Gas and travel: Cards, trips, work, what else is happening

Regardless of who you are, traveling far distances involves purchasing fuel – and that’s burning finances quite a bit lately.

Regardless of who or what may be at fault, at the exact present, it is something that everyone has to fight through.

I posed the question of “How are you going to fight this,” just before the national average went over $5/gallon. Several answers fell in the line of “vote red.” Whatever floats your boat, then.

You wouldn’t be able to “vote red” until November, which is 5 months away (from the time of this post); and even then, the first effects wouldn’t come until January (7 months). Is that enough time to wait? While one may think “voting red” could be a long-term solution, is there really enough time to be thinking long-term when effects are immediate? Such changes have to be done NOW in order for the grass to look greener when these prices do go down.

As a single man, with no children, a $14/hour job, and who rents a home, drives a four-door car, with recent investments in bettering health, etc. – I’ve been staring at the drawing board to see what I can do to make adjustments to lessen the financial burden. All of that with ZERO pride lost. If you’re going to be someone who is going to make judgements about one’s pride, do I really need you in my life?

So, yes, it does effect me. Rather than get mad, I would like to get even.

I have 2 weeks of vacation left in 2022. Normally I would take a weeklong break. However, I am going to arrange my second week of vacation, 5 days worth, to attach one to five different weekends. My schedule also allows me the ability to create a day off with workload shifting among days, so I can create stretches of 4-5 days as long as I cram work into remaining work days of the week. Some stretches I may feel like doing nothing, but one long stretch will make me want to do more things – and spending can get out of hand.

The second vacation week breakup also allows me to concentrate on advance work. Our magazines are doing real well and are likely to grow. In fact, we’ve already increased the number of pages for Lake Lifestyle (our monthly Lake Carroll magazine) by a few, and our upcoming Sterling-Rock Falls Living magazine will be our largest one yet at 48 pages.

I decided late last year that I would just make one big road trip in 2022, and that still is set for southern Indiana and southeast Illinois. Tentatively, it is scheduled for October. Stops include the Milan ’54 Museum, French Lick, Seymour, Martinsville, and I’m not quite sure where all in Illinois – although I would like to see a high school football game at the unique Mount Carmel stadium. Adjustments will be made over time as I see fit. Might go into Cincinnati IF things get real better.

As far as work travel goes, one of my great points of pride in journalism is getting to meet people in person and seeing things with my own two eyes. My experience with phone interviews really does not reflect the quality that I strive to have, so I rarely do them. As long as travel is expended, I’m still traveling for work. However, I will try to be more active in bundling interview trips as much as possible. Typically, I would take a day to concentrate on one story, but want to try and handle two a little more. Many interview times and dates are up to the subjects, so I’m hoping I can fight for a little more flexibility on their end. We’ll see how this goes.

I’m also hoping that I can piggyback errands with before or after traveling for work. Mileage tracking still would just be from Point A to Point B not reflecting such detours.

I have a bicycle, but it’s been a long time since I rode it. I’m thinking about dusting it off and using it for short-distance rides. There are some bars and restaurants in my neighborhood. The nearest store is a gas station about 8 blocks away. As long as the bike works well, that may be an option.

Most day trips will have to be cut, but some will stay. My brother Mike and I are considering a fishing trip near Galena later this summer, depending on our schedules. I’ve been to a lot of places that are within driving distance already, but have no problem going if family wants to come along.

Those baseball card trips, though. They have been the subject of quite a few day trips lately. I’ve been to card shows and card shops in three different states, and there are still a few shows that I would like to go to for buying trips.

My experience with going to card shows is that, with the kind of cards that I’m looking for, once I’ve been to one, it’ll just be the same show the next time. A lot of card shows these days don’t have a lot of vintage baseball tables. There are a few guys that make the rounds, but so few that I have become recognizable by them wherever I travel.

Orland Park’s monthly show has become my main go-to for vintage-era cards, moreso than the other shows. The next show is later this month, and I plan to go there with the new and updated Interest List that I have put together. That may be my last trip to Orland for a while.

I’m finding that the vintage-era cards are more easily found than ones after 1980. It takes about 10-15 times more work to find a post-1980 card on my list than before. Many of the more current cards are stashed in mixed boxes that don’t see the light of day in public showings, such as shows and in card stores. To ask to have them found is a hassle on the dealers, and the inexpensive value of the cards are prone to shipping and other markups for pure numbers sake – for example, rounding up a $0.30 card to $1 because “it’s easier on the books.” That’s still more than I would feel comfortable paying for.

Time to break a “rule” – I have begun looking at eBay to find some cards. I haven’t used eBay religiously since I was in high school, more than 15 years ago. My eBay knowledge was very limited until I just went on it, for the heck of it.

Why didn’t I discover this before … there’s an option where you can find cards for FREE SHIPPING? Well, then!

So I started plugging in a few cards from the 60s and 70s from my list and tried to find listings that were within my comfortable price range. If I wouldn’t pay more than the asking price at a card show, I didn’t pounce on it. I decided to take $10 and see what I could get out of it, after re-registering for eBay.

As of this writing, I’m involved in three single card auctions (1963 Topps Vic Wertz, 1965 Topps Athletics team card and 1961 Topps Cubs team card) and have bought two cards directly (1961 Fleer Warren Giles and 1972 Topps Earl Williams). I want to see how the experiences with these five cards turns out before I decide if I want to continue doing that.

I don’t expect to find a whole lot of the cards I’m looking for with my new eBay method, but it’s interesting to see.

Oh, and I’m going to make sure I reach out to my vintage connections FIRST. 🙂

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