Sunday, October 12, 2008

It seems I have a reputation

I will admit to having one or two bugaboos about things. Toilet seats AND lids must be put down before flushing. In a word - aerosols. I think smokers have been unduly demonized, I'll even admit to enjoying catching a whiff of good pipe or cigar smoke from time to time - but don't you dare smoke near my food. Don't chew your gum with your mouth open unless you want to hear my elbow crack (there's catch in my left elbow that cracks from time to time and has been known to create the same sensation as fingernails on chalkboard for those within a mile or so of the sound).

But here's one thing I really don't understand. Why travel if you have to bring everything, including the kitchen sink, with you? Me, I've had perfectly good soft side luggage ripped to shreds in the dim, dark underbelly of one of America's finer airports so I have an additional phobia about checking luggage. But really - you're only going for five days, do you really need to pack five pairs of jeans? Do you really need a 16 ounce bottle of shampoo?

I've been know to travel across the Atlantic to spend two and half weeks on that sceptered Isle of poetic fame with only my carry on and a shoulder tote. Honey, I can pack. Roll something into a little nook or cranny? Haven't you ever heard of rinsing things out in sinks? You do know that you can buy Shampoo and deodorant in other countries, don't you? Did you know that you can probably pack two skirts in the luggage space of one pair of blue jeans, and you don't need to launder the skirt as you would want to launder your jeans after only a day of wear.

I've recently threatened to help a friend pack for a 30-day study trip to Europe this winter - I say only threaten as I don't think she can psychologically bear the trauma of not having 67 pairs of her most treasured socks with her (you get the idea, right?). But I also don't think she can afford the financial trauma of the inevitable extra luggage fees. So, who knows if she will take me up on my mercenary threat or not?

I also have an aversion to seeing people struggle through airports with too many pieces of luggage to keep easily in tow -- or watch them waiting forlornly to see if their bags will be regurgitated in one piece, sometimes not regurgitated at all.

So tonight, I had to laugh when a co-worker told me she intends to pack for her next trip --------

------the "Kamilla way"



Michael said...

Did you know that you can probably pack two skirts in the luggage space of one pair of blue jeans

Very worthwhile information, which I wish could be widely disseminated. Nothing like being able to pack light with more variety -- and greatly improve the landscape all at the same time!

Stacy McDonald said...

And if you color coordinate, you can use the shoes you wear through the airport the entire trip, as well as use the same cardigan with multiple outfits.

My problem isn't getting there with too much stuff. It's coming home. Everything's a keepsake ya know.

Rachel Pierson said...

I have the reputation of taking overpacking. We went to visit Glen's parents last week, and I got out a bag to pack, and Glen said, "But we're only going to be gone 3 days!"

I filled it up, though, and I have to say that we used everything that I packed.

I have gotten better though. I have cut out much of the "just in case" stuff. When we went on our trip to the Southwest, a hot location, I froze on the train (where we spent most of our time) because I took nothing with sleeves.

Michael said...

I froze on the train

You rode Amtrak? Where all did you go? How did you like it? I want to do that! Any recommendations?

Kamilla said...


I must warn you that Michael's next question will be which Harvey Houses you visited! (Harvey House history is one of his hobbies - how's that for alliterative?)

When I arrive in a little over two weeks, you will see me with my rolling carry-on and a shoulder tote. I'm looking forward to visiting!


Michael said...

Ha - I wasn't going to bring it up, Kamilla, but since you did! ;o) I do want to ride the train along the old routes which had Harvey Houses. But, if you really want to see Harvey House sites, the train is not the best way to go -- better to drive. Either the train whizzes right by, it stops in the middle of the night, or it doesn't stop long enough to really see anything.

What I would like to do is go by train to revisit one of the existing operational hotels and spend the night.

La Posada [1930], Winslow, AZ "The Last of the Great Railroad Hotels"
Designed by famous Fred Harvey/Southwestern architect Mary Elizabeth Jane Colter. Amtrak stops right out front, and Route 66 goes by the back door. I've stayed here, and it is very cool. (It is also the only place in all my Fred Harvey adventures where the waitresses somewhat resemble Harvey Girls in black skirts and white aprons.) The rooms are named after famous people who have stayed there in the heyday of RR travel.

El Tovar [1905], Grand Canyon, AZ:
The Grand Canyon Railway stops at the old log Santa Fe depot nearby. Neat place, right on the Rim. [Bright Angel Lodge there is another former Fred Harvey facility.]

This one'll take awhile before you can stay there. It is being rehabilitated...
El Garces [1908], Needles, CA:

There are plenty of other locations where the structure is still there, but it no longer has a hotel or restaurant. Some were just Eating Houses. Some small depots just had a Harvey news stand. If you want to see a Harvey archive of many vintage pictures sorted by location, here's my favorite site for that:

Did I say I also have a Fred Harvey Discussion Group?

Michael said...

[The U of AZ archive link should end in welcome.html]

Harvey House history is one of his hobbies

Similar values has a lot to do with it, by the way. Fred Harvey was a very traditional, particular, classy, professional, hospitable Englishman. None of this casual informality stuff for him, even if it was the Wild West. Men had to wear coats to dinner, and they were provided if men didn't have them. Of course his Harvey Girls I am very impressed with. Very high standards.

Rachel Pierson said...

Well...That turned out to be a Sactification Vacation. Once we decided to throw our timepieces out the window, we were OK. (Timepieces, including, but not limited to calendars)

We went from Indianapolis to Chicago, and from there to El Paso Texas.

We talked to a couple in the dining car that took a train trip across Canada that traveled only during the daytime. At night, it stopped and they spent the nights in inns. That I think would be the way to go. After all, the train is not going to get you where you want to be when you want to be there, so why travel at night, when you can't see anything anyways, and you're too tired from all the excitement afterall!

We had a great time, with unexpected pleasures. We enjoyed one another immensely, and I read "The Screwtape Letters" for the first time.

Michael said...

Hi Rachel,

Thanks for the reply. We know what you mean about the timing. Our first/only Amtrak experience was from her in Dallas to Little Rock [and back from St. Louis]. It left four hours late and the schedule deteriorated from there. We were amazed how it would stop in the middle of nowhere in the dead of the night yielding to freight trains. We asked the steward to wake us up when we arrived in Little Rock. Thankfully he did. I broke my foot on that trip slipping off a track crossing, but it was still neat and I'm wanting to go again.

The other day I mentioned El Paso as a possible train destination over Christmas, as my wife was looking for a family adventure while the boys were home. She wanted to know what was in El Paso. Other than the old train station, I don't know. Then I read you went there. Anything in particular you got to see of interest there? It's the trip more than the destination, sometimes, anyway.

Rachel Pierson said...

Michael, it seems like the subject has been hi-jacked. We were talking about packing.

El Paso's train station is pretty. Their taxi drivers are under legal oppression, though. They are not allowed to solicite business at the airport or train station or other public places unless their company had won the bid for it. The police monitor the situation and ticket the cabbies when they are found out of bounds. Three tickets will lose the license for a period of time.

While we were in El Paso, we wanted to go across the border to buy some trinkets (besides, I have never been in Mexico). The clerk at the motel advised us not to. The corrupt police and the cartells were feuding and it was too dangerous. We found about 10 blocks near the border that seemed to be busy selling, and so we walked down there. It turned out to be just a lot of cheap stuff (Dollar store stuff) and cheap jeans that they were selling to Mexicans. El Paso has the feel of a mid to big city, and I've lived in mid to big cities most of my adult life...ho hum. But it was cool at night to see the lights of Wares. Another much need and strife. Hmmm....

Our destination was Silver City, New Mexico where my husband went to college. Since we were like 3 days late getting there, much of what we wanted to do there was impossible. Between El Paso and Silver City, our rented car took us to City of Rocks, which was neat, and White Sands, which was pretty impressive, too!

Glen and I think the highlight of the trip was San Antonio. I have never been that interested in the Alamo, but it is a tiny little building in the middle of the city. The river walk was cool, and the tourists were outnumbered by Christian teens handing out water two to one.

I've got a kazillion pictures of prickly pear cactus. I couldn't find one place that would sell me one.