Tomorrow I take the circuitous trip to Texas. It's time to see my daughter and partner and their new house. While I'vebeen waiting until the move was finished and new furniture installed, my daughter informed me that there will still be piles of "organizing" for me to do. Maybe this should not be called a vacation at all. Then again, I'll sit on the patio, enjoy other people cooking for me and treating me to dinner, visiting with my father in law and old church friends. I'll also be doing some exploring and hitting some side roads as I drive and I return. So yea, road trip it is!
As I prepare to load up the car, I'm reminded of a couple of the many reasons I prefer car travel/vacations to flying or mother modes of travel most of the time. The first one, obviously, is that I can leave when I want, change my mind, or leave another day. Usually when no repercussions. Oh sure, if I have made a motel reservation I may have to change it. But there is no cancelling of flights, and no major effort.
Earlier this week (while babying that knee with the THC patch on it), I stepped wrong and the knee gave out, with me doing a spirally kind of twist making the whole knee area (especially the back) extremely painful. After doing literally nothing except sitting on the bed with the thing elevated, taking pain meds and massaging stuff into it, I decided discretion was the better part of valor and that I would move the drive back. A simple text massage and all was well (my daughter is not taking two weeks vacation while I am there, so she had no changes to make). Depending on my mood I could take three days to get to Texas or one-and I can decide on the road.
The second major advantage really hits me at certain times of the year, that being that I can take, almost anything I want to take with me in the car. This trip, that includes another person, a canine, a flattened crate, and two large bins that contain pictures, mementos and other things that my children want to go through together.
I'm also taking a set of golf clubs for the other person, two suitcases with enough clothing that we may not need to do laundry, and a college backpacked stuffed full. I'm wondering if my sewing machine will fit. Now I have an SUV, so what fits for me may not fit for someone else. Still though, car travel affords certain things in terms of space and convenience. Every so often I even look and see folks with the clothing rods across the backs of their cars-but then I realize that control freak that I am when it comes to driving, I'm not willing to lose the visual advantage. Oh-and let's not forget that big cooler, the staple of any frugal road trip.
Which reminds me-this time, for the first time in memory of me driving, I am going to explore cruise control. Yes, people, when I drive cross country it is normally, always, with my foot on the accelerator the entire time. It's time to look at different options-again, if I can get past the control issue- and with my still slightly sore knee (and the option of driving on a four lane, not crowded good condition road in New Mexico) this is the time to find out if I can live with it.
Finally, as I ready to hit the road, I am glad that I have for the most part managed to have a busy yet flexible retirement. I work by choice, I volunteer many hours, and I have a variety of commitments. While leaving some of these for six months, snow bird style would be difficult (for me more than for others), it's very simple to go for a week or so or even am month. There are other peer navigators who can fill in easily, with me returning the favor. My income streams are all portable. I can plan and even execute the Friday night dinners and activities for the homeless while on the road, allowing others to cook and me to return the favor when I return. Even my college class (not done in the summer) and my knitting and card playing and book groups are made of retirees who occasionally travel, so leaving and returning tends to happen mainly seamlessly.
And now, I should probably finish that packing. Since the weather shows triple digits for the next week in the greater Dallas area, I'll be going sleeveless, sleeveless, sleeveless-with a sweater for Texas air conditioning!