For the first time since we left Dallas in March, I have to actually get out of bed to start the coffee. Georges can no longer stand in one place to simultaneously stir a pot on the stove with one hand while reaching into the fridge for something to drink with the other.
That’s because we’ve checked our beloved Casita – a 17-foot Texas-made fiberglass travel trailer – into an RV motel and checked ourselves into our Tucson home for the holidays. The house here isn’t huge but the kitchen is separate from the bedroom, which is separate from the living room, which is separate from the dining room. We actually have to take a few steps these days to move from one task to another.
What an imposition.
Usually, it’s about 952 miles from our home in Dallas to our house in Tucson. This time, however, we took the scenic route – all 21,449 miles of it!
Here’s the view from our back patio, looking north towards the Santa Catalina Mountains. We’re at about 2,800 feet in elevation with daytime highs in the 70s; Mount Lemmon just a 40-minute drive from here rises to nearly 9,200 feet. Soon there will be snow atop these peaks; it’s the southernmost ski area in the U.S.
It will be a nice change of pace, though we’ll miss the intimacy of our Casita comfort egg. We expect to spend unparalleled time with friends and family over the next few weeks and then resume our perimeter travels sometime after the first of the year.
I say “unparalleled” because this will be the first holiday season in 45 years that I’ll not be working. As a teenager, I worked holidays as a way to earn money while I was in school; as a young professional, I worked holidays to get the time-and-a-half pay; as an editor, I worked holidays to give time-off priority to staffers with young children at home.
But this year will be different. No more squeezing holiday festivities into three days here and two days there, no more rushing from work to the airport to visit family here and friends there. For the first time in forever, G and I have unlimited time to be with loved ones.
We expect to spend time in both Tucson and Phoenix, roughly 100 miles apart with the famed Picacho Peak – the site of the westernmost battle of the American Civil War – marking the half-way point. We’re looking forward to dinners with friends and neighbors in Tucson, Thanksgiving with friends and family in Phoenix, holiday festivities in both places. I’ll continue to blog along the way.
Highlights will be time spent with these two.
That’s an old photo of grandkids, Isabelle and Alex, but it remains one of my all-time favorites. Attentive readers of this blog know how tall these two have become from our time together in June when we met up in Maine.
My mother will fly from Dallas in mid-December to join us here through the end of the year, and G and I may take a jaunt or two into Mexico to visit friends and beaches.
At some point, we’ll reclaim our Casita and hit the road again, resuming our Year on the Edges of America.
We have parts of southeastern Arizona to mosey through on our way into the Land of Enchantment. We look forward to re-entering Texas and spending time in the Big Bend area, one of our favorite places on earth.
Then we’ll amble further east and return to Kickapoo Cavern State Park, where we launched this once-in-a-lifetime adventure, to reclaim what we left there last March and meditate a bit about the experiences of the last many months. (You can read about our “buried treasure” at the end of this blog post.)
Eventually, sometime in early spring, we’ll roll back into Dallas and revel in a home coming after a full year on the road.
But for now, we’ll rest our souls in the Old Pueblo for a bit. And enjoy the gift of time.