We are leaving Tuscon as I type and I am filled with a sense of melancholy. Perhaps the sun’s eclipse today is tugging at my heart like an ebbing tide. Perhaps it’s because it is the anniversary of my kid’s father’s passing. Maybe it’s because my to-do list seems to keep growing. Perhaps it’s because we’re leaving our families behind for the longest stint yet. Or perhaps it is just sheer emotional exhaustion from the past couple of weeks.
Although the past few weeks could be defined by more of what we didn’t do that what we did do: Very few travel days, absolutely no hiking or even walking, no sightseeing.
However, what we did do was awesome – spend quality time with family. We came down from the mountains so Tom could celebrate his birthday with his girls. Next we got to watch my son race his sprint car. Then we got to spend six whole days of doing nothing besides spending every waking moment with grandson Casen. His waking moments that is! Plus we had all that additional time to visit with my daughter and her hubby.
We even took him out kayaking one day (he was NOT a fan of wearing a lifejacket!).
Traveling back from that trip, it was more time with my son and his fiancé, and a lunch date with my BFF from high school. Then a day spent with my parents and my favorite uncle. Next was the bridal shower for my future daughter-in-law.
After that it was already time to get college daughter loaded up and moved back to Tuscon. This time she needed furniture moved because she was transitioning into her first apartment. So we rented a U-haul to be towed by the motorhome, and she followed in her car, and I brought up the rear of the caravan, driving the Jeep.
We drove about ten hours the first day – spent the night in Quartzsite, Arizona (yes it was HOT!) – then finished the next day with about four hours driving. All in all, it wasn’t a bad trip. We took lots of stops – mainly because the Jeep goes through gas so quickly – and I had checked out an audio book from the library (that I will be mailing back) that lasted almost the entire drive. And it was good (which helps).
- Book Review: It was “The Mermaid Chair” by Sue Monk Kidd, the author of “The Secret Life of Bees” I enjoyed the story and found it very relatable as it was about (IMO) a forty-two year old married woman going through a mid-life crisis. The reader of the audio book was terrific, and the author’s scene setting was spectacular. It took place on a barrier island off the Carolina coast and left me longing for a ferry ride in the Atlantic. I was awed (and humbled) by Kidd’s use of metaphors and similes. I can only wish to turn a phrase such as….well, I can’t remember a one! I wish I would have been able to write a couple down as they were that good. So eloquent. And now lost in my memory forever. Darn. That’s the trouble with audio books – you can’t flip back through the pages to re-enjoy those wonderful lines.
After the book CD’s were over and we were nearing Tuscon, I felt a sense of excitement that after this trip we only had one more family obligation before we were truly free. I’m sure obligation isn’t the correct term, because celebrating my son’s marriage in a couple of months is more a privilege than a duty.
And it was wonderful to participate in moving college daughter into her first ‘real’ place, certainly not a dreaded obligation. We got to help shop for houseplants, give advice on furniture placement, and enjoy her first cooked dinner in her first kitchen. That was also the first time I’ve ever seen her use a stove! So it was wonderful to see her independence and growth.
But when we started our full time journey in April, we had so many commitments lined up that it didn’t really feel like we would be footloose and fancy free until after they were taken care of. Now one more daughter is married, college daughter is back at college, our other scheduled appointments are complete, the grandson is nearing one year old (not that it means we won’t still need to see him often), and the only other thing is the next wedding.
It’s not like we’ll never be back to California after that, but we will be able to travel more on our terms. And for longer periods at a time. Like this “trip” which will be almost two months long – our longest to date. There were so many possibilities it was intoxicating. Given the hot weather we’ve been in this summer though, we decided to head due North. We have a general idea of visiting friends and family in Montana, Idaho and Oregon. Given that, we did sign up for one more commitment (after much deliberation) to meet up with the Boomers group (an Escapees BOF group) for their fourth annual “Crab-a-Rang” in Coos Bay, Oregon toward the end of September. We figured we’d be in the area anyway, and I think we’re craving the social interaction.
While it’s great to be back on the road with no set itinerary, maybe I’m also feeling a bit un-tethered after the longer (and reserved-in-advance) stays we’ve been having. Now we’re back to the challenge of finding places to stay in unchartered territory. Maybe I’m feeling both excitement and trepidation at the same time. Maybe that’s the essence of full-time traveling.
Peace & Love, Joy