I said I’d never do it again. Yet 18 months after muttering those words, I’ve gone and done it again.
I made this trip back in July 2010, hoping to get in two visits to my family that year. I also had a convention in San Diego, so the whole trip took just more than two weeks. When I arrived back home I swore that, even though it was a good trip, I would never do it again. It was long, hot and, frankly, expensive.
I’m trying to figure out what has changed since then that allowed me to jump in the car and head 1,700 miles southwest to Phoenix for Christmas. (And 1,700 miles back.)
One of the things that has changed is the two dogs. I learned the hard way that I should have made holiday boarding reservations the day I arrived home from my 2010 trip. Well, maybe not that early, but it should have been done in August. I started thinking about the reservations on Thanksgiving.
And then there were the airline reservations, which I also thought about on Thanksgiving. By December 1, when I had no reservations of any kind, I started to wonder why I was dragging my feet on this. To the best of my knowledge, the reason was that I didn’t want to leave my boys. That meant that if I was going to go to Phoenix, I was going to have to drive. (The difficulty of flying with two dogs is a rant for another day.)
And you know what? This was great trip and the right decision for me at this time.
The trip delayed a day due to a blizzard in New Mexico, but that was the only problem — no flat tires this time. The only “problem” I encountered was also in New Mexico, a stop by the state police for having too many things hanging from my rear view mirror (damned parking permits.)
Back in July 2010 I made the trip in a 17-mpg truck. This trip was made in a 43-mpg Volkswagen Golf. I should do the math, but even I can see that this trip cost me less than half as much in fuel.
After that trip in July 2010 I didn’t feel like heading back to Arizona just five months later, even for Christmas. Maybe the gap was one of the things that made this trip so good, but I’ve already been admonished by Mom—18 months between trips doesn’t work for her. It was good to be with Mom. She loves the dogs and I know she misses having one or two around the house. It feels good to share Frankie and Alvie with her.
The trip, more than anything, was just plain relaxing. I was spoiled by several home cooked meals (that I could actually taste) and time at the dog park with my younger brother, his girlfriend and her dogs Wyatt and Josie. No high expectations, no running to see 20 other friends, no schedules to keep. I accomplished little of note and I’m OK with that.
Not as much by way of photography this time, but I did get some book listening in (Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods and Queen Latifah’s Put on Your Crown going out, a Patricia Cornwell mystery on the way back. Looking forward to the new Grisham and the Steve Jobs book.)
The colors in the landscape were considerably drabber this time of year, but still provided great scenery. As with seasons, I love the change in scenery as I crossed the Southwest.
This time I’m not going to say that I’ll never do this again. Instead, I feel blessed that I was able to do it again.