Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Getting ready to pack

Oh my, I do this every time.  I make my list, pull out every thing on the list and stack it on the bed. Well, as always, I have a stack that would choke a cow. OK, lets go at this again kiddo. Remember, you have never heard anyone say "I packed to little for this trip".

Since we are going to be gone about 6/7 weeks, I'm trying to mix and match as much as possible. I'm taking black and tan pants (slacks), was two of each, now think one each will be fine, no, maybe three in total. That make one on me, one dirty, one clean. Now let's see about tops. I have three sets of those flimsy over jackets with matching tee's so I'll take those. I can use the jacket parts with the basic black dress I found on sale at Cold Water Creek.  It is a fabric that can be all rolled up and still look good as new. I fact, I'm only taking things this time that I can wash out in the hotel sink and overnight dry without ironing. Finally got some sense.

Sleep ware.  UMMMM. We are getting a sleeper on the train back across country, but some don't have toilets so one has to walk to the end of the car. Same with the Alaska ferry on the way back, so I better have something that can be seen in public. Gave it some thought, and PJ's would probably be the best, which I hate. Ok, PJ's it is for the train and ferry, and a nightie for every place else.

Shoes. Geez, what a mess. I need an extra bag just for those. No way, one bag is all I'm taking. I mean it.
Lets see, I think I have it down to, black dress shoes, nice flats for slacks, walking shoes, and slippers. No, can do with out the slippers. Will take a pair of woolly socks instead. What's let are tennies and sandals of various colors to match tops. Of course ....... can't leave those behind. Oh yes I can. I have something that is called One Sole. It's shoes that have a bottom that can have different tops snapped on and off.  Makes one pair of shoes into as many as needed. I got five different tops, so I can have my dress shoes and flats with my matching colors, too, all for the space of one pair of shoes in the suitcase. Another smart thing I've learned this last year.

Undies and socks don't take up much room, but what about all that makeup, hair products, and "personals"?  Dump most of it. How many times have I taken three shades of eye shadow and lipsticks and ended up using the same one because it was handy? Ok, only one of each this time. Same with hair stuff.  A small bottle, and I mean small none of the Costco size, of my favorite shampoo and conditioner and a small hair brush is plenty. If we are invited to visit the White House I can have my hair done at a shop. OK, that's done.

What's left to think about. Jewelry.  Must have jewelry.  Same thing applies. No more extra earrings. I'll pick two pair that will match with everything. Thats it. No more. Yaaaaa, but what about the blue pair I love?  Well, we'll see.

That leaves outer ware. We have no idea what the weather will be like on the East Coast in September/October. We  think in the mid 50's, which is what it is here in Alaska, so we will both take our lined windbreakers and hope for the best. We can carry them, so no need to pack.

That does it for me. Hubby takes care of his own and if he packs anything that needs ironing along the way, he's out of luck.

Now to put in the suitcase. Long ago I learned that if I put my clothes in those plastic travel bags I could pack more stuff. Not only that, but when the airport people go into my bags, my stuff is not all jumbled up. I also like the fact that I can put outfits together and only unpack what I'm going to ware that day. Works really good if one is only going to stay a day or two in the same place, as we will be doing this trip.

Besides, if we need anything along the way, we can go to Walmarts.

So, back to work.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Great American Train Trip

Well, here we are just 10 days away from our new adventure. As most of you know, when we travel we go by the seat of our pants. That is, with just a little general  knowledge of where we are going. On this trip we know we are leaving Alaska and landing in Boston two days later, with an over night in Portland Oregon.  From there it's off to see the sights and leaves, eat lobster everyday and go where the wind blows us. Not everyones cup of tea for sure, but it works best for us as one never knows what gem is just around the corner that might other wise be missed.

It all started with a postcard.

We have never been to the East Coast other than passing through airports, and we have always wanted to see New England in the fall.  We are bargain travelers: that is we want bang for our buck. No fifty dollar a plate dinners when we can go where the locals go for the same thing at half price.

One day we received a postcard from some travel outfit offering a "train" trip and leaf viewing through Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and ending in New Haven, Conn. 10 days, meals, hotel, transport and entry fees to various sites all for the low price of $2,499.00 each!!!!!  plus we would have to get ourselves to Boston. Good grief, for that price we could go on a Greek Liner for 15 days first class. Anyway, I started looking and found that most of the trip was by motor couch rather than train, and what little bit of train travel there was was by local commuter. The train sites they advertised were really train museums or model train parks. No, no, that wasn't going to work at all. We don't like being on a schedule that says we have to leave the next day at 2:00 am when we would rather stay 3 or 4 more days. We like taking our time and getting to know the history of the areas by talking and eating with the locals.

So, I got on my trusty iMAC and started goggling all the towns, sites, hotels etc. that was being offered, got the prices and locations and told the man I allow to live with me, better known as husband, that we could make that same trip on our own for less than the cost of one person and have a heck of a lot more time and fun doing it. So started the plan, such as it is.

As you all know we are seniors, but the way we travel, and we have done it this way for years and visited all over the world, can just as easily be done with children or by students.    Discounts can be shared and mixed and matched, such as grandparents senior and grandkids child tickets. We have looked at all the discounts we can find on local sites, hotels, public transport and car rentals. We will be using and sharing all these and more tips as we travel along.

Now came the question of how we were going to share this adventure with all of you. I at first thought that just e-mailing everyone would work out fine. On second thought,  that will be too time consuming. A friend told me about setting up a blog....... great say I who can hardly e-mail, but here I am posting my first one. Have no idea what I'm doing and will learn as I go along. So, those of you who do this all the time, have mercy on me. My spelling and editing skills are not great either, but I'm a good talker and mostly you'll all know what I mean.

Off to start packing,