Kiss It Goodbye: Summer Vacation Is Cancelled

Summer vacation plans are officially cancelled. It was the right decision but one I kept delaying. The plan was to fly out west, visit with a friend and then road trip home.

Even if COVID conditions don’t worsen, they certainly aren’t going to improve enough to make for a fun, safe trip across six states.

The hope is to try again to see my friend this fall and to plan the road trip some other time.

This year has been a series of disappointments and tough decisions for everyone I know. But COVID knows no age, nationality or gender. Perfectly healthy people are dying and, while I want my freedom back, this was not the trip for me.

I’m still taking a portion of that planned vacation time and hope to do something that is closer to home. We’ll see what conditions are like in a few weeks.

I’m learning to fly by the seat of my pants, an act that I’ve never enjoyed but am trying to embrace. And really, when I look back over the last two years, some of the best experiences have been spontaneous so there’s something to be said for putting down the itinerary and just enjoying the ride.

The above photo was taken at sunrise in Arches National Park a couple of years ago. Plans may be cancelled but the sun will rise again and there will be more adventures on the horizon.

Time For Some Changes

When this blog began almost two years ago, it was partly an answer to calls from friends who wanted to know about my adventures. It was partly a distraction from a major life change. It was partly an outlet for sharing words and pictures that matter to me.

In the beginning it was mostly about my travels both far from home and in my own backyard. The blog has evolved some. I still tell those stories but occasionally share about other things happening in my world – food, books, Scout, and the random things that turn my head.

Daffodil 2020It’s time for things to shift again, at least for a while. As I type, I’m staring at my hands which are dry and sometimes bloody from the near compulsive hand washing that has become socially acceptable. The sun is shining and it’s a beautiful day for adventure but there’s nowhere to be. It’s too windy to go outside so when I get up from this desk, it will be to go to another room to perhaps read a book or organize something or maybe just take a nap.

I’m not complaining because I’m safe at home. I’m not a victim of this pandemic but a lucky human who is healthy, who has a safe place to live, and plenty to eat. There are a ton of things to do in this house and one day life will go back to normal.

Meanwhile, plans are on hold or perhaps just cancelled. Book talks and concerts have been postponed. My list of museums, restaurants and junk shops to visit keeps getting longer. I’m looking at small businesses in my community – a riding stable that does guided trail rides, an antique store, and a host of others that I worry for because times are always tough for a small business without having all their customers quarantined. How much can I afford to support these businesses when this is all over?

Plans for my epic summer vacation are now on hold to the degree that I gathered up all the brochures and maps and stuffed them in a drawer. It’s almost too much to hope that I’ll be able to go.

Obviously, I have no new adventures to tell you about right now.

Part of me wants to just live in this quiet world I wake up in every day. And it is quiet. It’s made up mostly of books, music and birdsong. I’m currently working from home so that keeps me busy. Scout entertains me too but there are days I don’t even turn on the tv except to hear the governor give his daily briefing. While others are going stir crazy, trapped in prisons of their own making, I’m perfectly fine. Disappointed about lost adventures, but fine because I know there are better days ahead.

So I’m going to shift things again, just a bit, and hopefully for not too long. When this is all over, I want all of us to be prepared to do something important. For those who can, I want us to go out into the world, boldly and without apology, to do all the things we cannot do today and to support the small businesses that need us more than ever.

Shop. Eat in a restaurant. Stroll through a museum. Fly. Stay in a hotel. Take that guided trail ride. Sit in a crowd of like minded people and listen to beautiful music. There’s so much to see and do. We need to go out and be part of it.

So I’m going to start talking about the places I want to go when this over and then I can tell you more about them after I visit. Someday.

There’s also probably going to be more stuff about what I’m reading, maybe some about music, and a little about what’s going on here in my very small corner of the world. Perhaps by looking more closely at my everyday life I can start to appreciate it more.

Life will return to normal someday and we need to be prepared for that inevitability. We also need to embrace the world we wake up in now because there’s no point in wishing our lives away by waiting for tomorrow.

It’s sort of a tight rope to walk.

Who’s with me? Comment and tell me how you’re coping and what you’re looking forward to doing when this is all over.

All Ohio Hot Air Balloon Festival

Marysville Hot Air Ballon Festival 2019 (364)

It’s been a busy summer and adventures have been especially plentiful these last few weeks. In fact, it’s been so busy that keeping up with storytelling here has been a real challenge.

The trip to Piatt Castles last week included a detour to the Hot Air Balloon Festival in Marysville. I’ve been hesitant to tell you this story because I typically avoid negativity on this blog. There are enough people who seem to think it their duty to point out all the bad in the world – we don’t need me adding to the mix. However, the fact I wasn’t thrilled doesn’t mean you won’t enjoy it so the rules are about to be bent a little

Here’s the abbreviated version of this story: the balloons were beautiful, the festival wasn’t so great.

The festival opened in the afternoon the Saturday of my visit. The schedule advertised the arrival of balloons at 4:30 and the balloon launch at 6:30. The website pictured several nice balloons that would be there as well as a lovely image of several balloons in the sky.

When I arrived at 3:30, an enthusiastic crowd had begun to gather but 4:30 came and went with no balloons. In fact, it was close to 7 before we saw the first balloon. I saw people leaving in frustration, disappointed kids in tow because they didn’t want to sit out in the hot August sun for a moment longer. Since it’s held at an airport, there is essentially no shade and few places to get in out of the blistering sun.

This kid seemed to speak for us all.

Marysville Hot Air Ballon Festival 2019 (210)

I now know how to interpret the schedule – the balloons arrive in trucks by 5 p.m. and they are aired up immediately before launching. This means that balloons were in the air for just a few minutes. Also, it was not several at one time as the website depicted but one or two at a time.

So there’s my complaint.

The good news is that they offer some fun activities for kids and, if festival food is your thing, there’s plenty to eat and drink. The U.S. Air Force was there too and had a Thunderbird jet on display.

FB Hotair balloon festival (5)

The balloons were pretty, even if some advertised balloons weren’t there. I’m guessing they went up on one of the other two festival days.

Saturday admission was just $10 and parking was $5. They did a lighted launch after dark – although I didn’t stay for that. I had invested a lot of time already and simply wanted to go home.

You could take a biplane or helicopter ride and they were offering tethered balloon rides – although I never saw that actually happen. I was dying to take a biplane ride but couldn’t justify the expense so close to vacation. The opportunity will come again and will make a great adventure for another day.

FB Hotair balloon festival (6)

On the trip out of town I saw folks with lawn chairs in store parking lots and thought that would be a far better way to enjoy the balloons without the hassle of parking, crowds or expensive bottled water since no outside food or drinks are allowed in.

That would be better for me but maybe not better for you. If you have kids or enjoy the excitement of a crowd this could be a fabulous time for you!!

I don’t want to discourage you from going and supporting the festival but have to be honest that this is not the place for me. If I ever go back, it will either be for the lighted launch or just to enjoy from somewhere outside the festival grounds.

Want to know more? Here’s the link to their event. It will be back next year!! There are other similar festivals in Ohio and I would be interested in visiting another someday.