2021: It’s Time to Travel Again!

How is everyone? I know it’s been a long, long time. Things have been crazy in my life, as I’m sure each of you can appreciate. COVID has certainly made things in the world much harder, and for those of us in healthcare it’s relentlessly sapping away the spirit.

As you are likely aware, the RV industry has exploded as people feel it’s a safe form of getting away from the day to day life. And while the borders were closed to international travel, the popularity of RV travel within the U.S. has gone into the stratosphere. I’m so glad I got to go to Alaska when I did; the trip would have been canceled in 2020 and perhaps much more challenging this summer.

Having said all that, my Alaska travel family was eager to do something else together, and we landed on another bucket list item for me: the International Balloon Fiesta held annually in Albuquerque, New Mexico. It’s the most photographed event in the world, and as a photography enthusiast I’ve always dreamt of seeing it someday.

Well, thanks to a very understanding boss (hi Jim) and colleagues (wassup guys) I was able to take some time off work and head to the Fiesta. It was cancelled last year, so this meant this years festival is the 49th annual. In planning out the travel, we ended up with 14 rigs going! Not everyone was on the Alaska trip, but most were.

The Fiesta is always held the first week of October from what I’ve been told. There are RV lots surrounding the Fiesta grounds and Fantasy RV tours offers a package for the Fiesta, so we signed up. The arrival day was set to be September 30th; as a group we would be parked first come, first served, so we decided to all meet at an RV park just outside of Albuquerque on September 29th.

That left me with some travel to get from Indiana to New Mexico. I worked in our Evansville clinic for 3 days, then left from that location on the afternoon of September 22nd. It was pouring in Indiana for several days, but as I finally got on the road and neared the border of Illinois, here is what I saw:

I only traveled a bit over 100 miles to Whittington, Illinois, as it was a late start after clinic. I fueled up at a local gas station which also features gambling. A combo I don’t think I’ve seen before:

Benton, Illinois knows how to party.

The campground, Whittington Woods, was fine. Mostly seasonals. And cash only. But I had a pull thru and spent a fine night. I was just happy to be on the road again!