3 Simple Girlfriend Trips to Getaway From It All
Day-trips and short, overnight trips with friends can be some of the best getaways. Over the years, I have taken many of these trips or friend-cursions, as I call them. Each one has been different in nature but similar in outcome: I had a hilarious and fabulous time. When normalcy returns to our lives, consider planning a trip with those friends you've been missing so much. You won't regret it.
River Tubing Excursion: Turkey Run State Park
My husband does not like any activities on the water. I'm quite the opposite. I love boating, tubing, kayaking, paddle boarding -- needless to say when I want to do these activities I have to ask my friends.
One day last summer, my sister-in-law Diane, and my friend Tammy, and I headed to Turkey Run State Park for an all-day tube-float down the river. We were headed to Clements Canoes which had me thinking my On-Star was drunk that day, taking us on a winding trip into nowhere. Finally, we arrived, and it was a neat place with a gift shop and friendly college students working who helped us get our tubes and other gear.
We were having so much fun we pulled our rafts onto a rock bank and waited until the last minute to leave.
My friend Tammy was the one running the show, for sure. She is an experienced river-rat who knew all the questions to ask before we took off. Her experience earned her the honor of being responsible for the cooler float. We had three coolers full of food and beverages weighing down that cooler raft. Tammy frequently had to get out and drag her tube and the cooler tube, but she didn't seem to mind at all. Thank goodness!
We got on the river about 10:30 am and had to have the rafts back by 5:00 pm. After hours of storytelling, laughter, and just good ole' relaxation, we spotted the place where we were supposed to float in and end our trip. It was only about 4:15 pm. We were having so much fun we pulled our rafts onto a rock bank and waited until the last minute to leave. We collected rocks and little fossils. We hung out with a ton of tiny bright green frogs, and we swam in the cool river on a hot day. This girls' trip was a fantastic get-away we are planning to repeat soon.
Tips For a Successful River Trip
- Consolidate your coolers or purchase more than one cooler raft.
- Take enough food to last all day. You might think you will stop and get something to eat on the way home, but you will be tired, and you probably won't.
- Keep all jewelry and other items locked in your car. You don't want to be stressing about them all day.
- Have one person take their cell phone for emergencies, and keep it in a waterproof pouch, of course. Again, you won't want to stress about your phone. Plus, you might be tempted to look at it all day, ruining the whole point of the trip.
- Wear a safety strap on all glasses and sunglasses.
- Pack dry clothes for the ride home.
- Have a designated driver if you have alcohol.
- Clean all garbage and cans out of your coolers for the drive home. Empty cans might be hard to explain if you get pulled over. Plus, you will be dog-tired when you get home. Anything that you can do ahead of time is a plus.
- Sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen! You will need waterproof and a high SPF.
- Don't forget towels to dry off.
- Be aware if you are traveling to a place with a time difference. From experience, not understanding this concept will severely mess things up temporarily.
- Go with the flow, literally. This should be a time to have fun and de-stress.
Two Pirates and a Cardinal
In the heat of July last summer, I planned a trip to a ballgame with two friends, Jane and Kristin. They are both Pittsburgh Pirates fans, and that leaves me to be the Cardinal. Needing extra adventure, we boarded a commercial plane in Decatur and headed south.
The plane ride to St. Louis was one I will never forget. The plane was full -- all 10 of us. But if you have ever been in one of those commercial planes, you know maybe ten children could fit comfortably, but not ten adults. Anyway, watching the contortions and yoga moves my friend Jane had to do to get out of the back of that plane has given us hours of laughter ever since.
Our hotel was right by where we exited from the Metro, a short 5 or 6 blocks from the ballpark and right on Laclede's Landing. Perfect planning. Of course, the game was great -- hot, but great. There is just something about the atmosphere of a ballpark, and Ballpark Village in St. Louis never disappoints with an entire block of restaurants and bars hosting rambunctious baseball fans.
What happens at Big Daddy's stays at Big Daddy's.
The next day, we woke up and headed for a leisurely walk on the Landing at about 10:30 am. We walked to the Arch, but it was so miserably hot that we were looking for a place to relax and cool off. As we walked by Big Daddy's -- a restaurant & bar on the Landing -- we could feel a cool breeze coming from the open-air seating area. We followed the refreshing waves to discover that the breeze was coming from a life-saving den of air conditioning in the main bar. Yes, it was only 11:00 am, but they were open, and it was refreshing, so we never left that spot until we had to get our things for our 4:45 pm flight home. I'm going to stop with the details right there. What happens at Big Daddy's stays at Big Daddy's.
Bon Jovi's Private Plane: Riding In Style
Ok, so Bon Jovi didn't send us his private plane to get to his concert, but my friend Angie and I did buy tickets on a small commercial airplane to zip down to St. Louis for the show. We live about two hours north of St. Louis, and I have discovered that taking the commercial plane is the way to go. My round-trip ticket was about $99. Yes, that is more than gas would cost, but we saved a hefty parking fee at the hotel. Plus, we did not have to deal with St. Louis traffic on a day when Bon Jovi was in town.
Once we got to St. Louis, we took the Metro downtown to our hotel. It was easy and stress-free. The hotel was hosting a pre-concert happy hour with free appetizers and a couple of drink tickets. We had a lot of fun mingling with the other concert-goers, and the shuttle ride to the concert was a blast.
I don't even need to mention that the concert was awesome because that is common knowledge. My daughter gave me the tickets as an early Christmas present. At the time she was working at a radio station, and I think everyone at the station got two free tickets. Knowing I'm a huge Bon Jovi fan, she gave them to me, which I much appreciated.
All in all, this overnight concert trip was a blast. One hilarious but also horrible part was the fact that my friend Angie had to go to work the next day. We didn't get back to the hotel until about 1:30 am. She immediately took a shower and got all ready for work, then propped herself up with pillows to try to rest but not mess up her work-ready look. Our wake-up call was at 3:30 am, and our cab picked us up at 4:30 am for our 6:00 am flight home. Angie got off the plane in Decatur and went right to work. I was exhausted and went home to bed. I still feel bad, but she says it was worth it.
Tips From a Professional Commercial Jet-Setter
- Pay the extra money for a hotel close to everything you want to do. You don't want to waste precious time worrying, waiting, transferring, and walking.
- Know the rules of leaving your car at the airport overnight.
- Look for hotels with great amenities like free breakfast and happy hours.
- Pack light and follow the TSA rules or they will toss your $26 shampoo and conditioner in the trash.
- Make sure you do not have to work the next day.
- Watch out for seductive traps like soothing air-conditioning on a 95-degree day. Once you enter, you won't leave.
Go On! Start Planning.
I used to think about the trips I wanted to take, and now I take them. I highly recommend a day trip or overnight trip with good friends. Go on -- start planning that friend-cursion now, so when the country opens up from the lock-down, you'll be ready to hit the road, or the skies, with your best friends.