Can you believe it? I took two and a half weeks off from the truck! I didn't look at it or worry about who was driving it. (Luckily for me, no one!) I would tell you I didn't talk about it, but that would be an out-and-out lie. Naturally, when I'm around people who don't know me well, I pull out my phone and show all the pictures of my truck like it's my child.
I took a well-deserved vacation to Italy and Greece with a group tour. A fantastic decision, I must say. A friend of mine and her daughter were signed up to go on this twelve-day trip with EF Tours and asked if I also wanted to tag along. This was back in October, so I hemmed and hawed a bit, then decided to bite the bullet and go. I've often thought I'd never do much travelling like this because I tell myself I can't afford it. I always thought you had to pay upfront, and I never had that kind of money lying around. It turns out that EF Tours sets you up with a payment plan, making it easy-peasy. That said, I signed up and couldn't have been happier. Everyone in the group more or less knew each other, and although I knew a few people as acquaintances, we all became great friends by the end of the twelve days. We laughed so much and had a great time every day!
I'll tell ya, though, I knew I was out of shape and in for some long walks, but I was not even slightly prepared! Do you remember when your parents told you they walked uphill both ways to school? Well, this was Italy and Greece in a nutshell, and it was combined with constant 35-degree temperatures. Every day, I was a hot, sweaty mess, but I powered through because I didn't want to miss a thing. In the back of my mind, I could hear my friend Leanne's voice saying, "It's good for you!" She told me this last winter when we were hiking uphill in the cold at the dog park in eight inches of snow, and I was ready to pass out from exhaustion.
I'm not the most religious person or a history buff, but the sights and experiences of the trip were beyond amazing! We visited mainly Rome and Athens but took in other sights along the way. We took in Vatican City, the Sistine Chapel, St Peter and St Paul's Basilica, the Amalfi coast, the Trevi Fountain, Pompeii, the Acropolis, and the Colosseum, to name a few things! Travelling with a group was fantastic because all of our admissions to attractions were worked into the cost of the trip, so we also got front-of-the-line service at many places.
Our bus drivers were skilled beyond a doubt!! Of course, I would be judgy of their driving skills! There were narrow streets and roadways, switchbacks, and uphill climbs, and they never missed a beat maneuvering through the towns and cities. They are obviously used to all the traffic, congestion and craziness, but they did so with ease. I had never seen traffic before like we did there. Scooters and mopeds were weaving in and out of traffic amongst bumper-to-bumper cars. One would definitely always need to be on high alert and watch closely in all directions.
I enjoyed this vacation so much that I signed up for the group tour to Switzerland, Northern Italy, France and Spain for 2025! And to prepare, I've started a strict workout regime and even pushed through with consistency in the Texas heatwave. I'm determined to be much more prepared for this trip because, like Leanne says, "It's good for me!"
I want to see as many places in the world as I can and say the words of Hank Snow, "I've been everywhere, man
'Cross the deserts bare, man
I've breathed the mountain air, man
Of travel, I've had my share, man
I've been everywhere."
According to my bank account, it appeared I had to return to work. I did a couple of trips to Pennsylvania and Wisconsin and just finished up a trip to Texas.
Do you ever have a moment when you know you should have listened to your instincts but didn't? Well, that happened to me this week. I pulled into the Flying J in Ardmore, OK, to fuel. As I pulled into the lot, I noticed all the pumps were roped off. I went inside and inquired why they were down and when they expected them to open up. I was told they didn't know why they were shut down but would be open soon. I asked if they, by chance, had water in the fuel, and they assured me this couldn't possibly be an issue. At this point, I knew I should have just driven off and fueled elsewhere like my mind was telling me. This location is on our list of places to fuel as they offer a good price, which is why I stuck around. They opened the pumps up as I walked back to my truck, so I got in and whipped around to the fuel island. I threw on one hundred twenty gallons and made my way south.
Sixty miles later, I got a water in fuel code! Ugghh!! I knew it!! I called the Flying J to report it, and they took my information for an incident report without question. I stopped at a Love's Truck stop, and they changed my fuel filters and filtered the fuel in the tanks with an external filter. That was the best that they could do with the resources they had. I carried on to my delivery, still with the water in the fuel light on, but no apparent issues with the truck. After a day and a half of sitting in 42-degree Celsius weather, the light went out, thank goodness. No issues since. Knock on wood!
Let this be a reminder to all, no matter what the situation, always listen to your gut instinct! It obviously knows more than we do!!