When I was a kid I learned that staying busy on long car trips was a way to make the time go faster.  On a four-day car trip to Iowa I spent most of the time drawing copies of the maps from the road atlas my father used to plan the trip.  A nerdy thing to do, but it sure made the time pass quickly.  I spent the rest of the time looking out the window to avoid succumbing to carsickness.

I don't have to try to stay busy anymore.  Back then I'd always have some kind of project I wanted to work on, and I still do, but now most of my time is taken up with things on my to-do lists.

I had three to-do lists going this winter, one for the house, another for the RV, and a third for everything else.  It seemed the faster I'd do things on the list the faster more things would be added to it.

Obviously, I've finished my sell the house list.  As the days got closer to leaving Portland I worked furiously to do everything else on the other two but I eventually realized there were some things I didn't have to do before we hit the road.  So I created a pre-departure master checklist and put everything else from the other two on it, divided into two categories: Things I have to do before we leave town and Things that I'd like to do but can wait if necessary.  My goal was to finish everything on the first and dig into the second before we left.  However as the time grew closer I discovered that there were a few on the first list that could actually go on the second and so the day we left I sighed and added them to the second list.

One of the items on the first list that got bumped was "plan out travel route."  I'm the kind of person who likes to plan things in advance but sadly, so many other things were more urgent that I knew this one would have to wait.  I did however download a bunch of apps to my phone that would help us find things like low-priced campgrounds, free RV parking spots, and dump stations, so I wouldn't have to plan those in advance.

We did know that we wanted to stop in Kingman in time for the CO meeting, so I decided to resume tackling my list when we got there.  As you know I did spend two full days doing just so.  Well, "replace fresh water pump" wasn't on the original list but it ended up being added right on top, since of course running water is a pretty high priority for us typical modern people.

Sadly, before we left Kingman I still hadn't reached "plan out travel route" on my list.  Thankfully, I had some more free time in Tucson.  So last night I finally sat down and looked at our planned destinations from this point on and developed an itinerary.

At the same time I noticed my to-do list was still called "pre-departure master checklist" so I changed it to "post-departure master checklist."  After all, we left Portland nearly two weeks ago.  Most of the items left on it are pretty small and I'm realizing now some of them can probably wait until after we arrive (if I even need to do them at all).  The future is now....

Here's our tentative itinerary at this point:

4/28 head to Roswell via White Sands 9.5 hrs
4/29 explore Roswell, head to Lubbock                   3 hrs
4/30 meeting and service in Lubbock  
5/1 drive to Waco, TX 7 hrs
5/2 explore Waco  
5/3 drive to Galveston, TX 5 hrs
5/5? drive to New Orleans 7 hrs
5/6 drive to Leesburg 8 hrs
5/8 drive to NC 8 hrs
5/9 drive to Bristol, VA 5 hrs


Roswell was high on my list of places to visit and Julie and Jaden really want to visit Waco.  Jaden is a fan of Luke Bryan (she has all of his hit albums), so she wants to see his hometown of Leesburg, Georgia.  We also want to visit Julie's cousin Leslie and her husband Darryl in North Carolina.  The rest are tentative stops along the way in between.

Now that the majority of my business (as in busy-ness) is behind me I can actually relax a bit.  Which is what I did yesterday.  Travis, my roommate in Fossil back in the early 90s, lives with his wife Shary (Shar-ee - I mispronounced her name enough times I better get it right now) in Tucson.  Travis had the day off and Shary had to work but was able to join us for lunch.  Travis drove us around to get some necessities in the morning and then he and I took a hike in saguaro country in the hills above town in the afternoon.  The weather was a bit on the hot side but still tolerable so we hiked farther up the hill than he had in the past.  In fact I, being the crazy adventurer I am, felt compelled to go up until I was standing on some kind of peak.  Travis had more sense and patiently waited in the shade below.

Tucson Mountain Park with Saguaro cacti

Tucson Mountain Park near Saguaro National Park.  Travis took me to the place I most wanted to see!

Looking up toward a small peak I hiked to

It's not all that high, Travis.  You don't mind waiting here while I climb it do you?

photo of Travis waiting and looking up

Travis waits patiently and looks up at the crazy climber

After Travis went home to get ready for his meeting I joined Jaden in the pool for a spell.  By that time most of the pool was in the shade but I swam a bit before we both climbed out and I sat on a lounge chair in the sun.  The breeze was cool but I quickly warmed up in the sun's gentle glow and I thought to myself, I'm on vacation!

It was a nice thought.

Six months of intense planning and activity which started in September and mostly ended two days ago finally bore fruit.  The future is now.

Today was probably the longest drive of the trip.  From Tucson to Roswell is only about 8 hours but of course it takes us longer.  Besides we couldn't pass by White Sands National Monument without checking it out and decided to drive in.  They rent sleds at the visitor center, which looked like a lot of fun.  Jaden came back looking dejected when she found out the place was closed, but just a few minutes later a kind-hearted man drove in wanting to return his sled but when he found it was closed and we were in need he gave it to us.

I didn't get any photos of White Sands but Julie did so maybe she'll post some.

Next stop: Roswell

looking back over the hills toward Tucson

Tucson, as viewed from our path back down the hill