Gone Away
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Gone Away is the personal blog of Curt Gilman, where he shares travel anecdotes and reflections on everyday life and other stuff.

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Underwhelming second half of a do-it-yourself summer

Underwhelming second half of a do-it-yourself summer

— I’m not really a do-it-yourselfer. I’m more of a don’t-do-it-at-aller, which is one of the reasons our home has maintained its timeless mid-1980s aesthetic. However, sometimes things get past the point of ignoring, and I either have to act or get someone else to act for me. About a month ago, I could smell a musty odor coming from under the kitchen sink. The faucet itself was leaking, not any of the shutoff valves or other plumbing.
Golden sunrise while hiking at Shaw Butte

Golden sunrise while hiking at Shaw Butte

— After the sun reaches a certain point in the sky, I usually don’t even bother trying to take sunrise photos. Direct sunlight tends to expose the imperfections in the lens of my low-budget smartphone. However, this photo from my hike at Shaw Butte over the weekend came out better than expected. You may have already seen it, since I posted in on my social networking account Sunday morning. This past weekend was the first time I’ve done any real hiking in Phoenix since the beginning of summer.
Brief getaway to Oak Creek Canyon, north of Sedona

Brief getaway to Oak Creek Canyon, north of Sedona

— After spending several months hanging around the Valley waiting for things to return to normal during the global pandemic, Kathryn and I finally decided to get away for a couple days to a higher elevation and cooler weather. With two other couples from our church, we rented a vacation cabin for two nights in the Oak Creek Canyon area. Although the mailing address of the cabin was Sedona, the reality is we were almost a half-hour north of town.
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Mexican border formalities, San Luis and Los Algodones

Mexican border formalities, San Luis and Los Algodones

— If you search the internet for the immigration procedures a U.S. citizen needs to follow when driving to Mexico, you’ll find many different answers. Most of them are outdated. Some of them apply in certain cases and not in others. Few of them are authoritative. One common answer is that you don’t need a so-called “tourist card” if you’re traveling less than 25 kilometers from the border and staying less than 72 hours in Mexico.
How to order coffee at McDonald’s in Phoenix

How to order coffee at McDonald’s in Phoenix

— I like drinking coffee. I enjoy eating fast food. I live in Phoenix. You might be inclined to think I’d be a master at ordering a cup of coffee in a local McDonald’s. You’d be mistaken. Years ago, it wasn’t such a challenge. I’d visit a McDonald’s and ask for a small coffee. I’d get a Styrofoam cup with brewed coffee. I’d then turn around and find the condiment station, which would have the creamers and sweeteners and those cool plastic stirrers with the arches on the handles.

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The English woman on the train from Ljubljana to Salzburg

The English woman on the train from Ljubljana to Salzburg

— I’ve been reviewing a lot of my old travel blog posts recently and sharing the more interesting ones on Facebook and Twitter. While doing this, I noticed a glaring omission on my part. There was a story I never told because, at the time, I was so embarrassed by my naiveté with respect to the opposite sex. It happened five years ago this week, in August 2006. In some ways, my naivete should have come as no surprise to me or anyone else.