In Arizona for the holidays

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.

23 thoughts on “In Arizona for the holidays

  1. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours! I love reading about your travels, and I’m looking forward to your letter(s) of NM, one of my favorite places, when you resume your trip. We have relatives in Santa Fe, and it’s a dream to take our Casita out west and explore northern NM. So. Make it sound irresistible!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Virginia. So glad you’re along for the ride. And yes, I’m looking forward to NM too!

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  2. Happy Thanksgiving, Keven & Georges! As you know, you will be at my favorite place on earth🌵🌵Enjoy your travels in the area! Much love to you all from the Pellegrinos❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Cathy. Right back at you all! (We are at Puerto Peñasco today.) 😘

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  3. Happy Thanksgiving, Keven and Georges!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Now I know why you said it was a year trip–I was wondering how when you were in California in October, then Lake Havasu way too early…so you’re “camping” in a different casita…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes we are. Headed to a Mexican beach with friends today four hours away. ⛱

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  5. Welcome home, you two.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Rodger! Hey, our neighbors did a cruise this year on the Baltic Sea. They went from Estonia to Latvia and skipped Lithuania to get to Poland. What’s up with that? I said my friend would be disappointed in them….

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  6. Greetings
    I loved your Blog about Quartzite and the wonderful, amazing people there. I have been through myself on my way to Tucson but did not stop overnight.
    We often traveled to Tucson during the winter as a way to escape the cold winters in Colorado. Our 2 kids were delighted to spend Spring break visiting their grandparents. To them it was heaven. They enjoyed almost all meals dining out. Days were filled with activities, including swimming, hiking, trips up Mt Lemon and exploring all the wonderful things to see and do, The fun ended with a special Farewell Dinner. Of course every afternoon was “Quiet Time” with a nap & reading.
    I have many cherished memories of Tucson.
    Enjoy your grandiose space and down time. Keep the blogs coming.
    Best
    Stephanie

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, Stephanie, for such a great note! I’m glad that you and your family have such fond memories of this part of the world. I lived here from age 5 to 18 and loved it, too. Hope all is well with you. Are you still in Berkeley? Or have you returned to Oregon by now?

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      1. Still in Berkeley & suffering from smoke.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’m so sorry. The fires are so sad. Stay safe.

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  7. What a great view from your Tucson home! A hummingbird and human paridise.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes indeed, it’s lovely here! Hope you are staying warm in Ontario (Hamilton?) Our Casita misses your Casita….

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  8. How fun it is to follow your travels. And Happy Thanksgiving to you and Georges.

    May your time here in your old home be pleasant and full of unexpected surprises.

    Then let’s hit the road again in January 2019. The comfort egg. I like that.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Niiiiiice.
    🎶There’s no place like home for the holidays. 🎶
    Georges—The NYT devoted many column inches this year on whether or not to brine. Your view?
    Happy 🦃 .

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Stu, thanks for the comment! Love hearing from you. Glad you liked the post. G says he doesn’t do much brining and so hasn’t much of an opinion about it. Can you believe that? Perhaps we’ll experiment. Have you tried it?

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    2. What I love about Thanksgiving dinner is that after, what, 10 or 15 decades of it being the near-universal feast in USA, no one can decide how best to do it. Baste to moisten? Not if you have to open the oven repeatedly, lowering the temp and drying out the meat. Ha.

      Having said that, I am going to like reading Georges’ answer … unless it involved cutting up the turkey into pieces to take the easy way out!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. G bastes, yes, but he says the real secret to a moist turkey is making a sauce. Always a sauce. Or two. (Never gravy!)

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