Birthdays and Trips

Hello all and happy December!  Now that we’re in the full swing of things, I think it’s safe to say that we are heading towards the home stretch of this holiday season.  I’ll be honest, I’m still not fully feeling it, but not for any bad reason per se.  I mean, yeah, I’m pretty broke at the moment, but I have so many other things going on right now that I can’t even think about setting myself up in the Christmas mood.  December is typically a crazy month for me because my birthday is on the 9th, so I’m generally setting things up for that first and before I know it Christmas comes and goes after that.  This year was no exception.  Funny thing though, is that I thought it would be.  I wasn’t even feeling my birthday this year.  Go figure, right?!  I turned 38 this past Sunday, so in birthday years wise, it’s lost its significance.  When you think about it, the ages that matter (at least here in the U.S.) are 18, 21, then the 5’s and 0’s after that.  I added 37 to that thanks to Writer/Director/Comedian/Podcaster/Nerd Kevin Smith, and I celebrated that last year with a little film festival, but this year I really didn’t have much to look forward to.  I mean, yes, it was my birthday and I was looking forward to getting bombarded with wall posts on Facebook, but in reality all I wanted to do that day was stay home, watch football, and relax on my couch.  Maybe have a celebratory meal of steak or Whataburger (oh man… Whataburger… THE BEST ever!) and call it a day.  Nothing special, you know?  Just stuff that I love.  Instead, I ended up going to my dad’s house to eat a meal that although was freaking awesome, wasn’t something that I was craving.  I didn’t even get to decide whether or not I even wanted to stay home instead and have my family come to me instead.  I guess I’m just that much of a pleaser.  Oddly enough, I was actually giving more gifts than I received on my birthday too as I bought Dallas Cowboys stickers and plain white candles to make Dallas Cowboys velas (look up Raymond Orta to see the reason I do these things) for myself, my dad, and at the end of the night, I ended up buying one for a friend of mine!  Go figure.  She even said it too, “It’s your birthday and you’re still doing things for me…”  Yes, I was and no I didn’t even get a choice as to how I was going to spend my own damn birthday because that’s just who I am.  I’m always putting myself last when it comes to other people.  Even on my birthday.

In other news for the busy-ness of it all, tomorrow, I’m going to embark on an insane journey with my heterosexual lifemate.  We essentially called a bluff on moving a vehicle and some small items from a temporary home in Annapolis, Maryland back here to El Paso, Texas.  We got the “Are you guys serious?  You’d do that?”  “YES!” we replied and here we are.  We got a paid flight and a per diem to get said vehicle back here by next Monday night.  It’s going to be my first time ever in the northeast, first time ever to be able to visit our nation’s capital, and my first time ever seeing the cities we’re going to pass through along the way.  I’m super excited to experience it all.  All told, we’re going to drive over 2,100 miles in 4 days.  A crazy feat for sure, but a once in a lifetime experience for sure! I’m sure I’ll have stories to tell and a good blog to post about it too, so look for that possibly next week!

Speaking of travel, another form of travel has really taken over my interest lately.  Travel via rail.  It may be something that is still a normal way of traveling in other places, but here in the spread out southwestern part of the United States, rail travel isn’t such a big thing, especially after the dawn of the national interstate highway system and the blossoming of air travel.  Locally, we had Atchison, Topeka, & Santa Fe (better known as simply Santa Fe) Railway and Southern Pacific Railroad to service us and we had passenger train service from each, but now since the 1970s, we’ve had Amtrak (which is the consolidated national passenger railroad service), but only 2 or so trains come by a week.  Granted, you can get to just about anywhere on said trains, your options are limited on the days you’re able to go.  In any event, during my last vacation this past July/August when I went to Oceanside, California, I noticed the abundance of commuter rail travel that takes you from Oceanside down to San Diego and passenger rail that takes you up to Los Angeles available from there.  Amtrak is kinda a big deal in southern California and being a lifelong railfan, I was loving seeing all of the passenger trains go by as the rails go right along the beachfront.  Anyway, all of that got me thinking about going back to Oceanside and instead of driving, I’d take Amtrak.  Sure enough, there is an actual station in Oceanside itself, so the need to jump on the commuter train from San Diego is not needed.  The route there would take me from here, westbound stopping in a few places in New Mexico, Arizona, and a few more in California until reaching Los Angeles.  Then from L.A., I’d get on another train that goes down to San Diego and back, so I’d just get off in Oceanside.  How cool is that, right?!  Now, the travel time is 20 hours, but seriously, I think this would be the coolest thing EVER to do.  I’d still have that road trip experience without actually being worn out from the road itself, I’d be able to relax and watch shows on Netflix, read, or listen to music, and get to Oceanside ready to relax on the beach and do my thing.  You can’t beat it!  The great part is that its costs just as much or a little less than air travel or driving, so aside from the time benefits of flying, it’s the best deal.  I think I’m going to aim to do it sometime next year if I can and if not, for sure in 2020… God willing, of course.

So, here we are my friends.  We’re 2 weeks away from Christmas Day and 3 weeks away from 2019.  I’m looking forward to what lies ahead!

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