Tag Archives: travel

Museum of Flight

On my recent “Granddaddy” trip to Seattle in the spring of 2017, I got a chance to visit a museum I had wanted to explore previously. In August 2013, my wife and I met our daughter in Seattle for a weeklong adventure. One of my goals on that trip, in addition to hitting as many brew pubs as we could, was to take in some of the aviation-themed attractions. Going to the Boeing plant was, at least for me, a highlight of the trip. But after spending almost an entire day there, I didn’t think my wife and daughter would go for another multi-hour aviation adventure so I didn’t suggest the Museum of Flight.

So on this most recent trip, when my daughter suggested we take her son, my grandson to the Museum of Flight, I jumped at the opportunity. A word of disclosure is in order: This is not a paid advertisement for the museum. We had such a great time there; I just felt it was most worthy of a post.

We arrived on a rainy Wednesday morning not long after the museum opened. After purchasing our tickets, we made our way into the main hall where many airplanes were on display. One of our first stops was boarding one of the first Boeing 737s built, the world’s most popular airplane in terms of numbers manufactured.

It was glorious to see the plane lined from front to back with what we would refer to today as first class seats. It made me a bit sad to think I never got to fly in the 1960s when all passengers had this nice of accommodations (my first time to fly was not until 1980).

We then moved on to a children’s area where they had real single seat airplanes for kids to play in. My grandson had a great time “piloting” one of these…

…and getting to “fly” a helicopter.

I enjoyed getting to see some of the scale model biplanes hanging from the ceiling in this area.

One of my grandson’s favorite exhibits, one we would return to multiple times was Molt Taylor’s “Aerocar”, an actual flying car (my grandson, like me, LOVEs cars).

 

Another area of interest was the warplane exhibit which included warplanes from World War I (WWI) and World War II (WWII).

On display were many of the most significant planes from WWII but what intrigued me the most were the WWI planes, the old bi-planes and tri-planes I would have loved to have been able to fly.

Included were examples of Snoopy’s Sopwith Camel and a SPAD XIII much like the balsa and tissue scale model I built growing up.

Another display area of interest to all of us was the Boeing Red Barn, a replica of the original Boeing plant when planes were made of wood and canvas.

In a covered outdoor area, were many important modern airplanes. It was a real treat to get to board the Concord and experience what the luxury of Mach II flight might have seemed like.

This was a plane I had only seen one other time when one landed in Memphis many years ago.

Another fun plane to enter was Air Force One, the Boeing 247D jetliner used by Richard Nixon on his historic trip to China.

A real treat was to enter a modern Boeing 787, the Deamliner, currently Boeing’s newest airplane design. Maybe one day we would get to enjoy flying on one of these.

This particular one is the third built which was used for certification.

After climbing aboard the other planes on display, we realized it was unfortunately time to leave before traffic got too bad. Without realizing it, we had spent almost five hours at the museum.

But we couldn’t leave before one more stroll past the Aerocar.

Over the next few days of my visit, my grandson mentioned several times about the “airplane museum.” My daughter recognized this was a destination they should return to as a family.

So on Saturday after dropping me off at the Seattle airport, they went back to the museum and bought an annual membership. Now my grandson could go as many times as he wanted.

And his dad would get to enjoy seeing the delight in his son’s eyes as he made his way from one display to another, over and over again.

Photos on My Office Wall

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Some of the items that I will need to take home when I retire are these 11 framed photos hanging on my office wall. I cannot even begin to fathom how long they have hung on my wall, but I know they have moved from one office to another each time my office changed. Considering that I have worked at the same site and in the same building for over 30 years, they are probably quite old.

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A close up inspection reveals that these are really cheap, 8” X 10” metal frames with a “faux-wood” finish.   I think I probably bought them at Target years ago. At least once when I moved into a larger office, which had a larger wall, I had to search for additional frames of the same design to expand my gallery.

Over the years, I would occasionally change out a photo for a newer one but with one exception, the photos were always either of my family (wife and kids), travel, or my cars. And the reason I know this is because each time I added a new photo, I simply put it on top of the photo previously displayed.

I recently took down each frame and took off the back just to see what treasures were hiding inside the frames.

In some, I found just a few photos but in others, the frame contained four or five photos. As I looked through the photos “archived” in each frame, I saw some of these images for the first time in many, many years.

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Harahan Bridge over Mississippi River

The earliest of these photos were black and whites. Prior to getting married, I had bought all the equipment necessary to develop and print my own black and white photos from black and white film. But some of the ones in the frames I realized I had printed from color 35 mm negatives as I recognized the image as a familiar color snapshot from my first year of marriage (back in my “artsy” pre-digital camera age when the only way I could make a black and white photo was to either print it this way or to use black and white film).

Based on finding just four black and white photos, my earliest wall gallery must have only included four frames.

Once I started traveling internationally, I began to add pictures from my travels, replacing all of my black and white photos with color photos.

Aquaduct of Caesarea (Israel)

Aquaduct of Caesarea (Israel)

And as my travels increased, I needed to add additional frames to accommodate photos from all my trips.

Lisbon Oceanarium (Aquarium, Lisbon, Portugal)

Lisbon Oceanarium (Aquarium, Lisbon, Portugal)

When family members traveled with me on these international trips, they appeared in my displayed photos as well.

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Sometime in the early 2000s, I began to display photos of my cars (at first two and then three cars in 2006) and then in 2011, I added photos from my two oldest children’s weddings.

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As my travels continued, I began to replace old travel photos with newer ones.

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In May of 2016 when I bought my latest car, I planned on replacing the picture of my Mini, which we no longer owned, with my new WRX.

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But then just days later, I got word that my work site was closing.

So rather than adding to my collection, I began to think about what I was going to do with my photo gallery when I left. Since the frames are so cheap, I wouldn’t want to display them inside our house unless I invested in much nicer frames.

And then I came upon the idea of hanging them all in our garage over my workbench. After all, once I retire, I will be spending a lot more time at my workbench doing one of the things I love doing, working with my hands.

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I’ve wanted to take down these shelves for quite some time since they just end up becoming a storage space for old paints and chemicals that are not even good anymore. Now I have a good reason to.

So rather than boxing up these old frames and sticking them in the attic or worse yet, throwing them away, they will simply relocate to one of my “new” office walls. Because after all, every time my office moved these gems moved with me. And so they will!

SIBSAB XI – 2017

The first weekend in May, I got together with my three siblings for our annual SIBSAB—the once a year event when just the four of us go off by ourselves for some sibling bonding time. We’ve been doing this since the year after our dad died (preceded by our mom’s death three years before that) and we figured out this was the 11th such activity. We typically travel somewhere to get a break from our everyday lives and to enjoy activities of the locale. The granddaddy of these was two years ago when we went to Amsterdam. But even when we do not venture far from home, these are always special times.

This year was one of those “stay close to home” times as we celebrated our SIBSAB during the Bentonville Film Festival in Northwest Arkansas, close to where my two sisters live.

Driving over from Memphis in my still new car, I got to Bentonville in the afternoon just in time to meet my siblings at the house we had rented just a few short blocks from the downtown square where all the festival activities would take place. After getting settled into our house, we walked back to the square and took in one of our favorite activities, for our sisters having a great cup of Joe and for my brother and I, a great beer.

Then we wandered through the BFF tents and booths set up by the sponsors and vendors, getting lots of freebies and enjoying the splendid weather at this third annual event, cofounded by Academy Award-winning actress Geena Davis.

The first day of our SIBSAB also coincided with it being the Bentonville First Friday, which is a monthly outdoor block party on the square with live music. This afforded my sister a chance to dance to the music with her grandson when we ran into him and his mom at the square.

The next morning, we had tickets to one of the featured films Mully. What an incredible story! Without giving out too much details to spoil it for you, it is a true rags to riches story but with a twist as it documents how one man forsook those riches and saved the lives of many orphan children in Kenya, as told in his own words and with some of his own home movies. It was an unbelievably moving story that left most of the audience in tears, myself included, that only got that much more emotional when Charles Mully himself…

…strolled up the aisle after the film for a Q&A session with the director and producers.

A story of the film along with its BFF award, and a snapshot of Mully made the front page of the local newspaper in a photograph in which my brother also happened to be captured.

It is scheduled for release in October so watch for it. You will not want to miss it. As we left, still wiping a few tears from our eyes, Geena Davis strolled by cordially speaking to everyone, as this was the film she chose to attend that morning.

We followed up the film with a delicious lunch and beer at the restaurant at Crystal Bridges before wandering through some of the exhibits.

In the early afternoon, we had guided tour tickets to the Frank Lloyd Wright Usonian house that has been relocated from New Jersey to the Crystal Bridges property.

On my visit to see my sisters last fall, I was able to go through on a brief self-guided tour but this hour long guided tour was outstanding. With one of the most knowledgeable tour guides, we gained an immense background insight into this home, its construction/move to Arkansas, and its owner’s history. If you are ever in the area, this house and Crystal Bridges as a whole is a must see.

That evening, just before sunset after a fabulous dinner at Press Room, we wandered back over to Crystal Bridges to experience James Turrell’s The Way of Color. This Skyspace is one of several he has created throughout the world where observers experience color as well as your own unique perception of color as dusk turns into night.

Blue sky before dusk

As the sun sets, photography cannot capture the color of the sky we see through the open aperture, as it only exists in our minds. With the walls tinted pink from hidden LED lighting, the sky turns a beautiful emerald green color before transforming into yellows and blues as the wall color changes.

Only in your mind could you see the emerald green sky

It was an incredible experience, captured only as an image in our minds as these photographs documented just the projected colors and not the cerebral ones.

As a nightcap, we made our way over to the front entrance of Crystal Bridges to view Leo Villareal’s LED lighted sculpture Buckyball. Around the base, the museum has provided comfortable wooden chaises upon which to recline and watch the multi-colored light show.   I don’t know how long we stayed as the color pattern never repeated it self but it was a wonderful conclusion to an absolutely fabulous day.

Our last day together started with my sister’s grandson’s third birthday party…

…a great time made even more fun as the birthday boy captured our images with his own camera from his shorter perspective.

That afternoon, we went through some old photo albums of our mom’s divvying the photos up among us.

It was a trip down memory lane with some photos reaching back 50 years, saddened only by the images of our mom in the late 1980s as her health deteriorated just months before her death.

The saddest part of our annual SIBSAB is always the saying goodbye, which we had to do at the end of the evening since we were not all staying at the same house before traveling home Monday morning. But our experience was uniform as we all upon parting expressed that we each thought it was one of the best SIBSABs we had had. And our time together was enhanced further by a greater sense of closeness to each other even though we live many miles away. And has also become tradition; we selected our next SIBSAB venue even before this one ended so we would all have a full year to look forward to our next Sibling Sabbatical.

See you next year!

Going on Sweet 16

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Last year, I wrote about a “birthday” of sorts for my 1994 Mazda Miata as it was celebrating 20 years with me. I was pleased to learn that this post inspired my daughter to write a post about her first car that she had for more than half her life.  Not to be left out, several weeks ago, my 2002 Miata marked a similar milestone, 15 years with me.

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It was in January 2002 when I agreed to let my oldest son borrow my ’94 and I purchased a new ’02 to replace it. Having had fun going back and chronicling all the road trips that the ’94 had taken over those 20 years, predominately with my son’s hands at the wheel, I thought it would be entertaining to also recount some of the fun mileage of my ‘02.

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Admittedly, close to 95,000 is not a lot of miles for a fifteen year old vehicle. But for most of those years, the ‘02 was not the only car I owned and had available to drive on a regular basis. It was joined first by a 2006 Mini Cooper S and then by a 2012 Fiat 500. However, for its first four years with me, the ’02 Miata was the only car I had and thus was my daily driver. It also is the one car I have not “loaned” out either to my wife or kids so those 95,000 miles are for the most part my miles.

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This is one of the earliest photos I have of my new Miata, safely tucked away in the garage during this rare snowfall in Memphis. This photo was taken shortly before it made its first road trips, although these were admittedly not fun trips.

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Not long after I took delivery of this new Miata, my dad was hospitalized due to complications from his melanoma cancer. So the first few road trips I took in the ’02 were over to Hot Springs, AR to see my dad just before he died. While being extremely sad driving memories, I tried to make something more positive out of them by taking a portion of my parent’s estate left to me and paying off the car. Although neither of my parents ever saw this car, they both knew how much I loved cars and I think they would have approved of me using the money this way, in a sense turning it into “my inheritance” car.

The following year for my next road trip, I headed off in the opposite direction when my sister and I drove up to Knoxville, TN to visit my brother and other sister. This was a weekend visit that would spark the beginnings of what would become our annual SIBSAB (Sibling Sabbatical) when just the four of us get together. Being that this was in the winter close to the one year anniversary of the death of our dad, we were met with sleet the morning of our departure.

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In 2005, I convinced my sister who lived in Memphis at the time to take a road trip with me to North Carolina. But on the way up, we took a slight detour to drive the Tail of the Dragon, a fun, super curvy road (incredibly 318 curves in 11 miles). Even though I’d had the ’02 for three years, this was my first opportunity to run her on what is certainly one of the best “driver’s roads” in the US. It also gave me my inaugural experience of what the expression “it corners like it’s on rails” really feels like (it scared my sister). Following this heart-racing thrill ride, we made our way into Asheville, NC for a fun brother-sister road trip (click here for more details).

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With just the taste of a single run on the “Tail” in the ’02, I wanted to go back for more. So in 2008, I took a “father-son” bonding trip to North Carolina with my two sons, the youngest of which had just turned 21. Since multiple runs were what all three of us wanted, we made the “Tail” our destination for the first day’s drive from Memphis and booked a cabin at the Tapoco lodge which is on the North Carolina side of the same US 129. And for this trip, we took not just the ’02 Miata but the Mini Cooper as well (the ’94 Miata was in San Francisco at the time).

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With one extra driver on each run, we actually got some pretty nice photos of the two cars.

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Riding with my youngest son at the wheel, I got my chance to be scared (much like my sister probably was) as we squealed around several of the tight curves. The final destination for this trip was once again Asheville, but not before having multiple exciting runs (click here for more details).

By far, the granddaddy of all road trips I have taken in this Miata was in 2010 when I set out to drive the entire Sky Line Drive and the Blue Ridge Parkway (BRP).

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While these parkways are not curvy roads like the “Tail”, they are some of the most scenic routes in the US. And at 469 miles long, the BRP is America’s longest linear park. When I asked my wife if she wanted to accompany me on this road trip, she demurred when she learned it would be mostly spent in the car—which it was.

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Over a five day trip, I drove over 2,000 miles with the time on the two parkways (about 575 miles of the trip), almost exclusively with the top down. Although I was all alone on this road trip, it was still very special as I posted previously (click here for details).

Having owned the ’94 for 20 years and the ’02 for 15, it has given me plenty of opportunity to notice the differences between the two cars. The ’02, being eight years younger in age, certainly doesn’t have all the squeaks and rattles that the ’94 has and the ‘02 is surprisingly still pretty tight given it wears its original-equipment Bilstein shocks. The glass back window with defroster in the ‘02 is a definite advantage over the plastic window on the “94 that has to be unzipped and carefully lowered before dropping the top. But with the top dropped, the ’94 exhaust note wins hands down. They are both very fun cars to drive and in the end, they are similar but different.   I don’t plan to ever sell either one of them.

While my ’02 Miata has not seen as much of the country as my ’94, what the ’02 has seen has been all with my hands at the wheel. With the miles I have put on my two Miatas, I realize that I have been driving a fun, sporty convertible for almost half my driving life.

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Now with a 2016 Subaru WRX as well, it is sometimes a tough choice to pick which one I want to drive at any given time. My choice is typically limited in that regard since only two of the three are at the same location at any given time (either our home or condo). But whichever one I do chose, I know I’m going to have a fun drive no matter what road I’m on.

Travel 2016

I thought I would start out the New Year as I have done before reflecting back on the trips we took in 2016, some of which I wrote posts about last year (linked below if you are so interested to read more details). When I started this post, I didn’t think I had taken that many trips but when I started recalling them all, I discovered that I had actually taken more than I did in 2015.

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Often times, our first trip is very early in the year—right after New Year’s Day—as we are coming back from our friend’s cabin in Boone, NC after ringing in the New Year with them. But this year, our friends had the cabin up for sale so we didn’t make that trip. So my first trip was actually not until March when I went to New Jersey to teach my Validation course. It was strictly a business trip with no time for site seeing.

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Then in April I actually had three different trips so it was a busy travel month. First up was a business trip to Washington, DC but again there was no time for site seeing.

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Then in the middle of April, I was off to Amsterdam to teach my Validation course again. Fortunately for this trip I was able to tack on some actual vacation days on the front end for a very nice visit, even though I was alone on this trip.

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On the last day of April, I was off to New Jersey again, this time to teach my Stability course. Before the course began, I visited Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty for the first time. It was truly amazing touring both.

In the middle of June, I traveled to Richmond, VA to teach my Validation course for a third time this year. It was a very short trip and thus no time for site seeing.

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At the end of June, we took our really big family vacation to Montreat, NC, the one we had been planning for over a year. It was a very enjoyable weeklong visit with 15 family members, including two of our three grandchildren.

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Through July and August, we stayed home suffering through the summer heat of Memphis and then over Labor Day, rented a cabin at the Natchez Trace State Park for our first trip by ourselves all year—a trip long overdue. The only down side of this trip was that we were both sick which prevented us from doing some of the things we had wanted to do.

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At the end of September, I took a quick weekend trip over to visit my sisters in Northwest Arkansas. It was nice chance to get to visit with them, take my first road trip in my new WRX, and to explore the Frank Lloyd Wright house that has now been relocated to the grounds of Crystal Bridges.

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October found us in San Francisco for our annual trip there for me to teach. This year, I actually had both my Validation and Stability courses scheduled just a week apart so between courses, we had four days to visit with our oldest son, his wife, and our youngest granddaughter. An added treat for me this year was to get to visit my son’s office—with a great view of downtown San Francisco—and learn about the work he was doing there. Prior to heading in to his office, we got to go onsite to a major redevelopment project his firm is working on at a former sports complex.

My last trip of the year was another quick trip, this time a weekend trip just before Thanksgiving out to LA to visit my daughter, son-in-law, and grandson.

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Although an ulterior motive for me was to go to the LA Auto show, …

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…my main reason for going was one last chance to visit with them in Pasadena before they moved out of the area in 2017. It was doubly sad this time driving away on Sunday afternoon leaving all three of them there knowing that the fun visits we have had there over the last five years were coming to an end. However, this sadness was tempered somewhat with the knowledge that they were moving to another really cool place that we would certainly visit in 2017.

So if I’ve done the math right, I had a total of ten trips in 2016, not a huge number but certainly some very special trips. With my planned retirement later this year, I should have even more time to travel in the future. And with the extra time, we should be able to even take some extended road trips to see parts of the country that neither my wife nor I have been to.

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So cheers to another fun year of travel in 2017!

 

 

No Longer a Teenager!

Credit: bbwclaire.wordpress.com

Credit: bbwclaire.wordpress.com

The 14th this week will mark a birthday of sorts. It will be 20 years that I have owned my white 1994 Mazda Miata, affectionately known as “the Marshmallow” (so named by one of our artist friends for its toasted tan colored top over miniature white body).

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This is a significant milestone for me since I have owned and driven cars for over 44 years but have never owned the same car for 20 years. But no less significant is the fact that the car itself is now 23 years old (based on model year), and just two years shy of qualifying as an antique car.

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The Marshmallow turned over 150,000 miles this year, not an excessive amount for a 23 year-old car, and I thought for its 20th birthday with me that it would be fun to look back over how it accumulated all those miles.

I bought the car used in December of 1996, the year I turned 40. It had less than 10,000 miles (9,536 to be exact), which was not bad for a car that was 3-model years old when I bought her. For the next five years, she became my daily driver, providing me transportation for my commute back and forth to work as well as all of the errands I ran on the weekends. It made a couple of trips to Hot Springs, Arkansas, where my parents lived at the time but other than that, it was all local miles.

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That all changed in January 2002 when my oldest son needed to replace his 1989 Jeep that had died. That was when I offered to let him “borrow” the Marshmallow and I bought myself a new 2002 Miata.

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At that point, the Marshmallow moved to Atlanta with him where he was in college at the time.

While at college with my son, she made a couple of road trips, once to the mountains of western North Carolina and once to Key West, Florida. And she would also provide his transportation home from college on holidays and summer breaks. Interestingly at the time, I discovered on Google earth that the Marshmallow had been captured in the satellite image parked on our street and at our son’s house in Atlanta, giving the impression that it could be in two different places at the same time—maybe a magic car?

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After our son graduated from college and he moved to Austin, Texas for graduate school, the Marshmallow went with him. Over the three years our son was in graduate school, I lost track of the trips they took together so that part of her car life remains a mystery to me. I seem to think she might have made a road trip to Mexico during that time but I don’t know for sure.

What I do know is that after our son graduated, he left her in Austin as he was moving in a U-Haul truck to the San Francisco bay area for his first job. I then had to fly down there and drive her back to Memphis, the prodigal car returning home.

With her back home, I now had a choice of “red or white” for my morning commute into work. At least that is until my youngest son decided he would like to “borrow” her for his weekend car and took her to his apartment in town. During this time, other than running around town, her big road trip was back to North Carolina in the hands of my brother-in-law and nephew when they had to return home while the rest of their family stayed with us.

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Then in 2007, my oldest son decided he would like to borrow her back so he would have a car in San Francisco. That year, he rode the train home for Christmas and in January drove it back to San Francisco. This was probably her longest road trip ever as Memphis to San Francisco is almost 2,100 miles (via I-40). On this trip, she really got a chance to see the country.

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While she was a California girl, I would get to drive her whenever we were in San Francisco visiting. This included multiple top-down drives on the PCH (Pacific Coast Highway), as well as trips to Sea Ranch where our family gathered for Thanksgiving a couple of years.

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And one year, I even got to drive her down Lombard Street in San Francisco, the crookedest street in the world.

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This was before the San Francisco Fire Department ran into her while she was parked on the street. The damage almost totaled her but not quite so. Now she has a new driver-side door, which is hard to close, a continual reminder of her time in San Francisco.

Then in 2011 after our son got married and he and his new wife moved to New York, we had her shipped back home to Memphis, the prodigal car returning a second time. The day my wife dropped me off in the parking lot after her long cross-country journey on a car carrier, I was really glad to see her again. I drove her to work that summer day for the first time in many years. But on her return home that day, she was now greeted not just with a sibling Miata, but now a 2006 Mini Cooper S as well.

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So now I had a choice of “red or white” or “red and white” for my daily drive into work.

At least that is until my youngest son decided to borrow her back and keep her at his apartment. While he kept her, her one road trip was when the two of us drove up for the day to the Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Almost 20 years old at the time, I wanted to see how she performed out on the road. She did just fine.

Once our youngest son had his daughter, a Miata was no longer a practical second car to have and so she returned home once again—although this time it wasn’t to home but rather to our mid-town condo where I had a reserved, covered parking spot for her.

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And this is where she lives now. Whenever I stay at the condo, I use her as my fun run-around car on errands or just out for a drive. Since she is 23 years old, she certainly has her share of squeaks and rattles. But when the weather is nice enough to put the top down, I get to hear her iconic exhaust note.

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My plan is to keep her at least until she becomes an antique. No longer being my daily driver, she won’t rack up the miles over the next several years like she has in her first 20 years with me. In fact, she has belonged to me for so long; I just don’t think I can ever sell her. Who knows, in a few years, one of my sons may decide to “borrow” her back. Or even more exciting, maybe one day, one of my grandchildren will want to borrow her as his or her first car. At that point she will have become a 3-generation car, all in the same family!

I’m Retiring!

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If all goes according to plan, in just about a year, I will be retired. However, as I heard someone say recently in a webinar I was listening to, I say “Retired” with air quotes because for me, retiring will just mean no longer working full time. I still plan on teaching the analytical course I have taught for almost 20 years as well as teaching the new stability course I started in 2015. And as the opportunity presents itself, I will also do some consulting work.

The reason I plan to “retire” in this manner is because I have been blessed throughout my career to enjoy my work. And early in my career when I was still working in the laboratory, I absolutely loved my job and looked forward to going to work every day. This was when work was play for me. I was doing hands-on HPLC work and considered myself a “micro plumber.”

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But even when I moved into management, I still enjoyed many aspects of my job. Often there would be problems to solve that required creative analytical thinking. Or I would have to develop a detailed plan to accomplish some task and being a detail-oriented person, this was right up my alley. Over my career, governmental regulations continued to change and in my position, I was the one responsible for developing and implementing policy to meet the changing regulatory environment. In this regard, I was often my own boss in defining what had to be done and when.

It wasn’t until later in my career that I began to have to perform certain tasks that I absolutely loathed, performance management, annual goal setting, and employee ratings distribution being at the top of that list. Fortunately, these were only once or twice a year activities rather than daily tasks. These last tasks I will definitely not miss when I retire.

So overall, I have thoroughly enjoyed my 30+ year career in the pharmaceutical industry and plan to stay active in it since I really enjoy the teaching aspect and working to help others to solve problems.

So beyond my teaching and possible consulting, what will I do when I retire?

Well I know the first morning I wake up and do not drive to work will likely just seem like a weekend day no matter what day of the week it is since while working full time, the weekend was always the time when I had a number of things on my To Do list that I had to accomplish. After three or four days of this, it may begin to seem like a “staycation” but once I am into my second week without going to work, then I think it will really hit me that “I am retired.”

So being a habitual list maker, here is the start of my retirement activity list. I suspect I will add even more ideas as time goes on. But this is at least a start.

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Travel – Not since I was a preschooler have I had unlimited vacation time. Admittedly being able to travel is not just about having the time, there is the money required as well. But working full time for over 35 years, there have been numerous times when I could not travel because I simply did not have the vacation time to take off. With extra tine, at least half of that travel equation will be resolved.

So where will my wife and I go first? Well we have almost a year to figure that out. But I suspect it will be someplace we have never been before. Because in spite of all our past travels, there is still a world of places out there we can explore that will be new to us.

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Spend Time with Kids/Grandkids – No doubt some of that travel will be to visit our kids and grandchildren. Two of our kids and grandchildren live a long way away and so we don’t get to visit with them as much as our in-town son and granddaughter. Our trips out west in the past have some times been limited by the cost of airfare. But with unlimited vacation time (at least for me), we could drive if we wanted to. On the way, this would also give us a chance to visit some places we have never been before.

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Road Trips – Driving out west might seem like a road trip but for me, a road trip is when I drive by car specifically to experience a fun road, The Tale of the Dragon (US 129) is at the top of that list and I have driven it multiple times.

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Another fun road that I have driven just for the experience of driving it was the Blue Ridge Parkway.

When I retire, I want to find some other fun roads in the US that I can drive to and experience.

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Reading – Reading more is definitely a high priority on my list. I look forward to seeing how many books I can put on my year’s reading list when I have all the time I want to read.

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Outdoor Projects – Projects that would normally take multiple weekends to complete oftentimes went undone while I was working full time. Rebuilding the garbage blind is one of those that I have written about before that is still waiting for me.

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Even the steps I built from a walkway to our deck fell into disrepair this year and are in need of a rebuild.

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Photography – With extra time available, I plan to pursue taking more photos. I have a very nice digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) camera that I haven’t used in many years because it has been easier to use my iPhone or my point and shoot camera. Using the manual mode on my DSLR, hopefully I will be able to create some stunning photos.

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Golf – It’s also been over 20 years since I played golf. I played a lot when I was growing up and even early in my marriage (when I still had the time) I would play. I was never very good with my best handicap probably being 20+ but I always enjoyed getting out to play. In my teens, I remember seeing a number of old men playing the game. Now I am one.

So this is a start of my list; I’ll have a year to add more items to that list. And when that day comes about a year from now, I suspect I may be perplexed at what to do first. But I know that no matter what it is, it will be the beginning of a fun retirement.