It snowed in Logansport LA – 50 miles south of Shreveport… Kendray Owens up real early and playing in the fresh snow… NO SCHOOL TODAY!
It snowed in Logansport LA – 50 miles south of Shreveport… Kendray Owens up real early and playing in the fresh snow… NO SCHOOL TODAY!
I am excited to let you all know that in a couple of weeks we are going live on You Tube! Our channel will feature live stream videos and all our advertisers will get a plug in on our destination videos. As soon as the information is available to us we will share it here on The Family Traveler…
I love to travel with my family and this summer, my plans are to go to new and exciting destinations… no, not leaving the country any time soon Guys! But my concentration right now is on the West Coast – Washington, Oregon and California. I’m not excluding the Gulf Coastal states or the Eastern Coastal United States either. This year, I will be concentrating heavily on the West Coast for the summer months with the Eastern half for early Spring and the Fall months.
Having said that I do want to plug in a few websites that are new. I’d like for everyone to take a peak and let us know what you think. They are new and lacking in content right now but as the weeks pass, my plans are to change all that. I’ve started my contact database for the west coast area. Before long these sites will be saturated with delicious stories and pictures from all three states and beyond! Here are the blog sites: Oregon Family Travel Host (New), https://oregonfamiltravelhost.wordpress.com; West Coast Family Traveler (New), https://westcoastfamilytraveler.wordpress.com; California Family Travel Host, http://californiafamilytravelhost.wordpress.com; and Washington Family Travel Host (New), washigntonfamilytravelhost.wordpress.com.
Come on everybody – lets plan some road trips! We’d lobe to hear about yours. Email pictures and stories to The Family Traveler at email@example.com.
Where Kids Really Want To Go On Vacation
by Marcella Simmons
It is interesting to hear kids talk about vacation time and the places they want to go, and why. What is more fun is taking the information they give you and building a road trip around it, if you can. Open your ears and really listen while they are talking about destinations. They will sometimes reveal a certain place or thing they want to see or do.
This week, I interviewed my three young grandsons, Kendray, age six, Tristin, age ten and Nicolas age thirteen about where they really wanted to go on vacation this year. The three boys are frequent travelers and have traveled to several states, camped and hiked in the highest mountains of Colorado, rafted some of the roughest rapids for amateur rafters, and enjoyed being on long road trips with grandparents for not two, not three, but four weeks at a time!
The answers varied because of the age difference but if you’ll take two minutes to read on, I will reveal to you some of the places they want to go to this year, and why.
The youngest of the three, Kendray answered in a shy little voice, “I want to go to New York this year. They have the tallest buildings in the world and I want to go up an elevator to the tip top.”
Now you have it, Folks! New York; a six-year-old child’s dream vacation for it’s tall buildings. I would have expected something like Florida so he could go to Disney World, but instead he chose New York.
In a separate interview, Tristin said he wants to go on a cruise to Mexico. “I just want to play in the water park on a cruise,” Tristin commented. “That would be so cool!”
Nicolas, on the other hand, wants to fly to Beijing, China. “I read in a book about Beijing and how beautiful it is and just want to go there on vacation one year.”
Kids have different ideals and notions about why they want to vacation at certain places. I am not sure when we’ll get to New York or take the cruise to Mexico or fly to China but hopefully someday these boys will get the vacation of their dreams. But sometimes just knowing what kids wants and why is a good reason to plan a trip according to their wishes. They know what they want and where they want to go, and why!
The Magical World of M. C. Escher coming to the Museum of Art
– DeLand, FL
Maurits Cornelis Escher wanted to capture infinity and cast it onto paper.
To that end, the Dutch graphic artist created lithographs, woodcuts and mezzotints of interlocking reptiles, strange creatures and birds in flight that metamorphosed in and out of each other. He depicted twisted dragons, and ants crawling eternally on a Mobius strip. Read Story Here
I Am Starting A New Tradition for 2018
By Marcella Simmons
Everywhere I look someone is starting a new tradition or making new year’s resolutions… Well, as a writer who just happens to love to love to travel, I want to start a new tradition myself. This year, my new tradition will be to travel to places where I have never been and enjoy life to the fullest a little more than in years past.
Life is too short – I had a near enough death experience in 2017 when I found out I had stage four mouth cancer. The surgeons are confident they got it all and with 6 weeks of radiation coming up, starting tomorrow, five days a week, we hope to have it sealed and gone for good. Having said that, when I got sick it dawned on me that life is shorter than we think, and if we don’t do things while we have the chance that we might not get that chance later on.
So, I am starting a new tradition for myself which includes traveling to a new destination at least once or twice a year, and I am resolving to post (or write) on one or several of my blogs at least once or twice a week.
There’s no time like the present to do what you wish to do with the rest of your life. When I ended up flat of my back after a fourteen hour surgery that left me slightly handicapped for several months and not fully able to speak clearly, scared and bewildered and at the point of sheer despair, and on the point of giving up, I pulled some of my inner strength to the surface and fought with all my might to get well. There is still work to be done, places to be traveled and explored and many travel tales to be written by me.
So here I am, the day after the first day of the new year, vowing to the world that I am starting a new tradition for myself, and bringing my new year’s resolution (to write and blog more) nearer to fruition starting on this day. I have got several trips planned for the upcoming months so you will definitely be reading about some new places that will be unfolding right here before your very eyes!
Whatever your goals, traditions or ideals for the new year are, get started and bring them to fruition with the time you have left! Life is too short to wait because no one is promised a tomorrow or ever after. I was given a new chance and I vow to make every second count for the rest of my life…
TRAVEL Bloggers Welcome
Family Travel Host USA
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In the coming weeks I would like to write some travel stories so I am sending out a message to my readers: “what do you want me to write about?” or better yet, “where (what place) do you you want me to write about?. :Post your comments below or email me at email@example.com.
Give the gift of white water rafting this holiday season!
ARKANSAS RIVER TOURS
Submitted by the North Little Rock CVB
NORTH LITTLE ROCK, ARK. (Thursday, November 30, 2017) – On Thursday, December 7, the Arkansas Secretary of State’s Office and the Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum will hold a Pearl Harbor Day ceremony at 11:30 a.m. followed by free submarine tours at the Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum (AIMM) at 120 Riverfront Park Drive in North Little Rock.
The ceremony will honor Pearl Harbor survivors from Arkansas; veterans William Chase and Walter Smith are expected to attend. This year’s keynote speaker will be Phillip H. McMath, a trial attorney, an award-winning writer, a Marine Corps Vietnam War veteran and an advocate for Arkansas literature and history. He has written several historical novels, full-length plays and short stories. He is the son of former Arkansas Governor Sidney McMath who served in the U.S. Marine Corps during World War II.
Following the ceremony, the main deck of the tugboat Hoga will be open. Hoga is a National Historic Landmark recognized for her heroic efforts in Pearl Harbor during the December 7, 1941 attack. Tours of the submarine USS Razorback will be available and free for all veterans, active/retired military and dependents. Refreshments will be provided.
For additional information, contact AIMM at 501-371-8320 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Katherine Stewart, travel writer
Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism
Arkansas has a unique opportunity to take part in a historic event on Dec. 16, when the commissioning of a new Naval vessel, the USS Little Rock, will take place. The ceremony will be held in Buffalo, New York, where the original USS Little Rock, which was decommissioned in 1976, now sits as a museum ship at Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park. The commissioning ceremony will be broadcast live from New York, and a watch party will take place at the Ron Robinson Theater in Little Rock beginning at 9 a.m. on Sat., Dec. 16. This is the first time in the Navy’s 242-year history that a new ship has been commissioned alongside its namesake ship.
“The commissioning itself is a huge event,” said Ron Maxwell, the coordinator of the ship’s Namesake Committee and a Navy veteran himself. Approximately 30 Arkansans, including Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola and North Little Rock Mayor Joe Smith will be representing Arkansas at the Buffalo event, which has already closed ticketing after receiving far more than the anticipated 5,000 registrations.
“There’s a lot of history and protocol that goes into the commissioning of a new ship,” said Maxwell, who served on the USS Oklahoma City, the sister ship of the original Little Rock, in the 1970s. “There’s a full week of activities,” Maxwell continued, “with parties, receptions and other events” including memorial services, luncheons, sporting events and a tour of the ship. Though the ceremony itself is sold out, those who wish to view the ship in person may do so in Buffalo during Commissioning Week.
The ship is the ninth of 15 new Freedom-class littoral combat ships to be built. These ships are made for shallower waters and can get closer to the shoreline than larger ships can, and instead of propellers, they use waterjets for propulsion. The ship also has a helicopter pad and a small boat ramp, and it can be used by small assault forces. The ship’s name was chosen by former Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, who served on the original USS Little Rock in the 1970s.
Interested local citizens who wish to experience the sold-out commissioning ceremony are encouraged to come to the Ron Robinson Theater in Little Rock’s River Market on the morning of Sat., Dec. 16, for the live-stream event. Doors will open at 9 a.m., and the ceremony begins at 9:45 a.m. The event is free and open to the public, and refreshments will be served. Seating is limited to the first 300 attendees.
For more information, please visit www.USSLittleRockLCS9.com or contact Ron Maxwell at 501-590-0720.
Traveling – Good Times On A Budget
By Marcella Simmons
I love to travel with my family as much as I love to eat! But sometimes finances (and lack there of) puts a damper on travel plans to some extent. Every year, we take off somewhere during the summer months and stay gone three or four weeks at a time. Yet we have a shoe string budget (no spending money at all except for money for essentials like food, gas and lodging.) We have been traveling as a family for many years. We seldom travel solo as some people do. There are always two or three car loads of kids, grand kids and friends and family and their kids who come along for a little fun! But we have a good time no matter where we end up. Let me tell you our little secret for a traveling good time on a budget.
While you’re traveling too and fro, find the cheapest gas available. Sometimes driving away from the Interstate you may be able to find gas as much as 12 or 15 cents cheaper, give or take. It pays to shop around.
# 1: Book your rooms several months early or in advance to save money. Remember too that room rates are usually cheaper during the first part of the week and the prices go up on weekends. Every few dollars saved can be used for other things. Depending on what time of year it is, consider this: a motel with an inside or heated pool during the winter months is a good idea because the kids can swim. Even in the summer, an inside pool is ideal in case it rains. Have a little fun yourself. Grab your swim toys and hop in!
# 2: If you plan on taking the family someplace fun and exciting, it’s best to plan ahead. Know where you are going. Let the Internet be your next best friend. Get familiar with your destination. Contact the Chamber of Commerce and Tourist Bureau and request brochures, travel guides and maps. Don’t be shy – ask questions. Find out all about the free festivities going on in town for the week of your planned stay. Remember your budget. If you are taking kids and other family members on the trip, the more you have to do the better. Sometimes the freebies is more fun than you think.
Next, decide on one or two paid activities (remember to stay within your budget) such as the zoo or an amusement park and book online. Some zoos/aquariums offers a combo package which can save about $10 or 12 a person – usually you can find some great deals online but be careful when buying tickets online – be sure to read the fine print.
If you have a question about what you are buying, call the number given and ask before you buy. If it’s unclear what you are purchasing online then it’s unclear what you’re getting.
A free adventure tip: If you are running out of things to do, and the kids are bored, take them to visit a local pet shop. It’s free to look. A domestic mini zoo! Sometimes pet shops have activities going on, sometimes not.
#3: Months before the trip, set aside at least two rolls of quarters per person for spending allowance. Tell each person how much money they have for the duration of the trip and stick to it. It’s hard giving in when the little ones spend all their allowance and whine for more. When you’re a budget sometimes you have to sacrifice a few little things to stay within your means.
Quarters spend as easily as dollars. They may seem a little bulkier but this a great way to keep your hands off the credit cards and out of your wallet every where you stop.
# 4: Set aside several rolls of quarters to wash clothes every evening. It makes sense to start saving early. Shop at local dollar stores for laundry detergent. Buy a container that will last the duration of the trip. Whatever’s left over you can always take home.
Bring the kids a beach towel and swim suit. When they’re done at the pool hang the wet items over the shower stall for the next time they ant to swim.
When we first started vacationing with the grand kids, I brought the towels and swim wear but they would go swimming several times a day and not wear the wet swim suit again because they were wet and cold. I’d have at least 4 washers full of wet clothes every day. Not happening now. It may be a little inconvenient for them and a bit cold but they’re going swimming and are going to be soaked in a matter of minutes.
Washing clothes is expensive if you’re budgeting your funds. Save the money for something else.
#5: Stay away from coffee shops. Starbucks is expensive. Why pay $4 or 5 for one cup of coffee when you bring along your own coffee pot and can of coffee. Bring the sugar and creamer too. Like tea? Bring your own. You can drink as little or as much as you want and you’re not spending a fortune on one single cup.
Bring a thermos on the trip. During the drive in and drove home, you can fill a large thermos for les
than what a medium cup of coffee costs, usually around $1.59 per thermos. And it holds several cups.
#6: Carry the coolers. Stock them with plenty of water and your favorite drinks for the road trip ahead.
#7: If you are planning your trip months in advance, this is good. Remember though that you will have to eat. We eat out everyday, once a day usually at a fast food restaurant because of the Value Menus. But one way we do it and not have to take away from our trip budget is simple really. Restaurant gift cards. Every week, several months before our trip, I fudge $10 – $15 out of my grocery money and buy a gift card for Burger King, Wendy’s, Sonic, Dairy Queen, Little Caesar’s Pizza, Applebee’s, Denny’s or I-Hop. Cracker Barrel has cards available, too. There may be others but these are some of our favorites. You can find these gift cards at dollar stores or Walmart and they are redeemable any time.
Buying a card once a week isn’t as bad as it seems. You’ll probably never miss the $10 or $15 dollars you spend out of your grocery money any way.
I do this every week and when it’s time for the trip, I usually have enough gift cards for our family and we eat out in the evenings every day of the trip. It doesn’t come out of our living expense budget set aside for our trip.
I usually book motels that offer a deluxe breakfast (waffles, eggs, the works…) so we don’t worry much about that. Besides, some assorted fruit, breakfast bars, a few boxes of cereal and milk kept in the room takes care of that and in between snacks during the day. Lunch is usually sandwiches and chips or a bowl of soup from a can.
It might seem like a little more work to be prepared but if you limited with spending money for eating out, this is the only way to go. I know. If you have a bunch of hungry kids and no money set aside to feed them a burger once in awhile, you will end up wishing you’d stay home. If they are ungrateful and think you’re cheap, so what? They will forget it and remember only the good times they had with you when it’s all over. Been there, done that!
#8: Take a few minutes for yourself while you are gone. Let someone watch the little ones while you take a dip in the pool, or a relaxing hour in the hot tub by yourself. Or stroll along the beach with your significant other and just enjoy some alone time with your favorite person or alone, whichever you prefer. It’s free, and good for the soul and it’s good for what ails you. Just because you are on a budget doesn’t man you can’t enjoy your trip. I’ve been doing this for over twenty years and each trip we take just gets better and better.
Enjoy a movie in the room while everyone else is down at the pool. Take a hot bubble bath and sip a glass of wine. Relaxation is free and revives the spirit!
That’s my tips for today, Guys! Traveling is fun and exciting and expensive but you can enjoy it on a budget. You just have to learn what works best for you.