33 days, 20 states and several thousand miles later we are back to our new "home"... back to the boat, back to reality!
Our month-long trip started with a week-long visit to Brian's dad's in Georgia, allowing us some good quality father-son time. We are quite thankful to Dad and Terry for storing our final household goods shipment of "stuff" that we just couldn't bear to part with and spent half the time un-boxing, re-boxing and figuring out where to put it all.
It wasn't all work though... we took in the Civil War Maritime Museum in Columbus and a real dirt track stock car race at the Senoia Raceway. We also toured the adorable little town of Senoia which is known, most recently, for its role as Woodbury in The Walking Dead TV show, for which there is, of course, an actual store. You wouldn't believe how many fans were there buying up all manner of zombie paraphernalia. We'd normally be included, save for our new lack of space for yet another HAT. (Lack of space can have perks.)
Subsequently we traveled to Fowlerville, Michigan for another 2 weeks of visiting. Brian's mom, Eileen, held Retirement Party #2 at the Howell American Legion Hall. It was a wonderful party on a gorgeous day in summertime Michigan. Eileen's Red Hat friends provided all sorts of yummy desserts, she arranged a large Marine Corps themed cake, a beautiful flower arrangement and tons of food. The local American Legion color guard presented the colors (American Flag) and Brian's mom presented us with 2 beautiful commemorative quilts.
The party was also a good excuse for a family reunion of sorts with relatives spending several days visiting from several states. It was great to spend time with all those folks again, as well as some friends we hadn't seen in years. On August 1st, Brian officially retired... Thanks to Eileen for hosting and planning such a memorable event to end a memorable career. We thank all our family and friends for attending and appreciate that we really do have the best families zero money can buy :)
The following weekend was a reunion on my fathers side of the family in Grand Haven, MI. We spent a couple days with my parents, brother and his fiancee, as well as my aunt and uncle from Minnesota, relaxing before the drive home. Hand and Foot was played every day, the best form of mandatory fun. Infamous and awesome Pronto Pups were devoured and Magical Musical Fountain viewing took place - two tourist spots that never get old.
My highlight of the trip was playing golf with my grandfather who, at 97, while he now needs a golf cart to get around the course, can still hit the ball straight as an arrow and beat the living pants off everyone.
We also visited Brian's aunt and uncle on the way back home. I had never met them and Brian hadn't seen them in well over 20 years. It was good to connect and find that we had so much in common.
On the way home we celebrated our anniversary a month early with a weekend in Las Vegas and visited the Valley of Fire state park (hiking through gorgeous red rock formations) as well as the Hoover Dam. I now understand why it is considered a world wonder... they built it in 5 years...had our government tried to do that project today it would...simply... never get done.
Now we are back home, a bit tired of all the driving, visiting, and suitcase-living. Time to begin the process of moving on board!