Are You A B&B Virgin?


Are You A B&B Virgin?

Have you been wanting to do it, but just haven’t gotten up the courage?  You’ve been doing your research, reading magazines, looking at pictures on the internet, and now you think you’re ready to take the plunge, but you’re still not sure.  We finally tried it ourselves ten years ago and fell in love with it.  Now we do it as often as we can!

I’m talking about staying at a B&B — a Bed & Breakfast.

Staying in a B&B is different from a motel.  This might seem like a “duh” comment, but it is the uncertainty of those differences that often keeps people from trying it.  Here’s a short list to help point out some differences:

Things you (usually) don’t find at a B&B:

  • A swimming  pool.
  • Other people’s kids.
  • Rewards points.
  • Cold cereal.
  • Another one just like it.

Things you (usually) do find at a B&B:

  • Fluffy robes.
  • A fresh, home-cooked breakfast that doesn’t involve you rotating a waffle iron.
  • They actually prefer you write them a check.
  • Trust.
  • Privacy.
  • History.
  • Innkeepers who are knowledgable about the surrounding area.
  • Good conversation when you want it, but not when you don’t.

Sometimes the innkeepers will hug you when you leave.  This happened to us when we stayed in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.   The Innkeepers were a gracious couple that we really connected with.  On the way home we were looking for a place to stay near Galena, Illinois, and stopped to check on a new lodge-type chain motel.  It was pretty cool, but the price was almost double what we had just paid for the B&B.  I told Roy, “For that price, they better hug us when we leave!”

Be a little adventurous.  Have breakfast with the person who will wash your sheets.  Stay at a B&B.

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Maps and Symbols

Maps and Symbols

The Legend of Maps and Symbols

Understanding the maps and symbols that are on each page of your atlas or map can add to the enjoyment of your travels.  Similar to learning a foreign language, knowing what the different colors, lines, and pictures mean can help your skills as the navigator.

On the inside cover of my well-worn Rand McNally atlas, the “Map Legend” is the key to all of the pictures on the maps and symbols shown.  It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with this list before you head out on your road trip.  My atlas “Map Legend” lists these categories:

  • Roads and related symbols
  • Cities and towns
  • Parks, recreation areas, and points of interest
  • Physical features
  • Other symbols

Get to Know Your Maps and Symbols

Knowing what the map legend means can save you a lot of time and avoid surprises along the way.  On one of our trips through Louisiana, we mistook the abbreviation “FY” to mean freeway.  Imagine our surprise when we discovered it meant “Ferry” and we had to wait for a car ferry to cross the river.  (The ferry actually broke down on the other side of the river and we weren’t even able to ride it, but that is another story!)

A Good Navigator Knows How to Use Maps and Symbols

Think of the legend as the map to your map.  Familiarize yourself with all of it, even the small print.  I use AAA state maps when we travel in the Model A.  I don’t really have enough room to open my atlas all the way, so I use the state maps and just keep refolding them.  For years I wondered why AAA printed some town names in red and some in black.  When it was nearing time to eat or find a motel, I would look ahead at our route on the map and then get my AAA guide book out to see if any of the towns were listed and had a good restaurant or motel.  Sometimes I would search and search before I would even find a town on our  route in the book.  Then, one day, when I was looking at the map legend, in small, red print I discovered “AAA recommended lodging and/or dining facilities can be located by checking TourBook Guide listings for community names printed in red.”  Argh!  Ah, the time I could have saved if I had read all of the legend!

Maps and symbols — don’t leave home without them!


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Trusting the MapReader


From The Navigator

A year post-Katrina, a group from our church was in New Orleans to help with rebuilding.  On our last day, four of us decided to journey to Houma, Louisiana, to check out another volunteer location.  Pastor Z was driving,  Pauline and Edda were in the back seat, and, of course, I was in the Navigator’s seat .

I don’t recall exactly what road we were on, probably I-10 or I-310.  I do recall that we were all tired from a week of work we weren’t accustomed to, but also fulfilled by the feeling of making a difference in the lives of at least a few people.  It was a busy Saturday morning and we were in unfamiliar territory, but I was armed with my map and some sketchy directions from our Houma connection.

We were staying with traffic on the interstate and approaching a “Y” in the road — a couple of lanes peeling off to the right and a couple more peeling off to the left.  I made the usual comment, something like “move over to the right” or “stay in your lane, but we’ll be exiting off to the right.”  Whatever comment I made, PZ questioned, “Are you sure?  I think we should go left.”  By now I am using the airplane landing gestures I learned from my father in an attempt to guide the van over to the right.  In my most calm Navigator voice I continue to say, “Right lane, right lane, right lane!”  But the steering wheel didn’t budge; he just couldn’t do it.  We came to a screeching halt — in the middle of the emergency area between the lanes curving right and left. 

The Navigator

“Why didn’t you turn right?”

“Because it feels to me like we should turn left.” 

 Then I said, “You didn’t trust me.”

Trust The Navigator

“Trust is a strong word,” PZ said back.  Edda and Pauline just sat in the back seat, quiet witnesses.

Since that day, I’ve thought a lot about trust.  It is a strong word.  When you’re the MapReader, it is important that you are trusted.  The relationship between the Pilot and the Navigator must include trust, or you’ll end up stuck in the middle, not knowing which way to go.

The MapReader’s Tools

My dad taught me that a pessimist is someone who wears suspenders and a belt.  But sometimes you just need more than one accessory to get the job done.

Using a combination of manual and electronic tools is part of the joy of traveling the back roads.  In our 1930 Model A street rod, we have a vintage AAA compass attached to the dash, right above the Garmin GPS.  I also use paper AAA maps.  I fold them and refold them, write on them, highlight our route, and generally use ’em up!  (Don’t worry — I recycle them into jewelry and other craft items, so nothing goes to waste!)  My favorite way to use the Garmin is to just have it on with no intended destination.  Remember — the journey is the destination!

Being a good navigator means knowing when to use what tools — when to glance at the compass and verify that you are indeed going east, or when to zoom out on the Garmin and see that you have a while before you get to the next town, or just leisurely fold and refold your paper map, looking for the next turn right you’ll need to make.

Learning to stay calm and utilize a variety of map reading tools will get you to your destination.  You will discover that being an active participant in the journey is worth the trip.  And I am optimistic about that!



Natural Bridge State Resort Park, Kentucky


No, it’s not Yiddish, or Swedish.  Maybe it’s Iowa-ish.  To us, it’s a word to describe the sometimes otherwise indescribable.

Over the past 10-plus years, we’ve gone on some great driving trips in our 1930 Model A Ford and in our “regular” vehicles.  We love to travel, but we’ve come to the conclusion that people are programmed to use the interstates, eat at chain restaurants, and stay in chain motels.

Y’dstoti Adventure

We discovered the joy and adventure of traveling the backroads, dining in local cafes, staying in historic hotels and B&Bs.  We found ourselves seeing things that made us smile.  Things like a cow tied to someone’s front porch, a sign proclaiming “Rooster Livers for Sale,” and small town slogans like in Peculiar, Missouri — “Where the odds are with you.”  And amazing scenery that took our breath away.  The pride of a flower garden in the front yard of a Midwestern farm-house.  We found ourselves saying, “You don’t see that on the interstate!”  And that led to our acronym epiphany – Y’dstoti!  (yid-STAH-tee)

To us, Y’dstoti is a lifestyle choice.

Like taking time to smell the flowers, literally taking the road less traveled.  Being able to turn around, go back and take a second look if you drive by something interesting.  It’s going for hikes in a State Park, then staying overnight at the Lodge built in the 1930’s by the Conservation Corps.

We look forward to sharing our Y’dstoti adventures with you and want to hear of yours.  So slow down, take a deep breath, and embrace Y’dstoti — where the journey truly is the destination!