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Friday, June 9, 2017

The Evolving Destination...How a Trip Decision Comes Together at The World On Wheels


Picking where to go on a trip isn't merely "hey, let's go there!" for us. Well, sometimes it is and everything comes together rather quickly. Other times, it's an evolution.

Take our latest travels...how does a Caribbean island vacation morph into a triple destination trip through the Lone Star state then over to the Florida Keys?

After last fall's European Grand Tour, we were talking over the difficulty of multiple air legs to reach destinations deep into Europe that didn't offer non-stop service to Los Angeles. Tim had some anxiety before leaving but did fine. The last leg, of three, on the way home didn't sit too well but he managed fine.



"I don't want to go anywhere where we have to take more than two flights," he told me, "but I wouldn't mind going to St. Croix even though that takes two flights."

That started the wheels spinning. We love St. Croix and, especially, the beautiful Buccaneer Hotel there. The only thing is it's a bit hard to get Tim onto the sandy beach (but not impossible), pool, and especially the ocean.

That got me searching for alternative spot where we could go somewhere in the Caribbean, tropical, and where we could get Tim to some crystal-clear ocean water. The Bahamas, Barbados, Curacao, and more came up where...maybe...I could get Tim to the water's edge and wade in. 



Harder yet was to find a boat that he could go on then go into the water from. We learned the hard way that advertising your dive boat as 'handicapped accessible' doesn't mean that it is in anyway, shape, or form accessible in St. Croix (one operator there plasters their web site with it but when asked said "yeah, you just need to be able to climb this ladder-like set of stairs onto the boat and off into the water").


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My search did keep turning up one operator in the Florida Keys, Tranquil Adventures, who had installed a pool lift onto the side of a pontoon boat specifically to lower disabled people into the water to go snorkeling.

I'd put that in my memory banks for later use, if I needed it. In the meantime, I came across an ad for Southwest Airlines announcing that they'd just started nonstop service from our favorite local (but underused) airport, Ontario, to Dallas' Love Field.

Another long term goal of ours is to see every Major League Baseball stadium. We're up to 25 and the two stadiums in Texas are among the last five we need to visit. My brain clicks in to tell me that if I could get a cheap, nonstop, Southwest flight to Dallas, maybe we could get another cheap flight from there after a layover to the Caribbean allowing us to not only have an easy transit to the islands but get another stadium in along the way.



Perusing the flight schedules, there's not much from Dallas to the Caribbean but from Houston we could get a short and simple flight on Southwest to Fort Lauderdale...only 90 minutes from Captain Mick's Tranquil Adventures in Key Largo.  It's also a very easy and cheap add on to fly one hour from Dallas to Houston and...hey!...they have another stadium there with a very affordable Homewood Suites only a block from it.

We can do this!  Two Texas stadiums (plus a day or two at each city to experience what they have to offer) then an extended stay in the Keys...which would satisfy our itch for a warm beach at least adjacent to the Caribbean...where we can go snorkeling on a lift-equipped boat.

So, Tim's original comment about taking the two flights to St. Croix evolves through several permutations to become a trip to Texas' two biggest cities ending up on a Florida island for some warm, beach adventures.

Stay tuned for that...

Darryl Musick
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