Tag Archives: humor

MICHIGAN HAS REAL BEACHES

Apparently, if you’re not from the flawless, beautiful, picturesque state of perfection known as California, you don’t have real beaches.

My California friends don’t seem to realize that there are other people around the country (and world) that live quite contently even though they don’t permanently reside in California.  These people go about their day walking the dog, going to work, and hanging out with friends.  They sometimes have to put on a light jacket, but they still find happiness in life! INCREDIBLE!

Some Californians refuse to accept this.  Such arrogance was shown when I told one of my Golden State friends that I was going back to Michigan to celebrate the 4th of July on the beach.

“You know that’s not a real beach right?”

I’ll show you what a real beach is. Cue the video:

 

 

 

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA ROAD TRIP: See As Much As Possible and Ignore the Trolls

california road trip plan

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA ROAD TRIP:         See As Much As Possible and Ignore the Trolls

 

I’m not the type of person who wastes time during vacations.  If I’m visiting a new place I try to see everything I can in the small amount of time I have.  Only once I feel like I’ve seen everything, then I can relax.  It’s just how I’m wired.

Most people hate going on vacation with me, especially if I’m filming.  These are the types of things I say:

“THERE ARE TWO HOURS OF SUNLIGHT LEFT.  WE CAN GET TO THE NEXT 18 PLACES IF WE HURRY!”

“WHY WOULD YOU TAKE A NAP RIGHT NOW?!”

“I DON’T HAVE TIME TO WORRY ABOUT YOUR PROBLEMS.  WE HAVE TO GET THIS SHOT.”

Believe it or not, I managed to convince two friends to come on a week-long road trip with me through Northern California.  I probably won them over when I pitched the beautiful bluffs of the Pacific Coast Highway, the scenic drive up to Glacier Point in Yosemite, and the peaceful Emerald Bay of Lake Tahoe.  But I knew it wouldn’t be all pretty landscapes.

Meet Charles and Jinelle.  Actually just Jinelle.  You already met Charles in my Salton Sea video.  I’m just going to assume all my readers have my videos memorized and know exactly who I’m talking about.   Jinelle is our friend from Michigan who actually flew out just for the trip! I must have really pitched road trip idea well!  We go way back to the middle school years.  And we met Charles in college. The three of us get along great, especially when they do what I want them to do.

Anyway, we had one week to make this trip happen.  I told them where we’d be going: Yosemite, Tahoe, Shasta, Avenue of the Giants, San Francisco, and Big Sur.  It was an ambitious plan to see so many world-renowned places in seven days.  And each place would probably be better explored in seven days on their own.  But I wasn’t going to let that stop me from having an awesome adventure.  I was going to see as much of NorCal as I could.

Jinelle flew into LAX at 10:30PM and we began our adventure at 3:50AM. Actually, that’s the perfect lead in to this video.  You’ll see why:

I promise it’s somewhat entertaining. And it’s short.

I posted this video to Reddit and other social media sites.  These were some of the responses I got:

“You go to see beautiful sites in nature and then B**@#($& about not finding a hotel? Try camping. LOSER!”

“I hate when people travel just to check things off their bucket list instead of actually spending time to enjoy a place.”

Personally, I think a more constructive criticism would have been about Charles’ wardrobe choices:

charles wardrobe

charles wardrobe 4
Look at that sock game!

As the video showed, the trip was fast, fun, and full of some amazing scenery.  This is the type of trip I like to take and I hope I can do more in the future.  Unfortunately this thing called real life gets in the way right now.  If you’d like to sponsor me, I’d be willing to take monthly payments so I can buy a tent, take longer, more meaningful trips, and silence my critics.  I’m very sensitive to their opinions.

Don’t wait for the perfect moment, situation, or right way to travel.  As always, go trip yourself!

-Randy

Yosemite tunnel view
Tahoe emerald bayShasta lake damRedwoods avenue of the giantsSan Francisco painted ladiesBig Sur coast

 

The Ultimate Road Trip Planner Internet Resource Guide

roadtripresourceguidev2

The Ultimate Road Trip Planner Internet Resource Guide

Where are all the good road trip planning resources?!

Recently, I was trying to plan a road trip up north and I realized something strange. There weren’t many road trip resources online.  At least not many good ones.  Or ones that have been updated since 1996.  But I felt like something had to be out there.  So I scoured the web, asked around in forums, and tried to find the best road trip planning resources on the web.  After a more thorough search, there were actually quite a few that I would deem “good.” And not just websites, but there were also tools, apps, and people/brands contributing to the road trip and travel lifestyle.

Since I’m weird and can’t just put everything in a bookmark folder (the easy thing to do), I decided to take all the resources I found, and put them together into one neat, easy-to-read, organized list.

I call it:

THE ULTIMATE ROAD TRIP PLANNER INTERNET RESOURCE GUIDE

Below, broken into categories, are the top resources online to help plan your ultimate road trip.  As new ones pop up, I’ll be sure to update this list.  If you know of other resources that provide readers with awesome road trip and travel content, feel free to suggest them in the comments below!

Let’s begin:

road trip planner

THE OBVIOUS: These are the big resources you should already know about.  But if you don’t, start using them now.  They’ll make your travel planning a whole lot easier.

  • Yelp – Crowd-sourced reviews for businesses and attractions.
  • Lonely Planet – Travel guides! Make sure to check out their Thorn Tree travel forum.
  • Expedia – Book hotels, flights, cars, and more.
  • Kayak – Book hotels, flights, cars, and more.
  • SkyScanner – Find the cheapest flight. Can also book hotels and cars.
  • AAA – Roadside assistance and travel services for its members.
  • ZipCar – Rent a car.  Able to pay by the hour.
  • Air BnB – Rent out a room, home, or apartment from local hosts.

road trip planner

WEBSITES: This next section is websites.  I tried to keep it to resources that have the best information on cool places to see, routes to take, and general road tripping tips.

Oh, and most of these resources are for U.S. road trips only.  Sorry, everyone else in the world.

ROADTRIPPERS

http://www.roadtrippers.com

Updated regularly, Roadtrippers features great places to visit from the strange to the beautiful.  They have a fantastic trip planner, but their articles also give readers thorough information and inspiration about the most scenic driving routes to the scariest ghost towns. Roadtrippers is king.

ROADTRIP AMERICA

http://www.roadtripamerica.com/

RoadTrip America is another good all around website.  Full of travel tips, routes, interactive maps, and forums, it has your bases covered for your road trip needs.

ROADSIDE AMERICA

http://www.roadsideamerica.com/

Although it looks like they haven’t updated their website since 1996, don’t be too quick to dismiss them. Roadside America also has some great content.  You’ll find some of the best offbeat attractions here.  I especially like how you can sort your search by state.

PLANNING FUN ROAD TRIPS

http://www.planning-fun-road-trips.com/

Another website that may be going for the pre-Y2k look. Planning Fun Road Trips offers tips, planners, and best ofs.  This site will get you up to speed quickly if you’re planning your first road trip.

NATIONAL PARK SERVICES

http://www.nps.gov/index.htm

If you have national parks in your road trip plans, you’ll want to remember this website.  The NPS has information on every national park in each state with the information you need from park fees and hours to maps and suggested itineraries.

USA.GOV – TRAVEL AND TOURISM SITES FOR ALL 50 STATES

http://www.usa.gov/Citizen/Topics/Travel-Tourism/State-Tourism.shtml

Just what the title says- a fantastic page that links to all of the tourism websites for each US state and territory.  Pick a state and find things to do right away.

ATLAS OBSCURA

http://www.atlasobscura.com/

When you first open up Atlas Obscura, it’s evident that the people behind it like to explore and like to have a good time.  I like the fun, personal vibe of the website and I like that it’s easy to navigate.  What are you looking for? Ghost towns in California? Atlas Obscura will give you a list of places to visit, a map of where they are, and then a personal article about that location.  Whenever I visit the site I usually stumble across some pretty bizarre and cool places to check out.  Atlas Obscura is a new find I’m very excited about!

REDDIT

Are you looking for trip advice, trying to find a travel partner, or just itching to read a cool road trip story?  Reddit has got you covered. Here are some of my favorite subreddits for road trips and traveling.

   .

road trip with stops

TOOLS: Here’s a list of the online tools that will help make your money-calculating and route-choosing worries go away.

ROAD TRIP CALCULATOR

http://www.shareyourride.net/roadtrip/

Punch in your estimated or actual costs for rental prices, gas, hotels, and daily budget, and the road trip calculator will come up with your total.  It’s a simple way to see where most of your money is going and whether or not you can squeeze in another night of travel.

DISCOVER AMERICA ROAD TRIP PLANNER

http://www.discoveramerica.com/usa/road-trips.aspx

Discover America’s road trip planner is one of my favorites.  Not only does it allow you to plot a point from A to B, but it lets you add and subtract attractions that are on the route.  For example, if you’re taking a trip across the country, you can “turn on” museums and campgrounds and “turn off” shopping centers and airports.  You can even turn on Instagram photos so a person’s travel photos will pop up along your route.  Add any attraction to your itinerary straight from the map.  Discover America’s road trip planner is definitely worth trying out.

THE OPTIMAL ROAD TRIP ACROSS THE US

http://www.randalolson.com/2015/03/08/computing-the-optimal-road-trip-across-the-u-s/

If you’re looking to road trip all 48 states in one go and you want the perfect route, look no further.  Randy (great name!) Olson created the most optimal and efficient route using an algorithm.  The trip makes stops in each state at a national park, historic site, or other interesting landmark.  Check out the link above to read more about the algorithm and chosen attractions.

FREETRIP – TRIP ROUTE PLANNER

http://www.freetrip.com/

There are some people who just want a basic, printable, easy-to-read trip planner.  Although rare in the age of smart phones with maps and travel apps, this is a basic route planning site that lets you choose a few route options (favoring scenic routes, avoiding tolls, estimating fuel costs, etc), press submit, and receive a bare-bones itinerary.  It’s old school, but if that’s your thing, take a look at this resource.

blogs for road trips

BLOGS: Of course this section will naturally be more subjective, I tried to choose blogs that not only inspired and entertained, but also provided some type of informational content.  

Here are some of my favorite blogs to check out:

CALIFORNIA THROUGH MY LENS

http://californiathroughmylens.com/

California Through My Lens gives readers a taste of California through the eyes of Josh, a man “addicted to adventure.”  It’s incredible how many places this one guy has visited in California.  All of his guides and articles are full of detail and include fantastic pictures. If every state had someone as awesome as Josh road tripping and sharing cool places, the states wouldn’t need tourism websites!  If you’re heading to California, check out CaliforniaThroughMyLens.

NOMADIC MATT

http://www.nomadicmatt.com/travel-blogs/great-american-road-trip-part-deux/

Not exactly a “road tripper,” but I’d say he has enough travel under his belt to give you some awesome advice and travel inspiration.  Matt is what I would call a “travel hacker” – someone who finds the cheapest, easiest, and most efficient way travel.  He has a range of articles from Africa travel tips, to best gear, to how to save money for a big trip.  Nomadic Matt is another travel blogging king.

MIDLIFE ROAD TRIP

http://midliferoadtrip.tv/

Instead of having a midlife crisis Rick and Sandi are on a midlife road trip.  They’re traveling the world, checking things off their bucket list, and driving around in a Weinermobile (well, not always. Unfortunately).  Adventurous, fun, and they don’t take themselves too seriously.  Their website is full of good information, but it’s definitely more on the entertainment side!

WANDERING EARL

http://www.wanderingearl.com/

Wandering Earl is one of the most popular travel bloggers on the internet.  He set out on a three-month trip to Asia and hasn’t stopped traveling since.  He blogs about his adventures and struggles, offers tips and information, and even has his own resource books and tours. This guy is making a living off being a permanent nomad and there’s plenty to learn.

WORLD OF WANDERLUST

http://www.worldofwanderlust.com/

Brooke is another blogger who travels the world full time.  And although you may take one look and say “Oh no, just another pretty girl traveling the world,” she’s built a pretty impressive online presence.  Her website is full of quick tips, reviews, and travel stories. And she’s amassed hundreds of thousands of followers on her social media accounts.  Her content is geared more towards girls in their teens and twenties, but even if you don’t fit that demographic, you can still probably find something you relate to.

YOUNG ADVENTURESS

http://youngadventuress.com/

I like Liz.  No, I don’t actually know her.  But it looks like she hustles, and I respect that.  Her website is about her own adventures around the world.  She’s been doing it for years and her articles give her readers tips, advice, and personal anecdotes about travel.  So, no, not exactly road tripping, but I’m confident you’ll be inspired by her drive, her excellent writing style, her travel stories, her photographs, and her rad sense of adventure.

best apps for road trips

APPS: Remember when people used to use real, paper maps? No? Me neither.  I can’t imagine getting around without the map app in my phone. Although some of the apps built in the name of convenience are just plain ridiculous, some of the ones built in the name of travel are just plain awesome.  

Here are some of my favorite travel apps:

  • gas buddyGAS BUDDY – Find the cheapest gas station nearby.
  • iexitiEXIT – Tells you what’s at upcoming exits on your route.
  • troverTROVER – Instagram/Pinterest style photo-travel app.  Great for finding hidden gems in big cities or interesting places along the way.
  • roadtrippersROADTRIPPERS – Find cool places, plan trips, save itineraries.  Great interface and easy to use.
  • field tripFIELD TRIP – Be notified automatically when you get close to something cool.  Find food, drinks, historic spots, and unique attractions just by being nearby.
  • yonderYONDER – Choose an outdoor activity you’re interested in, choose your location, and find places where you can do that activity around you.  Connect with others and share tips and photos.
  • day oneDAY ONE – A nicely designed app for journaling.  Record the cool things you see or do on your road trip. Add pictures too.
  • road trip liteROAD TRIP LITE – Great app to track your car mileage and fuel economy.
  • yelpYELP – Find any type of restaurant, attraction, or even a mechanic based on category and location.  Read reviews and see pictures from other users.
  • tripitTRIPIT – Tripit take all your travel plans and confirmation emails (hotel and car reservations, for example) and creates a neat itinerary saved in one place.
  • RV ParkyRV PARKY – RV PARKS AND MORE – Find RV parks, campgrounds and more with the RV Parky app.  It also shows what amenities are at each site such as electricity, water, picnic tables, price, etc.
  • butuBUTU – Unfortunately the app hasn’t been updated in awhile (I almost didn’t put it on the list), but I like how you just tell it where you are and it will suggest where you should go and what you should see.
  • maps.meMAPS.ME – Offline maps.  Download the map of your destination, and then use it when you don’t have wifi or data access.
online road trippers

PEOPLE ON TWITTER

Do you like knowing where people are and what they’re doing every second of every day? Follow these people on Twitter then. Oh, and there are some brands that give good travel information on this list, too.
Mentioned in the sections above:
@roadtrippers
@nomadicmatt
@RickGriffin
@wanderingearl
@worldofwlust
Food:
@RoadtripsFoodie
@tvfoodmaps
YouTube Travel Vloggers:
@funforlouis
@mrbenbrown
Other:
@MikesRoadTrip
@usatourismboard
@usatodaytravel
@worldnomads
@bourdain
@when_in_roams
@tripoto
@MatadorNetwork

PEOPLE ON INSTAGRAM

Fun Instagram accounts that deal with travel (in no particular order). Get inspired.  These photos are sweeeeeeeet!
 http://instagram.com/
  • philstockbridge
  • chrisburkard
  • jordanherschel
  • kev_alvarez
  • thesamgraves
  • californiathroughmylens
  • funforlouis
  • mrbenbrown
  • when_in_roams
  • worldwanderlust
  • abekislevitz
  • deeque_
  • jodyjohnston
  • mike_pgregory
  • talking_tree
  • matadornetwork
  • youngadventuress
miscellaneous road trip tips

MISCELLANEOUS: This section is for the resources that don’t really fit in the other categories.

TV FOOD MAPS

http://www.tvfoodmaps.com

Do you like watching those food travel shows? Want to visit those same restaurants?  TV Food Maps has put together a website that lists every restaurant organized by show.  You can also explore by state or location and create your own road trip!  A great resource for the serious foodie.

ROAD FOOD

http://www.roadfood.com

Just looking for good places to eat on the road?  Road Food helps you find great local restaurants nearby.  My favorite section is the Self-Guided Eating Tours.

———

And that’s it!

The Ultimate Road Trip Planner Internet Resource Guide.  As I mentioned above, I will continue to edit this list as I find more or better resources.

If you have any suggestions, let me know in the comments section below. If you already use some of these resources, I’d love to know which ones. If you hate any of these resources or just want to complain, also feel free to let me know in the comments section below.

Go trip yourself!

-Road Trip Randy

GoPro Hero 4 Black: Making Average People Look Cool

Snowboarding with the GoPro Hero 4 Black – Review and Experience

I’m certainly no snowboarding prodigy.  I can’t do any cool tricks, jump on any sweet rails, or land any big air jumps.  The coolest thing I’ve probably ever done on a snowboard is accidentally doing a flip over my friend on the mogul hill and nearly taking off his head.  Don’t ask me why we were in the mogul area.  It’s clearly not built for snowboarders.  Regardless of my lack of extreme skill, I love snowboarding.  I pretty much only go straight down the hill or weave in and out of annoying skiers, but I love it.

When you watch cool snowboarding videos on YouTube, you usually see snowboarders doing really amazing things.  For example, you’ll likely see guys doing triple backflips, holding their GoPro in one hand and eating a corn dog in another.  That’s not me. Like I said, I usually just stick to barreling down the hill.  So when I brought my GoPro to a recent snowboarding trip, I wasn’t sure what to expect.  Was there going to be anything remotely interesting in the the pictures I take?   Could I still make a cool video even though I can’t do an intentional backflip?  Yes.

What I especially like about the GoPro is how well you can make yourself look like a badass.

GoPro Hero 4 black snowboarding
Doesn’t it look like I’m capable of doing a triple backflip while eating a corn dog?
Look at me with my cool friends.
Look at me with my cool friends.
Here, look at me again.
Here, look at me again.

I’ve also noticed how narcissistic I’ve become since getting the GoPro.  I’ve taken more selfies since buying the GoPro Hero 4 Black than in my entire life.  Oh well, all great things have their flaws (I’m referring to the GoPro, not me, of course).

This is my first GoPro.  I bought the high-end model with a few accessories.  Over the past few weeks, I’ve been testing out the GoPro’s capabilities.  I took it to Griffith Observatory and Malibu.  I tested it in my car as a dash cam.  I even set it up to take a nighttime time-lapse of the sky and stars.  I had yet to test out its video capabilities until I came home to Michigan for the Christmas holiday.  I made the snowboarding video below.

Here’s what I love about the GoPro Hero 4 Black

-Excellent photo and video quality.  And the color is so vivd straight out of the camera.
-Even when pointed into the sun, the camera can produce great images.
-Easy to use and carry.  All the accessories are quick to mount with this camera.
-4k and 2.7k capabilities.  I shot in 1080p for a variety of reasons, but those higher options are there for you, if you need them.

-Shots are surprisingly stable for being on a snowboard.

 And here’s that video I made.  No corn dogs or badass tricks for you to see, but I hope you still like it.

Note: Michigan isn’t known for its mountains.  Don’t judge us by the hills we snowboard on!

If you can do sweet tricks, or you enjoy capturing every moment from the bathroom to the outdoors, or you just want a solid camera to take on a fun road trip, the GoPro Hero 4 Black is the way to go.  Personally, I can’t wait to take this on my next road trip because it’s so versatile and can get the shots I can’t get with my DSLR.

It may sound like I’m reviewing this product in exchange for money.  I wish that were the case!!!  But, no, I’m reviewing it because I’m just that excited about how awesome it is…and because I wanted a reason to show you how badass I look in those pictures.

—–

In other news, I’m back in California.  I picked up a Post PA gig for six months and hopefully this one will help me on my quest to become an editor.  In the meantime, I’m itching to go snowboarding on a real mountain and take another weekend road trip somewhere in SoCal.  Any suggestions?

Road Trip Randy Blog Update

Hello! I feel like it’s been awhile.

I also feel like this how every undisciplined, cliche writer on WordPress starts a post.  And then repeats the routine every three months.  See you in January?

Personal Updates

I just wanted to take some time to let you know Hollywood is eating me alive.  I’m currently PAing on a gig that usually goes 12-16 hours a day, six to seven days a week.  I’m not complaining.  This is actually quite common in my industry.  And it’s fun at times.  But it’s a big change from my last show which was only 11 hours a day, five days a week.  I had so much free time!!  Anyway, my current gig will take me through mid-December.  The good news is I’m making lots of money (GoPro Hero4, anyone?). The bad news is I don’t see how I’ll have time for road trips anytime soon.  Maybe I’ll try to do a Sunday day trip if I’m not too exhausted.  Or maybe I’ll write a post about my job.

I also bought a new night stand.  And black socks.

Blog Update

I’ve made a few changes to the blog. If you didn’t notice, I don’t blame you, but just pretend you did.  I added a nice new “Video” tab on the top navigation bar with some videos you probably haven’t seen yet. Check ’em out.

I’ve also added a Facebook Page (see right column).  If you like reading my stuff, please show me some love by following me on there or one of my other social media pages:

I have 60 WordPress readers, which means 54 are probably spammers. So there are at least six of you who are real.  Let’s connect.

Road Tripping Down Memory Lane

(If you just want to see pictures and ignore all the text, scroll to the bottom.)

A few weeks ago, I took a road trip that I’ve been taking for years – 24 to be exact.  Every year in July my family has packed up our van and drove up north to a little town in Michigan called Oscoda.  My grandparents have a condo right on Lake Huron and we get our own private beach.  It’s incredible.  There are so many great memories on that beach.  Some include puking and knocking out teeth, but most are quite enjoyable.

If you follow my blog religiously (please always tell me you do), you remember from my first post that I work in television.  Initially, I was worried I wasn’t going to be able to take time off to fly home.  In the television world, you usually can’t just book a week of vacation whenever you want.  You have to wait until you have a break between shows.  We were right in the middle of production, but since I have an awesome boss, she told me I should take the week off.  Sweet!

Just hearing the word Oscoda is one of the few things in life that can bring me instant joy.  The association is that strong.  Another would be Cinnamon Toast Crunch.  Because my family has been going to Oscoda for so many years, we’ve made a lot of great memories and traditions.

Some of my favorites:

  • Playing in the waves that were nearly two feet over my head.
  • Playing capture the flag on the beach after dinner.
  • Riding bikes into town to buy candy (and then always being reprimanded by my dad for buying too much).
  • Not being able to control the paddle boat and drifting out way too far from shore (not sure why this is a fond memory).
  • Spending hours in a small attic with six other kids (again, not sure why this is a fond memory).
  • Hitting golf balls on the beach.
  • Seagull chasing in our speed boat.
  • Late night swimming.
  • A huge storm flooding our parking lot.
  • Being able to see millions of stars in the sky at night.
  • Drinking around the bon fire for the first time (legally, of course).
  • Driving to Harrisville just for the ridiculously large ice cream cones they used to serve at The Cove.

My least favorite:

  • Knocking a girl’s tooth out with a golf club when I was four.  Her tooth is still messed up to this day.
  • Looking at a porcupine through binoculars and not being allowed to go pet it.
  • Getting small frogs thrown down my shirt after the big flood.
  • Getting grounded (probably for throwing bread) and missing one of our nightly bon fire.
  • Going to the 4th of July parade, standing at the end, and never getting candy because the people in the parade ran out. EVERY YEAR.  Why didn’t we move up to the front?!

road trip randy

Every year since 1990, a group of us kids shared these memories together.  This year we can add two more to the list.

In May, a Piping Plover decided to lay eggs in the middle of our beach.  For those of you who don’t know (I sure didn’t), a Piping Plover is an endangered bird in North America.  Apparently there are only three left in Michigan.  Because of this, officials closed off half our beach until September!  I was pretty mad.  And they gave that bird way more room than it needed, in my opinion! Think of roping off half of a football field for a potato.  Oh well, I guess if it keeps the bird alive, it’s all good.  And we still had plenty of room for our bon fires.

The other change this year was the addition of babies to our group.  What is it about babies that makes grown men and women change their personalities and act completely unlike themselves?  It was very bizarre to watch everyone talk like babies.  The oldest in my group of friends, Michelle, was the one who had twins recently.  They’re cool and all, but now I see why people say parenting is a full time job.  The twins didn’t let Michelle relax for one minute. Babies are so selfish.

I’ve noticed that within the past few years, we’ve been doing less and less of our yearly traditions in Oscoda.  We still go to the sub-par 4th of July parade, play on the beach, and have nightly bon fires, but something has changed.  Now we argue about politics, relax on couches after dinner, and complain about how much we just ate.  Don’t get me wrong, I still have a blast every year, but I think a big part of the appeal now is the nostalgia the place brings.

I guess I don’t like change and I don’t like growing up.  I’m a traditions guy.  I love traditions.  Last Christmas, my mom tried to put the presents under the tree a few days early because she thought they would look nice and wanted to enjoy them for longer than a couple hours.  I refused to let her do this.  Presents don’t appear under the tree until Christmas morning!  It’s tradition.

I think what I’m trying to say is that traditions seem to make activities better because of the memories attached to them.  The activity itself might not be that great.  Sitting in a hot attic?  Not that amazing.  But it was tradition (and we were weird).  Now that we have endangered birds and babies and politics changing our traditions in Oscoda, I guess it’s time to make new ones.  And maybe that’s a good thing.  But it might take me awhile to accept.

What does this have to do with road tripping?! Absolutely nothing.

Anyway, Oscoda taught me a couple things:

  1. Making new traditions can be a good.
  2. I’m not having babies until I’m 50.

 

Here’s a time lapse I made of the beach at night looking down towards the pier.  Turn on HD!

And here are a few more pictures I took with my new camera that I bought with my new money.

road trip randy

road trip randy

road trip randy

road trip randy

road trip randy

road trip randy

IMG_1646

Get ready for my next post to actually be about a road trip, in California, like my blog actually suggests.  Enough with the pointless, deep talks, Randy!

Go Trip Yourself!

Thanks, WordPress.  Last week when I was setting up my blog, you asked me for my Site Title. Easy.  I like anything with my name attached to it: street signs, monuments, schools, etc.  Road Trip Randy was the obvious choice.  But after that, you told me I should have a tagline, too.  I hadn’t given a tagline much thought, but figured it must be a good idea if you were suggesting it.

Rewind two years.

road trip randy

I’m on a boat in Vietnam (not the small one in the photo above).  My friends and I just signed up for a three-day boat cruise in Halong Bay, one of the seven natural wonders of the world! It’s cold and cloudy, but our captain assures us we’ll still be able to do everything on our itinerary including rock climbing, island camping, and cliff jumping.  Hours later he tells us that it’s all been cancelled due to the weather. Instead we’ll learn how to make spring rolls from the chef.  Unimpressed, we decide to go to our cabin and drink the 24-pack that we brought (snuck on) with us.

A couple months later, I’m in in China heading to the Great Wall.  I got a great deal on a packaged tour.  What I didn’t know is that before they take you to the Great Wall, they take you to a jade museum, a pearl exhibit, a tea ceremony, a silk shop, and a foot massage place.  Cool extras…unless they also take you to the fake Great Wall that’s nothing more than a fancy staircase.

Soon after, I’m in the sweaty, but awesome city of Bangkok, Thailand.*  I’m on a bus headed to go pet tigers!  We stop at a few places on the way and when we arrive at Tiger Temple, they tell us they’re about to close. They’ve already begun putting away the tigers!

What do these three stories have in common besides extreme momentary rage and depression?  Guided Tours.  You know what I say to that?  GO TRIP YOURSELF!  Side note: What’s great about this saying is that you can replace “trip” with another four letter word and it still accurately describes my feelings toward guided tours.

Guided and packaged tours can be okay… sometimes.  When you’re in a foreign country and you don’t speak the language, sometimes the easiest way to see the sights is to hop on a tour bus with a bunch of other people that look like you.  It’s easy to plan and very convenient.  However, the pros of guided tours end there.  Guided tours only want your money.  They’ll take you to the sites, but they determine how long you stay.  They determine what time you get there.  They determine what part of the attraction you go to.  They determine what stops you have to make before getting there.  They have complete control of your vacation from the moment you get in that van or bus to the moment you get out.

That’s why I like tripping myself. I control what I see.  Sure it’s a little more work and possibly a little more money, but in the end, well worth it.  In China, I was so disappointed with my Great Wall scam tour that I hired a private taxi the next day and spent three hours by myself at the real Great Wall.  It cost me $50 bucks and was one of the coolest experiences I’ve ever had.  No more guided tours for this guy!

road trip randy

And that’s why I love my new WordPress-inspired tagline.  It fits.  It has meaning that goes beyond the surface and its conspicuous, alternative insult.  It motivates you to go do things on your own and create your own path- to not just follow everyone else because it’s easy.  I struggled with this a lot as a kid.**  Don’t do something just because everyone else is doing it… unless it’s really, really fun- or something normal, like eating bread.

So the next time someone invites you on a great packaged tour, tell them to go trip themselves.  Make your own adventure.

 

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*Let’s clear this up so I don’t sound like one of those world traveling jerks.   That year of travel was cool, but the way I wrote it makes it sound like I just hopped to exotic locations whenever I pleased.  Most of my year in Asia was actually spend in an 8x8ft “classroom” with no window.

**As a kid, my parents and my friends’ parents always tried to warn my friends and me about peer pressure.  Whenever we did something just because someone else did it, they’d ask: “If so-and-so jumped off a bridge, would you??”  I always answered with a resounding “YES!”  It really annoyed them.  But honestly, what a silly question to ask a seven-year-old.