Ronaventure: A Frugal Foray

By Patti Parish-Kaminski, Publisher –

COVID has clipped all of our proverbial wings when it comes to travel. So, you can imagine how excited I was when Tim Kaminski suggested we take a trip for his birthday! Of course, traveling is different now, so he put some stringent parameters in place. And yes, I’m unaccustomed to stringent parameters – unless I make them.

Nevertheless, I was excited. How bad could traveling really be right now? We discussed taking all of the necessary precautions and being smart about our excursion. And I was prepared with Lysol spray, hand sanitizer, wipes – you name it. I had ample supplies to clean an entire plane if necessary.

First rattle out of the box, Mr. Kaminski brought up the luggage issue. We were flying to Denver, so naturally I needed fall clothing – and accessories. Now I’m an accessory girl. I seriously could travel with a steamer trunk solely for accessories. But I took one for the team on this one and packed in two small bags that I – really Mr. Kaminski – could easily carry on the plane without checking luggage. It took military precision, but I did it, and I did it with a smile.

Drinking wine from a moustached Dixie cup – night one of my Ronaventure.

Of course, one of my strategically packed bags got flagged during the security screening. It was the miniature can of Lysol spray that nailed me. When the officer removed it from my bag, I queried, very loudly, “So if get sick because I cannot properly sanitize my airplane seat, you are going to cover my medical bills and lost wages, right Officer Ramirez?” Well, you know what happened next. He very quickly gave the aerosol canister right back to me.

We flew on points, which meant Southwest Airlines and the frantic 24-hour pre-check in and cattle car boarding system. We had to wear a mask during the plane ride, but that’s just safe – and smart – so no issue there. And there was no alcohol service on the plane, but I could live with that. In case you’re wondering, no, you cannot bring your own glass of wine on board either. We won’t discuss the particulars of how I learned that.

But again, it was a trip, and my attitude was stellar. Now Mr. Kaminski had discussed with me previously that we were doing this little jaunt on a “budget.” When we checked into our hotel in Denver, the word reared its ugly head, but it wasn’t necessarily a bad hotel; it was simply not what we – mostly me – were accustomed to. Again, I persevered with a smile and drank my wine out of the complimentary paper cup that sported a moustache. It was kind of like camping I suppose.

The next day we traveled to Pagosa Springs, and the fall scenery was gorgeous. I was in high spirits still sporting an amazing attitude because I only had to stay one night in the sub-par accommodations. I took my wine and my complimentary moustached paper cup as a precaution, but I was certain the next leg of our “trip on a budget” would be better.

Happy Birthday Tim! Sporting my new Beth Dutton shirt in the beautiful fall Colorado foliage.

We had an amazing day, and when it came time to check into our next home away from home, this budget thing got real. Upon check-in we were provided with a complimentary cocktail valued at $4 from the hotel bar. Y’all know I love a good gift with purchase, so I was still optimistic. The smoke was oppressive as we headed to our room, and to be consistent, the room was equally as pungent and filthy. At this point on our frugal foray, I was done. I had lasted nearly 48 hours.

I quickly took charge – admittedly with a less than stellar attitude – and promptly relocated us to the Wyndham. Yes, things were clearly looking up; I had a credit card. We had a wonderful birthday weekend and even did a little shopping. I bought the cutest t-shirt. It said, “Sorta Sweet, Sorta Beth Dutton.” I’m a huge Yellowstone fan, and yes, I love Beth. I may or may not have channeled her as I promptly got us out of the previous hotel reservation with a full refund and into the Wyndham at a last minute discount rate, but a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do when things get tough.

I donned my new shirt the last day we were there and proudly modeled for Mr. Kaminski. His reply? “Definitely spot on with the Beth Dutton part. Not so sure on the sorta sweet part though.” Lord I’ll miss that man.