2018 in Review – Dec 2018

It is hard to believe that I am writing another “year in review”, and it is always amazing when I do a year-end review the things we have done and the ground we have covered in the previous 12 months.  In 2018 alone, we visited +/-30 states, and some of those states were visited more than once!  Amazing, even to us!

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Right at the moment, it is hard for me to see beyond the pain in my arse from “hitting” the slopes two weeks ago, but the truth of the matter is we have had a pretty awesome year!

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If I just reposted one photo from each of the activities we attended this year, this would be a huge and unwieldy post, so I have highlighted links to posts from this past year that you can click on at your leisure to see in more detail about our experiences, if you so choose.

While 2017 was a big year for travel since we traveled to Alaska (2017 in Review), 2018 was a big year as well – we were on the road some part of 8 months during the year!  Given that amount of travel, there is no way to really recap the year easily.

From Marietta, GA, we left in January for Florida to one of our favorite events – the Canopener. This is an annual rally of Airstreams that we have been attending for off/on ten years.  Always a hoot, it is fun to catch up with some of our Airstream friends.

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We left from the Panhandle to (uncharacteristically) spend a month at an RV resort in Palm Springs. It is very unusual for us to spend a month anywhere, and almost as unusual that we would spend it at a resort. Not sure that we would do this again, but hey, you don’t know if you don’t try.  Even so, Palm Springs in January or February – how does it get better than that?

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While in Palm Springs, one of the cool events we attended was a polo match.  First time for us, we had never been to a polo match before. Very cool, I must say, and a hoop of fun!

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And actually, while camped in Palm Springs, I snuck away for a long weekend to head to Steamboat and meet up with son Drew and dear friends and ski – how freaking awesome was that!

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Moose on Main

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On the way to Palm Springs we did stop in Muscle Shoals (AL), which is a music mecca, and highly recommended destination if you have any interest in the making of music.  And we met up (again) with one of our favorite runners and all-around good guy Rob Pope, who was running back and forth across the country as Forrest Gump did, raising money for worthwhile charities.

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Rob Pope

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We also enjoyed our 30thanniversary!  You can read about our marital career together here.

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On our way heading back east, we made the usual and obligatory stop in Austin, TX.  While this was a too-short stop, we still ingested our fair share of gorgeous Austin BBQ – worth the trip.

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Back at home in Marietta for a few months, we made local trips to TCPC in Tennessee and down near Auburn, Alabama for a friends’ 80th birthday.

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Frank and Reba

As parents, your kids will turn you in unexpected ways.  Our daughter, who worked at the CDC, got her Masters in Public Policy at Duke, and took a job in DC working for a non-profit that provides healthcare for homeless people, invited us up to visit her and the work her group at Bright Beginnings is performing.  Phew! When you think about homeless people, you may not consider that they have children who are subjected to all the vagaries that homeless life entails.  We were able to see the marvelous work Bright Beginnings does for these indigent families and trying to break the cycle of poverty.

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Bright Beginnings

We spent a decent amount of time at our getaway in eastern Tennessee on the Cumberland Plateau, particularly as a summer kickoff. This was a nice little respite before making (another) sojourn west, ultimately to attend a wedding in Santa Barbara in June.

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Our site at TCPC

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Riff raff on the road

One of the benefits of being retired is you can go where you want when you want.  Ordinarily we would not travel in summer when everyone else in the world is traveling, but we so wanted to attend a wedding of friends in Santa Barbara that we threw caution to the wind and headed west.

Like any self-respecting travelers, we used BBQ as guideposts and so made Kansas City part of our travel plans.  Not disappointed, let me just say!

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Joe’s Kansas City BBQ

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BBQ at Q 39

Naturally, we stopped to see our son in Denver on our way, and that is always so cool to do, meeting friends and co-workers.

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We continued west, driving through Colorado, Utah, Nevada and (ultimately) California while experiencing temperatures in the hundreds (111’ at one point).  Yikes!

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111 degrees here in Nevada

We spent time at Sequoia and King’s Canyon National Park as well as Yosemite NP – pretty amazing places each.  I would love to go back to both places when it was cooler and less crowded, but even so amazing places.

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General Sherman in Sequoia NP

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Yosemite

We actually camped outside of Yosemite in Lee Vining, a town just east and outside of the park itself. This was a very cool town, and for whatever reasons the weather there is exquisite.  And I did a little paddling out on Mono Lake, which is a really interesting and unique lake.

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Lee Vining

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Mono Lake

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We made it to the coast at Pismo Beach (CA) and had a very fun time there; weather was superb.

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And of course – the main event – the wedding in Santa Barbara that was the anchor to all our other activities on this trip.

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From the wedding, we headed up the coast of California into Oregon, making stops in Santa Cruz (to see my niece and family), Santa Rosa, Lassen Volcano NP, Crater Lake, and into Bend, Oregon for a few beers and to visit Deschutes National Forest.

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Santa Cruz for July 4th

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Lassen Volcanic NP

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Crater Lake

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While our original plans had us continuing north into Washington State and up to the Olympic National Park, an invitation to a cookout in New Hampshire caused us nothing less than a Tectonic shift in our thinking.  Instead of driving straight (and north), we took a right (and east) and drove 3,200 miles to a cookout at friends of ours in New Hampshire.

We made it to the cookout, yes, but that’s when things got a little more complicated.  Long story short, we decided to move to NH, bought a house (in like 3 days), headed home to prepare our house in Marietta for sale, and shift our entire universe north by about 1,200 miles.

From the time of the cookout to the time we had bought and sold two houses (and moved in), less than 2 months had passed.  Since that time, we have eased into New England living; we’ve loaded up on firewood, a snow blower, ski equipment and all the necessities of living on a bit of land in Hampton Falls, NH.

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And as if all that was not enough, we were rewarded with the Red Sox winning the World Series this fall – and getting their own parade through the city of Boston!

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The kids have visited us in our new home for Thanksgiving and will be back here soon for Christmas, and they love and support us for having moved into our new little cocoon in New England.

While we miss our old neighborhood and friends, it has been nice to see and do things with friends from New England.  Somewhere there is a balance in all of that.

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Missing old friends, making new friends

Yesterday we opened our house to nearby neighbors for a little Hey Neighbor! party in an effort to get to know one another (Flintlocks helped expedite the process).  I am pleased to say we are surrounded by some really nice neighbors, and we look forward to our future here.

Travel next year?  Oh, absolutely.  Where?  Who the hell knows.  But we’ll be sure to keep you in the loop.  You keep on reading, and we’ll keep on posting.  Enjoy a great holiday season and a happy New Year!

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