The Daily Press

Skedaddle Season

- By William Crisp

We love to travel and we like sunlight so now we head south, young man, south.

We have been tinkering with our trips to sun country as far as timing and have found that late January and early February are, for us, the best time to skedaddle, as they say around the watering hole. At least until there is a more permanent solution or PA taxes us more.

One of the few regrets about my career is that it did not allow me to travel on my own time as I would have liked. You really get very little time to take extended trips working as a warden for the Commonweal­th. My choice, my tradeoff, but still a tradeoff.

The real curse is that I like everything from the Caribbean to mountain lakes. By the grace of God, I do not enjoy snow anymore so that is one less travel temptation to worry about. I wish I could have taken my offspring to more places but they did get to adventure into Canada and to the west through Yellowston­e, where we almost lost our youngest who, at the tender age of five, wandered out into the prairie where he was found and protected by wild horses. Luckily, the horses did not have time to discover he was a little banshee and they may have been in danger.

We were spurned on to travel more after attending a wedding in exotic Dayton Ohio, during which our Emporium kids were so wide eyed about “things” there we decided we had been home too long. The kicker off the ledge was the breathless comment, “Look, Dayton has a McDonalds…this town has everything!” At least with a happy meal, the pressure was off to find the world's largest bale of hay, tourist attraction. However, it was decided then and there that we had to, at least, get them fishing in Lake Superior, with a stop at McDonald's in Detroit.

So, now we visit flamingo land whenever we can. This year it's going to be a little diving, fishing, and drinking, in that order. Of course, harassing the native wildlife is my priority. We've been asked on vacations, “Are you guys going to fish… every day?” We will get off the water and visit the local watering holes where there's no fish other than a few sharks. We do not like the commercial touristy joints, and prefer to find small, hideaway, local establishm­ents as part of the visitation routine. So, of course we are at high risk of food poisoning, but is it worth it? We have been trapped in a blizzard at 10,000 feet in Alaska, driven through a tornado in Wyoming and worse. That stuff does not faze us, we live in Pennsylvan­ia. But now we like to escape the home blizzards for sun fun and still stumble into hazards. Last year we got “roofied” for some reason and the staff rescued us and got us back to our rooms safely. Let me tell you, those are the experience­s you save up for. After that, bad road kill barbeque from a fuel tank under a tin roof is nothing.

I know, I know we could be dropping suckers through the ice on Kinzua this time of year, but Tidy Bowl colored water and glistening white sand under 78-degree air is the way to spend part of the winter, if you ask me. I would go as far as saying all of the winter. Hundreds of bird species agree. It is perfectly natural to snow bird.

In the Army, several of my friends had a plan to save up then use their bonus re-enlistment money to move to some quiet tropical island and live out the last of their days under a hut by the beach with a bottle of rum. Even then, when most anything seemed like a good way to go when you were living like a soldier, I thought while it did have appeal, that seemed a little extreme.

Now, with years of wisdom under my belt…it's starting to seem like those guys were visionarie­s. I wonder if any of them made it. If they did, I may have to buy them a bottle and admit that they were right. I do not think they'll be too intrigued by my ice fishing and shoveling snow in the dark tales but we'll find something to talk about. So, off we go! See you along the stream.

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