2021: The Year In Travel

In normal times, this is where I would take a look back at all of the trips I took over the past year and look ahead to what, if any. travel plans I already have for 2022.  Unfortunately, 2021 continued to be far from normal times, as the global pandemic raged on for a second year, though things did manage to open back up slightly.

My first “trip” of the year, if you can call it that, was in March.  On a Friday afternoon, I drove down to Purdue to pick up Danny, before continuing on to Indianapolis so we could watch Purdue in the NCAA tournament.  They managed to completely crap the bed, which made the whole effort worthwhile.  After the game, we traveled back the way we came and I was home early the next morning.

In August, I made my only big trip of the year, driving down to Florida for some fun in the sun.  I had rented a condo on AirBNB that was right on the water, which, thanks to the spacious deck, let me enjoy the view while relaxing and reading.  I also managed to make my first two trips to Tropicana Field, as the White Sox were in town to battle the Rays.  Those experiences did not turn out quite as well.

On the drive home, I stopped in Atlanta and managed to take in a game at Truist Park to see the Yankees battle the Braves.  The following day I completed my journey, making it home in the midst of a torrential downpour, which made the last hour or so of driving so much fun.

The only other trips were back down to Purdue for football games, one in October and two in November.  We didn’t manage to make the second game in November, but it’s the drive that matters.

Looking ahead to 2022, despite the rise in COVID cases due to the omicron variant, I’m planning to return to Hawaii later this month and the family is headed to Boston in May for Angelina’s graduation.  Other than that, there are some baseball trips I want to take this year, but nothing is solid just yet.  Here’s hoping that the world returns to some sort of normalcy, though I’m not optimistic.

2020: The Year In Travel

In normal times, this is where I would take a look back at all of the different trips I took this past year and look ahead to what, if any. travel plans I already have for 2021.  Unfortunately, 2020 was far from normal times.  So let’s see, in early April, Michael and I went to Boston to see Angelina and the White Sox battle the Red Sox.  Oh wait, that was cancelled due to the corona virus.  Well, in May, I went to California to see the White Sox do battle against the Giants in San Francisco and then the Padres in San Diego.  Oh yeah, that was cancelled too.

As it turned out, I only ended up making one trip during the hell year that was 2020.  Labor Day weekend, I headed up to Holland, Michigan for a week of relaxation.  Other than a couple of trips to the lakes (both Macatawa and Michigan) and a day spent in Saugatuck, I didn’t see much of the sites, as the rona was still very much a concern.

So that was it.  With vaccines starting to become available, there is hope that 2021 will be different, but, at least at the start, we are still pretty much locked down.

The Decade In Travel

The 2010s have drawn to a close and its time to take a look back at the previous decade.  Today, we are continuing with travel, specifically the 53 out of state trips that I took between 2010 and 2019.  The first trip of the decade came in September of 2010, as I traveled north to Detroit and Windsor, staying in Canada when I wasn’t watching the White Sox battle the Tigers.  The final trip of the decade, and a fitting bookend to the decade, came in December, when the family traveled to Ann Arbor, Michigan to see Angelina skate in a competition.  2018 was my best year, with 13 different trips/destinations, while 2012 was my worst year, with only a single trip.

My most popular place to travel was, unsurprisingly, West Lafayette, with 7 different trips.  Next came a 3-way tie, with Milwaukee, Boston, and Los Angeles each finding themselves under my feet 4 times.  The only other place I went to more than twice was Disney World, with 3 trips.

If we break down those 53 trips, we get the following:

  • 32 locations
  • 6 countries
    • United States
    • Canada
    • Italy
    • Ireland
    • Scotland
    • Northern Ireland
  • 19 states
    • Illinois
    • Indiana
    • Michigan
    • Wisconsin
    • Minnesota
    • Iowa
    • Massachusetts
    • New York
    • California
    • Nevada
    • Arizona
    • Mississippi
    • Tennessee
    • Arkansas
    • Ohio
    • Maryland
    • Virginia
    • South Carolina
    • Hawaii




2019: The Year In Travel

Once again, I thought it would be nice to look back at the many trips I took this year.  As you may recall from last year‘s wrap-up, the year began in California.

New Year’s Day was spent in Pasadena for the Rose Parade, where Danny and the Lincoln-Way Marching Band were performing.  Lucky for them, they were slotted right after the float that caught on fire and eventually mucked up the entire end of the parade.  However, they were able to march around the disabled float and keep things moving for the time being.  The next day we went to the California ScienCenter, where we were able to see artifacts from King Tut’s tomb and the space shuttle Endeavor, and the beach before heading home.

And home is where I stayed for a whole month before heading out to Hawaii in February.  I arrived that first Saturday in February, checking out my surroundings around the resort and down Waikiki Beach after the long flight.  Monday, I took a tour of the island of Oahu, with stops at Hanauma Bay, Nu’uanu Pali lookout, Valley of the Temples Memorial Park, Sunset Beach, Waimea Falls, and the Dole Plantation.  Tuesday, I took in a whale watching cruise, where we were able to see multiple whales surfacing during the excursion.  Thursday, I traveled over to Pearl Harbor and all of the associated attractions and museums.  Come the following Saturday, it was time to head home on an overnight flight that got me in town very early Sunday morning.

Come June, the whole family headed east to celebrate Michael’s graduation.  We flew into Baltimore, where Dennis, the boys, and I went to breakfast before heading to Camden Yards to see the Orioles take on the Giants.  On the way to the stadium, we stopped at the grave site of Edgar Allen Poe and the Babe Ruth Birthplace & Museum.  After the game, we walked to the local bus depot, where we caught a bus to Washington DC for the remainder of the trip.

Continue reading →

2018: The Year In Travel

As I arrive home from California, I thought it would be nice to look back at the many trips I took last year.  Things got started in March, when I headed out to Las Vegas for the IBM Think conference.  Along the way, I took in a show, Absinthe, at Caesar’s Palace, a Barenaked Ladies concert at Mandalay Bay, and a show by The Chainsmokers at MGM Grand, where I was staying.

Following the conference, I took a detour to Phoenix for a long weekend, where I took in some Cactus League action at Camelback Ranch and Peoria Sports Complex, seeing the White Sox, Cubs, and Mariners (twice!).  I also enjoyed a trip to the slot canyons and Horseshoe Bend in Page, followed by a quick trip to the Grand Canyon.

About a month later, I took a short weekend trip to New York.  Danny, Michael, and I flew to New York on a Friday night, where we met up with Angelina and had dinner with the family she was nannying for.  Saturday was a glorious spring day, spent sight seeing at the 9/11 Memorial & Museum, the Museum of the City of New York, Central Park, the Guggenheim museum, and the Empire State Building.  Sunday was spent at the Lyric Theatre, watching both parts of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, before heading home early Monday morning.

My next trip came at the end of July, as Val and I headed down to Roanoke, Virginia, to celebrate Jeff’s 50th birthday.  After a day of “work”, the highlight of the trip was Saturday’s hike up Catawba Mountain to McAfee Knob.  Sunday was spent recovering, before heading home.

I spent most of September in Europe, starting with a week in Belfast, Northern Ireland.  Aside from work, there was a trip to Castle Ward in to look at Game of Thrones filming locations, a hockey game featuring the Belfast Giants, a trip to the Ulster American Folk Park and a nip across the border to the wonderful town of Muff in Ireland, and a Black Cab tour of locations in Belfast related to the Troubles. Continue reading →

In The Land Of Cotton

This past weekend, I got on a very small plane, along with Val, and headed down to the beautiful metropolis of Roanoke, Virginia, to celebrate Jeff’s 50th birthday.  Our trip started Thursday night after work, where we arrived and got some quality time with a young puppy named Simba.  Friday, the three of us worked remotely before heading out for dinner and to see the sights of Roanoke, which basically was The Roanoke Star and a grocery store.

Saturday, we headed out early to hike up Catawba Mountain to McAfee Knob.  With an elevation of 3,197 feet and a trail distance of approximately 4.4 miles, McAfee Knob is one of the highlights of the Appalachian Trail.  It took quite an effort on my part, and probably more time than we were planning, but the views from the top, not to mention the satisfaction of one of my traveling companions, were worth it.  The trip back down was a bit easier, thanks to a fire road, but a small stumble certainly made it interesting.

Sunday was spent relaxing and recovering from the strain of the previous day, until it was time to head back to the airport and fly home.