It’s a whirlwind…Living in a hotel for six weeks…What’s that like?…Shopping photos…

Our two new pieces of luggage in easy-to-spot colors. Tom chose purple while I chose this peachy color. Each bag is expandable and lightweight, with four double-wheel rollers.

This is the longest period we’ll have spent in a hotel since the onset of our travels, beginning on October 31, 2012.  Many have asked why we chose a hotel over staying in a vacation/holiday home while in Minnesota for six weeks. Wouldn’t that be more cost-effective and convenient?

Not necessarily. There are several reasons we chose to stay in a hotel during this extended period from May 26, 2017, to July 7, 2017, a total of 42 nights. One consideration was the cost. It’s expensive to rent a house in Minnesota, but that definitely wasn’t the single most important reason.

Now that we’re here, we realize what a good decision it was to be free of planning meals, grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning, and doing dishes. Without the responsibility of these daily tasks, we’re free to spend time with family and friends at our leisure. We love the freedom.

With a $30 a day budget for dining out so far, we’re totally on track, even slightly under at $81.62 for the three nights we’ve dined in restaurants; Grizzly’s, Champs, and Chipotle. 

We save considerably on restaurant tabs by not consuming cocktails, other beverages, appetizers, and desserts.  Tom says he’s had enough alcohol over these past two 33-night cruises (plus an additional two nights spent in Vancouver) that he’s on a break from drinking anything at all with a possible few exceptions for special functions.

Since I’m only drinking water right now with an occasional cup of herbal tea and trying not to drink anything while eating to improve digestion, it’s easy for me to avoid ordering beverages. Neither of us orders any sodas or sweetened drinks.

Tom’s two new pairs of shoes; one pair Nike tennis shoes and a pair of Nike slides ideal for casual living in upcoming vacation homes.

Thus, it’s easy to dine out for our preferred budgetary expenditure without giving it a second thought, especially when neither of us has a desire to dine in expensive restaurants. 

Much to my delight, I’ve had no problem ordering meals befitting my way of eating. Last night’s Chipotle salad bowl was indeed a rare treat. I haven’t had Chipotle since we left Minnesota four years and seven months ago. 

By ordering only the beef, cheese, lettuce, tomato, sour cream, and guacamole, I was able to stay close to the limited number of carbs that I can consume daily. I practically moaned over the delicious concoction. On the other hand, Tom didn’t care for his beef burrito, claiming it had too much rice and not enough beef.

The day was great. Greg, Camille, and the three grandchildren came for breakfast at our hotel at 9:00 am, after which the kids swam in one of the hotel’s two swimming pools. It was fun to see them frolic and laugh, swimming and splashing in the pool, something we’ve missed for so long with all six of our grandchildren.

After they left, we visited Tom’s nephew Tim, and Tom’s sister Margie happened to be visiting Tim as well.  What a pleasant surprise! We have many more visits planned with Tom’s family members over the remaining days in Minnesota.

Afterward, we headed to TJ Maxx to see if we could find two new pieces of luggage. Our two large bags were literally falling apart. We exited the store a short time later, wheeling two colorful 30″ lightweight suitcases to the SUV for under $175. 

The regular retail prices for the two bags were four times the prices we actually paid. The odd colors resulted in several price reductions. We love odd colors on luggage. It makes them easier to spot when coming down the baggage carousel at airports and cruise terminals and less likely to be stolen. Most thieves prefer to swipe less noticeable black bags.

While at the mall, without any expectations, we wandered into a Famous Footwear store. We both desperately needed new shoes when a few of our individual five pairs were falling apart. 

Yesterday, daughter-in-law Camille let me try on her similarly styled shoes, and I was thrilled to find an equally comfortable style at Famous Footwear.

A short time later, we were back on the road, each with two new pairs of shoes. Tom purchased a pair of black Nike tennis shoes and black Nike slides, while I purchased black Clark sandals (my favorite brand) and a pair of casual waterproof shoes, as shown in the photo.

Our total bill for the four pairs was $219.36! What a deal! Nike tennis shoes were over $200 in Australia. Now, Tom can toss the $13 Adidas knockoffs he purchased in Hanoi last summer.  Surprisingly, they’ve served him well.

We’ll each toss two pairs of worn-out shoes which we’ll continue wearing until we fly to Nevada on July 7th, squeaking out every last drop of use. In doing so, we’ll each maintain a total of five pairs of shoes, exactly what fits into our bags.

Later in the day, Tammy and Vincent stopped at our hotel, dropping off two TV trays (there’s no dining table in our hotel room) and a cooler (we have a small refrigerator, but this works for picnics, etc.). It was delightful chatting with them and, we look forward to many more such occasions with all of our children and grandchildren.

Today, we’re staying put until we head to Eden Prairie, arriving at 4:00 pm for dinner at friends Chere and Gary’s home. Chere and I have stayed in very close touch all these years, occasionally through Skype and often daily via email. How fun it will be to begin seeing our many friends as well as our family members.

That’s it for today, friends. We’ll be back each day with more…

Photo from one year ago today, May 30, 2016:

The look on the buffalo’s mouth on the right inspired me to get a close-up of this buffalo’s teeth when we attended a buffalo race in Bali. For more details, please click here.

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