From April 20 thru the 29th, I drove to Tucson and back in order to be there on Savanna’s first birthday. Since this is the first driving trip of such distance where I drove it by myself, it was interesting to discover I really enjoyed it!
April 20: Beauty and Cutie decided to pull over the trash can in the bathroom at 4:30 a.m. so I did not have to worry about waking up early enough to get an early start; I left my property at 7:00 a.m. As I approached Kansas City, I noticed the cottonwoods were blooming and I became excited about seeing colors besides the brownish/green back home. Stopped for lunch at Perkins in Gardner, KS. Very uneventful day with some rain drops in Kansas. After driving 9.5 hours and 610 miles, I stopped for the night at Best Western Night Watchman Inn located in Greensburg, KS. Upon checking in, I found out the town only has ONE sit down restaurant and it was closed because of it being Easter. There was a deli at a local gas station where I purchased a chicken sandwich plus raw vegetable tray that I ate in my room. Spent the evening reading, sipping on wine, and watching some TV. Tomorrow I am heading to Alamogordo, NM.
April 21: Left the hotel about 7:00 and headed south on Highway 54. Today I crossed four states; Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, and New Mexico. The terrain was the same in all the states except New Mexico where there were hills. I saw lots of irrigation equipment in fields, cattle either in pastures or lots, wind energy towers, and tumbleweed flying across the road in front of me. And only in Texas does the speed limit for narrow two lane roads be 75 mph. Had lunch at Tucumcari, NM at Denny’s and filled up with gas. The “Road Work Ahead” signs were out in force in New Mexico. On my way into Alamogordo, I stopped at a couple pistachio farms for shopping and wine tasting. I stayed at Holiday Inn Express and, upon the recommendation of hotel staff, I drove across town to a local establishment called Pepper’s for dinner. It was excellent! Returned to my room, called friend Ginni to discuss our future trip to France, and read. An overall summary of the day found me thinking alot about Tom because we had traveled many of the places I saw when we considered retiring to New Mexico; this brought smiles at the good memories but longing for his company. I traveled a total of 590 miles for 9.5 hours of driving.
April 22: Slept late this morning, walked 2.5 miles which felt good because traveling without exercise makes me feel like a Goodyear blimp, showered, had breakfast, and got on the road about 9:30 mountain time. Once I drove onto I10, I went through a Border Patrol checkpoint which is kind of a joke because the patrol looked at me once I had stopped and said “Good morning and have a nice day”. Had lunch at a Subway. Arrived at Steev’s around 2:00 pacific time; as I was driving into Tucson, the temperature was in the mid-90’s so I started up the air conditioner only to discover it was not working. Greta arrived home from work about 2:40 and Steev left for his video shoot which would last through the evening. Sweet Savanna woke up from her nap; she has really grown and changed since Christmas time. I went to the Best Western Royal Sun for check in; they gave me a full suite for the price of a standard room. After unpacking, I returned to Greta’s where she made vegetable pasta plus toss salad for our evening meal; as is usual with Greta’s cooking, it was very good. Greta gave me the address and phone number of where they take their vehicle for auto repair so called and made an appointment to take it in the next day. That evening I made a deal with Savanna: I would read to her if she slept thru the night; she agreed so I read her three different stories with reading one of them four times…it was fun! The evening was so nice temperature wise that we ate and visited on their patio. Savanna fell asleep in her mother’s arms about the same time it hit me that I was tired so went back to the motel quite early. After checking email, I got ready for bed; read in bed briefly before felling asleep. Today I had drove 340 miles and 5 hours; overall trip was 1540 miles with 24 hours of driving. This is the first time in my life that I drove that far on my own; I am proud of my accomplishment!
April 23: Woke up shortly after 6:00; before I knew it, it was 7:30 so I quickly got dressed and headed over to Steev’s. After a cup of coffee, I took my car to repair shop with Greta/Steev/Savanna leading the way. After getting the car checked in, they dropped me off at the University so I could walk back to the motel while they headed to the hospital for Savanna’s six month check up. The walk was 1.5 miles to the motel where I had breakfast and showered. Steev picked me up on their way back from the hospital; Greta went to work and the three of us “hung” out at the house. We went to lunch at an Italian deli which was very good. After making a visit to Greta’s place of employment for a short visit, we headed to a splash pad that Savanna had liked in the past but was not excited about it on this visit. On the way back to Steev’s, we picked up my car which they did not fix because it was an air compressor and would of cost +$1200 so I decided to wait until I got home in order for me to be able to discuss the matter with the service folks at the local Nissan dealer. When Greta came home from work, Steev left for another evening of video shooting. The evening was spent having good conversation while playing with Savanna. Upon my return to my room, I read for awhile and went to sleep.
April 24: Took a walk and had breakfast at the motel. Went to Steev’s where he made me another great cup of coffee. I watched Savanna while Steev went grocery shopping. We had lunch at the Mexican place on 4th Avenue; Greta was able to join us for some conversation. After lunch, we went to the children’s museum in downtown Tucson; what a great adventure! Savanna especially liked the tunnel with mirrors and pinwheels on the wall. Went back to Steev’s; he did some work while Savanna took a nap and I read. Greta came home and Steev left for his video shoot; Greta went to the bank while I watched Savanna. For dinner, Greta fixed frittata with fresh eggs graciously laid by their chickens. Went back to the motel around 8:30.
April 25: Once again I took a walk and had breakfast at the motel. Then I went to Party City to get some pinwheels for Savanna’s birthday party. Did not do much at Steev’s except “hang out”. Steev made lunch and we cleaned up the kitchen afterwards. He worked inside and outside of the house while I read and Savanna napped. In the evening, Greta fixed the pasta salad for the party tomorrow. We went out to eat at the Thai place where we have eaten on previous visits. Back at the motel around 8:30.
April 26: Today is Savanna’s birthday so I had an early breakfast and headed to Steev’s. After wishing Savanna “Happy Birthday” and getting a cup of coffee, we skyped with Allan & Jeannette who moved back to Ireland the previous Monday. After the call, Greta prepared scones and brownies while I cut up fruit for a salad; these food articles were being taken to the party which was a picnic in a local park. Upon arrival at the park, we spread out blankets and placed the food on a table. Besides Savanna, there were 10 people which included Savanna’s maternal grandmother and husband, Savanna’s brother and cousin on the maternal side, Savanna’s aunt, uncle, and cousin on Greta’s side. Everyone had a good time but especially the kids with trying out the playground equipment, flying kites, blowing bubbles, and spinning pinwheels. Rain came about the time Savanna thought a nap would be good. This evening I said my good-byes to all since I am leaving early in the morning.
April 27 – 29: Left Tucson around 7:00 in the morning on the 27th and reached Tucumcari, NM early evening where I registered at the Best Western Discovery Inn. Had my evening meal at K-Bob’s Steakhouse which was across from the hotel. On the 28th, I drove to Ottawa, KS where I stayed at Comfort Inn and ate at Applebee’s next to it. Both of these days proved to be very stressful driving with dust blowing across the interstate causing very poor visibility and VERY high winds which pulled on the steering wheel. It was not until I got into Kansas that dust blowing discontinued. On the 29th, I got on the road good time and made it back home by 1:30 in the afternoon. Beauty and Cutie were happy to see me; I was glad to be home. It was a great trip with lots of time with Savanna…I already miss not being able to hold her, tickle her, and read to her…I’ll just have to make it back to Tucson in another three or so months.