The Lost Episodes – Stories From Home, A Podcast

*** SHOW NOTES ***

If someone had told me that this was what 2020 had instore, I wouldn’t have left the New Years’ Eve Party. We were at the grocery store the other day and spied all the back to school supplies and thought…… good luck.

I use a news feed reader that monitors a few hundred websites and alerts me to any new posting. This saves an immense amount of time, an immense. If I see a post or article that interests me I save it and then come back later as I’m looking for episode ideas. Believe it or not, some episodes take months for me to gather all my thoughts. I know, listening to this it sounds like I fire up Zoom, hit record, and start spewing. 

As you could imagine episode themes have pivoted, there’s that word again over the past few months, and many of those episodes have to place to go, hence “The Lost Episodes”.

I’m on the north side of 50, and I still love having fun. At home, at work or one of my eight vices must include fun.

These Are The Top Ten Most Fun Cities In The U.S. according to HuffPost

  1. Las Vegas – I’ve done countless posts and episodes about Vegas. Personally, I love the town, fortunately, or unfortunately, I didn’t get the gambling chip, but I do love the food, shows and the people watching. You can walk down the street smoking the devil’s lettuce.
  2. Orlando – A base camp for me. Mouse House, Universal Studios, outlet malls and Florida Man, all fun.
  3. New York – 200,000 acres of fun. Take this town on foot because there’s so much to do, see, and eat. Chinatown, Little Italy and SOHO, there’s no way you can do it all in a single visit.
  4. Miami – I grew up in South Florida and Miami is this wonderful international melting pot.
  5. Chicago – The family hit this town up a few years ago and loved it. They were stationed on the Golden Mile, and close to everything, so no need to rent a car.
  6. Atlanta – Countless fun times.
  7. San Francisco – It’s been a few years, but so much to do, from trolley cars to the wharf this is a fun city.
  8. Portland – Haven’t been here.
  9. San Diego – Another place that it’s been a few years, but this is a cultural city.
  10. Los Angeles – A quick Goole search will tell you that LA is a fun city.

The plan was an episode on summer travel to these cities. Between the COVID, riots, murder hornets etc….. I might repurpose this for 2024.

Lifehacker asked this question Can You Call Dibs on Overhead Space on a Flight?

I have long subscribed to the idea that overhead baggage space, like online seating assignments, is allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. If you board late, you’re shit out of luck and might be the one forced to check your carry-on at the gate. (This comes with the exception of airlines that restrict overhead baggage space by cabin-class or don’t allow carry-ons for basic economy fliers, like on Delta.)

Is it a dick move to place your bag above another passenger’s seat? Yes, yes it is a D move. If you’re the first to board and you prefer a specific row, in my case row 9. It’s a total D move if I stash my carry on in the bin over row 2 or 3. Why?  Passengers in row 2 or 3  are forced to find overhead space because my D move took their overhead space.

 Once they find overhead space further back in the plane they now have to go against the flow of passengers to return to their seat, delaying the boarding process.  

That was going to be combined with some thoughts from The Points Guy

6 suitcase mistakes we’re all guilty of making at least once

  1. Back-attacking fellow passengers – Far and away, the biggest culprit is when people turn sideways with their backpack on and end up hitting fellow passengers in the shoulder. Or face.  Flying in and out Orlando means one thing, kids, lots of kids, and almost every one of them comes equipped with a backpack. Being a guy of larger carriage and preferring the aisle seat, 9C, I get hit by backpacks on a regular basis. Also being a guy of larger carriage and fairly solid build it can be quite jarring for the backpack wearer.
  1. Being an overhead bandit – Another grievance is when people put their carry-ons in the overhead bins nowhere near where they’re actually seated (looking at you, priority boarding passengers). Play by the rules and put your carry-on above your seat. Don’t make things harder for everyone else just because you wanted special treatment.
  1. Playing bin Tetris badly – Always put backpacks, briefcases, jackets, and other small items beneath the seat in front of you if they fit. Don’t take up more overhead bin space than necessary because it slows down boarding. Don’t put your bag in the overhead bin sideways.
  1. Hogging the carousel – If you have to check luggage, yes, there are exceptions…. Very few… but there are. Don’t stand in front of the luggage carousel as you wait for your bag to show up….. Because you’re blocking everyone else whose bag is already on the belt.
  1. Letting the bed bugs bite –Bed bugs like to travel and a suitcase is the perfect method of transportation for them. If you happen to bring some home from a trip remember to ditch your old suitcase and buy a new one.
  1. Forgetting there are other travelers – Two words grace and patience.


How about little things that make a big difference in a hotel stay?

Elevators – Something so simple, but something so important. Ever stayed in a high rise hotel with slow elevators, yeah important. We recently stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn Savannah and the floor of the elevator mimicked the twister board. Blue Hilton emblazed dots lined the floor indicating proper social distancing. Ever wondered why elevators have mirrors inside and out? Distraction, looking at yourself distracts you from the amount of time you spend waiting or riding in and elevator.

WiFi Speed – Not as critical as it once was, but still a deal-breaker. Typically the closer you are to the center of the building the stronger the signal.

Toiletries – Especially if your hotel of choice still stocks individual bottles, are you listening Marriott? Double Tree hotel stock Crabtree & Evelyn, something so insignificant, but it always puts a smile on my face.

Fridge & Microwave – Important, especially if it’s a multi-night stay. Check before you book, and don’t fall for being charged to have a fridge delivered to your room. Unless you’re in Vegas.

Fitness Centers – Most major hotel chains have gotten it together when it comes to fitness centers. Gone are the days of missing dumbbells and treadmills that stall under your weight.

On property foodservice – Hot cooked breakfast, traditional restaurant, or room service those things are important. If I’m hungry at 8:00 PM I don’t want to get in my car to go find food, and sometimes scrolling through Uber Eats screens isn’t what I want to do either. On property, food makes a big difference, plus a bag. Our HGI stay didn’t offer their traditional hot buffet, it was styrofoam boxed and ready to go.

Currently, the little things making a big difference focus around cleaning, masks, social distancing and sanitization

Travel has changed and my prediction is that future vacations will lean towards road trips, and as I do most every year I drop a road trip episode. So here are a few tips….

  • Make sure your sled is ready to roll – Makes sense, but often overlooked. Tires, wiper blades, wiper fluid, oil change you know the drill. Besides no one wants to be stranded anywhere, parking lot, bridge, or side of the road, especially if you have a carload of family members.
  • Make reservations before you go. Again makes sense, I never leave without having the evening hotel room booked. You might want to call the hotel to make sure that the pool is open or if they’re still serving breakfast. 
  • Do your due diligence on where you are going – Remember the Griswald’s and their trip to Wally World? Sorry folks, parks closed! Not every place is open with their normal hours, and just last week Disney World shortened their hours.
  • Pack a bit more – What? Yep, but not necessarily clothes, think food. When you get hungry at 10:00 PM there might be no place open. While not always the healthiest, things like beef jerky, crackers, and protein bars might get you through in a jam. If you’re wanting to take some perishables or keep your drinks cold don’t buy a $300.00 Yeti. First, for their size they don’t hold much and second, it’s a $300.00 cooler. Go with a Feti, a $70.00 Igloo BMX Family Cooler which will keep ice for 4 days.
  • Gadget Time – It’s a pandemic after all so you need some car gadgets – 
    • Car Power Inverter With 2 AC Outlets & 2 USB Ports, the AC outlets are more important than the USB ports. Think charging a laptop, say no more.
    • Compact Jump Starter and Portable Charger – No need to depend on someone else to give you a jump, plus it’s an additional charger.
    • Headrest Tablet Holder – Sounds silly, but great if you’re traveling with small kids.
    • Dashcam – Possibly a bit overkill, but I have one, and thankfully I’ve never had to pull the video for an accident, but it could go a long way in making your case. If the accident is your fault roll down the passenger window and give it a toss.
  • Put together a solid playlist – No matter your jam you have a few favorites, bookmark them on Spotify or iTunes, it’ll make the time pass.
  • Accessorize – Not your outfits, but the fun stuff. Plan of taking a GoPro purchase some extra batteries as well as mounts. They have mounts for backpacks, your shoulder, your wrist, its endless. Grab new videos from new angles. If you’re packing a DSLR camera buy a tripod, they’re cheap and you’re in your car…. You have the room.

If you’re taking a road trip allow some time for side trips off your route, you’ll never know what you’ll find, or what you’ll miss out on.

Here’s a quick side trip story that didn’t go so well.  

About 17 years we found ourselves in Myrtle Beach South Carolina, locked and loaded for a 9:00 AM Friday morning meeting. Myrtle was a five and a half-hour drive back to the office in Georgia, so at best we weren’t getting home much before 5:00. The meeting starts and the client calls an audible and wants us to tour their Pawley Island facility if we had time. Their Pawley Island facility was about 45 minutes south of where we were, and we really did need to do a site visit, but they left it up to us, and welcomed us back the following week if that worked better. As they say, Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today, besides neither of looked forward to another 10-hour road trip the following week. 

It was roughly 1:00 by the time our site visit was done we were hungry and being in the low country we wanted seafood so we stopped at Captain Tony’s or Captain Bill’s some Captain Something restaurant. By 2:00 PM we embarked on the almost 6 and half hour drive back to the office. I was riding co-pilot and this was before the wide acceptance of GPS units and long before Apple or Google maps, so I’m bent over looking at the Rand McNally road atlas looking for any shortcut that would save us any amount of time. As my finger is running across the page the ride suddenly gets rough I look up and we’ve pulled off onto the side of the road. I look over at the pilot and say “What’s up” he says “A sign and points out the windshield”. Looking straight ahead I see one of those brownish embossed historical marker signs, and the pilot wanted to read it. This went on for several hours as we hit the backroads of South Carolina, every so often we’d pull over so the pilot could read. We read signs about judges, reverends, and cotton gins. To break up the monotony every so often the pilot would pull over at a roadside stand for purchase of jam, cider or a jar of chow-chow.

Around 6:00 PM we find ourselves outside Greenville, SC, about an hour from the office, the end is in sight, and then the pilot says “You hungry?” I knew what this meant, you see the pilot never missed a meal, and his meals were always of a sit-down nature. I said sure, while internally I’m going Ughhhhh. We find an Old Country Buffet or Ryans, I didn’t say his sit-down meals we good choices. It’s Friday night the parking lot is full we walk in and everyone inside knew everybody else, except for us. The whole restaurant turned to see who walked in, and guess what we weren’t regulars. 

Somewhere around 8:00 PM, we made it to the office on a Friday evening. So yes, side trips can go sideways. 

By contrast, a side trip that has paid off spades is the National Whitewater center outside Charlotte NC. I was driving back to Atlanta one afternoon saw the sign and investigated. Since then I’ve taken my family there, had solo visits, and even held a job interview there.

If you have a comment you can leave a voicemail on Anchor or send me an email

Each day we’re getting closer traveling and returning to “travel safe” until then stay safe and thanks for listening.

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