The Man-Dog Travelogue:
We have been traveling together for eight years. This week Ellen was
not able to travel, so Pete and Mandy head out for the first time
without Ellen. Thus The Man-Dog Travelogue. The trip was from
Nipomo, California to Phoenix, Arizona and back. This week we'll
compare traveling solo (plus dog) with traveling with Ellen.
We are packed and ready to go. Mandy looks around wondering "where's
Mom?". There she is outside the Mothership. We bid farewell and
Here is the first difference. Instead of conversation with Ellen, we
listened to Brush Arbor, Elvis, Sara Evans, Josh Turner and George
Jones. Thank God I'm a country boy! Mandy missed the travel hugs.
Then there's the photographs. As tempting as it was, Pete did not
grab the camera for good shots. Instead, the camera was mounted on
the tripod, pointing straight ahead and always focused at the same
distance. This view of the road, straight ahead, in Cuyama
contrasts with the photo Ellen got on a previous trip on Highway
166. She captured these golden hills very near the same location as
Then there is dinner. Pete's on the left, Ellen's on the right. You
get the idea! Mandy however, got the same ole dog food.
With Ellen not around, Pete had dog duty, as Mandy cheerfully goes
for a walk. When Ellen is along, Pete can focus on other tasks.
There are some pluses, like getting to pass when Pete wants to
rather than following traffic and never getting ahead.
This is a mixed bag. Pete likes to keep daily mileage to 150 miles
like the trip on the right with Ellen. But without Ellen Pete goes
372 miles in one day. What gives? Boredom! What fun is it to stop
to enjoy the evening when the Mrs. isn't there, so let's drive!!!!
Back to the photos. Pete's photo shows a car that spun out and ended
off the freeway. This photo doesn't compare to Ellen's taken in
Tempe, Arizona a couple of years ago. You need the co-pilot with
camera in hand ready to get good shots.
So it seems as though solo travel is missing the enjoyment with your
spouse. So why take the trip? Ellen's Aunt Betty Lynn, who just
had her 90th birthday, has passed away. This is Betty Lynn just
Betty Lynn and her boys and their spouses have always been close to
Ellen (and close to Pete for the last 40 years). We have seen them
many, many times before and during our years of traveling. We never
leave Arizona without sitting down for a meal, restaurant or
homecooked. We have visited or parked at Betty Lynn's house and at
Don's, Dennis's and Bobby's homes.
So while Ellen needed to stay home to care for Cousin Judy, Pete had
to get to Phoenix to join in the memorial celebration for Betty Lynn
who went to be with the Lord.
Just like Betty Lynn, Bob and Barb's hospitality extended parking
the MotherShip in front of their house with electricity. Bob and his
daughters prepare a memory board for the service.
"A life lived in love is a life well lived". Betty Lynn embodied
the word "comfort" with her little smile, soft-spoken voice and
1) A large group attended the memorial and dozens come forward to
speak of Betty Lynn and share great memories. 2) Betty Lynn's three
sons in whom she is well-pleased.
After the memorial families and relatives gathered at
Dennis and Kerry's home.
And finally, what did Mandy think of spending the week with Dad an
no Mom. It is probably summed up by these photos.
1) "Dad, how much longer do I have to hold the door open?" and 2)
"Sorry Dad, I still feel closer to Mom!"
It was fun trip; a necessary trip to pay tribute to a wonderful
lady. But too much driving without your best friend (Mandy, you're
a good friend, but not this Man's best friend.)
Until next week, Love, Pete and Mandy
"Then the LORD God said,
"It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper
suitable for him."
Genesis 2:18 Amen to that!
[Note: This travelogue covers the week of March 31, 2014 to April 6,
2014. It was not able to be presented in real time due to prior