Saturday, April 30, 2011

Happy Anniversary To Us!

One year ago today, Rich and I both retired. The next day I posted this blog entry titled Happy Trails. Today we are nearing the end of our fifth long RV trip since retirement. Here's a look back through our Meanderings of the past year via links to some of our favorite posts.

The August before retirement, we had purchased this Class C motorhome with thoughts of traveling after we retired. A big part of this decision was that RVing would be the only way we could travel and take 'the girls' along. Whether or not this would be our cup 'o tea was a huge unknown.

We traveled to Florida's Key West just days after retiring for a week of sun and a perfect introduction to whiling away the days in total relaxation. On the way to Florida we made the first of many happy accidental discoveries when we meandered away from our first RV Park to check out the little Georgia town of Juliette and had lunch at The Whistle Stop Cafe. Since then we have often left the beaten path and found unpredicted, unplanned jewels.

Another high point of that first trip was experienced on our way home from Key West. By chance we stopped in Panama City Beach, FL. By chance, because we are not particularly "beach people." By chance, we were there when the shallow waters of the beach were being frequented with schools of Bluntnose Stingrays. They swam languorously and very near us in the amazing experience, purely by chance!

That first, month-long trip left us ravenous for more; we were bitten badly by the RVing bug.

Our second major trip was so amazing that there is only one post of it! Our three precious grandkids were here for 2 1/2 weeks in June. We were so busy make beautiful memories together that, out of many different activities and miles traveled and visits with family and more than 2,600 photos, I discovered today that this post of our Trip to Indianapolis is the only one.

After staying home for most of July we headed for the Pacific Northwest on our third trip, returning in early September. What a trip! By then I was in full photo/posting mode so it's difficult to pick just a couple to link. Our week near my beloved Grand Tetons and Yellowstone before heading to Montana was filled with scenery and wildlife. We visited Holland Lake, north of Missoula several years ago and had longed to return. We spent a beautiful and relaxing few days there before heading on to Spokane, WA.

Quite unexpectedly, while in Spokane we found a Class A motorhome that met most of the items on our dream list and traded for it on the spot. We had spent enough time on the road by then to know that our travels would be greatly enhanced with some additional features.
Our original destination for this trip was Seattle where we spent a glorious week. Along the way, we meandered sideways once again to a spot that was special to us Roslyn, WA.

While in Seattle we visited Sandee's high school BFF and her family in addition to soaking in the beautiful scenery and city. I picked this post to represent our time in Seattle. After leaving Seattle, we didn't spend much time in Oregon because we wanted to visit Hell's Canyon in Idaho which was spectacular. Between there and Flaming Gorge in Wyoming I posted these photos of our long driving day through the Three States which included Utah.

After about three weeks at home in September, we headed west to see the kids on our fourth trip. It was their fall break from school so we loaded them into the RV and headed to the Four Corners Monument. Not satisfied with them just standing in those four states on a medallion, we wanted them to actually experience some of New Mexico, Colorado, and Utah as well as the Painted Desert, Petrified Forest, and Monument Valley in their own state of Arizona. This was a great trip and we all had a blast! I do want to post this one photo of Trout Lake taken on our drive to Telluride, CO. The night before, the Rockies had received this first snowfall of the year. This is my idea of what heaven will look like.

On the way to Arizona we had visited Palo Duro Canyon near Amarillo, TX; while in Arizona we enjoyed many other activities with our grands; and on the way home from there we enjoyed our stay in Oklahoma City, OK among many other highlights along the way. While in OKC we visited the Oklahoma City National Memorial, the Museum of Art, and Route 66 Park with it's rendition of The Mother Road. Having grown up in a small midwestern town along old Route 66, I especially enjoyed seeing many of the historic sights along it on this trip.

Early in November we had to winterize the RV and store it for what turned out to be a very long, very cold, very snowy winter. I loved it...I love the cold, I love the snow, I did not love staying home all winter though. I was ready to rock and roll by March 10th when we left on this, our fifth trip. Since you're reading this post, you have likely been following along for these past seven weeks. Therefore, I'm just going to post a few favorite photos...

Remember Roswell, NM with its aliens (see photo above...haha) and its fabulous Museum of Modern Art?

Remember our visit to the White Sands National Monument?

Remember our day with the kids at Amazing Jakes?

Remember our day at the Goldfield Ghost Town?

On our trip to Tucson we visited the Botanical Gardens...

...and the Children's Museum...

...and the Waffle House...

...and the Pima Air and Space Museum! While staying at their house we loved all the time spent together at hockey games, swimming, baseball games, bracelet making, Farkle and Domino games, musical instruments, back to school, homework, and so much snuggling!!!

Before we knew it, we were back on the road again.

The Organ Mountains overlooking Las Cruces and Mesilla, New Mexico.

An incredible eleven days in San Antonio during Fiesta!

Taking "the Girls" for a walk in the surf on Galveston Island.

A few days in Hot Springs, Arkansas where we enjoyed some of its natural beauty before the vast number of tornadoes invaded much of the country.

A quick dinner at our favorite place on Beale Street in Memphis, TN in between huddling in safe rooms due to tornado warnings.

And then driving through storms all day on the final leg into Illinois a couple of days ago.
We are spending a few days visiting my mom and staying at my brother and SIL's before driving on home.

This has been the most incredible year of my life because I never dreamed that we would someday have the opportunity to travel so extensively and be on the road for several weeks each trip. In addition to our travels, there have been many special times shared with family and friends at home this year.

I want to send a special thank you to our next-door BFFs, Vic and Sandee, who have taken care of so many things on the home front for us when we've been gone. Thanks to all of you, too, for following our Meanderings on this blog. I love taking all these photos and writing this blog but it's even more enjoyable knowing that you all are reading it.

Lovin' Life ~~ And Our Amazing First Year of Retirement


  1. I'm supposed to be doing the church newsletter but instead I am sitting here reading your back posts! I wish my life was as interesting as yours!

  2. Happy Anniversary! I'm so thankful for your RV travels that allowed us to see you both this year!

    To many more visits with old friends & precious time with family....oh! And can't forget the purple juice & doggy cookies ;b

    G, D, K & B


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