Archive for the ‘travels’ Category

beach7Tomorrow I am going on vacation. Tonight I am preparing. The following ramblings are some advice for the travelling patriot to consider when planning and executing a journey.

Recon— Know where you are going. If you have been there before, great. If not, swallow your pride and get directions. A map is good. Mapquest is better. A GPS in the car is best. All three is super best. Consult someone who has been to your destination ahead of you for advice. Let some folks a home know where you are headed and when you plan to return so that if you don’t come back, they can send out the search party.

Intel–[By personal choice, I have elected to exist and operate my person within the system. Some folks have elected to operate outside the system and I think that they are well within their rights to do so. If you are one of these, the advice in this section will not apply to you. For others who are interested in the advantages, disadvantages, and various and sundry ins and outs of living outside the system, see Arthur Menard’s excellent lecture series Think Free: Bursting the Bubbles of Government Deception.]
Gather your necessary papers and documents for travel: driver’s license, vehicle registration, proof of insurance, medical insurance and contact information, roadside assistance information, etc. If you are travelling armed (which I personally think is a good idea) be sure you have your carry permit with you. Check the laws of all the states you will be travelling through to make sure they honor your carry permit. This is easy to do at USACarry.com. If you are travelling through or to a state that does not honor your carry permit, or if you don’t have a carry permit, you are still legally permitted to carry a firearm with you in your vehicle by following the Interstate Journey Law. In order to be in compliance with this law, you must have the firearm unloaded and inaccessible from the passenger compartment of the vehicle (locked in a case, the trunk, etc.) Of course, if you are a felon or for some other reason are not legally allowed to possess a firearm, this does not apply to you.

Gear–There is a minimum amount of emergency gear you should pack for any journey by motor vehicle. In my opinion, the minimum for your car kit should include the following:

-Food and water for 24 hours for each person in the vehicle
-Blankets and/or coats for each person (in cool or cold weather)
-Tools for minor repairs including spare tire, tire change equipment, jumper cables, extra motor oil/transmission fluid/brake fluid, screwdriver, wrenches, etc.
-Signaling device such as road flare, light/glow sticks, or cones
-First aid kit
-CB, Ham radio, or cell phone for communication
-Games or toys for entertaining the kids

Hostile contact–Whenever you go on a journey, there is a chance you may have a run-in with law enforcement. If you are following the law, these encounters should be few and uneventful. However, depending on where you are travelling, the cops don’t always follow the rules. It is wise to have a basic knowledge of the laws of the states you will be traveling in/to, and a complete and thorough knowledge of your own rights as an American citizen and motorist. Immediately before leaving on your trip, review the excellent film Busted: The Citizen’s Guide to Surviving Police Encounters. This will give you an clear idea of what to say and how to conduct yourself when dealing with the police.

Above all, in case of an accident, be sure to be wearing clean underwear.

Some of you out there may have additional advice for vacation preparation. If so, please feel free to post a comment. Until next time, I wish you all safe journeys and Godspeed.


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We went to one of the snack stands yesterday at Sea World to get some nachos for lunch and saw this notice prominently posted in front of the cash register:

Thinking this was some kind of Sea World-specific problem, we put the nachos on hold and questioned the cashier. She looked sort of confused, said that the same sign was posted in almost every restaurant in California, and handed us a small printed information sheet. We then read the following:

Occurrence of Certain California Proposition 65 Listed Chemicals in Cooked Foods

Supplemental Information

A number of chemicals can be generated in foods during cooking. They result from changes caused by high temperatures. The chemicals in question vary as to both identity and quantity and on both the nature of the food and the cooking methods employed. Some examples follow:

  • Cooked potatoes that have been browned, such as potato crisps and/or potato chips have been shown to contain acrylamide. Other cooked foods that have been roasted or browned, such as coffee, cereals, crackers, cookies, and nuts, may also contain acrylamide. Acrylamide is not added to these foods but might be created when these and certain other starchy foods are browned. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not advised people to stop eating these foods or any specific food due to the formation of acrylamide as a result of cooking. For more information, see http://www.fda.gov.
  • Grilled, fried, broiled and blackened meats, vegetables and grains exposed to direct heat may contain nitrosamines and/or polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons which include benz[a]anthracene, benzo[b]fluoranthene, benzo[k]fluoranthene, benzo[a]pyrene, indeno[1,2,3-cd]pyrene.
  • Hard boiled eggs have been shown to contain benzene, even though not present in the raw egg nor in the cooking water. This is apparently a heat induced transformation of albumen protein, retained in the egg cooked in the shell.

These chemicals are by-products of cooking the food. The chemicals are not added. If these chemicals are of concern to you, you may want to consider buying foods prepared using cooking methods that reduce the incidence of the chemicals in question.


For further information please contact swc-guestrelations@seaworld.com

All I have to say is, thank goodness for the California State public safety laws. I can now go back to Arkansas armed with the information that I should avoid:

Cooked potatoes
Browned potato crisps
Browned potato chips
All cooked or browned foods, but especially
Grilled meats, vegetables, or grains
Fried meats, vegetables, or grains
Blackened meats, vegetables, or grains
Hard boiled eggs

I guess they want me to survive on raw carrot sticks and distilled water. No wonder everyone is so thin in California.

By the way, we ate the nachos.

Cross-posted to Facebook.

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I got my first taste of America’s new and unimproved airline “service” yesterday on our out-leg trip to San Diego.

First of all, tickets from Little Rock to San Diego for a family of 5 (with 2 kids 2 and under) on US Airways came to a little over $1200. That’s quite a bit more than any other domestic flight we have ever taken. When we got to the airport, our suspicions were confirmed that we would be charged extra for our luggage. Not extra luggage, mind you, just our regular one bag per passenger. The total “luggage fee” for our two small suitcases and one infant car seat came to $45. That’s about the cheapest you can get if you check one bag; after the first bag (per person) the fees go up to $45 to $100 per bag that you check. That’s right. There goes your souvenir money.

The first leg of our trip went to Charlotte, North Carolina, in the exact opposite direction (of course) that we intended to go. On this fun little 1.5 hour journey we found out that beverages and food items on US Airways flights were no longer complementary. They are now charging $1 for coffee; $2 for water, juice, and soft drinks; and $7 for beer, cocktails, and wine. A snack tray will cost you $5, and a breakfast tray (we were on a 6 am flight) will run you $7. Oh, and it's cash only. Oh, and they don’t have change for a $20. On this first short trip, we turned up our noses and said incredulously, “$2 for a bottle of water? Are you insane? No thank you.” Boy did we think we were clever.

The flight from Charlotte to San Diego was 5 and a half hours long. A trip that long in a metal tube with a 6 year old, a 2 year old, and a 9 month old is simply impossible without nutritional supplementation. So we ended up forking out $6 for a can of Coke, a can of cranberry juice, and a 12 oz. bottle of spring water. We somehow smuggled some string cheese and apple slices through security and ate them on the sly. Of course, outside liquids and beverages are prohibited. I angrily said, “What is this, Searcy Cinema 8?” I don’t think they got the reference.

Besides these annoyances, there is no longer an in-flight movie, TV, or music service. They pestered us at least 3 times on the overhead speaker system about signing up for the US Airways preferred Mastercard, then bothered us again by “distributing” applications for said Mastercard throughout the cabin. They didn’t even throw any freakin’ peanuts at us. What has happened to the world?

I guess you could say the overall trip was a success. We arrived in San Diego a bit dehydrated, malnourished, and cranky, but all in one piece. It seems to me that an airline who, in order to make a profit, must reduce it’s passengers to muttering glumly, “Well, that flight sucked, but at least I didn’t end up a bloody smear somewhere on the Great Plains,” should rethink its business model. I will be flying Southwest from now on; I think they still give out pretzels.

Cross-posted to Facebook.

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