It's Almost Summer Vacation
It's heating up. Pools have water, even though the two I'll use this summer aren't open yet. And children are almost out of school for summer.
The iconic summer vacation awaits us. Months upon months of scorching heat and afternoon swims. With road trips and theme parks to look forward to, not everyone is heading out.
The Associated Press reported that economists and tourism experts expect only a small uptick in summer travelers. Sure, gas prices are lower, but they are
still high enough to keep some Ameri-cans off the road.
For Memorial Day weekend, auto club AAA estimates that 34.8 million Americans will take trips of at least 50 miles. That's a half-million more than Memorial Day 2011 but equal to the number who traveled two years ago. About 30.7 million -- or 88 percent of those traveling -- will drive, according to AAA. Memorial Day tends to be a good indicator of summer travel overall, the AP reported.
AAA said the 66 cent increase in the average gas price from January through early April made some skittish about taking long road trips. The average trip will be 642 miles this Memorial Day, compared with 792 miles. Half of those surveyed by AAA said they'll travel less than 400 miles.
But what are your plans? Will you stay closer to home or shop for deals on that dream destination?
I dream of the beach. It was this time five years ago that I glimpsed the ocean for the first time. It was the first weekend of my internship in Los Angeles, and I decided to drive around my neighborhood to get the lay of the land. I lived close to the Pacific Coast Highway in Orange County and Sunset Beach.
The first time I saw the Pacific Ocean, I blinked. Was that it? As soon as I found a turnoff, I took it and parked my car. I jumped out of the car and ran to the water.
It was brilliant. The sun hung low in the evening sky, the waves lapped at my bare calves and wet sand surrounded my feet. It was a revelation for this Kansas girl.
After that, I'd just drive by and look at the ocean before I went to work some days. And my last night in Southern California, the Tuesday before Thanksgiving 2007, I went down to Seal Beach and watched the waves reflect the moon.
To say I'm fond of the ocean would be a modest assumption.
I don't have a trip planned, but I do have some articles planned for this section to help East Texans get ready to travel.
Coming up, look for stories about the Dale Chihuly exhibit at the Dallas Arboretum, a camping guide, car maintenance for summer road trips, Corpus Christi, Huntsville, Tulsa, Okla., Nashville, Tenn., and Showman's Rest and other roadside attractions.
Last year, I asked readers to send me pictures of what they did on their summer sojourns. I still want to see what you did on your summer vacation. I'll run some of the photos throughout the summer. Send the photos with information about who is in the photo, where it was taken and what made the trip memorable to email@example.com
Vanessa Pearson is a staff writer for the
She can be reached at 903-596-6267 or firstname.lastname@example.org