Top 5 Road Trips

  • Posted by Jonna
  • April 30th 2013

School will be out soon, and everyone will start to think of summer vacations, day trips, and road trips.  If you are destined to take the road, read our favorite top 5 road trip tips to help make your trip safer, happier, and easier than ever.

  • One of the first things to pack in your car is your Emergency Kit.  Not only should it include a medical kit, but also a flashlight, jumper cables, fix-a-flat, water, emergency food, and my personal favorite an emergency assistance road club card.  I have been stranded thousands of miles from home with a broken down car, and was grateful for my auto membership.  From a tire change to a tow to a mechanic, it is always worth the minimal fee to have some assurance that someone will have your back.
  • Bring an “old fashioned” map.  We are all so reliant on our GPS units, but a few weekends ago, my GPS (which was up to date)  lead me to the middle of a field!  No, I wasn’t supposed to be in the middle of nowhere, but at a convention center.
  • Know the cellphone laws!    While it is currently legal in Indiana to hold and talk on your cellphone while driving, doing this same thing on the East Coast will land you with a ticket.  And, texting and driving is never a good idea, so don’t try it anywhere.
  • Check out some travel apps for your smartphone.  One of my favorite apps is Gas Buddy.  Check out the best gasoline prices wherever you are.  Updated frequently by Gas Buddy users, you know you will find the best rate available.  Another one I like is Travel Advisor City Guides.  Get some great tips without paying data charges, since it is all downloaded straight to your phone.  Yelp!  I use this app many times to find anything from a great bar-b-que restaurant in St. Louis, to a local drugstore in Lubbock, Texas.
  • My best tip – enjoy the trip!  After all, you have been waiting for a vacation, so don’t let the stress and strain of the process sour it for you.  Take side trips to see the biggest ball of twine.  It will make memories to last a lifetime!

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Great Trips for Grandparents and Grandkids

  • Posted by Jonna
  • April 25th 2013

parkrideflyusagrandparentsHave you ever wanted to just escape with the grandkids without their parents overruling your every whim?  How about a trip.  I’ve found some great travel trips for grandparents and grandchildren to enjoy each other’s company without the middlemen (parents) getting in the way.  When I was a kid, I always loved going on outings with my grandparents.

Often, during the planning process, grandparents are much more democratic with the kids in the decision making process, like destination, activities, and even choice of lodging. Children feel more involved when asked for their opinions during the planning stages of the vacation.  Also, it is a good rule of thumb to only have one grandchild per grandparents while traveling.  This helps ensure that the children and grandparents can bond and get to know one another better.  And, travel at the grandchild’s pace.  It may take a bit longer with the younger kids, but they will have more enjoyment not being rushed.

One great way to travel with the grandkids is to go on an organized vacation, like a cruise, a visit to a resort, or an organized tour.  Many companies cater to grandparent-grandchild traveling, like elderhostel.org.

The Sierra Club offers a great grandparent trip to the Tahoe National Forest.  Help your grandkids discover the beauty of nature.  With swimming and crafts, combined with nature hikes, the historical significance of this area and bonding time with the kiddos, this is a perfect get-a-way.  The trip is all inclusive, which includes accommodations, meals at the lodge, activities and admission fees.

For those grandparents that have more money to spend on a vacation, check out Road Scholar.  With guided trips all over the world, there are numerous vacation tours that will please both you and your grandchildren.  Trips include African Safaris, discovering Greece, hot air ballooning and more.

But, for those who like to “wing it” there are a lot of places to go based on the time allowance, budget, & level of activity.  Stay overnight in a lighthouse!  At the Rose Island Lighthouse in Newport, RI, you can stay the night or a week. For those wishing to stay a week, they take part in the Full-Time Keeper program.  Do light maintenance, record keeping, etc.  This helps maintain the lighthouse and keep it open for others.  And, if you choose the Full-time keeper option, it is tax-deductible for the time you stay.  What better way to spend a once-in-a-lifetime vacation with your grandkids.

If you are into the care and conservation of the wolves, visit the International Wolf Center in Ely, Minnesota.  With many special and age appropriate activities, children will love observing the wolves in a natural setting and learning about wildlife in general.

With a few ideas and hints to get you started, traveling with the grandchildren can be fun and bonding for everyone.  These trips will last a lifetime, so why not plan one today?  If you have any tips to pass on, we would love to hear about any in the comments.

 

 

 

 

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7 Wonders of the United States

  • Posted by Jonna
  • April 23rd 2013

Looking for a theme summer vacation?  Why not go on a 7 Wonders of the United States (man made).  These are a great testament to the engineering, construction, and fortitude of the country and the people who helped build these iconic structures.

The Empire State Building in New York City.  Construction on this iconic NYC building started in March 1930 during the Great Depression.  It is the second tallest building in the United States, behind the Sears Tower in Chicago. However, when it opened on May 1, 1931, it was the  tallest building in the world.  Millions travel to the building each year and travel up to the 86th or 102nd floor to view the observatory.  When it was built, it even had a dirigible mooring mast that originally was added to be used as a docking station for dirigibles.  It was quite the engineering and building feat to construct the tallest building and much coordination on every aspect of the building was needed to open in just a little over one year.

Washington Monument in Washington D.C. is, of course, in memory of our first president, George Washington.  Originally intended to be the centerpiece of Washington D.C., it now stands in the Monument Mall and is one of the most recognizable monuments in the world.  Construction was started on July 4, 1848 when the Freemasons had a cornerstone laying ceremony.  Due to a series of delays regarding money, the Civil War, etc.,  it wasn’t completed until 1884, however, it wasn’t opened to the public until October 9, 1888.

Mount Rushmore in the Black Hills of South Dakota is a monument to spirit of the United states according to the sculptor, Gutzon Borlgum.  With four of the Presidents’ likenesses carved into the side of a mountain, it took 14 years to complete and $989,992.32 to build.  Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln & Theodore Roosevelt were each selected due to accomplishments made during their individual terms.

Golden Gate Bridge is one of the most recognizable symbols of San Francisco, CA.  Named after the strait is spans, the bridge was declared one of the Wonders of the Modern World by the American Society of Civil Engineers.  Built in just 4 years, it was completed ahead of time and under budget.  It is truly a marvel, and is possibly the most photographed bridge in the world.  At one time the longest suspension bridge in the world, it spans at 4,200 feet.

The Hoover Dam was built between 1931 and 1935.  It serves several purposes, including generating electricity, controlling floods, controlling silt, and help with irrigation.  Building of Hoover Dam created the largest man-made reservoir in the United States, Lake Mead.  Hoover Dam is 726.4 feet high and was made with 3.25 million tons of concrete.

The Brooklyn Bridge links Lower Manhattan to Brooklyn so people and goods could cross the East River.  It was officially opened on May 24, 1883, and at the time was the longest suspension bridge in the world and the first steel-wire suspension bridge. And, for many years after completion, the Brooklyn Bridge was the tallest structure in the Western Hemisphere.

The Seattle Space Needle built for the 1962 World’s Fair was designed to represent the future.  It is designed to withstand 200 MPH winds and is now synonymous with Seattle.  It is the tallest building, at 605 feet, west of the Mississippi River.  One interesting fact is the Space Needle is fastened to its foundation with 72 bolts, each 30 feet in length!  From the top of the Space Needle, tourists can view the Olympic and Cascade Mountains, Mount Rainier, Mount Baker, Elliot Bay and its islands, as well as downtown Seattle.

So, for a great trip select any one of these destination spots or more for  a great family vacation this summer!  Make sure to take lots of photos and share a few with us.  We would love to see them.  And, if your trip requires a flight, make sure you check out ParkRideFlyUSA.com’s great rates at off-airport parking lots.  Located near major airports, our vendors provide great service, transportation to and from the airport, luggage assistance, and rates you can afford.  Get a guaranteed reservation and relax knowing your car will be safe during your trip.  We look forward to seeing you soon!

 

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Top Mother’s Day Trips

  • Posted by Jonna
  • April 19th 2013

Mother’s Day is just a few short weeks away (May 12, to be exact).  What do you get for the woman who has everything?  There’s only so many can openers one person should own at a time. What Mom really wants is more time with her darling children and/or precious grandchildren. So, why not take her on a quick weekend get-a-way, or a longer vacation?

Whether your mom is a fashionista, naturalist, or just a mom that wants to hang out, there’s a destination for you.  Our family took a lot of family vacations.  My parents showed us the United States from the back of a Ford, and I wouldn’t trade those experiences for anything.  So, one place I might like to take my mother is the Grand Canyon.  From just driving around the Canyon to hiking through it, there’s something for every level of activity.  With activities ranging from hiking along the rim to taking a free shuttle ride along the Scenic Hermit Road, or even taking a train aboard the Grand Canyon Railway, Mom will love it.

Ok, if that sounds something more like you dad would like, better scrap that idea.  His holiday isn’t for a couple months.  So, how about just a beach resort visit.  There are many places peppered throughout the United States a mom can relax with a nice lounge by the pool, a mani, pedi, or complete facial.  Treat Mom to a body massage to relived the stress and strain from her week, then take her out to a nice dinner and some quality time with her favorite child of the moment.  Depending on the location of your trip, you may be able to incorporate your stay with some wine tasting, art gallery visits, or even outlet mall shopping.

A couple days in New York City is good for almost anyone, including a fashion-forward thinking Mom.  Where better to catch up with great fashion than NYC.  From the Fashion District to all the hip boutiques your mom can stay on top of her game.  Plus, not to mention you could swing in a couple of your favorite things, too.  And, there is always time for a Broadway Show, a trip to the Guggenheim, MOMA, or the Bronx Zoo.  On my last trip to NYC, we managed to fine a street fair and found some great original work by a local artist.

My mom is also a huge baseball fan, so head out to a sporting event.  You can get as loud as you like and no one is going to “shush” you, too much.  And, eat all the things that are typically bad for you on the outside of the baseball stadium, but are perfectly acceptable during a ball game.  Buy her a Mother’s Day present of a jersey with her favorite players number and you are definitely nominated for kid of the year!

Trips are a lot of fun and you can bond with your mom.  What a great gift for her!  If you need to fly out for your trip, check out ParkRideFlyUSA.com for great parking rates at off-airport parking.  With lots at all the major airports, our vendors provide a guaranteed parking space, great rates, transportation to and from the airport terminal and luggage assistance.  You mom will love it that you planned ahead for a change!

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Earth Day – A Few Facts About the People Behind It

  • Posted by Jonna
  • April 17th 2013

redwood-trees-2Earth Day is about 4 days away.  But, who really started this conservation/ecology movement.  Well, in reality, it’s been going on for years.  Here’s a list of just a few conservationists and environmentalists.

  •  Earth Day was the brainchild of Senator Gaylord Nelson from Wisconsin.   He came up with the idea in 1969 after witnessing the devastation of the Santa Barbara, CA oil spill.  The impact on the environment, marine life, and the thousands of dolphins, sea birds and other animals due to this spill lead to Nelson’s drive to gather support for a political agenda.  Along with Senator Paul “Pete” McCloskey, Nelson introduced legislation and organized a grass-roots movement to bring environmental issues to the forefront of Americans’ minds.
  • John Muir was one of the very first conservationist and worked tirelessly to ensure that the wilderness would be preserved. His efforts led to the creation of Yosemite National Park, Sequoia National Park and more.  Muir was also one of the founders of the Sierra Club, one of the world’s most influential environmental groups. John Muir deeply influenced Theodore Roosevelt.
  • Theodore Roosevelt was an active conversationalist. He added 5 National Parks during his Presidential Term – Crater Lake National Park, Wind Cave National Park, National Game Preserve, Platt National Park, Mesa Verde National Park, and although he attempted to made the Grand Canyon a park, but lost, he did manage protect it by proclaiming the area a National Monument.
  • Rachel Carson is noted by some as the founder of the modern environmental movement.  She published a book in 1962 titled Silent Spring.  This described the devastating effects that pesticides have on the environment.  Although the chemical industry tried to indicate the claims were unfounded, they were later proved correct and DDT and other pesticides were banned in later years.
  • Henry David Thoreau was one of the very first activists for the environment.  He wrote a timely book entitled Walden, or A Life in the Woods. It is a must read for all environmentalist.  Thoreau wrote it after spending 2 years living simply on the shore of Walden Pond.  It is a meditation on nature and life.
  • Ed Begly, Jr.  is well known for  his environmentalist ways.  He is one of the first, in the 1970s, to drive an electric car.  His house is powered by both wind and solar power.

So, what are you doing for Earth Day?

 

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