To The Skies!!

The planning of this trip actually encompassed several years.  Work, family, and many other distractions kept pushing this trip off to a definite date of “some other time”.  The general goal of the trip was to spend some leisure time in the south of France.  Maybe soak up some of these famous rays at the Cote d’Azur.  Bubba pointed out that Spider and I would stand out like sore thumbs on the beaches of St. Tropez, Nice, or Monaco and insisted that he must go with us as he would be the only one of us who would fit in with the rich and famous. 

            From France we planned to head to Italy.  Perhaps we would work our way down the Mediterranean coast before turning inland to catch Pisa and Florence.  Turning north again we could hit Venice, the Lake Como region, and Milan.  We would start and end the trip in Paris. 

            The big day finally arrived and we headed off to catch our flight.  Bubba is not a fan of flying.  He says he gets claustrophobic in small places like plane cabins.  He can be a real pain in an airport.  As we were looking at the departure board for our flight, Bubba jumped up and claimed our flight was out of service and we would not be leaving.

            I pointed out that it was the sign that was out of service not the flight and showed him our first leg, to Chicago, was on the board.

On a previous trip with my parents (yet another story), we flew to the east coast and spent the night before proceeding on to Amsterdam.  We did this to break up the 12 hour flight so my parents would not get overly tired.  What we found out was that it had an immensely positive effect on jet lag.  The one day rest kept us from arriving like the sleep deprived zombies we were.  It was decided to repeat this path so we would stop in Newark New Jersey via Chicago before heading on to Paris.

            We flew Southwest which meant we had dependable, on time service.  They don’t charge for baggage either.  Spider and I were doing this trip with only carry on bags but Bubba had two bags he said he needed to check.

            We arrived in Newark intact except for Bubba’s bags.  It could be that they were lost enroute, it could be that they were never put on board in San Francisco, and it could be that they were forgotten in the trunk of the car after he proclaimed that we would have to lug his stuff for him as he had fragile arms that are prone to fall off. 

            We checked into the hotel where Bubba, feeling the effects of a long flight, had a little temper tantrum.  He objected to finding only two sets of towels for the three of us in the room.  I volunteered to share my washcloth but he would not have it.  He stormed down to the front desk to make his complaint.

The nice receptionist listened to his complaint and cheerfully accommodated his request.

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Who’s Bubba?

            This is Bubba’s travel blog but, before we start with the travel bit, we need to explain who Bubba is, how he came into our lives, and why he travels with us.  At this point I also have to add the required disclaimer:  “The following accounts are the facts as I choose to remember them.  Any alternate views of events are probably just as accurate as mine but this is my story so, right here at least, my facts are the factual facts.”  With that out of the way, I’ll explain about Bubba.

            My wife, Spider, and I love to travel.  The more we go, the more we see and the more we see, the more we learn…and hey, it’s just fun.  On a trip last fall, with a whole different story, we came across Bubba at Cahokia Mounds.  Cahokia is a prehistoric site of a large Indian community located in Missouri.  It resembles what we are used to seeing the Aztecs and those folks put together, but it is older.  It also ranks as a UNESCO World Heritage site so it was deemed worth a look.  Who knew how fate would step in and change our lives.

            As we pulled into the parking lot, we were overcome by a mystical feeling with visions of swirling grey clouds and generations of ancestors riding on the winds.  Large mounds and a wooden version of Stonehenge lay all about us.    

Something guided me to a parking space away from all the others and I pulled in.  I opened the door, stepped out and almost stepped right on Bubba who was lying next to the car.  I quickly called for a camera to record this historic incident and here is a picture of Bubba as I first found him.

            He still has the look of alarm because he thought he was about to be stepped on, but we turned that into a rescue mission instead.  Bubba has a boxy shape with a strange knob on his head.  I believe that is used to funnel positive travel energy.  It was not long before Bubba earned his place as our traveling companion. 

           We were driving down the freeway and I was dreaming of a NASCAR win when Spider said, “Don’t you think you are going a little fast?”  As is fated after a statement like that from one’s wife, the next thing I saw was a State Trooper parked in the center divider, looking my way.  I slowed, but not quick enough for soon I had the pleasure of seeing an amazing display of colored lights in my rear view mirror.  I pulled over and was greeted by the biggest State Trooper I have ever seen.  He ambled up to the car with the look of a fisherman who has just hook a big ‘un.  He asked for my paperwork and noticed Bubba, who waved to him.

After looking at Bubba for a few seconds, the Trooper turned pale and apologized, said his radar unit was broken, and left.  Bubba’s good luck Ju-Ju was proven and he earned a place in our travels.  We bought him a new flowered shirt for the occasion. 

            When we began to plan a trip to France and Italy this year, Bubba was a shoo in for a traveling companion.  He doesn’t have much luggage, eats whatever we do, rarely complains and takes up very little space.  As I said before, we like to travel and so does Bubba.  Some people go on vacations.  They can be found on the deck of a ship with a brightly colored glass of a fruity concoction in their hands, turning their skin to the lobster red that signifies a good vacation.  The forced relaxation is a wonderful thing.  We tend to travel.  This means that we make our own itinerary, find our own transportation and book our own rooms.  This leads to flexibility of time and location and most certainly a little bit of improvisation and occasional stress as things stop going as planned.  The third group goes on adventures.  These would be best exemplified by our friends John and Carrie who are right now in a folding Kayak somewhere in the Pacific near the Vanuatu Island chain.  Carrie gave me the idea to do this blog by doing her own blog on their adventure which can be found at http://carrielane22.wordpress.com/ 

            On our trip, the three of us (Bubba, Spider, and I) will stick to travel.  We will use planes to get there, trains with a couple of cars thrown in to move about and a whole lot of walking.  I will warn you in advance that if I get tired of writing, Bubba may have to step in and give me a hand.  Hastily picking traveling companions can sometimes lead to problems and making the decision to bring Bubba with us proved that point several times on this trip.