First, a delightful Christmas present for the Route 66 community from Rick Dinkela and his obviously supportive wife. The Events on Route 66 website is live!Free postings for events and Route 66 related meetings, $5.00 per month business card advertisement, and an interactive map ensure that this will become a very valued resource for the entire community, provided the Route 66 community helps build it and promote it. The site is pretty self explanatory but for general information contact Rich at email@example.com. In regards to a somewhat related Route 66 endeavor it is now less than thirty days until we turn over the homestead to our able caretaker, motor northwest to sin city, and set off on our first international adventure. Only a few minor details are yet to be resolved (carry on only or checked bags plus carry on, the schedule for when we are to be at the U.S. Biker booth during the travel fair in Utrecht, etc.).
Due in large part to the number of friends and acquaintances on the other side of the pond eagerly offering assistance, and the Dutch Route 66 association sponsored event at de Prael, there is less apprehension about exploring the Netherlands than there is about seeking the wonders of Chicago. My dearest friend has an ear for languages and is picking up enough of the language to ensure we can at least order food and find the bathroom. I, on the other hand, have fallen short. The schedule has not been conducive to dedicating time for study. Still, I have picked up a few phrases and words. Even though English is a pretty common language in the Netherlands, in my mind it is a show of respect to be able to understand and speak at least a bit of the native language. To this I would add that for those of us whose lives are intertwined with Route 66, it might be a good idea to pick up some basic phrases in various languages. I know most business owners already do this.
Still, wouldn’t it be a nice gesture if the service people along the road could say good morning in German, Dutch, or French? After all, our visitors have run a gauntlet of airport terminals and customs officials, endured hours upon hours entombed in a high flying beer can, and spent a great sum of money to get here. Besides, in the Route 66 community these folks are also our neighbors.
I find Google translate to be a very valuable tool. The guest and I can type in a message and see, or hear, it in our native language. I know, or have heard, there are even better phone apps available but we aren’t that modern as of yet.
Youtube is an invaluable source for basic language studies. As an example:
As luck would have it, my trusted, long traveled carry on bag gave up the ghost during the recent trip to Albuquerque. So, we are now adding shopping for luggage to the schedule.
At this juncture we are leaning toward traveling with only carry on bags. As winter clothes will be a bit bulky this will be quite a challenge but I think it is doable.
When time allows, we have been doing a bit of research about the concept of one bag traveling and the best bags, at a reasonable price for pulling this off. Rick Steves website makes for a solid argument in favor of one bag travel, has a travel forum with an array of topics and real world input, and, of course, he sells his own line of travel experience developed luggage.
In either case, we will provide information about the experiment, and a luggage review on our return. That is but one challenge awaiting resolution.
We have crossed travel insurance off the list. In so doing we discovered another valuable reason to have a AAA membership.
Insurance shopping in itself is always an adventure in a bewildering wilderness. The assistant with AAA simplified the process, did not try to sell unneeded coverage, and in fact, sold us what was needed instead of wanted.Perhaps the most daunting challenge, the one that seems to induce fitful sleep, is the airports (as in four – Las Vegas, Minneapolis, Schiphol, and Detroit). I know tens of thousands of people flow through airports on a daily basis. This, however, is our first international flight. It is also our first flight in almost six years. So tips, pointers, suggestions, prayers, etc. would be most appreciated.
To wrap things up this morning, I should have a schedule for the travel fair in Utrecht soon. I will share that as soon as it is available. Meanwhile, drop me a note if you plan on stopping by Vakantiebeurs in Utrecht or the festivities at de Prael.