Planes, Ships and Automobiles – Changes in Latitude

My family has taken many vacations over the years, most of which involved long car rides to our destination.  Most of our time was spent reading road maps, sitting in traffic, searching for parking and waiting in rental car lines.  However, one year we decided to try something new.  We sailed on a Disney Cruise and left the ship responsible to take us to our destinations.  We would relax aboard the great big ship and be pedestrians for the week (and shed the pounds we would gain from having access to food 24 hours a day).  We were ready for our relaxing non-transportation vacation, or so I thought.

Photo Credit:
Photo Credit:

On the day of the departure, we loaded into our mini van and drove 90 minutes to the airport in Allentown, Pa.  Soon we were airborne as our plane took off for Orlando, Florida.  And no sooner than when we landed, we were driving along in our rented car to Cape Canaveral to board the ship.

For those keeping track – car, plane, car and ship.

Our first stop on our cruise docked us at Key West,  where we walked, walked and walked.  Day two was spent at sea, so our mode of transportation was a comfortable lounge chair aboard the outdoor deck.  On Day three, we arrived at Grand Cayman where we boarded a smaller boat which delivered us to the pier and waiting taxi that was beach bound.

Who is checking?  Car, plane, car, ship, walk, smaller boat, and taxi.

Our next stop in Cozumel involved taking a shuttle bus to a location where we would swim with dolphins.  What a memory!  As our cruise neared its end, we played on the beaches of Castaway Cay and we kayaked.

In one week we – Car, plane, car, ship, walk, smaller boat,  taxi, shuttle bus, swam and kayaked.

Who ever said cruising was relaxing?

But rest assured, we are planning our next transportation mode rich cruise.

Bon Voyage!


The Emerald Isle – Changes In Latitude

Polite and friendly people. Warm and delicious brown bread.  Green for more than the eye can see.  Guinness on tap everywhere and anywhere you go.

Where are we?

Ireland, of course – the Emerald Isle.

As the plane descended from the clouds, the morning was bright and beautiful.  And at the expense of sounding cliché, outside our window the greenest fields and lush rolling hills greeted us.

ireland2This was my first trip oversees in many years and the first in which I was leaving my children behind in the care of my parents.  Trying to suppress my anxiety of leaving them, I vowed to make the most of my time in the beautiful city of Dublin.

And what a city it is!

During our week stay, we visited the “must see” sites Dublin primarily by foot and bus……

…St. Patrick’s Cathedral (which unlike the cathedral in New York City is Anglican).

ireland…Trinity College and the splendor of its breath-taking library.

..the Guinness Factory and the tour up to the Sky Bar for a free pint of Guinness – there is a full meal in every pour!ireland3








But of all the tourist sites we visited, by far my favorite was taking the Literary Pub Crawl.  What is better than being immersed in Irish literary history while enjoying a pint at each stop along the tour.  On the night of our walking tour, a light rain fell and we met Yeats, O’Casey, Joyce and Swift along the way on this tour.

And like all good trips, the night before we left, our tour bus made its way up the winding hills and delivered us at the door step of The Merry Ploughboys Pub where we dined, danced and sang as if we were just another fellow family member.



Cruising Up the Nile in 1987 – Changes in Latitude

Photo Credit:
Photo Credit:

Most of Cairo was asleep as my cab pulled away from the hotel.  Soon the streets and sidewalks would bustle with people, cars, buses, bikes, and mopeds.  For now, in the dusty morning light, it was my cab and a donkey cart.  The cart had no driver.  Yet, the donkey trotted with confidence and purpose, crossing the street carefully as two men slept in the back.  I don’t know where the donkey was going but I was on my way home following a whirlwind tour of Egypt.

That I was in Egypt at all mystified me. I had read Death on the Nile and Elizabeth Peters’ excellent mysteries. I knew about the Pyramids, King Tut, Ramses, Nefertiti, and Cleopatra.  That was about it.

When my sister Clara, a travel agent, invited me to cruise up the Nile between Luxor and Aswan, I couldn’t refuse.  We met in Cairo and flew together to Luxor, where the Osiris, our floating hotel, awaited.

Shopping in downtown Luxor, a tour of the Temple, and a spectacular light and sound show at the Temple of Karnak, left us exhausted.  As we slept, Osiris crossed the river to the West Bank of the Nile. To avoid the daytime heat, buses left at 6AM for the necropolis at the Valley of the Kings and the Valley of the Queens. We wore sturdy shoes and carried flashlights, bottled water, and sun tan lotion.

Photo Credit:
Photo Credit:

The tombs had been cut deep into rocky hills. The walking was strenuous.  Inside the tombs, colorful, well preserved murals and hieroglyphics depicting the life and death of the entombed covered the walls and ceilings of uneven passageways.

With terraces and colonnades, Queen Hatshepsut’s mortuary temple at Deir al-Bahri rests below towering cliffs.  Here, a member of our group revealed she had been Hatshepsut in a previous life.  Sadly, the tomb drawings were destroyed by the Queen’s successor.  He wished to eradicate any trace of this woman who ruled as a man.

Though hot and humid on land, on the river, it was cool and relaxing when afternoon tea was served.  Occasionally, we heard the call to prayer from towering minarets.  We sailed north to Dendera and the tomb of Hathor, goddess of heaven, joy, and love.  From there, we bused to Abydos, the final resting place of the god Osiris.

Heading south, we stopped in Esna, Edfu, and Kom Ombo which is protected by two gods.  Harwar, a hawk headed god and Sobek, a crocodile share a twin temple with one side dedicated to each.  In Aswan, we traded Osiris for a graceful felucca to sail to the botanical gardens on Kitchener’s Island and to the Aga Khan’s mausoleum.

Returning to Cairo, Clara and I visited the Pyramids and the Sphinx. Visitors don’t walk into the pyramids. Rather, they crawl along an ascending or descending passage though galleries and chambers. It is not for those who are claustrophobic. At the bottom of the Pyramids, sits the Sphinx.  Part lion, part man, the Sphinx faces east to watch the rising of the sun, the return of life each day.




Each Wednesday, KMM’s staff members share stories and anecdotes about their 
memorable vacations, recent and past.  These will be personal 
recollections about trips to our beloved Jersey shore, across America, 
and around the world.  Changes in Latitude………..

Mind the Gap – Changes in Latitude

As a mother of two active school-age children living in the New Jersey suburbs, our family vehicle is very much a part of our family.  We drive almost everywhere with children and gear and friends in tow.  Add office life and social commitments – it’s safe to say our lives as professionals and parents and chauffeurs are full.  So you can imagine my absolute delight and glee when my husband and I left the car and our children in the hands of their loving grandparents and flew off to England for a “holiday”/ work combo trip!

Cheers from London!
Cheers from London!

For 10 ten days we navigated the city of London by foot, train, Underground and river boat and were able to capture the true essence of London.  Staying 25-minutes outside of the city for the beginning portion of our trip, each morning with our Oyster Card in hand, we boarded the train and headed into London.  With a quick exchange in the Underground, we made our way to my husband’s office.  Work first and recreation in the afternoon was our motto and it served us well.

The sun shining and the temperatures in the 70’s was quite unusual for London, but we took advantage of all the city had to offer.  A river boat trip down the Thames gave us a glimpse of the hustle and bustle from both sides of the river.  A walk past Parliament, Westminster Abbey and to Buckingham Palace allowed us to take in the sights by foot.  A stop at the local pub allowed us to converse with the locals and rest my poor feet, who had become slaves to my poor shoe choice.

Each day brought us new discoveries – a ripe enormous fig tree nestled in the middle of St. James Park – and visits to sites we enjoyed on our last trip together to London – a walk across Tower Bridge.   By the end of our first week, we had traversed most of London and I didn’t need to think twice about minding the gap and found myself looking left at each corner!

The weekend brought us to England’s countryside as we carpooled with our local friends to the cities of Ilminster, Glastonbury, Wells and quick stop at Stonehenge.  Thatch roofs cottages lined the country roads and just the most quaint villages welcomed us with endearing conversations and delicious foods.  But like all good things, our weekend came to a close and we returned to the city of London.

With my stint of the trip coming to an end, I did my best to consume every last pound on my Oyster Card.  A trip to Kensington and some last-minute gift shopping in Harrods brought my card to just enough to get me to Heathrow Airport.

The morning of my departure was most fitting.  The rain that is very much England-norm fell lightly as I made my way to the Underground to the Station to the Airport.  This leg of the trip was mine to take alone, since my husband still had work to finish and reality was waiting for me on the other side of the pond.

As my flight took off and we reached higher and higher altitudes, I was thankful for this opportunity for a Change in Latitude.

A Transportation Planner Visits Barcelona – Changes in Latitude

“I, therefore, openly repaired to Barcelona, that repository of politeness…that agreeable scene of unshaken friendship, unparalleled both in beauty and situation!” Don Quixote

It was a beautiful and sunny day as my wife, daughters, and I left our cruise ship to enjoy the beauty of Barcelona.  No tour bus for us.  We wanted to experience this Mediterranean jewel on foot.

We weren’t the only ones.

photo credit: IES Abroad
photo credit: IES Abroad

Everywhere, the streets were filled with tourists, students, businessmen and women, even the elderly walking, bicycling or zipping around on Vespa scooters.  Walking through town, we experienced the history and culture of Spain’s most cosmopolitan city.  The excitement and energy pulsed around us in this city so ancient yet so modern. For me, it was a transportation professional’s dream.

I was fascinated by the mixed land use, marriage of old and new.  Likewise, the commitment to a balanced transportation system proved that a “streets that work for all” approach can work in a large city.  The streets were shared by motor vehicles, pedestrians, bicyclists, and public transit services.  Barcelona’s population exceeds 1.5 million.  With considerable distance between tourist areas and monuments, the best way to get around is by using the underground subway.  It is clean, on time, and efficient.

The bus system is enhanced with beautifully designed shelters that attracted passengers of all ages.  I noticed city maps, route maps, stop signs, benches and other amenities at all stops along the main routes.

Overall, it appeared that transportation and transportation planning seem to be high priorities for Barcelona’s city officials, professionals, and decision makers.  It works well, and was well appreciated by this tourist.



Each Wednesday, KMM’s staff members share stories and anecdotes about their
memorable vacations, recent and past.  These will be personal
recollections about trips to our beloved Jersey shore, across America,
and around the world.  Changes in Latitude………..

Up, Up and Away – Changes in Latitude

It snowed overnight, but there was hope the white trim on the Red Rock Mountains would melt by the time the birds awoke with their early morning chirping.  In Sedona, Arizona, on an open field, a hot air balloon was waiting.

As my wife an I arrived to the remote location, we could see the crew inflate our chariot – the majestic balloon that would carry us on this sunrise odyssey over the valley of Central Arizona.   It took a bit of effort (as did our newly acquainted companions) to climb into the bucket.  But soon, with the pilot making adjustments to balance the weight of the passengers, we silently and softly rose above the desert floor.

Though the balloon was huge, there was little room in the basket.  Divided into four compartments with four passengers each, the basket was very crowded which we learned was necessary for safety since there are no restraints to hold travelers inside.Hot air balloon

As we glided 100-300 feet above the valley, we were speechless.  The pilot explained as we moved across the sky, he was in complete control of all of the vertical movements, but had no control over its horizontal direction.  The air currents are in charge of that. With the rising sun behind us, the Red Rocks in front of us and the valley below, it was breathtaking.  Although the breezes pushed us in a southerly direction, we didn’t feel the wind because we travelled at the same rate of speed.  It was a calm morning and we felt that all movement was in slow motion.

Forty-five minutes later, it was time to begin the descent and landing approach.  Using a simple cell phone, the pilot alerted the crew to where he though the wind would allow us to land .  But as we gradually worked our way to ground level, it was apparent that the pilot’s educated guess was one mile or so off course.  Another phone call and adjustments were made and we began our final approach. But we still had one final obstacle.

A deep canyon stood between the landing site and our craft.  As the balloon descended into the canyon, the updrafts lifted it to flat land.  Slowly and surely, the balloon sank into the canyon and soon our frazzled nerves dissipated as we ascended  to a perfect landing.

As we exited the balloon on that crisp November morning, a champagne breakfast awaited us as we processed the marvel we just experienced.






Each Wednesday, KMM’s staff members share stories and anecdotes about their
memorable vacations, recent and past.  These will be personal
recollections about trips to our beloved Jersey shore, across America,
and around the world.  Changes in Latitude………..




Changing Latitudes – Jersey Shore

I love my passport.   I love the stamps from far away locations gracing each page (although it irks me when customs randomly selects a page to stamp – seriously, why can’t they just stamp in order!) and the tiny stickers placed on the back of the book.  But most often, these trips, while great fun, involve sightseeing, jet lag and sore feet.  So as much as I love my passport, I also love Route 539 which is my passport and passageway to the Jersey Shore.

American Rock on Route 539 in Lacey Township, NJ.  Photo credit: Lacey Patch
American Rock on Route 539 in Lacey Township, NJ. Photo credit: Lacey Patch

Over the years, much of the route and its fixtures remain the same.  But from time to time, there is a subtle change or a Super Wawa that graces the route along the way.  Even the children have come to recognize the landmarks along the way.  When we reach the American Flag Rock, the kids know that we are half way to our final destination – that is unless we are vacationing in LBI which then means we are minutes away from vacation time.

There is something comforting and reassuring about this county road that stretches the four counties we pass through to reach the beaches of Cape May.  And each year we travel this road, new memories are made and old memories are cherished through conversation and laughter.  Once upon a time, it was just Hubby and I racing our way down the single lane road with a small bag flung in the back seat with the tunes cranking and the windows rolled down.  Now seated behind us are two passengers who vie for their music selections as we sit in a temperature controlled SUV amidst sand toys, suitcases, games and toys. Did I mention, toys?

Yes, times have changed, but so have we.  Despite the ordeal that is associated with packing up for the beach with two

Summer Fun at the Jersey Shore
Summer Fun at the Jersey Shore

children, their delight and absolute glee about vacationing on the beach is far better than days gone by ….although I do miss reading peacefully on the beach with my one towel, water bottle….the pleasant dinners eating bayside…..the late mornings sleeping in….but I digress.

Route 539 captures every essence of the best part of summer vacation – getting there!


Each Wednesday, KMM’s staff members share stories and anecdotes about their
memorable vacations, recent and past.  These will be personal
recollections about trips to our beloved Jersey shore, across America,
and around the world.  Changes in Latitude………..

Changes in Latitude – KMM Summer Blog Series

SummerBlogPhotoWelcome to our new Summer Blog Series,

Changes in Latitude…

From time to time, we all need a change in latitude to help us relax, re-energize, reboot, and reconnect with family, friends, or our true selves.

Each Wednesday, KMM’s staff members share stories and anecdotes about their memorable vacations, recent and past.  These will be personal recollections about trips to our beloved Jersey shore, across America, and around the world. 

Of course, being in the business of transportation, our travel logs feature different modes of travel.  You don’t need a passport to come along as we take bikes, boats, planes, trains, hot air balloons, and other means of conveyance to places far and wide.  Join us for …

                                                Changes in Latitude………..