I look quite a bit different over the years and the age is really starting to show. Last week, after almost five years of working up to it, I decided to take my first post surgery road trip, alone. Yes, I put my computers and a suitcase in the car and decided to hit the road for five hours to Phoenix Arizona, leaving Las Vegas for a week.

Now, many of you would think that this is nothing but in fact, this is the first time since 1989 that I went on a trip by myself with no passengers and nothing but my clothes and car. Now, I do love the road and I missed it a lot so when I got behind the wheel of my car, Phoenix was a good spot because I knew people there and the trip wasn’t that long in case something happened.

I hadn’t been on a road trip in thirteen years. That was the last trip Dayna and I took. That time we went to Niagara Falls and visited her son for a few days.

Once I got on the road again, it felt like an old friend was saying hello. Dayna and I would road trip every year and when she died, it was one thing that sadly went by the wayside.

When health deteriorated to the point where I needed to get my chest cracked, the notions of the road faded even more as I was told of many things I couldn’t do anymore. In fact, I got hammered with the don’t dos so much that I got panicked when I tried to do something that normally I would do without hesitation. Every little thing sent me into a panic thinking that my pacemaker would fire and that would end the line for at least three months.

I went to an RV Park in Apache Junction Arizona and walked in on “Tuesday morning coffee.” The minute I opened the door, I felt seventy sets of eyes peering right at me and my friend of 60 years running a meeting. It took her a couple of seconds to look to her right and say “oh my God.” Naturally, I hugged her and said the same thing I’ve said my entire life to her. “Hello dear.”

The years have not been kind to me but the problems I have were brought on myself so standing with my cane after driving five hours the day before, then another hour and fifteen minutes to get there, my legs were a bit wobbly so she got me a chair.

This is something I like doing as I’ve done it before with Dayna and other people. I find it fun to see the expressions on one’s face when they are surprised by my action. My calendar was quite full since this was the first trip in five years so there was business and pleasure in the trip.

I did promise I would see her but I couldn’t say when that would be. I kept my word by seeing her but the surprise was when I did it. I’m hoping to be more frequent with the trips to see her and others that I’ve known along the way. Many of them are no longer around and all I have are memories so I guess I’d better cherish what I have in front of me right now.

Sometimes, when you stare into the abyss you see nothing staring back at you. That’s when you find your character. My character hasn’t changed over the years even though I’ve gotten slower. I still want what I want, desire what I desire and think in my usual manner. Sometimes the reactions are a little slower but what do you expect?

This year will mark our 50th anniversary from high school. I don’t think I miss those people quite enough to travel cross country but you never know.

I’m hoping for another “Oh my God” moment or two before things end because I do love surprising people. Gone are the days of surprising Dayna with cars and a house but I think I can still pull a rabbit out of the hat once in awhile.

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