Blistering Desert: Travel Tip Tuesday 

As a Southerner, there are a few things I’m genetically dispositioned towards: monograms, football, flops, pearls, sweet tea, mosquitos, and humidity. Out West, everyone wanted to tell me how the heat would be the end of me. Please, down South we’ve got mosquitos the size of cats and heat soaked with humidity so thick you could cut it out of the air. 

I will admit that the desert heat is no joke, poolside in Vegas one day it reached 112° completely melting the binding glue of my book. But folks, that’s a dry heat. 

Now as I said, I live or die by my Rainbow flops. They’re just the best flip flops you could ask for especially with their Rainbow Guarantee. However, this summer my beloveds betrayed me. Broken in to perfection, while in Vegas they gave me a blister?! It took me awhile to figure that one out. 

The desert heat not only dried me out, they dried out my leather sandals. This is a simple fix! Lotion. I started making sure I lotioned up my feet AND my Rainbows. This kept them from drying up and rubbing against me as well as keeping them from drying out and cracking. Pretty simple, right? 

Let no flop keep you from wandering! Tomorrow, I’m tackling Vegas for Where I’ve Been Wednesday. Keep an eye out for it! 


I’ve always loved the written word. Renowned penpal, I am never without a book of stamps to send off a quick note, a letter to remind you I care. Thanks to the written word, now I get to send off postcards from all over. Not having a car payment played a big part.
What would you do without a car payment? If someone just gave you a car, would that change your life? Then let’s change your life. You can have my car. No strings attached, all you have to do is send me a letter telling me why you deserve my car. Grammar doesn’t matter, don’t get caught up in that. Look at me, I laugh in the face of punctuation without an editor! But, I won’t bother looking at your letter if it isn’t handwritten.

Here’s what you need to know:

1. You only get considered if you mail a letter. No emails, no calls, no texts. A handwritten letter is the only way you get considered.

2. All letters must arrive in the mailbox at the yellow house by April 21st. Mail your letter to:

Muffy Morris

1107 Riva Ridge, Danville, KY 40422

3. Don’t bother mailing your letters after April 21st, I won’t be here after that.
4. If given the car you cannot sell, trade, or any other type of negotiation for profit.

5. Location doesn’t matter. If you don’t care about the extra miles, we can talk about getting the car to you wherever it is you are.
The Car:

Silver 2004 Hynadi Elantra hatchback

166,000 miles +/-

Stick shift, moonroof

It’s a solid car. Within the last year I’ve put in a new oil pan and a new clutch. It does need a new emergency brake and a CO2 thermometer (It got put in upside down. Promise, it’s the only thing I attempted to do myself). Both easy fixes. The driver side window is off track and there’s some exterior dings. No water damage, we’re flood free and hurricane evacuees. Primary focus is, this car is free.

Almost Lost in Texas

Yeah, I’ve got theme going here. Don’t you worry, I have more stories about being lost than you have time to read. This can go on for forever!

While driving back from New Mexico, The Chef and I decided to detour to McDonald’s Observatory. Lucky for me, The Chef doesn’t just keep me well fed, he also is a star nerd too. So we decide to take a detour to the observatory for one of their Star Parties. Yes, Star Parties! It should be noted that the peeps at McDonald’s Observatory are using the word “party” loosely. They do not offer beverages and there is no music or chit chat. And it just so happened that we were in the area on the night of a Star Party! They also have a Twilight Program beforehand. We didn’t make it in time, but I’m going to guess they don’t offer cocktails there either.

As super exciting as the observatory is, it is not the point even though the topic of discussion that evening was my absolute favorite constellation Orion. I’ll hold off on my love/nerd rant for another time. Still going to sneak in some pics for your viewing pleasure.

img_8230On our way up the mountain, the fog started to roll in. Somewhere along the way we passed javelinas. It was exciting! That was when I realized I lost signal and couldn’t Google fun facts on javelinas to chatter to The Chef.
I’ve been losing signal the whole trip off and on, no big deal.

Except, The Chef lost signal too and he never did. Surely it would reappear once we made it around the bend? It did not. The fog just got thicker.

We kept our eyes peeled for road signs. Finally, we made it up to the top of the mountain at 6,780 ft. It was really, crazy dark. Super cold and crazy dark. You see, the observatory has minimal lighting and red bulbs where they do have lighting. starparty_1
There was lots of dark and lots of clouds. There was so much cloud coverage we couldn’t see any stars and had a virtual sky gazing tour (no where near as cool).

After seeing the giant telescope, we skipped the second hour of the evening. The evening was getting late and we still hadn’t confirmed a hotel. For some reason, Ft. Davis had a shortage of hotel rooms. The 16 miles winding down the mountain in the dark and the fog with no wifi or signal was an estimated 30 minute drive to Ft. Davis. With no public wifi and an unhelpful volunteer at the desk who wouldn’t pull up a map let alone print one off, dictated the appropriate turns and twists to get off the mountain. It was not reassuring.
We snagged a hotel brochure witimg_8235h a teeny tiny map hoping for the best. Exasperated I couldn’t Google if javelinas eat humans (since obviously we would get lost, breakdown, and be murdered by wild piggies) I started shaking my phone at The Chef. As if he didn’t already understand that my phone wouldn’t work, I pulled up the compass that should have been able to tell us our elevation. Except the compass started moving.
Turns out, your compass isn’t based off your cellphone signal, the compass is electronic. While it is not the most accurate option, it is enough to find your way down a mountain away from murderous javelinas in a pinch.

So when you get lost in Paris, call America Express and when you’re lost on a mountain without a signal, pull up your compass to avoid driving around in circles hidden in the fog.

Travel Tip Tuesday: Lost in Paris

Where were we? Right, sixteen year old Muffy gallivanting around Europe. If you remember, yesterday I told you about my puppy love and hijinks in Hyde Park all made possible by my absent chaperone. As a teenager with her first real taste of freedom, it was glorious. As an adult, looking back I realize how irresponsible. 

Who thought it was a good idea to let a chaperone who had never been out of the country and didn’t speak any foreign languages be our charge? Our co-chaperones were her college age daughter and one of her friends (I think). 
The chaperone was relishing in her own first trip abroad. It gave us all the opportunity to run wild, which we did…until it got out of hand. 
We were in Paris, only the second city of our trip. We had been gone only a few days. We were supposed to be going to Moulin Rouge only our chaperone was drunk, too much wine.  No help at all. As the sun set, we all started to realize even if we didn’t know where we were supposed to be, this was definitely not it. 

I called my mother collect. “Where am I? I don’t know Mom, somewhere in the red light district.” I’ll give Mom this, when she’s Mom she is on point. Her daughter called from the other side of the ocean in need of an adult. She didn’t panic, she didn’t yell; I’m sure she saved that for the principal. She asked me if I had my American Express card. She told me to call the number on the card. 

American Express got me to my hotel. They still offer “I’m 16 and lost in the red light district of another country” help. In my time as a Vacation Savant, I urged guests to book their vacations with the AmEx card if they had one. They have excellent travel insurance built in just by booking with the card. 

There are lots of cards out there with offers of points. I’m not saying choose American Express. What I am saying is when you choose your in “case of emergency” credit card, make sure you look at what emergency it offers assistance. 

Today is Tuesday?!!

This whole isolation and solitude has thrown me. Today is Tuesday! Did you know that? Good news, I left the house and was social. Bad news, I have a massive hangover. This kid isn’t in her prime anymore. 

So in honor of me being old and struggling with a massive hangover, this week the Travel Tip is a reminder to always be prepared. Remember you can bring a wine bottle opener in your carry on if it doesn’t have a mini knife. Travel smart. Drink lots of water! And for the love, if the bartender says you should eat something, eat something! 

Travel Tip Tuesday: Fall In Love

Even before this journey, I would have preferred to catch a flight than feelings. That doesn’t mean I am not romantical. In fact, I am all kinds of crazy romantical, big fan of falling in love. Out here, I am getting to fall in love all the time. In fact, on this trip I have become an expert at falling in love.

Things, places, people, cities, transportation…all these things have me falling in love over and over again.

Sometimes, it’s an idea that loses the sparkle in reality. There have been sparks revisited that fire up or just needed the chance to burn out. New experiences and old.

All of it has lead me to fall in love with me and this mission I have sent myself on. There is so much that I am learning about myself, so much that I am remembering about who I am.

We’re not going to get all mush-mush, there has been enough of that in the world today. This week, my advice is simple:

Go fall in love.

Fall in love with yourself, a city, an experience, or even just a memory. Get out there and love it.

If you’re reading this you’re probably home with a glass of wine, like me. Close on out of this and find somewhere to go. If you need inspiration of the Valentine’s inclination, try out one of these heart shaped islands. 


Travel Tip Tuesday: The Weatherman and Planned Alliteration *EDITED*

**The contents of the original post Travel Tip Tuesday: Weather & Planning has been edited to the new post titled Travel Tip Tuesday: The Weatherman and Planned Alliteration**

Todd, the weatherman, requested his post be permanently deleted because he said I was being “petty.” I was patient when he critiqued. I was polite in pointing out when he was condescending. I was put off when he mainsplained. I attempted to be personable in my replies when he lectured me on a public forum. I stopped being passive and asked what his deal was in private where I did call him pompous for thinking he is always right. To which he responded that he was right.

No one needs that kind of provocation. Pass on that noise. It isn’t petty, it is preservation.

While I have left the weather radar links from the original Travel Tip post at the bottom, I’m adding one more:

Ladies, persist.

You hold your own as you travel around the world. I read about how proud you are of how you carry yourself on solo travels. I hear you tell tales of keeping your guard up for predators. Don’t stop just because you aren’t traveling.

We live in a time where simply being a woman makes you prey. Defend your mind, opinions, and thoughts with the same fierceness you call upon when walking through deserted parking garages. Don’t tolerate poor treatment under the guise of being polite.

Betty White once talked about how she didn’t know why wimps were called “pussies” since they are stronger than a man’s balls. Her words, “they take a pounding.” They withstand pain and pleasure. They are the place of life. They punish some of us each month for skipping the latter. They are a powerful thing.

I don’t know when the defining anatomy of a women became dirty. I don’t know why it’s forgivable for a man, any man regardless of if his title starts with a p, to discuss grabbing a pussy, but that the world can declare the word vulgar. I do know that I am proud to be who I am and all the parts that come with it.

Do I think Todd is a parasite? No. Nor do I think he put thought into how his comments, remarks, or his attempts to constantly push his perspective were being perceived. I just have lost patience in tolerating it. Does that make me petty? No. Does this post? Possibly, but with greater intentions. Besides, Todd explicitly told me to go write on my blog about how he’s “pompous” and I told him excellent last words.

Resources for weather and not keeping quiet anymore:

Travel Tuesday: Hitting the Rails

I keep seeing the story pop up all over. There was that kid who took the train from California to New York for $213. What a deal! No, not really. 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m enchanted by the train! The views! The dining cars! There’s no sleep like on a train….just in one of the sleeping cars. 

Yes, you can take the train cross country for $213. You can even read the latest article I was tagged in to read about it from Esquire HERE.

What you can’t do for $213 is get on and off the train. Well, you can, you just have to buy different tickets for each portion of the trip then coordinate. It’s a hassle and trains aren’t like planes, they don’t run all the time. Like for instance, this weekend I’m hopping on the Sunset Limited. It only runs on Saturday, Monday, and Thursday. When I get off at a station, I’ll have to entertain myself until I head back to the station two days later. 

You can get a Rail Pass that allows you to get on and off at various stops. A 15 day Rail Pass that allows you 8 different rides (getting on and off again) is over $400. 

Remember that great sleep in sleeping cars? That’s not included. For $213 you get to go cross country in your seat for 3 days. It’s not the dream vacation of seeing the country they make it out to be. 

The point is if you’re wanting the experience then you’ll need to pay more and plan a little more. If you want to get across the country on the cheap, fly. 

We’re going to have to gloss over typos with this one for now, it’s a post from the phone and those always are struggle. Wifi in the desert just isn’t so much! 

Travel Tip Tuesday: Crossing the Border to Mexico

With Mexico just an hour away, I can’t help myself from itching to cross over. The call of tacos is too strong. Unfortunately for me, I can’t make the run for the border. My passport is being renewed in preparation for Cuba in March.

Even though I’m left only daydreaming about the trip, it doesn’t mean I can’t read up on what I need to know for when I can crossover.

The border may only be 67 miles away, it can take up to 2 hours to actually get through. Be prepared for how many rounds of 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall you’ll need to sing in wait by checking border wait times.

Check your car insurance. Most policies only cover a certain mileage into another country. For Mexico, Sanborn’s Insurance is the popular choice.

Just like me, you’ll need your passport. Anything less and you better hope you know all the words to the Fresh Prince of Bel Air’s theme song.

I may just be winging it, but for those who are not take a look at the list the Before You Go from MexPro.

Have you crossed the border lately? What advice do you have? As always, be safe out there kiddos! And happy travels!

Travel Tip Tuesday: Bringing It Home

If you’re still traveling for the holidays or are already back home for the holiday, let’s talk safety. Most specifically, I want to talk about your Christmas tree.

I know, this isn’t a travel tip, but fire safety is near and dear to my heart. It just takes one time of waking up in a burning building to get your guard up!

Let’s zone in on the point: that Christmas tree in your living room giving everything a golden glow is a death trap. I need all y’all to keep it watered. Keep it away from heating vents, space heaters, oh lord, and please keep it away from your fireplace.

All my Southerners, I know y’all have it in your head to light that tree on fire. RESIST! Mr. Fireman told me all kinds of stories about how that tree goes up in a great ball of poof! For the love of biscuits, if you are going to burn it be smart about it. Not in your fireplace! Have a hose handy. That thing is going to take 3.4 seconds to burn.

Just be safe y’all. The holidays may be over, but that tree could still ruin it all.

Also per my new fireman friend, make sure that you haven’t hidden any extra presents or wrapping paper in the over before you turn it on. We’ve all been guilty of a quick hiding clean!