A NEW LIFE AND MORE TRAVELS
I started my second travel life in 1981 after a separation and divorce. I met Donna, in 1981, She lived in the same apartment building where I lived. We started dating and in June 1982, we started our travels together. I made a trip to Massachusetts to meet her after a business meeting and we toured CAPE COD
Later that year we went to MYRTLE BEACH, South Carolina for a couple days. Donna and I married in 1985 and for our honeymoon we went to HAWAII. We stayed on WAIKIKI BEACH
We liked Hawaii so much that we decided to go back again the next year, 1986, and my friend Ernest and his wife went along.
After Donna and I were married I didn’t drive across country anymore for a long while, primarily because my job took me regularly to several places out west that gave me an opportunity to explore. When I went to PORTLAND, OREGON, I drove up the COLUMBIA RIVER GORGE, which is beautiful, and another time drove up to MOUNT HOOD (actually ran into a snow storm up there) and went skiing. That was before it blew its top. When I went to BILLINGS, MT I would rent a car and drive (about 2 hrs) to Yellowstone National Park, and then the next day drive the other direction to CUSTER NATIONAL MONUMENT (where Gen Custer had his last stand).. When I went to RENO, NV I would drive to LAKE TAHOE just to look at the scenery. When I went to Sacramento, Ca I would drive to the wine country and/or San Francisco just to bump around. But I did continue to make a trip or two to Las Vegas every year because it was so cheap to go and when you got there.
But we did have driving trips/vacations up and down the east coast and also flew places for vacation trips. In 1987 Donna and I drove north again through MASS, NEW HAMPSHIRE AND VERMONT and into Canada to MONTREAL. I didn’t care for Montreal either because the French speaking Canadians were not friendly. The drive back was through Canada to NIAGARA FALLS
In 1988, a year or so after DISNEY’S EPCOT CENTER opened we drove down to FLORIDA and did the whole Disney parks experience.
In June 1991 I had a business trip to Alaska and one of my coworkers up there arranged a tour for me that took me from ANCHORAGE, AK to the port city of WHITTIER by bus and train, then by cruise on a small boat across PRINCE WILLIAM SOUND
Also in 1991 I had a two week business trip for training in KEYSTONE, COLORADO and on the weekend I did a WHITE WATER RAFTING TRIP on the Arkansas River. That was exciting but I don’t want or need to do that any more. The water was freezing cold and there is no way to keep from getting wet.
I had been doing so much traveling that I earned a free airline ticket so in September 1991 we used the miles to fly to Hawaii again. We stayed in Waikiki again, but went to Maui for a day to do the downhill bike ride on HALEAKALA MOUNTAIN.
In June, 1993 we went to Cancun, Mexico for a few days and met some really nice people who live not too far from us in Maryland.
One winter, I think it was about 1994, we decided to try going to the Poconos for a get away and went to Cove Haven
I retired in 1996 and in September 1997 went to travel school with the intention of starting my second career as a travel agent. I attended Carlson Travel academy for abut six weeks and did get my certificate. My intention was to go to work for the local AAA office and probably would have gotten the job because one of my classmates eventually did. We had a cruise booked to the Southern Caribbean out of Puerto Rico. We had our bags packed and were set to go when 3 days before our departure date tragedy struck. Donna had a heart attack while in an aerobics class and died.. I chronicled our life in a blog titled, “Speaker for Donna” = http://www.facebook.com/notes.php?drafts&id=1543067433#!/note.php?note_id=462502118768 .
INTERLUDE AFTER THE HEARTBREAK
In the midst of my grief I looked for the one thing which gave me the most comfort, traveling. So I planned a train trip across Canada. This was something I had wanted to do for a long time and had actually saved a little money for while working.
In April 1998 I took the train from DC to New York City and changed to one which took me to TORONTO, CANADA where I spent the night. The next day I caught a VIA’S train, the CANADIAN, headed for Vancouver on the West coast of Canada. VIA is Canada’s equivalent of Amtrak. I planned a stop in the Canadian Rockies for a few days and then took tours in JASPER,
Later that same year an opportunity came to go with my church members to Africa. I thought about it for only a short while and decided that it was a great opportunity not to be passed up. So in August 1998 we went to CAPE TOWN SOUTH AFRICA
I continued to make 2 or 3 trips to Las Vegas, just because I loved the place and it was a cheap get away. After a couple years I started to get into dating again and in May 1999 I took a Caribbean cruise on the NCL Dreamward out of SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO to ANTIGUA, ST LUCIA, ST THOMAS, ST MAARTIN, and ST KITT. Then in January, 2000 I went on the Grand Princess to the Eastern Caribbean islands of ST THOMAS, ST MAARTIN and their PRINCESS CAY private island. Later that year I drove up to Niagara Falls again and also to Toronto for a day or so. There is no need to mention my dates for those trips as the relationships didn’t last and I moved on.
In April 2000 I decided to take another train trip. So I booked Amtrak from DC to Chicago where I took the Amtrak’s Empire Builder through Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana, and Idaho to Seattle.
************** be sure to also read part 1 and then part 3 of Tinkertoy's Travels *********************