Back On The Travel Horse

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April 24th, 2023

It’s been so long since I’ve blogged but the truth is we’ve been back to our pre-Covid days in terms of travel and just being busy. We have three more trips on the calendar, including another epic jaunt to Hawaii, and have just recently been to Florida, Arizona, and St. Louis. I guess we were getting quite a bit of “cabin fever” even though we live in a house, but we had piles of snow that were four or five feet high. We had to escape.

The Orlando trip was a quick one for me, but Barbara stayed behind for almost another week just to spend priceless time with family and the two twincesses, who are now little ladies but still little girls.

The Arizona thing was just a fluke really. A bunch of our friends from the old neighborhood had booked rental homes or condos in Sedona, although it wasn’t really planned that way. They just all did and most of their trips overlapped, so when Lynn and Terry Blake said to us “Hey, we got a condo in Sedona like everyone else, and it’s got two full bedroom suites. You want to come out and join us?” it didn’t take us long to say yes.

Orlando was great, although (like I wrote) it was a quick trip for me. The funniest thing about it was that Barbara and I both felt a little lost at MSP airport. That’s a place we’ve flown out of too many times to count, to the current tune of about 1.5 million miles on Delta for me, but it had been a while and the whole thing felt really foreign. TSA lines were rearranged, as were the Sky Priority check-in locations, there are new restaurants, and it all just looked different. It was a weird experience. We enjoyed our mutual time with the Orlando side of Barbara’s family, although my stay was too short to find a way to see my Florida relatives. All in all, it was great to escape the frozen north for a bit.

We flew out to Phoenix for the Arizona trip, and our plan was to stay in Scottsdale the first night to have dinner with Jim Schoenberger, who is a truly great man who used to work for CSK back in those days. We’re good friends who stay in touch. Then we started hearing startling things about the weather, and it was clear that we should get up to Sedona right after landing to beat a winter storm. Jim was kind enough to reschedule our dinner into a lunch on the day we were flying back out, so we made that happen, and it was fantastic to spend a fun meal with him, his son Alec (who was a kid when we were first working with Jim on the CSK sponsorship) and Alec’s two adorable kids of his own.

In a cruel twist of fate, we actually brought the snow with us to Sedona. When we went to bed on our first night there we had seen a forecast for a bit of white stuff (Sedona is at a much higher elevation than Phoenix, so snow is not uncommon.) We woke up to 9 inches.

That altered some of our hiking plans, but not all of them. We spent a glorious few days and nights out there with dear friends, and by the last full day we did manage a decent hike, although the trails were still snowy and icy, which rhymes with dicey, and that’s what they were. It was great fun, and like we do in most towns we visit, we ate our way through Sedona, but we did it with many of our best friends from Woodbury! Crazy, I tell ya. So much fun.

As for Sedona, it was the first time I’ve spent some real time there. I’ve heard Barbara rave about it many times, but it exceeded all my expectations for beauty of the sort where your eyes and brain can’t come to agreement on what you’re seeing or if it’s even real. It’s just a spectacular place, and quirky too, so we love that. We even had our auras read. I’m mostly yellow, which is expressive, inquisitive, creative, and passionate about what I do. Nailed it, I think…

We had to fly back on the day we did because Barbara had bought two great seats to the Bruce Springsteen concert at the Xcel Arena in St. Paul, and we couldn’t miss that. I think our consensus was it might be the last time to see him and the E-Street band. Fabulous tickets, fast-paced show, and worth every dollar.

Once we were mostly all back in Woodbury, we capitalized on a mission we had staked out after we were all together the last time. We scheduled a “game night” at Neighbor Dave and Nichol’s house with a bunch of our hilariously fun friends. We had two tables going, playing a unique and mentally taxing board game called Five Straight. Yes, it’s weird to be in their house with our old Woodbury home right nextdoor, but each time we do it gets a little less weird. It’s just a really nice house in a great neighborhood, but we have a different home in Woodbury now.

Finally, we jetted down to St. Louis in support of a former Sauget Wizards teammate of mine. Joe Mehallow, an absolute ace of a pitcher, teammate, and person was inducted into the Greater St. Louis Amateur Baseball Hall of Fame, and we just had to be there for him. It was a GREAT ceremony in a big ballroom (we stayed right in the hotel where it was held) and it was really fun. Cardinal great and Cooperstown Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith was even in attendance!

Totally 100% deserved for Joey, too. Every time he took the mound we all figured “this other team doesn’t have much of a chance” and we all focused and buckled down just a little harder to make another win happen. Former Sauget teammates Robert Giegling, John Parke, Rick Fiala, and Dan “Nick The Stick” Nicholson were there as well. We’re all extremely proud of Joe and gave him a rousing ovation when he made his speech, which was great. All of those guys are my brothers for life.

Of course, we made sure we had some St. Louis-style pizza and toasted ravioli, and even managed to squeeze in a stop at Ted Drewe’s Frozen Custard on the southside. And, great to see my niece Kimberly (aka Kimbo) and her husband Chris for dinner at Farotto’s.

Mix in errands, appointments, and the fact I take Buster to the vet twice a week to get fluid injections, and it seems like we’ve been going nonstop.

I have no excuse for being so late with this, other than everything you just read. I’ll try to be better, but we still have some more trips on the docket, including Hawaii in the fall.

I’ll just spread a bunch of photos below to reflect on a lot of what I just wrote about.

I you could be so kind (and forgiving) as to click on the “Like” button at the bottom, I’d bow in your general direction in thanks.

See ya! Hopefully soon.

A quick trip for me, but a fun one in Orlando
Sedona. A crazy beautiful place
As stated above
Amazing sharing dinner with so many Woodbury friends in Arizona!
But had to get back home to see Bruce! Pretty amazing seats and a GREAT show
Sincere congrats to Joe Mehallow (far left). So well deserved and we were all proud to be there with him.
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