We got home on Saturday night after driving for five days, three of which were through rain.  We were thankful that we survived, and our car survived our epic road trip of five thousand, seven hundred and fifty miles – all of which was driven by AECRM.

Friends and family, along with readers of my blog, may be aware that Arizona is the adopted state of my husband and his sister and their parents. My husband’s father had severe health issues, and his doctor told him that he needed to go out west. So they left Delaware and moved to Tucson, Arizona, when my husband was a wee lad of five. Ron has lived there for most of the rest of his life. My husband brought me out to Arizona in about 2012, and we lived there until 2018 when he thought it might be wise to move us closer to my family. This is old news to regular readers of my blog, but a little back history is helpful to our present tale.

Sometime around 2018, Ron thought, given the differences of our ages, it might be prudent to move me back to my home state of Ohio, where I have brothers and cousins. But the transition to Ohio from Arizona was a bigger deal than either of us had counted on. We discovered that Ron’s old back injury is much worse in cold weather.  Combine that with sitting against a hard surface and sometimes he can barely do it.

Ron really loved the deserts of Arizona. We used to regularly picnic in Saguaro National Park East amid the cacti and the Roadrunners, Deer, Javelina, and the Ground Squirrels. We had a Bobcat stroll through our back yard, and we watched birds of prey fly low over neighbors’ yards in the early evenings looking for a tasty small dog or cat that could be carried away for a good meal. We took this picture just a few days ago of a hawk sitting on the wall behind his sister’s house. I don’t think Ron was expecting how much he would miss his beloved Arizona. Ohio is very, very different.

We headed out to Arizona to visit some friends of ours, particularly his old Hunting Buddy, Bob, along with many friends of long standing as well as some friends we made since moving there together.  We had a wonderful trip. We had meals out with lots of friends, we were invited to homemade dinners with several people, and loved getting caught up with people dear to us both. On a few days, we ate two meals out a day and definitely got spoiled food-wise. We stayed at the home of his sister and brother-in-law,  and when we didn’t have plans with friends, we were totally spoiled by the meals prepared by his sister that were delicious beyond belief!  Ron’s youngest daughter and her husband drove over for a visit from California, and we got time with them, which was a delight. We worshiped at our former church and got to catch up with so many folks.

But something else happened. We saw how, in just the last two years, the city had changed, both in the downtown and in all of the areas around town. New businesses coming to Tucson brought the need for new housing, and so large swaths of land have been, or are being, bulldozed for more houses. The view from our favorite watering hole was entirely different. Where we used to see a lot of desert and mountains, now we saw thousands of new homes. We lived southeast of Tucson, and we discovered that the massive influx of new housing had taken a substantial toll on the roads whose needed repairs has outpaced the city’s ability to upgrade them.

So, in addition to getting together with old friends, and visiting favorite restaurants, and sharing meals with people we care about – we also experienced a much different town than the one we left less than a year and a half ago.

After our 5750-mile road trip, something beyond just homesickness for his beloved Arizona had changed. My husband had changed. He was ready to head “home” to Ohio. He was eager to be at home in our little town of about 6500 residents. He was looking forward to small-town life again – despite the season of winter and despite the fact that many of our closest friends are far away from us.

Thanksgiving is days away. We are alert to our many blessings. We give thanks for all of our visits with friends and family. We are thankful that the folks we hoped to see, but couldn’t see because of limitations of time, have been understanding. We are grateful that we made our five thousand seven-hundred and fifty-mile road trip in one piece without any accidents, car troubles, or setbacks.

We are home at last. We are grateful for this beautiful United States and the gorgeous places we have traveled through, and the terrific friends and family who have shared meals and time with us. We are thankful for our little town – that welcomed us home.

We are looking forward to Thanksgiving with one of my brothers & sisters-in-law. There is much for which we are thankful.

We wish each of you a Happy Thanksgiving.

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