And we're off!

Last night, during wine-thirty, he asked me what he always asks me before a trip.

'What have we forgotten?"

Well, if we've forgotten it, then I don't remember!

My answer was, "an engineer and an administrative assistant together don't forget things. We're ready."

and we are.

It's the trip we've talked about making since before we retired. That trip where we have no reservations, (except Yellowstone - you can't go there without reservations!), haven't overly counted the cost, and plan to do a 'Diners, Dives & Drive-ins' version just for the fun of it. We've got the cooler ready to be loaded with a loaf of bread, bologna, chips, cookies and soft drinks. As many lunches as possible will be eaten at a roadside picnic table that pops up along the way. We've got a GPS, atlas, binoculars, bug spray, camera, sunscreen, a week's worth of clothes, audio books downloaded, knitting packed, some cash and that's about it.

Oh yeah, red twizzlers. We've never, ever, ever taken a road trip without red twizzlers.

First stop is Kansas to see my 88 year old Daddy. He lives in a bodunk town that has a Walmart, a few restaurants, acres of planted fields, cows grazing next to busy streets, and that's about it. We'll eat at least once at the county airport cafe, where he knows everyone by name. I'll leave him the fruitcake, pickles and black-eyed pea salsa I bought for his birthday. I'll take pictures of him, but mostly I'll soak in his face, his eyes, and listen to the sound of his voice, promise to call more often, then try not to cry when I hug him goodbye.

Next we'll head to Englewood, Colorado for my 40th high school reunion. I haven't seen most of these friends for 20 years, some for 40, but Facebook has softened the shock; we've seen each other's changed faces already. Then a Gibson family reunion somewhere in northern Colorado. There aren't many of them left, so Don and his brother, Tim try to get them all together every few years. This year we've rented a historical working farm, where I may finally get to attempt milking a cow. I'll let you know how that goes! I'm squeezing in a day with my Mom and brother at my all-time favorite mexican restaurant in the world, where we'll sit and eat chips and guacamole and have a margarita no matter the time of day, because life is short and you never know.

then we're off to the wild, blue yonder, literally. Heading up to Yellowstone (by way of Sacajaweja's grave because I'm crazy about her), to spend 4 days with our daughter's family. It's been twenty years since we were there with our three kids. We've rented a house near the west gate to the park, and I know it's going to be wonderful, wonderful being there again. I can't wait to see Landon's face when he sees Old Faithful go off.

After that we're heading up to Idaho for several weeks, with some side trips; taking our 7 year old grandson, Landon camping in their pop-up; sending the parents off to camp without their 7 year old; then possibly heading over to Oregon for a ride along the coast. It's a new state for us to visit, and Don's mapped out a 100 mile route for us that should be breath-taking.

We'll go through Utah, visiting a couple national parks Don has on our list, spend a day in Salt Lake City, then stop in Grand Junction to see my sister, Barb and her family before we turn the car south and head back home to Texas. By the time we get back it should be in the 90's rather than the 100's. 90's feel balmy to Texans by the end of summer.

The camera batteries are charged. The cooler is packed. The suitcases are packed. We've hired a guy to mow while we're gone, and someone to come in and scratch Miss Kitty's head now and then, fill her food bowl, and assure her we'll be back.



Linda said…
Treasure every moment Bev. Praying for safe travels and much wonder and joy!
Bettie Ashauer said…
We never, ever left home without a family sized bag of Twizzlers until Jeff was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. (very well controlled). So no more Twizzlers for us! Makes me sad. Loved your comments about your dad, made me cry. We drove the entire coast of Oregon a few years ago. Jeff was a good sport and stopped over and over again for me to take photos from the hundreds of scenic "pull-outs".Enjoy! Isn't life wonderful???
Kelli said…
What a fun trip!! W have done many "unplanned, we will just take a left or take right depending on the mood and see where we end up" day trips- but this sounds amazing!

I assume that if you come through Oregon and are taking an amazing route that must include Bend. If so, and you get here and want a great diner to eat at and a recommendation for a great place to stay where you can ride bikes to an observatory and stay in a room or a house- let me know. Phone. email or FB PM...
How exciting! I think you will have a fabulous time.
Bev said…
Kelli, Don is the chief navigator. I help drive, but not plan. He pulled out the map, studied it awhile then told me he'd come up with some road that is 100 miles of Oregon coast, plus a few national parks in Utah, Mt. St. Helens, I'm not even sure what all. We've been taking road trips for 32 years and he's never steered me wrong! thanks for the offers - I'll stay in touch re places to stay, etc.
Kelly said…
You sure do make retirement look good! Sounds like a wonderful time- enjoy!
Sammy said…
WOW! This all sounds incredible! You really know how to live life! Have a wonderful trip and be sure to tell us all about it when you return! :-)

Safe Travels!
Kathy said…
A few Oregon stops to consider...
Tanger Outlet mall in Lincoln City
Otis Café, Otis OR - the molasses brown bread is amazing.
McMenamins - there is a brew pub in Lincoln City. Or, if it is anywhere near your route, a stop or stay the Grand Lodge in Forest Grove or Edgefield in Troutdale. Plan to allow plenty of time to wander the grounds and explore the buildings marveling at the art and history.
If you find yourself in Bend a visit to the Deschutes brewery for a tour and tasting is a must. Also a stop at the brew pub for some fabulous food. Be sure to take home a growler for a souvenir!
Toni said…
We are blessed to have flying privileges because my dh works for an airline, but...honestly? This is a dream trip. We, too, have dreams of someday just hitting the road (we've talked about possibly driving down the west coast on hwy 1, or possibly more of the Blue Ridge parkway.)

Our family often just drives new roads on a day off, seeing what new small town, small cafe, small "big" world is out there. Love it.

Your trip sounds WONDERFUL. Can't wait to hear more about it when you get back. Drive safely.

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