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U-Haul Truck Rental Tips

IN 2015, I blogged some tips on renting a U-Haul. There's some great advice on that particular experience. This year I had the pleasure of renting several trucks - so I thought I update my experience.

U-Haul Truck 2022

Six Things I Learned Renting a U-Haul

When you reserve your truck online - make sure to check the pickup location. U-Haul will change your location based on local availability. This usually won't happen if you pick a major U-Haul location - such as one that offers storage.

U-Haul offers cheap prices on boxes. We did lots of shopping around for boxes and U-Haul has the best prices for small and medium size boxes. You can always buy more than you think you need and just return the unused boxes.

The 15' truck has many mirrors so you can see the cars behind you. I have found that this can impair your vision when you look left and right to merge onto a road. When merging, it is important to be aware of what is happening around you. If you are not paying attention, because you are looking in the mirror, you may miss an opportunity to merge or worse yet cause a collision. Just pay more attention to the location of the mirrors in your viewing area.

The 15' truck has some purchase extras in the truck such as a Utility dolly and furniture moving blankets. These are extra and you have to break the seal to use them. The only downside is that these take up space in the truck. You don't lose a lot of space but its still space that could be used for something else.

When packing the truck make sure to use all the space! When we had professionals move our house, they had a dedicated truck packer that would make sure to pack boxes from floor to ceiling. Just about every space gets used. When packing up as a team, have a dedicated truck packer to make sure that you get the most out of your truck.

U-Haul locks. Something new in the recent move is that U-Haul includes a cabin lock. This is nice to lock down the truck when you sleeping at night. In prior rentals, you would have to buy your own lock. You know when your rental has a cabin lock when you see two keys on your keychain.


OnBoard Wifi

This week I am taking a quick trip to Florida. My trip will involve two separate airlines - Delta and Jet Blue. While my time in the air will be short, I thought that I might want to be online doing some work.

Delta Onboard Wifi

Interestingly my trip with Delta doesn't include free WiFi. If I want to use it, I have to pay a monthly subscription for $49.95. Apparently, I can purchase a pass when I get on board, I'll have to update this post with that cost and opportunity.

JetBlue Onboard Wifi

My flight with JetBlue includes unlimited WiFi and no additional cost. As a matter of fact, their website promotes using Amazon Video. So they want people to watch Amazon Prime videos instead of the onboard entertainment.

Power Ports

Both JetBlue and Delta offer power outlets where you can charge your devices while you fly. Make sure to bring your chargers with you!


Massachusetts Welcome Sign

This afternoon we came from Connecticut to Massachusetts via Interstate 84. Shortly after crossing the border, we saw the "Massachusetts Welcome You" sign.

Massachusetts Welcome Desktop
Massachusetts Welcome Mobile

Fun facts about the Welcome sign.

Exact Location of the sign on Google Maps: https://goo.gl/maps/zhf741BoYjdLC1hZ6

According to Google Maps the sign is 2,174 feet from the Massachusetts/Connecticut state line. I don't know why Massachusetts didn't put the sign closer to the border.

The sign features the state bird, the Black-capped chickadee. As well as the state flower, the Mayflower.

The State "Game Bird" is Wild Turkey. (Some people get that confused with the State Bird.)

The words "MassDOT" is the Massachusetts Department of Transportation which is the state agency responsible for keeping Massachusetts roads in top shape.

Connecticut Welcome Sign

Connecticut Welcome Desktop
Connecticut Welcome Mobile

Interesting to note that the Connecticut "Welcome Sign" simply says "Connecticut Welcomes You" and then has the current Governor

This sign will have to get updated every time a new Governor is elected, whereas the Massachusetts sign doesn't need to be updated.


Santa Clara view of Silicon Valley

In the late 1990s I was working in Silicon Valley - during the first dot com bubble. It was a lot of fun learning technology and going around companies in San Jose.

On March 23, 1999, I was visiting a customer. Just before the meeting I looked out the window and took a picture with my Olympus D400Z camera. I just happen to have it in my backpack.

Back in the day, you didn't have a cell phone camera regularly available. Having a digital camera in the laptop bag was a rare thing.

Silcon Valley
Silcon Valley - March 23, 1999

This was taken at the Santa Clara Towers near the Great America Parkway on 101, looking towards San Jose.

This is a better view of the building from the parking lot - thanks to Google Maps.

One thing I remember about that day is that I was in such a hurry to get to the office, that I locked my keys in the car. It was the first time I had to call AAA to get my car door open. This is why I remember the building - as I kept looking at it while waiting for AAA to show up. All was fine with the experience with AAA.

I don't know how much of the area has changed in 22 years, but I suspect there are a lot more buildings in the area.

Let me know If you have an office at 3945 Freedom Cir Suite 750, Santa Clara, CA. I would like to see what the view of San Jose looks like today.


Battlefield Display on the Crown

One of the popular shows on Netflix is The Crown. It has gotten a huge following. People can't wait until the series returns next year.

If you have watched the series, did you notice an interesting display in season 2 episode 6:

The Crown Concord Battle
Screen Shot of the battlefield display in The Crown

Old North Bridge in the Crown?

If this display showing the battle at the Old North Bridge in Concord, Massachusetts during the Revolutionary War on April 19, 1775?

It certainly seems like it.

How many other British battles featured a bridge as part of the battlefield?

When I posted this in a Facebook group of people that "Lived in Concord Massachusetts," many people didn't think about the Battle of Concord when they saw this scene.

One user, Terri commented: It's the battle of Salamanca - Duke of Wellington.

Battle of Salamanca

Indeed, the battle of Salamanca was about Wellington's order which took a force of 7,000 men to destroy the bridge at Almaraz. (Learn more on Wikipedia)

The Spanish village Arapiles, Castile and Leon is very small and has no monument to the event on July 22, 1812. This is very different than the Town of Concord, which highlights the bridge contribution to the founding of the United States.

The only mention of the famous battle is a sign in the center of town, which can been seen on Google Maps. The Spanish called the battle Les Arapiles.

Should Have Been Concord

I still think it should have been the famous battle in Concord, Massachusetts.


Things to do in France

Are you planning on visiting France soon? You probably have a list of things to see and do.

Janice from Your RV Lifestyle wrote an interesting article of 100 things to do in Paris. This is a wonderful list of places to visit in Europe most visited city.

Some of the items on the list are obvious - The Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, The Louvre, etc. However, there's a lot of items that you may not be aware of in Paris.

RV Lifestyle

Things to Check out

Some places that you should think about adding to your list:

  • Paris Point Zero - The geographic center of Paris has a marker. Seems like a good treasure hunt!
  • I Love You Wall - Place where lovers meet
  • Museum of Optical Illusions (Musee de la Magie) - Cool place to see all sorts of unique optical illusions.
  • Paris Space Museum (Cite de l'Espace) - Check out the moon simulator

The list is great to use for trip planning.


Things to Do in Boston

Last week I was looking for some fun things to do around the Boston area. Something fun for guys to do - someplace to take a Father in Law that's visiting the area. These are the places that I came up with.

Thing To Do Boston

Best Burger Challenge

He likes eating burgers, so I thought it would be fun to do a "best burger" challenge. Where is the best burger in the Boston Area? We would be spending most of the time around Framingham/Natick.

General Sites (Boston)

Some fun things to do in Boston. The idea was to come up with some unique Boston places.

General Sites (Metrowest)

I was looking for some day trips.


Guide to Traveling with a Medical Condition

If you have a medical condition, there’s no need to give up traveling. There’s plenty of places to see and inspire your recovery.

The people at insurancewith.com put together a handy guide to help with the planning and preparation on traveling with any type of medical condition

Great Tips from the Guide

The guide offers helpful travel advice and information, such as:

  • Some of the common problems associated with travelling abroad with a health condition.
  • How to plan and pack for a holiday if you have a disability or certain health issues.
  • Vaccinations and visas, and taking medical supplies through customs.
  • Other useful tips and resources to help you travel safely.

Insurance With

Five Things I Learned about the Travel Advice Site

InsuranceWith is a UK based organization, but a lot of the travel tips certain apply to anyone that travels around the world.

Information is well organized into several chapters so you can get right to the information you are looking for.

There’s a checklist of what you should be aware of before you travel with a medical condition.

Great tips on getting your medical supplies through customs (Chapter 3)

Did you know that If you have a heart condition, you should avoid traveling to locations that are over 2,000 meters. (Hey, I actually learned something new!)

Read Before Traveling

The Guide to Traveling with a Medical Condition is very useful and certainly worth reading before any traveling. I would recommend reading it while your planning hotels/airlines.

Even if your an expert in traveling, this guide can be a refresher on how to make the most of your vacation.


Great Wolf Lodge New England

We visited Great Wolf Lodge New England for the first time this past August. We didn't know what to expect and were very excited about going. Overall it was a fun trip, we would certainly go back

Great Wolf New England

Some Things We Learned about Great Wolf Lodge

General Information

The Lodge is located just off of Route 2 - pretty much isolated from other businesses and shopping areas. The lodge is closest to Leominster town line. 12-Minutes from Wachusett Mountain and 54 miles from Boston. It's a mile walk from the Wachusett MBTA Station.

Food was good, we didn't find it all that expensive. The lunch menu at the Hungry As A Wolf is the same as Lodge Wood Fired Grill.

There is a Dunkin Donuts where you purchase a Great Wolf Ice Coffee mug. It's a good place to grab some coffee before heading home.

Paw Package

We got the Paw package, which gives you a MagiQuest game, Color Wand, Creation Station animal, Glitter Tattoo and more. All this for $74.99. Which seems expensive, but we found it's a good way to get the most fun out of stay.

The package was good because it gave us a chance to explore various activities that we might have done without the package deal. Great Wolf might be known for its water park, but they do offer a lot for those that don't like the water.

You should be aware that there is upsell when you get the Paw package - for example, the package comes with the basic wand for mind quest, but the upgraded ones are more colorful. You get a teddy bear but have to pay extra for accessories such as shoes and clothes. Kids will certainly want the extra things from the Paw package.

Your better off getting the temporary tattoo before you leave. It will come off in the chlorine pool - but not in a standard shower.


We found that kids rather play the MagiQuest game than go to the water park. It does take some time to play the game and you will be going all over the building.

Remember where things are, it may save a little bit of running around. Maybe a Notebook would help make your own map.

You can bring back the wand on future trips to continue the MagiQuest game.

Wolf Pup Den Suite Room

We found out the cheaper rooms at the Lodge go quick. They are located above the lobby. If you get a Den room, your room is on the other side of the building.

The Wolf Pup Den room is located in the game area (wall Climbing, Mini-golf etc) The rides shut down around 10pm. So if the kids are early sleepers, you may want to turn up the TV to drown out the sound.

The den rooms have bunk beds with a TV that is suitable for the top bunk. The rooms aren't anything special. There is a microwave, small dorm size refrigerator- which we stocked with water and juice.

Game Room

In the Game Room, the "must" win prize is the large Great Wolf Lodge ball. When I won it someone offered me $10 - before I even took it out.

The key to this game is to watch people try to get the ball and see what grip is working or not working.

You should know that when you giggle the joystick, it changes the claw position. Keep giggling it so that it positions well when it drops.

The Big Ball Great Wolf
Try to get the Great Wolf Ball

Water Park

THe Wolf Tail seems to be a scary ride. It's a single person ride, you get in a small chamber and you basically drop about 10-feet and then it's a regular sidle. There's a heartbeat sound as you wait for the floor to open. It only adds to the thrill of the ride.

Some slides, River Canyon Run, Howlin' Tornado - require more than one person. Which isn't fun for families with small children.

Getting to Great Wolf Lodge New England

The best way to get to Great Wolf Lodge is to take Route 2 to exit 28 in Fitchburg.


Brenton Point Sea Wall

If you visit the Newport Mansions or downtown Newport, Rhode Island, chances are you may have visited Brenton Point, a picturesque view of Narragansett Bay.

Brenton Point Sea Wall2

Brenton Point Sea Wall

The seawall between the Ocean Beach and the rocky beach was put up in 1935 as part of the Works Progress Administration (WPA). This was all part of the New Deal put in place by President Franklin D. Roosevelt that helps bring prosperity around the country.

The wall was put up to protect the erosion that was occurring around Brenton Point State Park.

If you go down the stairs near the only jetty at Brenton Point, you should see the marker of the Works Progress Administration.

Works In Progress Marker2

About the Works Progress Administration

The Works Progress Administration was the largest and most ambitious American New Deal agency, employing millions of people (mostly unskilled men) to carry out public works projects, including the construction of public buildings and roads.

Other Work in this area include:

  • The Cliff Walk Sidewalk
  • Vernon Park Improvements and Slide
  • Cardines Field

You can find all the other historic work requested by the Works in Progress Administration on the Living New Deal website.



Various Travel Blog Posts

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