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Kenny has been looking toward this day since graduating high school as a Pembroke Green Dragon.  David ‘s been here before, moving Uncle Fred to Albuquerque just after graduation. Nancy’s visited here plenty, often to visit Fred, but more often just to explore.

It was originally planned as an all-American Route 66 trip, beginning in Chicago and ending with us dipping our toes into the Pacific Ocean on California’s Santa Monica pier. Ah, but that’s been ‘modified’ to just parts of the 66.

So, I’ve been honored that this trio has invited me to join them on this excursion into America’s west as a friend/driver/photographer/sibling fight referee. It’s an open-ended trip one with no stop date and not much of an agenda. Between now and whenever our trip ends, we have only two planned stops--Yellowstone National Park and the Albuquerque Balloon Festival.

It’s The Ingalsbe Three ‘N Me.

That’s not entirely true. We have an adorable four-legged cat companion named Winslow who will visit his namesake city in Arizona. It’s doubtful he’ll attach any special significance to the stop, but Winslow will smile. He’s always smiling.

We’ve all been friends for almost 25 years now, when I photographed the family for a story. Since then, there has been a Las Vegas wedding, new homes, a young son in Newfoundland, retirements, funerals and births. And birthday parties.

We are all at least semi-retired now, and that’s the reason for non­­-existent end date and therefore, our lack of an agenda.

Ken and Dave are ‘motor heads’ who love anything with wheels and a big engine-- it’s David’s motor home in which we are touring. We began talking about this trip six month ago, the conversation going like this--

“We’re heading out west. What should we see?”

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Well, that’s a question best answered with three more.  Do you want to spend the entire time in one general area or see a bit of it all? Is this on a shoestring budget or break the bank? The beautiful outdoors or museums and cities? That’s why they make blue cars, red cars and green cars--there’s something for everyone.

So, we’ll pick and choose what we hope they’d enjoy. We’ll miss some things, some places they’ll have to return to. That’s incentive, don’t you think?

My Best of the West is the great northwest with its mountains, rain forest, geology, towns called Yachats and Brookings, skiing and enjoying nature.  Others will prefer the arts? Museums? Baseball fields? The heat?

A friend was making plans last year for a trip to New England and asked for suggestions. I gave him a couple boxes of books about abandoned New England, nature conservancies, wildlife watching  and other assorted ‘outdoorsy’ books. Maybe they were returned without having been opened.

But that’s OK.  We all have different interests. On this trip, we’ll see lots of different color cars.

 

 

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