Friday, April 19, 2013


By Annis Pratt

I felt walled in this winter by the constant overcast. I itched with cabin fever. When a friend asked two of us to fly down to Florida, spend four days at her condo, and then help her drive back to Michigan, I lept at the offer.

Along the way, I came up with some travel tips you might find helpful.
Flying South

v Does your airport have a terminal that is smaller than the main one? This shortens the security lines. In Detroit, the North Terminal has much shorter lines than the main one.

v If you are seventy-five and older, you don’t have to take your shoes off!

v Since airlines don’t serve meals anymore., take a sandwich.

v Do chat with strangers — other people are full of interesting quirks. Here’s a lady I talked to who was accompanied by a wide-eyed little dog named Jasmine.


The Road Trip

After four lovely days in Florida, we set off for home. I'm an old dog, but I can learn new tricks. Here are some that I picked up along our way
v Take turns driving, as long as you hold up; if you don’t hold up, ask others to drive.

v Don’t drive at night. It isn’t just our vision that is compromised as we grow older; it’s our judgment. We still make perfectly good decisions; we just make them (perilously) slower.

v On trips that last a week or so, pack your weary old underwear and discards it day by day, leaving room in her suitcase for souvenirs.

v If the repair engine light goes on, find a dealership. We developed a serious problem with the fuel line, so we stopped over to get it fixed. It took three hours, but imagine what it would have been like if we had ground to a halt as we drove through the Tennessee Mountains.

                                                       Snow In The Mountains

v Choose your motel during the day so you have your reservation assured for when you are all tired out from driving. One of us had this handy-dandy guide to the interstate highway we were on all the way – Dave Hunter’s Along Interstate 7 (I think there’s one for route 95 as well — go to After lunch we did looked up motels we thought we would get to by sunset, and make our reservation via cell phone.

v Take an audible book along — preferably, a good long one. We listened to a thoroughly engrossing novel which lasted all of the way home. Even then, three discs were left so after we were all rested up we foregathered to tote up our bills and to hear how the story ended.

Home at Last
What do you know — the Florida sunshine, heart-warming companionship and the excitements of the road trip got my mind off of myself so thoroughly that when, at last, I stumbled through the snow to my door, my cabin fever had been knocked right out of me.

Although she grew up in New York City, Annis Pratt makes her home in the Midwest, where she taught English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison for many years.  In 1990 she threw her full professorship out the window to move to Michigan, where she is engaged in community activism and novel writing
    Passionate about the environment and an enthusiastic sailor, canoeist and kayaker, she chose a genre where she could create compelling fiction about ecological degradation.
At 75 years old, she feels like she is in the second out of her ninth inning, having published the first volume of her historical fantasy trilogy when she was 73.

Blub: The Marshlanders and Fly Out of the Darkness are the first two volumes of The Marshlanders Trilogy, historical fantasies about the conflict between self-sustaining Marshland communities and Merchant Adventurers trying to drain their lands. These are page-turners about the conflict between people who respect their environment and developers who see it as a source of income.

links ,, and a humorous blog:
Novels may be purchased at or

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