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May 17, 2015 / Retirementallychallenged.com

0 to 5161 in three weeks

Last night, my husband and I arrived back home after being on the road for three weeks.  We took off from Southern California on April 24 with a rough itinerary that included a couple of hard dates but also a lot of flexibility. We had family and calendared events waiting for us in Omaha and later in St. Louis, but, other than that, we were on our own.

A quiet walk among the the red rocks in Capitol Reef National Park

A quiet walk among the the red rocks in Capitol Reef National Park

The 5,161 miles we traveled took us through 14 states and to 11 national parks and monuments, several state parks, and quite a few museums. We had days when there wasn’t a cloud in the sky, days full of ice and snow, and just about every weather pattern in between. We experienced the majesty of nature in the red rocks of Utah and Arizona and the audacity of men whose dreams led them to carve the likenesses of four presidents and an Indian chief on the sides of mountains. We saw a giant depression in the earth where a meteorite landed 50,000 years ago and we enjoyed the kitsch of visiting a giant rocking chair and sleeping in a motel room shaped like a teepee along the route made famous in the 1920s and 1930s.

My husband, best friend, and traveling buddy (I’m fortunate to have all three wrapped in one person) indulged my photographic whims by happily stopping whenever I asked him to. Our tastes are similar enough so that we usually easily agreed on attractions to stop for as well as food and lodging choices, but we are flexible enough so that we could change plans to accommodate each other’s interests.

Today is the one-year anniversary of my retirement. Over the past twelve months we’ve taken two driving trips and two trips that have required getting on a plane. Planes allow us to get to far-off destinations, but there is nothing like a road trip to best explore this country and build a greater understanding of ourselves and others.

As I do on every one of our travels, I kept a journal of our day-to-day activities and adventures. I also jot down inspirations, insights, and possible blog topics as they occur to me. I will share some of these over the next several posts.

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12 Comments

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  1. btg5885 / May 17 2015 8:02 am

    Happy anniversary and what a nice way to celebrate.

  2. Sammy D. / May 17 2015 10:17 am

    Happy anniversary, Janis! I’m very glad we connected 😀

    Lovely photo; I haven’t visited Capitol Reef but I’ve been numerous places with the mesmerizing red rock and always feel like the ghosts of civilizations past are whispering on the wind. Hallowed ground for sure.

    Wow when you say ‘road trip’ you don’t mess around!! I am eagerly awaiting travel through your eyes and words.

    And we are both so blessed to be able to have an all-in-one husband, best friend and travel companion. May your road ahead be long, happy and healthy.

    • Retirementallychallenged.com / May 17 2015 12:20 pm

      We didn’t have near enough time allocated for Zion, Bryce, Arches, and Capitol Reef national parks. But, we discovered that Zion is just one (rather long) day’s drive from our home so we plan to return soon.

      I took over 600 pictures on our trip (thank goodness to digital cameras). Although I promise not to show them all, I plan to share some. I hope they encourage others to get on the road and see this country. I’m happy to have you along for the ride!

      • Sammy D. / May 17 2015 1:45 pm

        Janis, you’re going to have to read Desert Solitaire now – after being at Arches !!! It’s in my reading pipeline but I have a few others to finish first because I have a blogging sequence in mind.

        I’ve been to Arches but haven’t made it to the others so I will enjoy your photos and impressions – all 600 of them 😀 Utah is a beautiful state and I haven’t explored it nearly enough.

  3. Terri Webster Schrandt / May 18 2015 8:22 am

    Happy Retirement Anniversary to you and what a way to celebrate! I look forward to your next posts!

    • Retirementallychallenged.com / May 18 2015 10:52 am

      Although the timing of our trip wasn’t intentional, it was nice how well it coincided with my retirement anniversary. I am following a few blogs written by couples who have taken off to explore the world over an extended period of time. I’m not sure that’s our path, but it is an intriguing thought.

      • Terri Webster Schrandt / May 18 2015 10:53 am

        When hubby retires, that’s what we want to do! If I’m still blogging in 5 years, that will be fun!

  4. Kristine Puzel / May 18 2015 3:37 pm

    Congratulations on your one year retirement anniversary! Your trip sounds like the perfect combination of structure and spontaniety! Glad you made it home safely!

  5. Kathy @ SMART Living 365.com / May 18 2015 4:57 pm

    Hi Janis! I’m looking forward to hearing lots more about your trip! And congratulations on your 1 year Retirement Anniversary. I’m sure there is a blog post there too. ~Kathy

    • Retirementallychallenged.com / May 18 2015 5:33 pm

      Thank you, Kathy! I think I was made for retirement… I just wish I had realized it several years sooner.

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