Saturday, January 26, 2008

Heading for the Sunshine

The Southwest Beckons

Not without a mechanical hiccup or two, we made it to Albuquerque the second night out of Iowa. We spent two days and had a very nice visit with Barbara's father. Charles is getting quite stiff, and walks slowly, but she and he had some really good conversations (and he liked the cookies she had baked in the rig while we were there).

After another day's driving, we made it to Tucson, or actually through Tucson to the north side of the city and found a spot at Catalina State Park. This is a real gem, and we highly recommend it for our RV friends. The sites are widely spaced and the facilities are excellent. Campground "B", which we were in is only 2-3 years old and the hookups are excellent. During a 2 week stopover we had the chance to see Anne and RC in Phoenix and Karen in Tucson, as well as some friends in Saddlebrook.
I have been doing a fair amount of reading between work and travel, and for my birthday, Barbara gave me an Amazon Kindle . . a really "neat" electronic book reader. I am finding it quite useful, and though of course it cannot in its present form totally replace all printed books, I think the concept is here to stay. I'll give a report with my experience and opinion later.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Time to Head South

Here we are, loaded up and ready to jump in the rig and head south on Jan 11, 2008. It was just in time. The picture at the bottom of this post is only 12 days later while I was back in Cedar Rapids working.

I woke up this morning and there was not a town in Iowa that was not below 0F. As a matter of fact, the local TV station said it was 19 below 0 last night, and the wind chill factor as the sun rose was -45! Here is a youtube post from Mason City, Iowa on the task of simply getting to work some mornings, just to remind some of you why you live in the south.

Why do people even live here?
1. They were born here and all the family is here.
2. They like the low cost of housing, the good people and the low crime rate.
3. They have a good job that is only available here.
4. They like the Iowa Spring, Summer and Fall so much that it's worth enduring the Winter.
5. They really like bitter cold

I think it's probably a little of all of these (well, maybe not #5 so much). After growing up in West Texas, I have really come to enjoy the 4 seasons in Iowa, though I like to leave in the Winter as often as possible; the definition of a snowbird*. I don't think in retirement I will be in Iowa, but there is a lot here that I will really miss: of course the people, my radiology practice and partners, the planting season and emergence of spring, summer with every shade of green imaginable, and the fall with harvest, sweaters, and crisp apples.

*This term originally was adapted from the song Snowbird:
"So, little snowbird, take me with you when you go
To that land of gentle breezes where the peaceful waters flow..."

Jan 23, 2008