Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Do you sing on Road Trips?

Recall many a road trip cruising those long, lonesome highways (made more lonesome when I'm driving alone). Oh, what the heck. Why not sing at the top of your lungs? I confess to loving ABBA songs. No one can criticize your music choices when you're in your own automobile. My car, my music.

One time after spending several glorious days at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, you'd think that the music of choice for the drive home would be a mix of the amazing musicians we'd just listened to, such as Sam Bush, Del McCoury, Emmylou Harris. But, no, we sang at the top of our lungs along with these lads

Trust me, there's nothing like driving through the mountains singing "Glad All Over." Why? Because you really are.

I have an awful singing voice. That's never stopped me from singing on road trips. In fact, on road trips when I'm really tired and just trying to make it through, singing 1: Keeps me awake; 2: Makes me smile; and 3: Lets me pretend that I sound pretty good.

Hope your next Road Trip is filled with music that makes you smile.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Paris the Non-Tourist Way

I've never been to Paris and I hope that I get there one day. Recently, I read Julia Child's book, My Life in Paris, and found it enthralling on many levels. Ms. Child's love of life, her strong opinions (many of which I agreed with), and, of course, her divine outlook on food and cooking have inspired many of us for years.

Glancing through today's edition of USA Today, I couldn't help notice this article about apartment rentals in Paris and "living the Paris lifestyle." As a sometime traveler, I find something so appealing about getting to know a city's neighborhoods, its shops and cafes, and, surely, its people. Staying at most hotels makes it more difficult to get in the flow of the culture you're visiting.

Friends of mine will be traveling to Paris this Spring. On the recommendation of coworkers/friends, they've lined up an apartment to stay in during their visit. I can picture them sitting outside at a cafe, perhaps just a few doors down from their apartment, enjoying an espresso and croissant. More than the food, though, they hopefully will feel as if they belong to, not just in, Paris.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Deep Travel

Been meaning to let you know about this book, recently reviewed here in the Sunday New York Times. The book is In Motion: The Experience of Travel, by Tony Hiss. "Deep Travel," as conceived by Hiss, can be as simple as a walk to your favorite coffee shop. Or a trek in the Himalayas. The point being, deep travel lifts us from our routines, awakens a sense of wonder, and can give us a laser-like view into the world around us that we otherwise never notice.

Beware: The Times reviewer (William Dalrymple) calls In Motion an "interesting and ambitious but flawed meditation." If you love travel, especially via walking, you might find enough joy and interest in this newly published book.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Turkey & Vegetarians

True confession: While I tell folks that I'm a vegetarian, I'm not hardcore. Thanksgiving is 2 days away. I'm driving home to Kansas City to see family and friends. And, I'll admit: I can't wait to eat turkey, the real deal, on Thanksgiving. So sue me. I'm not a "true" vegetarian. I eat lots of veggies, I do eat fish and never said otherwise, and I even cook with soy products to make chili and burgers and other "staples" around my house.

That being said, there's just something about Thanksgiving. It's always been my fave holiday. No gift shopping, no endless hours of Christmas music on the radio (yet). Just having a wonderful, aroma-filled, memories-igniting feast with the ones you love. Oh, did I mention pumpkin pie?

This year, in the company of mom, aunt, cousins, new baby, and friends, I will joyfully express my gratitude for:
1. My wonderful family
2. My steadfast friends
3. My job
4. My health
5. My country, with all its quirks and, thank God, its freedom

Happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Your Top 5: Road Trip Foods

What is it about road trips that make me want to gorge on junk food? Like, the calories don't count if you're driving more than 100 miles that day (my own rule). All I know is that every time I throw my gear in the Subaru and head home to Kansas City from Champaign, Illinois, my tastebuds regress to the days my mom packed my lunchbox for school. In other words, junk food (sorry, Mom, but peanut butter and Fluff sandwiches on Wonder Bread? What were you thinking?)

So, just for kicks, here's my Top 5 list of Road Trip Foods:
1. French Fries (easy to eat while driving)
2. Dairy Queen Vanilla Cone dipped in Chocolate (not easy to eat while driving, but who cares if you get chocolate on your road trip duds?)
3. McDonald's egg & cheese biscuit.
4. Hostess Cupcakes (chocolate with vanilla cream filling)
5. Veggie Chips from Whole Foods (sorta healthy, I think)

Your turn.

Monday, October 11, 2010


I love these Q&A articles in the Sunday Travel section of the New York Times. This one gives a nice, concise itinerary for a 3-day visit to Bean Town.

Oh, by the way, we (Parkland) are planning a Boston tour in Fall 2011.

Taking Care of Business

If you travel, especially for pleasure, the last thing you want to think about is "What happens if something happens to me? Who will take care of my family? Who gets all my Bruce Springsteen records?"

This article, thanks to my alma mater, University of Missouri at Kansas City, gives the advice you know is worth following. Like, right now.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Absolutely Nothing

For those of you who want some inspiration to travel, take a look at this stunning photo blog, Absolutely Nothing.

Globe-Trotting with Credit Cards

Helpful advice in this New York Times article about using credit cards while traveling, especially international travel.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Spain: The WIDE View

My buddy, Al, just posted these gorgeous panoramic photos from our recent tour of Spain. Get a load of this view ...

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Alhambra, Granada, Spain, May 2010

Nerja, Spain, from a balcony overlooking the Mediterranean. May, 2010.

Have you ever been to Israel?

Here's why I'm asking. Our college, Parkland, is planning a tour to Israel in March 2011 (March 19-28, to be exact). Personally, I've never had the pleasure of visiting Israel, but folks I know who have been there love it. The tour we're offering will cover a lot of ground, including archeological and Biblical sites, a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee, the Golan Heights, the Dead Sea, Jaffa, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and more. We also have arranged to have an Israeli guide who comes with sterling credentials and rave reviews.

What are your must-see sites in Israel?

If you're anywhere near Champaign, Illinois and want to learn more about the Israel tour, come to a free information session on September 16 from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. More info and registering by calling 217/353-2055.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Paella on the Med

Walked a mile down the rocky beach to a decrepit-looking hut. Stepped inside to a sandy patio with tables and chairs, the ocean a few yards away, and a huge fire pit with the biggest paella pan I've ever seen. Here's the result. Thanks to fellow Spain traveler, Al Wehrmann, for this glorious photo of a very special meal we enjoyed on the beach of Nerja.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Spain really is this beautiful

Finally added some photos from recent Spain tour. Beautiful Madrid, Granada, Nerja (with out hotel on the beach on the Mediterranean).

Enjoy and share your Spain memories, too.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Return from Spain

Spent 10 days in Spain on a tour offered by Parkland College. Nineteen travelers altogether and we're all still speaking! The 3 major stops on the tour were: Madrid, Granada, and Nerja (on the Mediterranean).

Hoping my fellow travelers will share their experiences and photos on this blog. I will, too. Adios for now.

Friday, May 14, 2010

My Hometown

As someone who was born & raised in Kansas City (Missouri), it annoys me when people who haven't visited think of it as "cow town." Far from it. Tremendous, innovative, diverse restaurants (and, yes, you'll find legendary barbecue), art galleries and museums that rank among the best in the country, if not the world, and some of the nicest people you'll ever meet. The New York Times has a fun article on what to see and do in KC.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Rick Steves + Smithsonian

Discovered this via Rick Steves' blog. He is partnering with Smithsonian Magazine. Sounds like a perfect partnership. See if you agree.

Monday, April 26, 2010

What would you do in Madrid?

I leave on May 20 for a 10 day tour of Spain (offered through Parkland College, thanks). Since I've never been to Spain, I've already bought my fave, Rick Steves' Guide and I'm also checking out trusted websites and blogs. My prime interest? Not ashamed to admit that I'm really looking forward to trying Spanish cuisine, and maybe a few Spanish wines to wash down the tapas.

I enjoy the feature in the New York Times, "36 Hours in _____." Here's Madrid.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Europe's Next Hot Destination

I love Rick Steves. Check out his latest tips on European travel (especially for Americans.)

Friday, April 2, 2010

March Madness carries over to April

I like college basketball. Men's and women's. So, Indianapolis isn't the only place that will be rockin' this weekend with basketball fans. If you're lucky enough to have tickets to the Women's Final Four, here are some fun tips about the host city, San Antonio.

Have a ball.

Monday, March 29, 2010

It's (not) a Miracle

Despite good reviews, the 50th Anniversary revival of "The Miracle Worker" couldn't pull off a miracle and remain open on Broadway.

Whew! So glad we decided to see "A View From A Bridge" for our April 1-4 Broadway tour.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

National Geo SF Guide

We're just about ready to announce the details for our Fall 2010 tour to California Wine Country. I've been surfing the 'net and landed on this wonderful National Geographic guide to San Francisco (which will be our "headquarter" city for our wine country tour.)

Even if you don't get the opportunity to join us on our Fall tour (and keep checking this blog for specifics), you might get a kick out of the beautiful photos of San Francisco. They're all here ...

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Is Europe a Deal?

Now might be the time to travel to your fave places in Europe, according to the Wall Street Journal. Read it here.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

April in New York City

Yes, New York City (and most of the East Coast)has had a woeful winter with record-breaking snowfalls. But Spring is on the way! A group of about 24 folks from east-central Illinois are lucky enough to be "traveling with Parkland" to New York City on Easter weekend (April 1-4, 2010) for a fabulous Broadway weekend. Not only does their tour include tickets to see "Billy Elliott," it looks like they'll also see the final night of "A View from a Bridge," which is a truly "hot" ticket.

Even if you missed out on this tour, it's always fun to check out what's happening in NYC.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


For those of us craving warm weather, look no further ...

Friday, February 26, 2010

Wine Find

As we look forward to our long weekend this coming Fall 2010 in California Wine Country, I'll be checking out this column in the San Francisco Examiner. Plenty of good ideas for wineries, shopping, restaurants, and more. Here it is.

Be sure and contact us at 217/353-2055 if you want to place your name on the list of folks going on this tour.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Dreaming of California Wine

Sure, you can drink California wines just about anywhere in the world. What could be better than drinking the wine where its grapes are grown? I can't wait for the Wine Country Tour that Parkland is planning for September 30 through October 3, 2010. Details aren't quite confirmed, but I do know that we'll be staying in the heart of San Francisco and that we'll spend a whole day touring Napa Valley and/or Sonoma.

Keep watching this blog for updates. This tour can only accommodate 20-22 folks, so if you're dreaming of California wines like I am, get your name on the Tour list. You can call 217/353-2055. In the meantime, here's something to get you in the mood.

Broadway Bound

Just confirmed the 2 plays that our tour will be seeing in April. "Billy Elliott" which won a Tony award for Best Musical, and "A View From a Bridge," the revival of Arthur Miller's classic drama. Stars Liev Schreiber & Scarlett Johansson are getting rave reviews from many critics, including the NY Times. Read it here.