This fall, probably late September, I’m going to go on a cross-country, hopefully inspirational (<–hopefully) trip. I’m going to do some touristy-things along the way, like the Painted Desert, the Petrified Forest, the St. Louis Zoo, Central Park in NYC, plus stop to visit family and friends, but the main purpose is to visit the Hudson Valley in New York. My Wishes & Dreams paranormal romance series is set there. I have 3 books out now, and the 4th is halfway done, but I’m setting that aside until I get to the Hudson Valley. I plan to stay a day or 2 (or 3 or 4? who knows?), drive along semi-rural and rural areas, through the hills and woods, visit my grandfather’s old house which is the basis for my inspiration for the setting. And simply get a “feel” for the area, which I haven’t visited since I was 20. I was in the Army then, and on my way to a NATO posting in the Netherlands, and I stopped a few days in NYC to do the tourist thing and visit my grandfather’s brother- and sister-in-law, who had always been known to me as Aunt and Uncle. My grandfather died when I was only 8, but he owned the house along with his in-laws, and so it’s still in the family, and I hope to visit.
This will be a very loosely structured road trip. I’m not making plans or timelines. I do want to stop one night at Holbrook and stay in the WigWam Hotel, in, yes, a wigwam. I’ll head on across the country, taking my time and stopping to take pictures or visit touristy places as I want, but roughly heading for the Hudson Valley. I plan to hopefully stay in AirBnB’s across the country and back. After I leave the Valley, I’ll head to NYC and see a very close old friend from SecondLife, whom I’ve never met in person but we’re, like, sisters-from-another-mother. I do want to take a carriage ride around Central Park, and maybe get a tour of NYC, even if it’s just grabbing a cabbie and having him drive me around. Then I’ll head down to the Carolinas and spend a day with my mom and stepdad, and another close friend who’s also one of my biggest fans and a beta reader as well. Next, to Nashville to have lunch with an old SecondLife friend and fellow writer (and one of my reader fans!), and catch up in person. After that, I’ll head down to Alabama and see another close SecondLife friend to meet face-to-face for the first time. He’s really into grilling, and has promised to make me steaks and ribs on his grill while I’m there! Then I’ll head up to St. Louis and visit the zoo, and maybe drive by my grandparents’ old homes in Kirkwood. So probably I’ll start wending my way home after the zoo. I’ve really always wanted to see Las Vegas, but I don’t think this is the right time for that… when I think about adding it in, it doesn’t “feel” right. So, maybe save that for another trip another time that doesn’t involve going all the way across the country and back.
The big question here is…. after leaving Alabama, do I head South and go send a day or two in New Orleans? That would be really REALLY cool… but I’ll have been on the road probably at least a week and a half by then, and I just might not have the energy. We’ll see… I could also save it and do another road trip just to go to New Orleans!
I’m disabled and can’t walk for long, which is why tourist things aren’t high on my priorities, and also why I’m keeping this as open-ended and loosely structured as possible. If I run out of spoons* I can just hole up in whatever hotel or AirBnB I’m in for a day or two. If I LOVE the Hudson Valley I can spend a week there. Any time I want to diverge from the plan, I can. No stress, no pressure. I have a packing list with checkboxes (I love lists!) so I won’t forget anything important, my kids will take care of my cats, I don’t have any date I “have to” be back by.
The whole idea is to have FUN, relax, and get inspired!