My beloved stepmom, Hazel, passed away in the summer of 2011. Dad told me that her wish was that he continue to travel and see all the places they would have seen together.
And thus began a series of father-son road trips that have left an indelible mark on my memory. In the fall of 2011, Dad and I cruised Norwegian to Alaska. It was a trip that my wife and I had taken in 2008 and I raved about it to everyone I knew, saying, "God was having a good day when He made Alaska." So for our first trip I took Dad to see Alaska.
Or, more appropriately, he took me. My father and I have a rather symbiotic travel relationship. At his age (he'll be 82 later this summer), he can't travel without my assistance and, quite frankly, I can't travel without his financial munificence. It's a combination that works well for both of us.
In the summer of 2012, we went to Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, which is just about as far east as you can go and remain in North America. And we drove there and back. All day long, every day for two weeks straight, stopping only long enough to take in some sights, and then on to the next town, hotel, and tourist attraction. It was the longest trip we had taken, and I remember that we grated on each other's nerves a bit. But we made it. 14 days, 12 hotels, and roughly 2,500 miles. Would I do it differently if I went again? You bet. Would I exchange the experience and memories we made? Never!
In the Spring of 2013 we spent two weeks with some of Dad's Florida friends and drove down to Key West. I think, for that trip, we got it just about right.
And then, last fall, we returned for a second cruise to Alaska because yes, it *is* just that beautiful.
For our next and possibly final travel adventure, Dad and I had kicked around an idea for the "Great American Road Trip" where we would practically navigate the perimeter of the West Coast, hitting Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon, the San Diego Zoo, then up along the western seaboard into Washington and back to Michigan ... eventually. We thought, "we've been to the northwest corner of the U.S., we've been to the northeast corner of the continent, and we've been to the farthest southeast point of the country ... all that's left is the southwest."
However, a couple of months after that discussion, I received an e-mail from a travel company, offering a fantastic trip for a fantastic price - less than what Dad had spent on Alaska, certainly - so I pitched the idea and we both fell in love with it.
Which is how we now find ourselves leaving tomorrow for the Emerald Isle -- Ireland. Our trip is highlighted just there.
What's interesting is that we are *driving* once we arrive. A right-hand drive vehicle, on the left hand side of the road.
Should be interesting. And slightly terrifying.
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Library of Congress; ISSN 2154-9761. Erin Go Bragh!