness, and a wonderful escape from the everyday. I usually start planning our summer trips in January because it is the worst month for Winter Blues. This is a time I can dream of somewhere warmer and that gives me something to look forward to when the snow and ice are falling outside. We typically get a tax refund and this funds our trips for the summer so planning early is needed. Oh, who am I kidding, I am a planner so planning is what I do.

Last Memorial Day we went to Indiana Dunes. It’s a short drive up north to a lovely lake side cottage that had views out of every window of Lake Michigan, which looks more like an ocean than a lake.  We instantly fell in love! I love the ocean but being in Indiana a drive to a beach is a long and expensive one. We had taken trips to other lakes, Kentucky Lake being one of them, but they were just that, a lake. Lake Michigan is huge with waves and beaches. The Dunes, huge sand hills, are something to see. Indiana Dunes is a mix of everything we both love! We stayed in Porter, Indiana which is right on Lake Michigan feet from Indiana Dunes State Park. The best part of the trip was sitting in the bed on the enclosed porch watching a thunder storm over the lake—ahh breathe taking! It was a short trip, just a holiday weekend, but we enjoyed every minute of it! When we arrived it was cool out, as in we needed the baseboard heaters on and when we left we had the air conditioner on. In between we had the windows open to enjoy the sound of the waves hitting the shore.    Only in Indiana do you have to pack long sleeves and your swim suite!

Our very first trip out on our own was to Pagosa Springs, Colorado. A college professor of mine offered to let us stay in her little cabin in the mountains. It was a little over 24hrs away which we drove in a broke down van with three dogs. I do not know how we made it there and back alive and in once piece. We stopped at dark gas stations in the middle of nowhere late at night. We almost lost the credit card, which is what we were using for gas, several times. We did lose the gas cap and our muffler pipe separated from the muffler violating the noise ordinance, which we had to have fixed before we headed home because it was loud and freaking out the dogs. The dogs also ran away and we had to chase after them up and down a mountain. But other than the few things that we laugh about now, we had a wonderful trip. The scenery was unbelievable. Every window had a view that looked like a post card. This little cabin was two stories with 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, two balconies, heated floors, a two person tub, steam shower and a hot tub on a wraparound porch.  The entire town was on a nature preserve so the animals outnumber the people. Just driving down the road was a challenge, and not just because you were on the side of the mountain with no guard rails. There were mountain goats, elk, turkeys, bear and they had the attitude of you’re in my space. Once while in the bathroom I seen, out the huge bathroom window, an Elk so close I thought it was in the bathroom with me. Trust me; they are a lot bigger than you think! We went to an animal sanctuary while we were there and decided to never go outside at night again! We also drove to New Mexico and seen my first tumble weed—those things are just like in the movies. Since our first trip there we have always wanted to go back--we love Colorado!

Another favorite trip of mine was to the Smokey Mountains. We stayed in Cosby, TN in a little place called Garden of Eden. The sweetest old lady owns 4 cabins on wooded property, soon thick you cannot see the other cabins that are a ways away. Other than the woods there isn’t much else, which is why we always think of this place for a fall getaway.

Of course our trip to Florida is also high on my list. We stayed at Madera Beach in the cutest bungalows. There were 4 or so cottages that shared tiki huts with places to cook and eat outside. There was also a pool and hot tub. It was a short walk to the beach. Normally we would have stayed at a place right on the beach but with 4 of us, two being kids, we had to look at something more affordable with something for the kids to do when we weren’t at the beach.

We love to travel but since buying a house that has needed so many updates, we have limited our trips to shorter and local. I typically limit our budget to $1000—that is for housing, food and entertainment. Housing is where most of our budget is used because we like to stay in cabins, cottages and bungalows in out of the way places that are away from tourist areas.  

We are explorers!

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