This past week we took some little travel hacking adventures. We checked into a hotel for a targeted SPG promotion. Stay 3 get 3 free nights. My husband had already earned a free night from a stay in Japan, but the next business travel would likely take place after the promotion period ended on Oct. 15, 2014. Since we had an immediate need to use the free nights which will expire on Dec. 31st 2014, we did our 2nd official mattress running. What the heck is that? It is basically staying in a hotel for absolutely no reason other than to earn points or free nights. In this case, we had a promotion to stay in the SPG brand of hotels to earn 3 nights. Also, these stays would get us nearly to “gold status” so it was a win/win. The key is to find a rate that isn’t very expensive and turn it around for a ROI at a later date for a hotel stay. We did it last year in the summer, but combined it with a little tourism. After finding mattress run worthy rates, we decided to go for it. However, this time, we didn’t even sleep there. We checked in on Sunday, swam in the hotel, then went home and checked out from home. We had work and school the next day plus I sleep very poorly in hotel rooms until about the 3rd-4th night of a vacation. Friday night rolled around and we did the same thing at a different hotel. It was a fun and it felt funny too. We swam, had some nachos and San Pellegrino that we brought to the hotel, watched a movie, and then drove home and checked out in the morning. We finished the promo and we’ll use the free nights at a later time this year. 3 for 3 #SPG late summer/fall promo 2014.
This week, I walked a path I’d done a few times before. I dropped the kids off at school on foot and continued on to the Westside trail. When I’ve done it with my kids, we’ve pretty much been tired by the time we got to the trail. It’s just a walking path through pines in suburban Beaverton, but it’s a nice urban trail. As I approached the trail, I saw about a dozen women in veils and dresses going onto the pathway. As I got closer, I realized that underneath their dresses they were all wearing their work out gear and sporting their best athletic shoes. I was a bit intimidated for a moment as I didn’t anticipate getting stuck behind a crowd; then, I wondered if I could overtake them. I said: “hello, ladies!” Not sure if they would speak English as they were all Africans of some kind. They responded friendly, then I asked them if they walk there a lot. They told me that they come out 7 days a week. I unofficially invited myself and was accepted into their walking group, but I told them I’d probably get too lazy. I then proceeded, unencumbered by a big social walking circle, and took off at a pretty fast pace. I was invigorated! When I approached the crossroads for home or to continue onto the trail, I opted to continue. I arrived home after almost 2 hours of brisk walking. For the record, I do NOT enjoy speed walking. (I did it once as a class in Hawaii. The housewives of New Jersey in the class were way too hard core for me!!) I spent the next 3 days pretty sore, which never happens to me after walking. It was worth it.
Growing up and walking to elementary school was par for the course. I remember picking leaves off trees and catching these little fluttery seeds that would fall in a twirling fashion down from the sky on my afternoon return. I even started walking home in the middle of the day for lunch because I wouldn’t eat school lunch and started to realize I could come home and eat when I was 10, even though it was certainly not very close. I might have even once or twice gotten yelled at for picking flowers from old ladies’ yards too on my route. It wasn’t until my thirties that I realized just how much work goes into getting a yard to look nice and having flowers that bloom that I’ve had to reprimand my kids when I discovered them with flowers that weren’t from our yard. Anyway, good times! I try to make my kids walk to school when the weather is nice and we are on the ball cause it takes a bit of extra time on foot. It doesn’t happen as much as I’d like, but today was a beautiful morning with the beginnings of fall crispness and I got them out the door on time. I usually watch them from the window and tell them that they have to watch for my wave once they set off. It is a fun routine which I know is going to be so fleeting. Each time, I tell myself to mentally capture this image of them walking side by side off to their learning. Today, I finally got a picture of the event. Since there was no time for staging and the lighting wasn’t quite right, the photo I captured can’t really do justice to the idea, but just in case my memory fades, I’m very grateful for photography. Later today, I’ll go on foot to volunteer at the school and we’ll enjoy our way back together walking home from school.
Labor Day 2014 was spent biking at Sunriver, Oregon where they have miles and miles of dedicated bike paths that meander past vacation homes, a golf course, an airport, and the gorgeous Deschutes river. We spent the day biking as a family and after a rough start, our newest biker gave in and biked her heart out.
For labor day, we packed the bikes onto the van and headed to central Oregon. This is the “high mountain desert” of Oregon, which is quite different and way more lush than my home desert of Southern Utah, but it is very nice nevertheless. We journeyed through Portlandia suburbs to eventually make our way to Sisters, Oregon. We had been through there once before en route to a ski trip so since it looked cool I wanted to park and bike ride a bit. Well, it wasn’t too awesome since our newest bike rider was too timid and refusing to ride when a car or human was within hundreds of yards. Eventually, we gave up and finished the 20 mile trek to our Marriott in Bend. Upon arrival, I noticed there was a bike trail next to the hotel and I recruited my oldest to accompany me. We had a good ride to the Old Mill shops in Bend and the others joined us for dinner and later the promised dip in the hotel pool/Jacuzzi so it was ultimately a success.