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2021: My Travel Year in Review

by Monte R.

Well, another year of the COVID-19 virus pandemic blues comes to a close.  It’s been a pretty depressing couple years, especially without freedom to travel without virus restrictions of some type.

The vaccines have finally helped open up the world again in parts, however, the variants (Delta + Omicrom) keep impeding re-openings, which stutter and stumble.  We’re now going into year three of the Covid virus pandemic nightmare but with more hope than before, at least.

On top of all that, the Death Cult Republicans attempted a coup of our US government in January. Vox ran an article on the coup ending democracy recently “The world as we know it is ending. Why are we still at work?” and that’s about the most “American” thing I’ve read lately.

Virus and political horrors aside, I finally was able to travel some this year domestically: New Mexico (post), Las Vegas, Seattle (post), Sarasota (Florida) and San Francisco and even Cancun (which is almost like part of Texas). Heck, now that I think about, I sure did travel a bit this year despite the pandemic problems, which made it all a bit more expensive, unfortunately.

The lingering effects of the pandemic remain evident everywhere I visited – understaffed hotels and restaurants were the biggest problem.  Long lines, limited menus, higher prices for pretty much everything, especially food and rental cars. Costs aside, I was just happy to be traveling again!

To recap some of the trips, in April, I took a short trip to Cancun with Jenny to spend a few days at the Excellence Riviera Resort.  It’s an adults only resort – the spa at the resort is an incredible highlight I did not expect.

In June, we went to Las Vegas.  We stayed at Nomad MGM and the brand new Virgin Hotel which replaced the old Hard Rock Casino, which I used to frequent back in the day with my brothers.  I really like the new dark English gothic design of Nomad MGM and the sunny desert vibes of the Virgin Hotel and Casino. The interactive art exhibit, Meow Wolf, was also super awesome.

For my 50th birthday, we took a trip to San Francisco.  It had been at least ten years since I last visited, when my aunt passed away.  The city was less busy than I expected likely due to the vaccine card requirement to eat/drink anywhere.  We stayed the Palace Hotel.

For the second part of the trip, we headed up to wine country.  We drove up through Sonoma and Santa Rosa, visiting some nice wineries along the way.  We visited the Charles Schultz Museum in Santa Rosa and ended the trip in Bodega Bay, which had an amazing Pacific coast line view.

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