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 head out.

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 Pete's photo.

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 last Thanksgiving.

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 hospitality.

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 commitments.}

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