Spin Cycle and Ask Away Friday with Tamara

This week the girls have been watching Fetch on Netflix, which is a reality/game show for kids made by PBS. The host, Ruff Ruffman, (he’s a dog) always gives out Bonus Points! This week, I’m giving you a bonus! Tamara and I are exchanging questions and answers for Ask Away Friday, and I asked my readers some travel questions for The Spin Cycle! If you are not familiar with The Spin Cycle, I host a writing prompt every week. The Spin Cycle was started by Jen at Sprite’s Keeper, and was taken over by Gretchen at Second Blooming, and now I’m hosting for a short time until Gretchen finishes her book! I give a writing prompt on Mondays, you put your “spin” on the prompt, and link up any day of the week. Please visit our Spinners and give them some comment love!

Spin Cycle at Second Blooming

For Ask Away Friday, two bloggers swap 10 questions with each other and post the answers on Friday. Tamara is one of the hosts, and she is on vacation in sunny Florida this week. We decided to swap travel questions! Stop by Tamara (like) Camera to read her answers to my 10 questions! If you have never read her blog before, you are in for a treat. She is an amazing writer and I’m happy to call her a friend.

1. How many of the 50 states have you visited? (I think driving through counts but not flying over). If you haven’t been to all 50, which is the state you most want to visit that you’ve never visited? Why?

When I was in college, I was fortunate to sing in our university’s Concert Choir, which toured the East Coast two years in a row. I live in the Midwest, and I’ve taken several vacations out West, so I’ve covered a lot of ground! If I’m counting correctly, I’ve been to 30 states. I didn’t include Washington because even though I spent four hours at the airport on my way to Alaska, I never stepped foot on Washington soil.

States I've Visited
States I’ve visited

I’ve also been in 4 states at one time! A couple of years ago, we stopped at the Four Corners where Utah, Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado meet. My left foot is in Utah, my left arm is in Colorado, my right foot is in New Mexico, and my right arm is in Arizona!

Four Corners
Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona

Which states would I like to go to next? In college, I wrote a paper about old growth forests in Oregon, and I’ve always wanted to see them. However, I honestly want to go to Hawaii!

2. How many other countries have you visited? What three countries would you most like to visit?

I’ve been to Canada and Mexico, and also Jamaica and the Cayman Islands as part of a cruise. I would love to go to France, and Germany, and I really want to go visit my cousin in the United Kingdom! She has lived there for a long time, and I have yet to go see her.

3. What’s your dream trip to take with the whole family?

This is a tough question because we’ve already taken so many amazing vacations with our kids. We’ve already traveled to Alaska, the Grand Canyon and Yosemite. Ed and I have always wanted to drive with the kids from Chicago to Yellowstone, just like we did before we had kids. It’s the great American Road Trip. Along the way we’d stop at the Badlands, Mount Rushmore, and Devil’s Tower. Of course we’d also stop at Wall Drug! And Yellowstone itself is amazing! It’s so large, and there are several areas to explore that are completely different from one another.

Ed and I in Yellowstone National Park

4. What about just with your husband?

When we were dating, Ed told me he’d never go to an opera. One Christmas, he surprised me with tickets to the Lyric Opera! This Christmas,  he gave me tickets to the Chicago Symphony. Now the next step in our cultural adventures; visiting the Louvre! Ed and I have talked about going to Paris for a romantic trip with just the two of us, including a chance to gaze at fine art.

5. What’s a really memorable vacation you’ve had, and what made it so?

When we were on a day-cruise in Alaska, we saw some humpback whales bubble-netting. They work together as a team to make a net of bubbles around krill, and then scoop the krill up in their cavernous mouths. Of course, we only saw their huge, open jaws emerging from the water, and our tour guide told us what they were doing under the water. It was an amazing sight to see!

Humpback Whales bubblenetting

Another memorable vacation was just this past summer. We stopped at Death Valley National Park. Night swimming in the large, outdoor pool which was fed by an underwater spring was very surreal. The water was warm, but the air temperature was much warmer. It was 9:00 at night, and we kept looking at the thermometer, which read 110 degrees Fahrenheit. Death Valley does not cool down much at night because of the mountains surrounding it, making it a bowl of heat! Right now in January, however, it is 62 degrees! We would love to go back in the winter when it isn’t so unbearably hot.

Death Valley Natl Park
Furnace Creek in Death Valley


6. When you were a child, did your family take trips? Would you always go to the same place or different places?

When I was little, my family went to the Ozarks and we also visited a grotto in Iowa. When I was a little older, we started having a week-long vacation with my dad’s family at a lake every summer. It started at Lake Huron, then we moved around to a couple of smaller lakes in Michigan, and finally we ended up on Lake Michigan. This family vacation is still going strong, and we usually take our girls there for at least a couple of days. This year we’re planning on staying for the whole week!

Swimming in Lake Michigan
Swimming in Lake Michigan

7. Describe the worst trip you ever took. Where did you go? What made it a bad trip?

We’ve been very lucky, and most of our trips have been fantastic! One summer when I was about 15, however, we stayed in a rented house on a little lake. The house was dirty, the lake was full of duck weed, and even though we had fun with our cousins it was just not a good place to vacation. That was the only time we stayed there.

8. Would you prefer to relax on the beach or tour a big city?

I’m definitely a relaxing on the beach with a book type of gal. I dream of listening to the waves on the shore while napping in the sun during these cold, dreary winter months!

9. Have you ever feared for your life while on vacation?

When Ed and I were on our honeymoon, we took a taxi in Jamaica. As our driver was going up a mountain road and honking his horn as he was going around curves instead of slowing down, I definitely feared for my life!

10. If you could go on a road trip with any person (dead or alive), who would you choose and where would you go?

I would want to go on a road trip with my mom. Once, we drove from Chicago to Des Moines, just the two of us, and I learned so much about her as a person and not just as my mom. I loved talking to her, and as a teenager I talked her ear off! She was such a good listener. I don’t think it would matter where we went if I could talk to her again.

Thank you, Tamara, for being my Ask Away Friday partner!


In 2015, I’d like to get the Spin Cycle grow. I love you to join us!

  • Write a Spin Cycle post any day this week and link it up here!
  • Copy the code for the Spin Cycle button on my sidebar and paste it in your Spin or include a link back here in your post so that your readers will be able to find more Spins.
  • Sign up for my newsletter to get the Spin Cycle Prompt in your inbox.
  • Send me a tweet @lemondroppie when your post is up!

Have a wonderful weekend!




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19 Replies to “Spin Cycle and Ask Away Friday with Tamara”

  1. What a nice post! You certainly have seen much of your own country. My husband and I would like to explore Canada, our home but are in a bit of bind as we live in Central Canada and I have traveled the eastern part and he the west.

    Thanks for hosting the SpinCycle!
    This Busy Life recently posted…KnittingMy Profile

  2. What a fun topic for AAF – loved the travel stories. However, I’m very sad for you that Texas is not one of the states you’ve been to. It is the best (well, maybe just behind Hawaii!!).
    Kim recently posted…The 45 Mile RunMy Profile

  3. Fun! Being in four states at once is very cool! The only time I thought I was going to die while traveling was when we went snorkeling in the Bahamas on our honeymoon. I am not a good swimmer at all, but my hubs convinced me I would be fine with a life jacket on in shallow water and, of course a snorkel. I twas beautiful util a wave crashed over topped of us, I got a mouthful of saltwater,panicked, and almost drowned both of us trying to come up for air!!! 🙂
    Lisa @ The Golden Spoons recently posted…Dear Daughters, I RememberMy Profile

    1. That sounds very similar to what happened to me when I tried boogie boarding in North Carolina! I’m used to the gentle waves of the Great Lakes, not the ocean, which scares me!

  4. I have set foot on two airports in the USA, one in Texas on my way back to the Netherlands and one in Illinois on my way to Canada. The latter was a 6 hour stay and I was bored and tired out of my mind! Unfortunately it wasn’t until after I had returned from my trip that I found out that you didn’t live that far off! We had the chance to meet and never got around to do so!
    Mara recently posted…Going on holiday (well…)My Profile

  5. Hi there! Stopping over from Tamara’s blog. I’m so jealous of all the travel you’ve done and of the amazing things you’ve seen. That moment with the whales seems so incredible – and I would love it if my husband would surprise me with opera (or symphony) tickets!
    Leslie recently posted…It’s Super Bowl Time!My Profile

  6. Late, but here!
    And your intro made me smile. I’m happy to call you a friend too!
    I love #3 because those are trips we took before kids – Yellowstone, Yosemite, Badlands, etc. In fact, if Mount Rushmore hadn’t been too fogged in to see even a glimpse of the monument, I’m convinced Scarlet would never have existed. TMI if I go any further..
    I’ve never been to Death Valley but we did go hiking in Sedona, Arizona in December. I kept seeing so many signs about heat exhaustion and dehydration, but those signs were not describing winter! It was about 65 and perfect.
    And the 123 degrees photo makes me laugh a bit because you can almost see the heat rise from the photo, as if in a cartoon.
    Tamara recently posted…Slow Cooker Chicken and Sausage Gumbo Recipe.My Profile

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