Friday, March 19, 2010

The Travel Channel

We've been discussing travel this month, and from my comments on the previous blog posts, I believe I have established that I have not been to Europe, England, or anywhere else on the other side of the Atlantic. I have been to the Caribbean, but that was so long ago (read 30 yrs here) that any pictures I might post would be outdated, to say the very least. I seriously doubt you would recognize me in any of the pictures taken back then, as I was much younger and thinner, though my haircut was virtually the same. Sad, but true. . .

When my family takes a vacation, it is nearly always to Myrtle Beach. Every June we make our yearly pilgrimage and we've been there so many times that I believe I could drive through Kentucky, Tennessee, and North Carolina in my sleep--no wait! I have done it in my sleep! But that's another story. . . . I've posted many a photo from those trips, and while there are some of you who may not have seen them, trust me, I'll be going back there again in a few months, and there will be plenty of opportunities to use those pics in a blog.

Until recently, I had never even been west of the Mississippi. Had I gone to the RWA Nationals in 2008, I would have traveled to San Francisco, but, alas, I was too chicken to fly off into the West aboard a plane all by my lonesome. I have since overcome that fear and attended the national conference in Washington, DC, but the reason I was willing to fly there alone was that in November of 2008, I took a trip with some friends to a destination where it was imperative that we fly. We were on one of the first flights out of the new Indianapolis airport, and having that experience under my belt gave me courage.

No, I have not been to the Tetons, or to California, or to a ghost town, but I have, however, been to Las Vegas.

What cultural attractions does Vegas have to offer a writer, you may ask? Having been there, I can honestly say that I have climbed the Eiffel Tower, had dinner in Provence, viewed the statues of ancient Rome, heard gondoliers singing on a Venetian canal, explored the Pyramids of Egypt, and strolled through a castle worthy of King Arthur himself. From there, my imagination is all I need to concoct a story.

Still, if my imagination isn't enough, I offer this as a testament to the value of Vegas. Where else can you get your picture taken with a bevy of shirtless Australian hunks?

Or sing a duet of Hot Legs with Rod Stewart (or someone who looks just like him) on the top of a double-decker bus?

Or meet Captain Jack Sparrow and Elvis on the street standing next to the biggest margarita in the world?

Or take a road trip through the desert and have the opportunity to stand in front of something that actually made me look small? (that's small, not thin!)

They say that what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, but I'm here to report that it simply isn't true. The memories of that trip will remain with me for a lifetime, not to mention the dry skin I acquired from the 10% humidity level that stayed and stayed and stayed. . .


  1. Well, this is the second post in a row from authors who have what many people erroneously describe as a a "fear of flying."

    Since I've got just a little bit of experience in the air (wait, can't say "little" in a romance blog -- LOL), I figured I'd offer some ideas.

    First of all, it's important to remember that pilots have a lot of skill, cunning, and c-c-c-courage! Passengers (and occasionally a few pilots) have prime the fuel mixture with a little "liquid courage."

    Maybe some people need a little Apricot Hottentot before flying in the Misty-mist or the Dusky-dusk. (You can say that again!)

    Next, when the fear factor is really high, do what many pilots do -- close your eyes tight! This comes in really handy during the landings -- by keeping your eyes closed tight, every landing looks the same!

    Besides -- we all know we can read in circles, and upside down, with our eyes shut tight!

    Seriously though, I think the "anxiety" of flying isn't always about fear. We've all heard about how it's safer to fly than to drive -- and I'll be the first to admit that the most dangerous part of my job is the drive to work!

    Pilots of major airlines have decades of experience and are in the simulators demonstrating proficiency at all the hard, scary emergencies.

    I think "anxiety" might be a better description for passenger's feelings. They aren't afraid -- they just don't like it!

    And who can blame them -- they have no control of their destiny once the cabin door is closed. Passengers are forced to stay seated, can't get off the plane when there are delays, and can't see what's in front of them.

    I know I feel like just another steer in the cattle drive when I'm a passenger. When there's any kind of delay, I feel like I've got "two wraps and a hooey" on me.

    Traveling with Joanne was an eye-opener though. When there's a delay Joanne grabs one of the gazillion books she packs along and says, "Oh look, more time to read!" It's amazing -- she gets car sick reading in the car, but has no problem in the plane -- unless she's indulged in too much c-c-c-courage.

  2. Cheryl, you detailed all the places you've never been. Well, I've never been to Las Vegas, so there! It looks like you found enough eye-candy to OD on, which had to have made the trip worth while.

    RE: fear of flying, I admit it's the phobia I've never understood even in a non-rational way. Scrape makes an interesting point that perhaps its less about fear and more about discomfort which one is helpless to do anything about, and even helpless to protest.

    I can see that with one's habitual defenses removed, one might become overwhelmed by fear.

  3. Las Vegas is so much fun! We listened to "Elvis" singing in a bar, saw the Irish dancers, really incredible, hunky Roman gladiators, Siegfried & Roy's Royal White Tiger show, the tournament...the ship sinking in the play, elephants roaring in a tropical setting while we had breakfast, and so much more...all terrific fun! Glad you had so much fun there too, Cheryl!

  4. Cheryl -

    Isn't Las Vegas great! I'm headed to Caesars Palace myself in June. I know - Las Vegas in June! But I plan to stay inside. I kind of think of it as Disney World for adults for just the reasons you explained. Each hotel/casino has its own theme and they didn't cut corners when decorating. Each one is a work of art in its own way.

    As far as "fear of flying" - when I was growing up my father had a sessna that we use to take to visit realtives in the other western states. I actually got to fly through the Grand Canyon, back when they allowed that sort of thing. But my father, as much as I love him, is a bit of a sadist. He would dive quickly and make your stomach jump to your throat and do spins just to hear us scream in terror in the back. After flying with my father - I can fly with anyone. Those commercial pilots are always so calm and never do stunts to hear passengers wail. (My father desensitized my siblings and me from ever being afraid.)

  5. Sounds like a great trip, and love the photos.

  6. I too have developed a fear of flying since 9-1-1. I had just arrived home from a trip to Europe the day before. And we came through Newark airport. I panic now thinking about going back aboard a plane.
    But just maybe the boys from Las Vegas and Australia could help ease my fears a little. If they were sharing my seat to and from. I might forget where I am. Great pictures Cheryl.

  7. I'm not so much afraid of flying as I am of going it alone. I can be fearless in a crowd, but make me do it alone, and I'm, well, uneasy. Plus, I've always been prone to motion sickness, though non-drowsy Dramamine has improved the flying experience significantly!

    I can't imagine flying with a pilot who liked to make his passengers scream, Lydia. Somehow, I don't think even Dramamine could overcome that!

  8. Great post, Cheryl! I want to go to Vegas and see those Aussie hunks. And Elvis!
    Sorry if Scrape confused blog posting with novel writing (!) but I told him he should post something to allay your fears...hmm. Can't tell a pilot what to do!

  9. Uh...Scrape, that's not very reassuring to know; pilots close their eyes!? Prior to my having kids, during the b.k. era, lol, my husband and I had gone to Vegas
    three times. We love it! He gambles, I shop. Then at night we see the shows. It's a whole other world over there. Now I'm in the a.k. era and spend all our vacation time getting dizzy on coasters at Universal.

  10. Great post, Cheryl--i love Vegas! My grandma lives outside of Vegas, which is always a great excuse to go have fun on the Strip :)

  11. Fabulous photos! I am sure the eye candy alone was inspiration.

    I went to Vegas 2 years ago, the previous time being over 20 years. So much had changed and it was amazing. I know what you mean about feeling as if you have traveled the world. Sure it is cheesy and very touristy in the over-the-top motifs, but you do get the flavor of places that I, like you Cheryl, have only seen in photographs. I loved every second of it, even if my feel were killing me from having to See It All!!

    Thanks for sharing. All this talk of traveling is making me antsy!

  12. Cheryl, I was laughing out loud at your post. I loved it! Elvis and Jack Sparrow at the same time! What a night that must have been! I wish I had been there with you.


  13. OMG, love the photo of you with those scantily clad Aussie lads! Though Vegas is one of my least favorite places to visit, I think I enjoy seeing people's Vegas vacation pics more than those from any other destination.

    Love the blog!

  14. Have been to Vegas a couple of times and loved it, humidity and all!

  15. Joanne,
    Well, Scrape was right about one thing, I think I'd do a lot better if I was in the cockpit where I could actually see where I was going. Not much chance of that, though.

    BTW, I'll bet there's an interesting story about how Scrape acquired his name. Something tells me his parents didn't put that on his birth certificate...

    Witchy Woman,
    I've never been to Vegas with my family--only with friends. Might be a fun thing to do sometime. If I can ever get them out of Myrtle Beach!

  16. Cool that you have an excuse to go there often, Danielle. I know we didn't even come close to seeing it all!

    I know what you mean about the sore feet, Sharon. I had had surgery on my foot a couple of weeks prior to the trip and had new orthotics to go in my shoes, but my feet hurt so bad I bought a pair of Crocs and put them on right there in the mall!

  17. Amelia,
    I wish I could say that I spent more time with Elvis and Jack, but all I did was pay them a few bucks to get my picture taken with them!

    The Aussie hunks were a different story. The show was terrific, and though I might have had to pay $20 for the picture, it was worth every penny!

    I liked the lower humidity at first, and in November, it was in the 70's the whole time we were there and there wasn't a cloud in the sky, but the itchiness that ensued was unexpected. If I ever go back, I need to take some industrial strength moisturizer with me!

  18. I know what you mean about the 9-11 thing, Donna. We drove past the Indianapolis airport the day after, and it was very spooky seeing all of those planes grounded. Not sure any of us will ever completely lose that fear, but we have to keep going and not succumb to it.

  19. Terry,
    We didn't go to anywhere near as many shows as I would have liked. They were so expensive! Actually, that bus tour was a blast, and didn't cost a fortune, either!

    Thanks, Mason! It was great fun taking all those pictures, and we pooled our supply of them when we got home!

    Hey MM!
    The eye candy wasn't as easy to find as you might think, but as a dedicated hunk hunter, I managed to locate a few!

  20. By the way, I was at my Bend, OR Barnes & Noble yesterday and noticed the center rack just inside the front door was prominently displaying THE HIGHLANDER'S SWORD and SEALED WITH A RING. Also found (and purchased) BREAKFAST IN BED shelved w/ the rest of the romance titles.

    Just thought you ladies might be interested in a report from the field :)


  21. Now if I could fly with the shirtless Australian guys...

    Great post Cheryl - looks like Vegas is your one-stop for all the wonders of the world!

    Thanks Tawna for the Highlander sighting!

  22. Cheryl said:
    "BTW, I'll bet there's an interesting story about how Scrape acquired his name. Something tells me his parents didn't put that on his birth certificate..."

    Ummm, Cheryl, I'm a former fighter pilot. I've been to Nellis AFB lots of times. And as you know, what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas!!!

  23. Great post, Cheryl~

    I drove past Vegas many times but never had the time to stop. DH goes there a lot for conferences, maybe next time I'll go with him. It looks like such fun.

  24. LOL! Got into a few scrapes, huh, Scrape?

  25. Oh, I agree, Amanda! A gang of shirtless Aussie hunks could cure any girl's fear of flying!

    You should definitely go next time, Robin! I wasn't crazy about hanging out in casinos (though I did do a pictorial study of their awesome ladies rooms), but there's plenty of other cool stuff there. And the food... OMG!

  26. I just got back from Vegas a few weeks ago, Cheryl. The gals and I go every year. This year we discovered the 5 Degrees Below Celcius bar (everything is made of ice, including the glasses your drinks are served in). Gotta love Vegas!

  27. That sounds very interesting! Great place to go when it's 116 in Vegas!