“We find after years of struggle that we do not take a trip; a trip takes us.”
As I mentioned in a previous article, my family suffered a tragic loss as we lost my Father this last week. One month shy of a year after my Mother passed away. And yes, I am convinced there is a direct and irrefutable connection. More than anything, Dad died from a broken heart.
He was living with my wife and me for the last ten months, and we'd hoped to have many more in the future. As they say: "Man makes plans. God laughs".
So a week from tomorrow a funeral service will be held to honor him and allow everyone their suitable goodbyes to Dad, a man who was, by any definition, a great man.
The funeral - burial to be done many months from now in Arlington National Cemetery - is to be held in Annapolis, Maryland, where my parents lived for more than three decades, until my Mother's passing.
Yes, it's been a difficult year for our family.
However in keeping with the way I was raised we are moving forward and finding ways to create a positive from the negatives. We've been under extreme pressure, and one of the fallout effects of all this has been a severe restriction on travel. Yes, for the last two years yours truly has been almost - almost - completely house-bound. With the sole exception of our January 2016 trip through the Panama Canal, our travel has been restricted to weekend jaunts, a handful of flights to Annapolis, and one abortive attempt at a true vacation up to Lake Tahoe last summer.
I hope it goes without saying, but for me being unable to go much of anywhere, being unable to explore has been almost as if I lost a part of my heart, my soul.
With Dad's passing comes opportunity. My wife and I have decided we are going to drive back to Annapolis rather than fly. First, we can transport some of my Father's heirloom belongings back to my sisters. Secondly, and perhaps most important, it gives us the chance to begin to decompress. To get away from it all.
And so we created The Grand Tour, a 21 day, 21 state drive through the southern half of the country. For the next three weeks we'll be on the road visiting some of our favorite spots -- New Orleans, Santa Fe, Virginia and, of course, Annapolis -- as well as adventuring into some new ones. This will allow me to come ever closer to my 50-state completion, adding Kentucky and South Carolina narrowing the gap to 48 states visited. (Iowa and Nebraska, I'm coming for you!)
We leave at around 8:30 this morning, Pacific time. The first leg of our trek. We expect to be in Annapolis this Friday in the early afternoon.
And with that we head out into the vast center of the country. From the Pacific Ocean to the Chesapeake Bay. This evening, if plans hold, we'll be halfway across Utah.
And we'll be posting along the way. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and, of course, here on the blog. The blog pages will be a daily summation, whereas people who want to follow us in more real-time are welcome to follow the instant feeds.
I'll try my hand at video, and certainly find a bunch of fun things to do. We're not making reservations more than a day in advance to allow ourselves a maximum of flexibility. Already there are a handful of must-do's: The Biltmore in Asheville, North Carolina; The Vieux Carre in New Orleans; Santa Fe; The Tabasco plant in Louisiana; Carlsbad Caverns; The Grand Canyon; and, yes, Roswell.
Oh. And no doubt a few martinis along the way.
Adventure. And decompression.
So please follow our social media sites and let us know your thoughts. It ought to be a grand time, making lemonade as much as we are able.
Facebook: Thumbnail Traveler
See you on the road.