Road trip

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Chase Field had just replaced it's natural grass with artificial turf the year before we arrived

Chase Field had just replaced it's natural grass with artificial turf the year before we arrived

    It was the day Carol looked into the living room and didn't see me on the couch. She called out for me. The thing was, I was sitting on the couch as I'd been for the last whenever. "I'm right here," I said waving to her, a wan smile on my face. When I realized that she could no long discern my outline on the couch from that of the couch itself, I said, "We need a road trip."

   Carol readily agreed, and I took it upon myself to come up with a plan. I recalled she had mentioned once we were about a five hour drive to Phoenix. I thought of my Bucket List of visiting the home of all 30 MLB ballparks, and said, "How about we go see a Diamondbacks game?" There ensued a Cliff Notes summary that took Carol from MLB expansion to the National League West Division, the Arizona Diamondbacks, the domed Chase Field, my 16th ballpark and, at long last, its location in Phoenix.

Outside was a balmy 101. "But it's a dry heat."

Outside was a balmy 101. "But it's a dry heat."

   If I'd figured that destination was all that was required to go fill the tank and activate GPS to Arizona, I would have been in error. Before I'd finished securing for tickets to a Wednesday afternoon getaway game versus the Dodgers, Carol had Googled how far from Phoenix  we were from the Grand Canyon. I told her that was another Bucket List for me. Then I saw how close we were to Winslow, AZ, where'd I'd always dreamed that once I'd be standing at the corner, when a girl...my Lord!...in a flatbed Ford had slowed down to take a look at me.

Ballpark number 16 of 30. Only Coors Field in Denver remains West of the Mississippi on the Bucket List. Then Eastward ho!

Ballpark number 16 of 30. Only Coors Field in Denver remains West of the Mississippi on the Bucket List. Then Eastward ho!

   From there Carol said that Sedona was only a short way away and featured some beautiful rock formations. And then I saw we were a very manageable distance more from the Petrified Forest and the Painted Desert.

   And this is how we came to plan what became an eight-stop, week- long vacation trip in the space of about an hour and a half. Since the itinerary wasn't fully finalized until we had packed, gassed up and were on our way out of California, it turned out we hadn't packed enough clothes. No problem. There was a fine laundromat across from our accommodation in Williams, AZ, which actually helped Carol overcome her trepidation upon first seeing our accommodation in Williams, AZ. There's just something calmly reassuring in knowing you can finish a trip with clean undies.

   Now, I don't want to suggest for a minute that Carol and I have discovered a new dynamic to our travel planning. All I'm saying at this point is that this slapdash approach has provided us with some of the most unexpected pleasures and discoveries we would never have anticipated, and which we will reveal to you in the coming blogs. Suffice it to say as far as the small details are concerned, Carol has demonstrated yet again an uncanny ability for knowing when I'm driving off in exactly the wrong direction, what I've left behind when I'd confirmed I have everything, and, most importantly, when it's time to do a wash.

And thus began Carol and Reid's Excellent Desert Adventure

And thus began Carol and Reid's Excellent Desert Adventure