Albuquerque balloon festival

Road Trip! Danny and I are looking forward to our first, long road trip since our children were young. Our last big road trip was when we took my terminally ill father to Yellowstone National Park.

He had six months to live. He wanted all six of his children (no spouses allowed) to spend a few days in Las Vegas, one of his favorite destinations. So, we went and what a wonderful and memorable time we had. We returned home and a week later he told me he wished we would have gone to Yellowstone National Park instead of Las Vegas.

It’s the one place he always wanted to see in the United States. It’s hard to deny a request like this knowing this would be the very last time we took a road trip with our kids and my parents with ALL of us together. We couldn’t afford it, but we loaded up the station wagon that had taken my parents and family on many road trips. The mileage on the old Caprice Estate Wagon was around 300,000 miles.

We had covered a lot of territory over the years taking road trips with our kids, Mom and Dad. Danny was running scared with our vehicle the entire trip. The “check engine light” came on and stayed on the entire time until we were almost home. Then suddenly it just went off. We said many prayers during this trip hoping our old station wagon wouldn’t break down. Not only because of the inconvenience but we didn’t have the money to fix it if the repairs were expensive.

The Griswalds (as we’re often called) had another road trip under their belt with no major fiasco. Thanks to faith and the mighty hand of the man upstairs.

The planning for our upcoming road trip has consumed quite a few hours for Danny. He’s so meticulous about planning any trip we have.

As of today, everything is in place. The route is planned, hotel reservations made, tickets purchased for the breakfast for the hot air ballon event and all other minor details handled. He is so good at this stuff. He should have been a tour agent or travel guide because he does so much research before we even depart.

First destination will be the Hot Air Balloon festival in Albuquerque. This has been on my bucket list for many years and I’m so excited about our first stop. I invited Danny to take a balloon ride with me and he said “I’ll be waving at you when you go up.”

All I could think about is the fact I can’t get the man on a cruise ship, I know there’s no way I could get him in a hot air balloon. I want an Alaskan cruise but it won’t happen with Danny. I’m going with my sister Marilyn.

Next stop is the badlands. It’s a driving tour that takes you throughout this entire area. I’ve heard and read the landscape is breathtaking and takes you back in time where all the renegade, bad outlaw cowboys hid out. So excited about seeing this part of our amazing country.

From there we travel to Mount Rushmore. This also has been on my bucket list for decades. I can’t imagine the hard work and artistic talent it must have taken to sculpt these presidential faces on the side of a mountain. When you think about the intricacy of this endeavor it boggles the mind. Too much excitement and anticipation about this upcoming road trip. I think Danny and I will certainly enjoy this trip. The first of many to come, hopefully.

We both are continuing to enjoy our retirement journey. We’ve had a few hiccups, but we’ve conquered them and all is wonderful now. I know how extremely blessed we are to be enjoying this last chapter we share together in retirement. We’ve slowed down and take time to enjoy every single day in a way that I’ve never imagined. I can say only one thing.

Thank heavens he is my very best friend and confident. We can disagree, strongly sometimes, and within 10 minutes we’re back to teasing and laughing at each other. This is a good thing I believe. When you finally retire and get to spend all your days together, don’t take too many disagreements to heart. We get forgetful, we can’t remember where we put things and sometimes we get in each other’s way. We laugh often and that is the thread that makes this journey so memorable.

Until next time, keep following my blog or check out my Facebook page for upcoming photos and details of our road trip.

Remember to compliment a stranger, praise a co-worker, be kind to everyone and don’t ever sweat the small stuff. It doesn’t matter in the big picture of life. Until next time, I’ll be slowin' down and you do the same, too.

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