Friday, March 8, 2013

Road trips reconsidered

Few people my age (the "new mid-40s") do real road trips. They are pretty hard work and statistically one of the more dangers ways to travel. With gas costing either side of $4 a gallon and lodging running about $140 a night, it's more expensive than other options, including cruising or packaged touring. Still ...

On the final leg of the longest road trip of our marriage, Kathleen and I think we probably got this one about right. We will have been away from home for 23 days, 22 nights. We split the nights between commercial lodging and family -- 11 of each. Technology has allowed me to essentially telecommute to work when necessary, which is the only way I could be away from the office this long for a single trip.

The highlights:
Nice visits with grand kids, family, and old friends.
A day on the Apache Trail.
An afternoon at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix.
An afternoon at the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix. 
An afternoon of wine tasting in the Verde Valley.
Kathleen meets Beth Karas (again) at the Jodi Arias trial 
Three great days and two fantastic nights on Catalina
An awesome drive up the California coast, including Big Sur. 
A terrific hour or so tasting various test blends of Van Ruiten Cabernet-Shiraz, courtesy of Rustin Haner and VR winemaker Matt Ridge, who was generous with his time and spoke to us as if we understood the subtleties of wine-making. It was really interesting and another example of how the wine business is full of fascinating and very nice people.
The" lowlights":
A snowstorm between Page and Cottonwood, coupled with the closure of Highway 89. Made for a long day.
Our hotel in Carmel. Only bad choice of the trip. In fact, Carmel itself was a letdown. When I was young and impressionable, Carmel's pretentiousness, expensive shops and too-perfect faux Cotswoldian architecture was interesting, a window into a different world. This time, it struck me as dull -- the least interesting stop on our trip.
That's pretty much it, and not too bad for a road trip of three weeks and 3,500 miles.


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