Hotel Review: One Ocean Resort and Spa, Jacksonville

I absolutely love the ocean. And yet, staying at a luxurious oceanfront spa hotel was a bit of a departure for me. Most of my trips to the beach are simply day trips with the dogs and kids. Sometimes we go camping near the ocean. And any trip at all for our family is more likely to be a rental house or home exchange than a hotel stay.

But one of my best friends, who lives in Florida, loves One Ocean Resort & Spa, and has wanted to share it for years. So when we decided that Thanksgiving weekend would be a great time for a girls’ getaway, we quickly agreed on One Ocean as the destination. My friend made sure we got a room with a balcony, because what is staying right on the beach all about? Obviously, staring out at the surf and sleeping with the doors open.

Continue reading “Hotel Review: One Ocean Resort and Spa, Jacksonville”

Is It Time to Start Spending Toward 2022 Miles Goals?

Don’t worry, I didn’t steal Gary’s Visa. This is an image borrowed from the Chase web site.

Since completing earning Southwest Companion Passes for Erik and me a couple months ago, I’ve been in a bit of a holding pattern, trying to push off major credit card spending until 2022, when I could start fresh on earning those 2023 Companion Passes.

But today something hit me as I was riding my bike with my son.

It’s already 2022 to some of my credit cards.

Continue reading “Is It Time to Start Spending Toward 2022 Miles Goals?”

Australia: Riverboat Postman

Another post I found in my drafts folder, from our trip to Australia way back in September 2016.

Our last full day in Australia was a little challenging to plan because we’d be traveling between Ettalong Beach and the Westin in Sydney, and I thought it would be nice to stop partway to check out the Hawkesbury River. Although the trip only takes about an hour and a half by train, and there are plenty of trains throughout the day, we’d have all our luggage along with us.

As of the day before, I hadn’t lined anything up.

But a last-minute flurry of emails secured us the last six seats on the Riverboat Postman on the Hawkesbury.

Continue reading “Australia: Riverboat Postman”

What Happend After the FA Asked, “Is There a Doctor on Board?”

There are airborn events I’ve heard about that I dream of experiencing, like getting bumped to First Class. Then there are Mile High Clubs that I never wanted to join — not just the original MHC (ew), but the Oxygen Masks Actually Descend Club, for instance, or the Turbulence Caused a Toilet Tsunami Club. (OK I’ve never actually heard of that but turbulence can get really bad.)

Or, the Medical Emergency Landing Club. Never wanted to belong. Joined it this week.

Continue reading “What Happend After the FA Asked, “Is There a Doctor on Board?””

Memory versus Journals: Sept. 11

When I took the great Don George‘s writing class, one of the best pieces of advice he gave seems like the most obvious, but I’m amazed at how often I fail to follow it: Take copious notes!

When you’re having an amazing travel experience, it’s easy to think, “I could never forget this piazza beneath the bluest sky or these porpoises leaping from the bay.” Oh, couldn’t you?

I recently found a journal that I had forgotten writing, about an experience that was less joyous than the above, but definitely memorable. It was from our September 2001 trip to China, including my contemporary account of the events of 9/11. Since I recently wrote about those same events from memory, today I’m sitting down to compare how my memory stood up to what I wrote back then.

Continue reading “Memory versus Journals: Sept. 11”

Bay Area Getaway: Samuel P Taylor Camping

I just found this post in my drafts! Not sure why I didn’t publish at the time, but all the info should be still good.

My kids have a week off of school in February. Some people in California call it “Ski Week,” and in the past, we have used it to do just that. But this year everything is different.

For one thing, my daughters, who have been skiing every winter since before kindergarten, decided they don’t like the sport. And even if they’d be willing to join us on the slopes for old times’ sake, they won’t go to a ski resort during the continuing Covid pandemic, which I obviously can’t argue with. (Yes, I went during Covid with their dad and brother and it was fine, but it’s OK that our risk tolerence varies.)

Continue reading “Bay Area Getaway: Samuel P Taylor Camping”

When Rain Is the Show You Came For

Note: I already wrote a blog post about our visit to Wrigley Field this summer. But then I put together this essay about how that trip to the Midwest was in part rain tourism for us dusty Californians. I was thinking of trying to sell it, but heck, I’ll just share it here with you. After all, the rainy season actually showed up on time in California this year, so this piece may have passed its sell-by date. Still perfectly good though! Enjoy.

How dry was our pandemic? 

So dry that my son’s Zoom class went nuts when one of their classmates announced, “It’s raining!” and focused her camera on the falling drops. I rushed over, squinting to catch a rare glimpse of precipitation.

The classmate was attending school from Puerto Vallarta, and there we were in the umpteenth year of California’s megadrought. To make things worse, Covid cancelled our annual visit to the grandparents in Wisconsin, where we usually received a welcome deluge in one form or another.

Finally, vaccines in arms, we prepared to fly East in July 2021.

“Please let there be a huge thunderstorm with pouring rain and lightning!” my daughter wished.

Continue reading “When Rain Is the Show You Came For”

I Got My Companion Pass. What Card to Spend on Next?

I made it! I earned my Southwest Companion Pass for next year! And I swear, like Scarlett O’Hara with a handful of dirt, that I will fly more with that Companion Pass in 2022.

But what do I do now? We still have stuff to buy every month — groceries, a new roof, this and that. Which credit card to put the spending on now that I really don’t need any more Southwest points unti January?

Continue reading “I Got My Companion Pass. What Card to Spend on Next?”

Day 6 Isolation: I Took 3 More Covid Tests

When I first got that positive Covid test a week ago, I was so sure it must be correct that I canceled our much-planned-for flights without a second thought.

Then I learned a little more and became less sure.

Now, I’m at the point where I think it’s more likely than not that I never had Covid at all. And I’ll never know for sure at this point. But it’s looking more and more likely that I had a false positive last week.

Here’s what changed:

Continue reading “Day 6 Isolation: I Took 3 More Covid Tests”