Having just returned from a fabulous, week-long Tauck-Bridges Tour that started in Phoenix, Arizona, moved through a few of our country’s National Parks, and ended in Las Vegas, Nevada I am finding re-entry into everyday life a little rough as we were so very pampered. Where is my breakfast menu? You mean I have to start cooking again? Sigh. But now that the six loads of laundry are behind me, and I have a fully stocked refrigerator, I would like to take a moment to express a little gratitude because it is easy to get sucked back into the daily grind and forget how wonderful it was just 36 hours ago.
Here goes. Thank you to:
- AT&T: For your miserable coverage, which reminded me that I did, in fact, live without a Smart Phone until last December. Had my phone been working, I would not have been able to plug in to my family as fully as I did. Together, we swam, hiked, played chess, read books and chattered away. Not being plugged into technology also afforded me the opportunity to meet everyone on our tour. Yeah, I worked the bus.
- Suitcases with Good Zippers: I didn’t believe it was possible at the packing stage, but we were able to live completely comfortably – with everything we needed – for 8 full days – out of 3 medium-sized suitcases. And I still managed to bring 4 pairs of shoes and my favorite pair of cowboy boots. How can you go west without ‘em?
- The Grand Canyon: For reminding me how small I am. (Because sometimes I forget.)
- Horses & Mules:For being sure-footed where I would surely have fallen. Also for 2 hours of happy-happy, joy-joy bliss.
- Sunshine: For confirming what I had already suspected: that I am an exothermic lizard-girl who gets happier and happier the drier and hotter it gets. Thank you, sunshine, for showing up every morning around 4:30 am and sticking around – hot on my face – until around 7:30 pm. (Husband would like me to take a moment to thank Neutrogena sunscreen here.)
- Headlamps: So that when day was done and sunset descended into the canyons so completely, we could still see the deer and fox around us. And when we turned them off, we could hear frogs and owls and bats.
- Children: Who despite their varied ages all managed to find something wonderful to appreciate about each other and enjoy the time they spent swimming, hiking, catching tadpoles, playing football, rooting on a park ranger as he wrastled a rattlesnake, even just hanging out together on the bus.
- Good guides: Thank you Southwest pilots for your sense of humor when the roller-coaster turbulence complete with big dips and swells was not appreciated by everyone. Thank you to William, our motor coach driver, for allowing my husband to truly relax and not have to fuss with maps or GPS systems or reservations (which, in turn, allowed me to completely relax because you know we might have killed each other if we were driving together, getting lost together, for 8 days). With William at the wheel, hubby’s most basic needs were met: he had a bottle of water every day; a rotating but reserved seat; he was able to tune into conversation when he wanted, tune out when he had had enough; and he could nap whenever he wanted, knowing we were still moving toward a destination. He never had to worry about checking in, checking out, dragging a bag, checking to make sure our flight was on time, or arranging for transfer to or from the airport; all of this was handled by our tour company. Thank you to Justin, our riverboat guide, who encouraged us to soak our feet in the Colorado River to understand what 47 degrees feels like. (Note: It’s damn cold.). Thank you Julie, our Tauck-Bridges guide, who worked her butt off to make sure the needs of 40 people were met. That woman managed to land us a king-sized bed and roll-away cot combo in the most remote of places. And thank you to Ver, our more than slightly abrasive Navajo guide who, at the time, pissed me off by snatching the camera out of my hands and screwing around with all the presets – but managed to capture one of the best photographs of the entire trip.
- The Navajo Nation: Though skeptical when we met in a rundown gas station parking lot in Page, Arizona. The trip to Antelope Slot Canyon was truly a treat, and we never would have found that skinny little hidden canyon where the sun shone through the cracks and made purple and yellow and orange. Thank you for opening your land to us. I truly feel blessed to have been able to be there.
- Bryce National Park: For making me feel like I was on another planet, like there are a million other places on this big blue marble we call Earth that are filled with that kind of magic.
- The Strip in Las Vegas, Nevada: For reminding me that everything is better in moderation. That the 2-foot hot dog is a better idea than a reality; that sometimes it’s hard to tell by the height of a woman’s shoes if she is being stylish or if she is a prostitute; that I am not a drinker, a smoker, or a gambler and I prefer living in a place with windows and far fewer bells and whistles; that the shtick, the glitz, the glam – enjoyable as it is – is fake and after you’ve seen the MGM lions and ridden the roller coaster at New York, New York, and seen the fountain at the Bellagio and been to a show, there’s still no place like home.
- Family: That I am blessed to have one as good as I do. Because I am. Thank you for taking the trip that I have always wanted to take.