And in conclusion-

Image6 weeks, 5 states and 4,871.2 miles later and we are finally home. The little less than 5 hour drive home from Vegas to Phoenix seemed to fly by considering how much time we had already spent on the road. This last month and a half has been exciting, adventurous and well spent- shared with lots of friends and family. Would we do it all over again? Absolutely! Of course next time I am sure we will want to take a different route and check out some new places. I’m already thinking next year of doing New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming and maybe Montana but I suppose I shouldn’t get ahead of myself. 

We woke up this morning almost giddy with excitement about the idea of finally heading home. Most vacations never seem to last long enough and the anticipation of home/reality brings a sense of dread. It’s quite different when you have been gone for 6 weeks, at least for us. The idea of sleeping in our own bed, surrounded by our things and playing with our kitties again brought a sense of joy. There was a quick stop by the post office to pick up quite a large stack of mail and the next thing we knew, our driveway was before us. Even though we had had someone coming by on a regular basis to check on things, there was still a wonder as to what condition the house might be in. Not sure if the cats had been too bored and decided to tear up the carpet and furniture or not…thankfully everything was in tact. Well, everything except our plants. All of them dead, dead, dead. We have not completed a full summer here in the Valley of the Sun so didn’t know whether or not anything living had the potential to survive or not. Turns out not. Apparently it just gets waaaaay to hot down here. Plants are replaceable. We were just happy that the cats were alive.

So here at sit back at my very own desk writing dear readers, to you. I hope I have regaled you with the tales of our travels over the last 6 weeks. The blogging will continue- there are other topics to be blogged about other than travel after all. But until I blog again, I think to myself….welcome home.

What happens in Vegas…gets blogged about.

ImageIndulgence, Indulgence, Indulgence. Vegas is the place to go to relax, have a good time and eat until you are ready to bust. And that’s exactly what I needed after spending so much time in the great outdoors! It was our final destination on our 6 week tour de west coast and we were both very much looking forward to it. My husband’s family owns timeshare which works out great when you love to travel. We were set up with a spacious 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom suite complete with a full kitchen and washer/dryer. The resort also contains 2 pools and hot tubs along with a game room- certainly plenty to keep us entertained for the week. Our first night was spent indoors enjoying the amenities of our new home. I even felt inspired to cook an actual dinner which was cooked over a full size stove and savored over a dining table with real silverware. It felt so proper. After deciding which of the 3 flat panel televisions to glaze our eyes over for movie watching, we snuggled on the couch, ate dessert and entertained ourselves right to sleep.

Day 2 consisted of moseying down to Las Vegas Blvd aka The Strip. We have been to Vegas a number of times now but there always seems to be something new to see. We spent as much time as possible moving from one indoor location to another to beat the heat, our eyes quickly shifting from shiny objects to blinking lights to searching for passage between hordes of humans. Vegas is either the perfect place for someone with ADD or their worst nightmare. The timing of our visit here also happened to coincide with the stay of a friend of mine and her husband that I haven’t seen in years. Our plan was to meet for drinks, see the free “Sirens of Song” show at Treasure Island and then gorge ourselves over a buffet dinner at the Aria. Which is exactly what we did! I love reconnecting with old friends. For me there always seems to be such ease picking right up where you last left off. We had a wonderful evening together full of laughs and hugs. Image

Late night plans included the husband and myself seeing the show “Zumanity” at New York New York. This particular show emphasizes the sensual side of Cirque du Soleil. It did not disappoint. Topless women, strapping men, acrobatics, humor, contortionists, HULA HOOPING(!), eroticism and aerial performances made for quite an entertaining evening. It was beautiful, it was comedic and it definitely left you feeling a little bit frisky by the finale. I have seen a couple of Cirque shows in the past but have a new level of appreciation for them since taking up hoopdance in the last couple of years. As I watched in awe I also paid attention to the technical and physical demands of the circus arts. The strength, agility and coordination involved is quite extreme but these polished performers give the appearance of complete effortlessness.

ImageSo here we are now in the final days of our trip- baking and sweating in the sun, lounging by the pool and taking in deep relaxation before the hours of “reality” return. One more day soaking in the cool waters, one more dinner with one of my husband’s childhood friends and one more night soundlessly asleep in the king size bed. Tomorrow we are finally home bound.

Happily Homeless Lite

So we have been on the road for almost 2 weeks now with 4 more to go. It has been a whirlwind of a trip so far as we have had travel deadlines to meet. In the past couple of weeks we have been to Joshua Tree National Park, San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, a very brief stint at Lake of the Siskiyou and are currently in Ashland, Oregon. Each place has been memorable and filled with adventure and smiles but I know that the husband is definitely ready for some camping time. 

The whole experience has been interesting to observe. Basically we are doing the same thing my parents have been doing for the last 3 years but on a much smaller scale. My parents sold their home 3 years ago with the majority of their belongings, rent a small storage unit for sentimental items and drive all over the country visiting varying places and friends in a small SUV. (Read their story and follow their blog @ http://happilyhomeless2.wordpress.com/) Obviously, we are not living at quite the same extreme- we still have a home and all of our belongings awaiting our return to AZ in a month. Image

The joys on the road far outweigh the challenges but there are moments. Diet is one thing. Traveling on a budget presents a unique opportunity to get creative around meal time. We are trying to maintain healthy eating habits and are spending most of our food budget at grocery stores instead of restaurants. Now that’s not to say we don’t occasionally stop to enjoy a bite when beckoned but mostly the bulk section at the grocery store is our choice. 

Constant togetherness can also present a challenge- for me anyway. I am one of those girls that needs “me” time. And that is hard to establish when spending 6 weeks on the road together. For the most part, we are both comfortable spending lots of time together but I won’t lie, I have been rather moody for a good week or so on this trip so far. Perhaps it’s hormones, perhaps it’s the energy of all the cities or maybe I just need some time to myself. Either way, I have been blessed with a very understanding and loving husband who does his best not to let my “crazy” affect him too much. Image

Routine. It is something that you start to get into when traveling. We determine ahead of time what type of vacationing we will be doing in the next few days. Hotels, timeshare or staying with friends? Suitcases and cooler towards the front. Camping? Backpacks, gear and supplies towards the front and suitcases in the back. Loading, unloading- we pretty much have it down to a science at this point. The husband commented the other day as we were organizing our “kitchen” area in the hotel, that he felt like my parents. They too have this system in the bag. 

We have 4 weeks to go, lots more to see and people to connect with along the way. I imagine these first weeks will involve working out all the kinks. I have admiration for my parents as they continue to live their life on the road- happily and harmoniously….

To the next adventure!

Life’s a beach

Ahhhh….Sun on your face, the wind through your hair and sand between your toes, this is what summer is all about. I wonder, is there anyone out there that does not like the beach? If someone were to tell me so, I flat out just wouldn’t believe them. Spending time at the ocean (or as we Jersey-ans call it, down the shore), watching kids run amuck with squeals and giggles and body surfing the waves is what fully encapsulates a care-free summer to me. Image

As we made our way south to the coastal waters of the pacific in San Diego, it gave us the opportunity to embrace the vast differences between desert and ocean life. Two extremes- both equally magnificent. After our arrival and check-in to our hotel, we ventured to La Jolla with its bustling cliffs and mega expensive beach front dwellings. It is a beautiful little town. We meandered up and down the coastline taking in the splendor of the ocean and laid back attitudes of locals and tourists alike. There was a slight chill in the air and quite a few clouds, which caused us to add on a few layers which then brought a few funny looks from passer-byers but hey, we’re from Arizona. We get cold easily.

The next morning we readily woke up to clear sunny skies and excitement about what the day would bring. The husband had the idea to rent jet skis for the day so we found a company and made our plans. Driving further south from our hotel didn’t bring much hope for a warm day as the clouds were heavy over our heads. But we drove on, crossing the bridge into the charming town of Coronado Island. We gathered our beach worthy belongings and trudged through the sand to a perfect resting spot. Finally the sun pushed it way out, forcing the clouds to travel north, far beyond our beach blanket. There was hope at last. We sunbathed (sunburned a bit in my case- oops!), snacked and snapped photos until it was time to rent our wave runner. 

The last time I was on a wave runner was as a young teen at a lake in Colorado. We arrived to our rental destination, filled out all the appropriate paperwork (aka you are taking your life into your own hands so don’t blame us if anything goes wrong), donned our wetsuits and hopped on our craft. Being out in the ocean is a tad different than a lake! Wind, wake and wild woop-de-do’s make for an extremely fun ride! The husband drove first, flying through the waters as I screamed in delight and then I drove for a bit. It is quite a different experience riding as a passenger vs. being the driver…both epically amusing. Just over an hour later we stumbled off the dock with smiles on our faces.

Now when you spend an hour on an adrenaline high, you get a bit hungry (see ravenous). We strolled through the town of Coronado following our noses to the wafting, mouthwatering smell of pizza. We sat and stuffed our faces with greasy yummy-ness and ended the day with a brief self guided tour of the Hotel Del Coronado. This hotel was established in 1833 and has been home to many classic movies. Most people associate the movie Some Like it Hot with Marilyn Monroe but quite a few more were filmed there. The hotel is a timeless and classic beauty that looks striking against the beaches, palm trees and blue skies of the coastline. Image

Another wonderful adventure under our belts. Today we drive to Los Angeles to see what it has in store for us…

Oh The Places We’ll Go!

Me and the husband- 6 weeks- a truck and 6 states. We’re road tripping! It’s that time of year when residents living in the Valley of the Sun flee in search of cooler climates. Well we are happily jumping on that bandwagon. California, Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Utah and Nevada are all calling our name! Not too many people have the luxury of being able to take off so much time but we have been blessed in that department. My husband works as a massage therapist for a fancy shmancy resort that drastically slooooows down in the summer. They generously approved his requested time off and I since I am self employed, I had no issues getting the time off from my boss. (And for anyone reading this thinking we will have an empty house for 6 weeks in case you might want to “stop” by for some belongings, we will have a house/pet sitter, so maybe next time.)

Only a few days left and we have lots to do! How does one pack for 6 weeks? We will be camping, staying in hotels, staying with friends and using timeshare. We are attending a wedding, will be galavanting through a few cities, hiking and will most likely experience a wide array of weather conditions. So basically I need to be able to fit everything I own into a couple of suitcases. Huh.

Our expectations are exceedingly high. Is this foolish? Perhaps. We just kinda thought that this needs to be the most epic summer EVER. We plan to laugh and play, dance and swim, reconnect with friends and family, hoop and sleep in. I am looking to this summer to be a journey of continued self discovery. I also want it to be a strengthening and intimate opportunity to connect with my husband. We have a wonderful and happy marriage but being in the car with anyone for 6 weeks can sometimes be challenging. Fortunately we both have a laid back sense of adventure and humor!

My plan is to blog from the road- when we have access to the inter-web anyway. I believe I am correct in my assumption that you will all want to see where I am and what I am doing. It’s going to be a fabulous trip so why wouldn’t you? So pack your mental bags and let’s get ready to go!!