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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Winding Roads: Lessons learned

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

To continue on about our great vacation, it was less wearing when we stopped for a few days at a time rather than stay in the car. Traffic was just as heavy as any other year so the price of gas did not deter folks from hitting the road, although we personally did not see as many Iowa license plates. The only time we chatted with Iowans was at Powell, Wyoming at a restaurant where three groups of Iowans occupied three booths in a row.

I'm glad we took the plunge of going on a cruise when we did as we found out that new and different settings make for apprehension of what was to come. The line for getting on the boat was huge but it gave us many opportunities to observe folks. Right behind us was a young couple who pulled three almost trunk-size bags plus they had two carry-on bags. I had a notion to ask if they were going to stay six months. We were much more conservative than that which we were really grateful for when it came time to get off the ship. The luggage room was huge with rows and rows of bags to walk through to find one's own. We took everything off ourselves and saved a bunch of time.

What was also amazing to me was the number of young children on board. Many parents took the whole clan. I can't imagine us being able to do that when our children were young. I would also guess that 60 percent of the passengers came from an oriental country (that area including India). In fact the employees of the boat were primarily from India. The crew was very polite.

We had conversations with folks from all around the globe. Of course I did a take on what they thought of the U.S. and was surprised to find how negative it was and in particular President Bush got dumped upon. The economy was the number one issue.

It's amazing how similar people are in this country on what is wrong and what they would do to fix it. Therefore, why can't politicians also come up with some sensible ideas rather than mail checks out that did not do much. Everyone thought creating jobs by building infrastructure would be a good way to go. Most wanted Alaska to stay pristine with no oil spills but perhaps it can remain so with drilling. Just how long the oil would last for this country if alternative forms of fuel aren't developed is very debatable. The highest fuel was $4.77 when crossing into California. We never paid that but we did get up to $4.49. Ethanol is still not regarded highly as the answer in other areas.

I was made to realize that folks in other areas of the country certainly have different preference for food and specifically the seasonings used. Dishes would have a name but not only did I not know what it was, I didn't recognize what it was all about. sometimes you'd take two or three bites and think this is all right - a couple of more bites, I was done with it. The spices just creep upon me. By the end of the week, I just wanted a serving of good old mashed potatoes. They served more rice than I would want in a lifetime.

All kinds of rice in size and color.

I never thought I'd get such a thrill as to see a live bear or whale. With binoculars, that mother brown bear looked so cuddly. It was a first for me in Yellowstone. In Alaska, I thought I might get bored watching whales but the three hours just flew by. They are huge and so graceful. Watching them on film isn't the same as seeing them in person.

I heard on TV last night how expensive everything is in Britain. I noticed how high the price was in Canada, The value of our dollar needs to be resuscitated. Visitors are coming here as they are getting some great buys but we can't afford to go there.

By the way, we got a little close to President Bush. we were driving down the Oregon coast when a motorcycle cop stopped us. Clarence was wondering if he was speeding and if I had my seatbelt on. We were informed that some dignitaries were going by in a motorcade and they didn't want us in it. Imagine that so we sat for about three or four minutes so it could fly by. That night we heard he was going to take a plane up to observe the mountain fires.

It really is something to see acres of burnt trees that take so many years to get that large. Once again, government needs to regulate land use.