Is anyone else in the doldrums these days? Can the news get any lousier and outlooks get any drearier? Don’t answer that. Well, I’m taking a stand. Right now, I’m taking a stand against everyone and everything that is trying with all their might to bring me down. I was having a tremendous year, a record-breaking all-time fun year and then the economy turned to hell, terrorist attacks ensued, family members were laid off from work, and a dear family friend just passed away. I understand as well as anyone about the highs and lows in life, and I accept what is going on in the world now as a very serious but necessary low. However, there’s only so much a man (or woman) can take. And I can’t take any more…at least right now. And what’s the greatest solution the world has ever known for getting one’s spirit’s back on top? Getting out of dodge.
Penni Crabtree, staff writer for the union Tribune had an article in today’s paper discussing the surge of travel deals being offered in an effort to “pry open reluctant wallets”. Crabtree got a quote from Rick Seaney, chief executive of Farecompare, a consumer airline ticket research website, who said, “Two months ago I wasn’t expecting to see this many travel sales, and we’re seeing prices 30 to 50 percent off what they were then. It borders on the crazy. Every Monday or Tuesday there is a spate of new airline fares that expire on Thursday and Friday evening, and the next Monday you see a whole new wave coming in.” If you’re anything like me, deals on flights bring to mind thoughts of VEGAS! But again, if you’re anything like me, getting to Vegas for cheap is one thing, but being frugal with your money when you’re there is another thing. But flights aren’t the only thing that are cheap right now.
I filled up my car the other day and was overjoyed to see it didn’t even reach the $22 mark. And one of the greatest things about San Diego is being able to drive to SO many different, amazing places. Need some ideas? (Cue my best Travel Channel Voice) A two hour journey from San Diego will get you to Joshua Tree where the hiking might not be the best, but it’s other-worldly terrain and life-changing sunset and sunrises make camping, especially in the winter, a perfect getaway for barely any money at all. Or what about renting a lodge in Idyllwild for the weekend?! Also only two hours away, you’d think you’d taken a trip to Colorado. Amidst thick forests of pine and granite peaks lies the quaint little artist town offering a constant smell of birch burning fire-places and chilly mornings are met with the scent of fresh coffee and maple bacon. Mmmmm, bacon. I’m heading there this weekend.
And now, a quick list of other road trips I’ve done and will consider taking again while gas prices are low and the news keeps dragging me through the dirt: 1) I’d go to San Francisco: an EASY 7 hours if you don’t run into LA traffic, and catch a show, any show at the Filmore. 2) Mammoth Mountain, an even easier 6 and a half hours (and much more scenic), make a couple turns on the mountain, get into a hot tub, and drink whiskey and cocoa. 3) Anza Borrego desert. Take your truck and go explore this vast desert and its canyons. And you can take your truck almost anywhere and sleep in it over-night. It’s cheap and tremendously fun and adventurous. 4) Head up the 101 and just see where your travels take you. If something looks fun, stop the car and do it. Those are always the best road trips anyway.
Or if you just want to stay in San Diego, you can get away here too. Check out the San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy and learn about some of the amazing hikes there are around here that you had no clue even existed. Go to the Santa Ysabel Open Space Preserve East near the Wild Animal Park, pack a lunch and forget your 401k’s in the toilet. I hear myself, believe me. I sound like a cheap travel writer. But if you can’t tell, I’m itchin to escape myself and writing about places I want to go is getting me excited. So let me leave you with this: I’m taking comfort in knowing that I’m far from the only one tired of hearing how “doomed” we are. I’m going to take any chance I can to go and enjoy myself. After-all we’ve still got it pretty good in this country. And even better, we live in San Diego. Safe travels.