Thursday, July 31, 2014

Boomer study: Have suitcase and will travel... to party on

As "Wayne's World" dudes Wayne Campbell and Garth Algar used to say, "Party on!"

That, however, was back in the late 1980s and early 1990s; Mike Myers (who played Wayne) is now 51;  Dana Carvey (Garth) is 59.

The photo above shows them back in those days. No telling if they have gray hair these days. Or any hair.

They may or may not be able to stay up late enough on weekends for "Saturday Night Life," but if they're typical Baby Boomers, they still have a yen to travel to party.

A study just released by AARP Travel -- the travel arm of  what was the American Association of Retired Persons (it just goes by the acronym now) -- indicates that travel is the No. 1 "aspirational activity" for America's 76 million boomers, and that they collectively spend more than $120 billion annually on leisure travel.

Among the findings of the AARP Travel survey:

78 percent of  people 45 and older say they've taken or plan to take a "celebration vacation" in the next two years.

Top reason: celebrating anniversaries (87 percent).

Coming in second: celebrating a milestone birthday (77 percent).

No. 3: retirement (69 percent).

No. 4 -- a wedding (66 percent).

Sixty-three percent of respondents took celebratory vacations in the U.S. within the past two years; here's where they say they went:

1. Las Vegas
2. Disney (unspecified whether that's to a theme park or on a cruise)
3. Los Angeles
4. Florida
5. Hawaii
6. New York City
7. New Orleans
8. Chicago
9. California
10. Alaska.

Eighteen percent of respondents say they took a tropical/beach destination; these were the most popular locations:
1. Caribbean (unspecified)
2. Hawaii
3. Puerto Rico
4. Bahamas
5. St. Martin
6. Cabo (Mexico's Baja California)
7. Cancun, Mexico
8. Maui, Hawaii

9. Negril, Jamaica

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Remote help at the airport: Rocky to the rescue

Parking at Charlotte-Douglas International Airport is always bewildering; especially these days, given the traffic rerouting due to parking ram construction.

Even more, in my case, when it's 11 at night and you can't remember precisely where that vehicle could be.

On July 14, I drove up from Charleston to catch a flight to Chicago. Time was tight and I wasn't too happy to find Remote Lot 1 and Remote Lot 2 -- where I usually park -- both filled to closing. I followed the signs to Remote Lot 4 where spots were plentiful that afternoon.

With nothing in my car but an overnight bag and gum wrappers, I couldn't write down where in the lot I parked. A shuttle bus pulled up in a jiff; I knew I could make the flight. All I had to remember, I told myself, was this: "Remote Lot 4, first parking stop/shelter in; on the right."

Flying back from O'Hare Wednesday, on a flight whose delays added up to an 11 p.m. arrival, I boarded the shuttle back to Remote  4 and got out.

And for the life of me, I could not find my car. A dark brown car in a darkened parking lot.

I walked from row to row in the darkness, pushing the lock-unlock button on my keys, hoping to see my headlights flash. No luck. I also periodically hit the car's "panic button" -- but there was not a horn honk to be heard.

The shuttle driver eventually came around with another round of drop-offs.

"You lose your car?" he asked out the window. "Let me call for some help."

That's when I finally noticed the sign on the bus shelter saying to call 704-359-4038 if you can't find your vehicle.

"Wait here," he said. "Someone will be out soon."

Sure enough, five minutes later Rodolfo Aguirre -- "Rocky" -- turned up in a white airport pickup truck with flashing strobe lights. (That's Rocky's photo at the top of this personal horror story.)

"Hop in," he said. "We'll find it."

I gave him all the information I remembered and we drove up and down every row of cars near where the shuttle left me off. I kept pressing the buttons on my key. No luck. No car.

Then I remembered I had parked on a gravel surface. There was no gravel near the first-in bus shelter tonight.

We realized we were looking in the wrong place: When parking I had came in through a  different lot gate than the shuttle had entered just now.

Rocky drove to the opposite corner of Remote 4. In a few seconds we spotted my key-activated blinking headlights. (The panic button would not kick in, for some reason.)

I thanked Rocky for his help, got in my car  and left the airport.

I later called Charlotte-Douglas and learned there are approximately 20 "lost car" situations in their lots and ramps each day, and that the number rises to 35 or 40 when there's inclement weather.

All you have to do is call 704-359-4038 on your cell phone for their Ask to Locate Service.

It's available for all lots and decks, day and night. On average, there are four white pickup trucks out there to help you at any time.

They gave me some additional tips. If you don't have a pen handy to write down your aisle or signpost/shelter designation:

* Remember: From which direction did you enter the lot/ramp and pull your parking ticket?
* Got a cell phone? Take a  picture when you park of where you parked .

* Take note of the cars parked around you. There's a strong chance some will still be there when you return; use those cars as benchmarks.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

It's rock, not Revolution, July 12 at South Carolina's Historic Camden

Historic Camden ‑- Isn't that the Revolutionary War site in South Carolina where they have re-enactment events?

Usually, yes. This Saturday... not exactly.

July 12 is the 19th annual Music Snorgasbord Under the Carolina Moon , a music festival in a historic setting that features 10 bands and solo acts  from the Midlands region.

And musically, it is an inviting smorgasbord. And you can forget about fife-and-drum re-enactors.

Here's the  lineup: Blue Phoenix (5 p.m.; blues with folk flavor), Brik Cash and Friends (5:25 p.m. original pop rock), Frederick Ingram (5:50 p.m.; alternative folk/rock), East of West (6:25 p.m.; original country rock), The Society Jazz Band (6:55 p.m.; Dixieland), Fair Jam (7:30 p.m.;  rock with shades of bluegrass), Jim Hayes (8 p.m.; classic/contemporary rock ), The Bunch Quitters (8:35 p.m.; original folk, bluegrass and Western cowboy) and Jacob Johnson Group (9:40 p.m.; neo-acoustic folk/funk).

This year's finale, starting at 10:45 p.m., will feature a blend of talent from Blue Phoenix, Fair Jam, Jim Hayes and others. Dubbed the 19th Nervous Breakdown, they will celebrate the acoustic side of the Rolling Stones.

An odd choice? Not really:  Keep in mind that it was Brits who put Camden on the Revolutionary War map.

Gates open at 4:30 p.m.;  the live music is 5 to 11 p.m. There's free parking is located in the big field next to Historic Camden’s main entrance, at 222 Broad St., Camden

Kids, coolers, blankets and lawn chairs are welcome (no pets, glass bottles or tents).

 Admission: $20;, $18 seniors and military; $4 for  ages 6-12; 5 and younger, free. and free under six.

Tasty fare will be provided by Old South Restaurant, Mae Frances, Pizza Hut and Palmetto Coffee & Tea Room. 


Details: 803-432-9841;