My travels have been primarily within the United States coupled with some trips to Mexico and Europe. I am fortunate to have visited memorable places with great people. As a child, one of my most memorable trips was to Washington DC. My parents loaded 6 kids into the old station wagon (you know, the one with paneling) and headed to the Capital. To this day, the Lincoln Memorial awes me and memories of that trip resonate each time I visit DC. Now, as a father of three, my wife (Mary) and I have instituted a New Year’s tradition of randomly selecting a state to visit – the kids pick a state out of the hat – we’re pretty sophisticated. Our thoughts are that every state has much to offer and we are challenged to learn about each state.
A recap of some of my more interesting trips include:
Germany, Czechoslovakia and Austria – Mary and I traveled to see our good friend and fellow board member Stephen and his wife in Prague. This was my first real experience outside the US and outside my “language” comfort zone. What a beautiful city and what a great time we had despite my inability to communicate! We spent time in Germany and Austria with Mary’s sister and husband where we traveled the Rhine, visited Innsbruck, Austria and of course had a beer or two.
A Disney Land and Sea Tour – A family trip to Disney with Mary’s family remains one of my favorite family trips. We enjoyed all the parks from the moment they opened to the end of each day. As a family, we started refreshed in the morning and were exhausted each night. After 5 days on land, we enjoyed several days on the Disney Cruise line where the pace was a little more laid back
East Coast Tours – I have enjoyed several East Coast tours that have been memorable to say the least. New York where I met Mike Tyson on one trip and on a family trip went to the American Girl Doll store; DC where we toured the White House with luggage in tow (yes, pre 9/11); Vermont for a little Ben and Jerry’s; PA to visit the Liberty Bell and Hershey Park; Boston where we accidentally performed the “Unicorn” song on TV at a festival in Faneuil Hall and who could forget visiting the Cheer’s Bar – The Bull and Finch Pub.
Grand Canyon White Water Rafting – What a trip! Fly to Vegas and gamble for a day or two, take a small plane into the Canyon for a week-long rafting trip, experience miserable weather and mishaps day after day, helicopter out after a “successful” trip and thank God that my wife decided not to go – she would have been miserable. If you can ever do this trip, do it!!!
West Coast Hitchhiking Trip – The summer before graduating from A&M, a friend and I decided to hitchhike from Houston to Santa Clara, CA. We took our big Aggie thumbs a backpack and a couple hundred bucks. Our parents were petrified and we did not know any better. We hit West Texas, Flagstaff AZ, The Grand Canyon, Vegas, San Francisco, Alcatraz, Santa Cruz and enjoyed miles of laughs and good times. An empty concert tour bus that had dropped off U2 in Florida picked us up on I-10 and drove us in style through West Texas to Phoenix. Our last ride into Santa Clara was a Winnebago occupied by the Girls lacrosse team from UC Santa Barbara. Many interesting rides throughout and I am so grateful we arrived successfully – some of my other hitchhiking trips did not end as successfully.
Colorado – Many trips to Colorado to visit family and friends. My first was as a high school senior. We drove my parents car to go skiing. The skiing was good but our driving was not – we left the car in CO after it flipped over in the mountains. A more recent driving trip to CO with my oldest daughter (9 at the time) was a lot of fun – I think she has the road trip gene in her!