Tuesday, July 15, 2014

This Week In Retirement-Road Tripping With Dogs and Other Thoughts

Tomorrow, I head out for Texas.  Believe it or not, this will be the first time back since I moved.  My eldest visited in November and I have just not had a chance to get back yet.  She asked me to specifically visit this week as her boyfriend's mother will be visiting for four days and we will have a chance to meet. It works for me!  The downside is that this is the third Sunday rather than the second or fourth when my women's support group meet.  Hopefully I will get a chance to visit.

I have absolutely no real plans this trip.  I will go out to dinner a couple nights, sit with my daughter by the pool for a couple days.  I'll visit a quilting friend and perhaps go shopping. If my in-laws are up to it (mother in law just got home after four months in rehab) I will at least go by and say hello.  In other words, this is a vacation trip, not travel as such.  There is a portion of old route 66 I have not seen, and I may get to those cars parked upside from end to end on the way home, but that's not the purpose of this trip.

I'll also be taking my coon hound and beagle on this trip. One of the reasons I enjoy car travel is that I can often take my babies with me.  Don't get me wrong, there are places I will not take my dogs.  They'll be staying home during my week in Santa Fe, and certainly not going with me on a train trip to San Francisco. On the other hand, there are many destination type vacation and travel trips where they are definitely part of the trip.

While I am no expert in dog travel, I have learned a few things along the way.  In spite of what people think for example, dogs do better in the back seat than the trunk. My dog plan for travel is really very simple.  I cover the back seat with a blanket. In between my dogs I put a sturdy bowl (yes, on occasion they spill it, but I usually wrap a down around it and don't worry.  I do put suitcases or other items in between the seat and the back of the front seat so sharp stops don't send my doggies crashing. I do stop every three hours at a minimum and get out and walk (for all three of our health and sanity). I do leave the leashes on (I believe eliminating the fall factor generally eliminates the strangle factor in a car). I don't leave my dogs alone in the car for longer than it takes me to go to the bathroom at a rest stop. Ever.

Will my dogs have times when they are left in a hotel? You bet.  They have times when they are left at home.  But their happiness, my happiness, and my budget is better served having them with me when possible.  They also add a level of safety to single travel.  And no, up to now I have never had a problem finding a decent room.

In other news this week:
  • I'm enjoying every minute of my lush patio from the covered pergola to the grape leaves to the flowers and vegetables everywhere-and feeling only sightly guilty that my only contribution to this experience is the slave labor of my youngest child.  Right now I'm trying to decide how to use the grapes, grape leaves and crab apples from the front yard.
  • I've fallen off the wagon when it comes to my walking.  I am NOT a morning person so that early morning stroll idea does not work for me.  We seem to have had showers every day after dinner without fail. I need to get back on the wagon or start doing an aerobics program on the TV.
  • I'm looking for another "group" to engage in.  I enjoy my knitting group, as well as my quilting buddies. But I'm used to a couple get together events a week. A dinner and a movie or book group would be welcome.  I've begun looking for the right option for me.
  • I'm also feeling like I need another volunteer commitment-one that involves getting out of the house rather than making stuff.  I enjoy making stuff, but that's a different kind of involvement. I'm the girl that needs to be in the middle.  The making something or donating something method does not work for me.
  • As always, I have three crafts going at once-for now it's knitting a shawl, quilting and painting. I've jumped ahead from beginning knitting to a complicated long multi-media shawl and a short sleeved sweater.  My quilting these days mainly concentrates on the holidays.
  • Rather than take an in the classroom class, I've been taking online classes.  Right now I'm involved in how to paint flowers, and an American Music Class online.  I've always said that I prefer to be in a mixed age group, but in the fall semester I'll be trying at least on OLLI class to see what I may or may not be missing.
  • I'll come back from my daughter's and head to the mountains for two weekends and then to Santa Fe for a week in August. Rather than taking the interstate from here to there, we'll be taking back roads over a 500 foot high bridge and traveling down through Taos. I still need to clarify my route.
  • I've officially jumped back on the blogging bandwagon, realizing just blogging when I feel like it works not a bit for me.  Many of my two or three times a week blog posts may be nothing more than a picture or three lines, but if I don't plan a little bit, I don't write (or photograph much, or draw, or paint my sewing room). It's also time to change the look of this page, so bear with me, please.  I've become very adept with my phone camera, its just the editing and loading to the laptop I'm working on!
  • As part of that revamping this blog will become even more of a lifestyle blog-even including ideas and projects-based on my living richly in retirement theme.  I'll be taking some of the really old articles, especially the financial ones, out to revamp into book chapters in some cases.  This will, however, still be a frugal retirement blog at heart.
  • Finally, I am reminded of how many easy, low cost and free ways their are to entertain, be entertained, explore, learn and play, on any given day and in almost every place.
I'll be posting soon about frugal road tripping in terms of the travel itself and the end destination as well as getting some photos up along the way. ....and off I go!


  1. Re: crab apples. Have you considered juicing them? I just did some rhubarb jce that turned out quite nice. My friend uses her juiced rhubarb in her morning smoothie. And those grape leaves. Is there not a Greek dish with rice rolled in grape leaves? It was interesting to hear of the coon hound. We used to have one - a spotted black and tan hound named Kelly, one of the nicest dogs I've ever seen.

    1. I think my sister is going to make dolmati with the grapes after she freezes them? We love our puppies. Right now the crab apples are very small-I was actually thinking of making wine, perhaps.....

  2. Have a wonderful trip Barb.

    God bless.

  3. I agree that it's important to get "out of the house." But you sure don't seem to have any problem with that! Have a good trip to Texas, and the ones beyond. Look forward to those photos.

    1. I do on some weeks spend more time in the house than I probably should. Enjoying the drive.


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