Work now and then smell the roses when summer arrives

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If you are like me, I would be willing to bet that about now, you are probably feeling hopelessly trapped in your home by our seemingly endless winter weather.

As a died-in-the-wool, winter addict, I dearly love the cold days, the frosty nights, the frigid temperatures, the deep snow, the thick ice, the long hours of darkness and the starkness of our landscapes of wintertime.

However, I must admit that sometimes (like right now) our long winter season even gets me down a little bit. Especially when a series of storms roll in, one after another, and I can not get outdoors for long periods of time.

Well, when I begin to feel like the walls are closing in on me, I take some remedial action that you might want to try.

Here's what I do: I can stay busy for days at a time, working on future spring-summer-fall activities, vacations, fishing excursions, hunting trips, etc.

I drag out all kinds of maps, brochures, pamphlets and advertisements, then I get on the Internet and start making telephone calls.

It's a great way to help pass the time, plus it is very productive and as a extra bonus, it can save lots of money. And, later in the year, it is very gratifying to know that all of the necessary reservations and plans are solidly in place.

So, if you are thinking of doing something special this summer, why not take the time now to begin to work on your arrangements.

It's a perfect way to wait out the current winter weather.

Here's an important hint: This is also the best time of the year to get the best prices on things like summer airline tickets, car rentals and hotel/motel reservations.

On all of my previous trips to Alaska, I have worked like a little beaver at this time of the year to firm up my travel agenda, obtain information, purchase plane tickets, reserve rental cars, book hotel and motel reservations, select sightseeing tours, lock in fishing lodge commitments, etc.

Then, when summer arrives, I just sit back, grin and have fun.

If you have never traveled to faraway places like Alaska, be advised that there is a huge world of difference between making all of your arrangements now as opposed to doing so at the last minute.

Most particularly when it comes to the prices and availability of things like airline tickets, hotel/motel rooms, car rentals and sightseeing or fishing trips.

If your plans are not locked into granite by the time summer arrives, you will have a very rude culture shock waiting for you.

As an example, if you were to wait until the last minute, the price of your airline ticket could be as much as 3-4 times what you pay at this time of the year.

Geez, why pay $1,800 for a ticket to Anchorage, Alaska in June that only costs about $600 now? That just doesn't make any sense.

Plus, if you make your reservations now, you have much more flexibility in setting your departure and arrival dates and times.

And, as another example of pre-planning, if you are thinking of taking a trip to Alaska that includes a sightseeing bus tour through Denali National Park, do it now.

If you wait until the last minute, good luck, because you will need it. Your chances of getting on one of those buses is about as good as my chances of hitting another Royal Flush on a video poker machine: Slim to none.

As another example of pre-planning, the rental rate of your vehicle climbs dramatically when you compare making that rental at this time of the year to doing so at the last moment in June or July or August. If you reserve that car or van now, you also have a greater flexibility in specifying the type and size of the vehicle.

Finally, these examples should give you a good idea of why it is so critical to do all of your planning and reservation-making at this time of the year. If you do, then you can take the time to smell the roses when summer arrives.

Here is a very small sampling of some very informative websites to check out for possible activities this coming summer. (for halibut and king salmon fishing trips at Sitka, Alaska) This summer will be my fourth trip with this company. (for cabins, fishing, hiking, horseback riding at Convict Lake, Calif., near Bishop). Great accommodations and food. (for Great Basin National Park near Ely). This is a must trip for any Nevadan. (for wineries, lodging, wining, dining at Napa Valley, Calif.). Wine, wine, wine and lots of wine. (for touring in Yukon, Canada). I am planning a trip to Watson Lake in August. (for travel in Southeast Asia). I have used their five-star services for travel to Bangkok Thailand, Hong Kong China, Singapore Malaysia and Bali Indonesia.

• Bet Your Favorite Pigeon

Bet your favorite pigeon that he can't tell you if our plans are set in concrete for our fishing trip to Sitka this summer.

If he grins and says, "Everything is set," he could be one of the people going to Sitka with me.

• Don Quilici is the Outdoors editor for the Nevada Appeal.


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