In my first full year of full-timing, I didn’t go after bucket list items with much focus, so I’m pleasantly surprised by how many of them I’ve been able to check off my list.
First up, the National Parks and Monuments and Historic Places, all run by the National Park Service, which does an amazing job of preserving our open spaces, sharing our history, and giving us places to think as we face the future. This year, I checked off Joshua Tree in California, Carlsbad Caverns and White Sands in New Mexico, Big Bend in Texas, Gettysburg in Pennsylvania, and the Women’s Rights Convention in New York.
The light in New Mexico has been on my list since 1980, when I moved from California to New York and drove through the state, half in love with the big skies and the colors. I planned to spend a few weeks there this year and ended up spending a total of two and half months there. I couldn’t get enough of the light.
I also made it to Ghost Ranch and took a tour of the most famous spots that Georgia O’Keeffe used in her iconic paintings. That might have been the single best New Mexico day of this year.
As far away from the desert as you can get, the Blue Ridge Parkway was another “wow, that sounds cool” thing on my bucket list. I drove from North Carolina to the northern end of it and stopped at pretty much every scenic overlook. Still on my bucket list is driving it in the fall when the leaves are changing colors.
This was my first view of the Very Large Array in New Mexico, and I was so excited to see all those radio telescopes that I almost drove off the road, so I pulled over and grabbed this shot. If one telescope dish is cool (and it is!), the VLA is cool x 27!
One thing I did not expect to see in Arizona was sandhill cranes. I always just thought about them being in Nebraska. But there they were, in southeastern Arizona, and I loved the afternoon of watching them fly in and land at the wildlife refuge. Sandhill cranes are now my second favorite bird, after brown pelicans.
Another unexpected moment was coming face to face with three of Frank Lloyd Wright’s stained glass windows at the Corning Museum of Glass. I stared at them till my eyes couldn’t memorize another inch of them. I did some basic stained glass back in the day and it gave me a deep appreciation for both the design and the craftsmanship of these pieces. If anything, they are more beautiful in real life than any pictures could show.
At Fenway Park, seeing the World Series championship banners and watching the Sox beat the Yankees was a dream come true. The Sox sucked when I lived in Boston so going back to see the banners was wicked awesome.
In the “crazy things” section of my bucket list, I visited Carhenge in Nebraska. Truly an American work of art, and worth the effort to get there.
Another from the “crazy things” section was seeing a real live auction and I unexpectedly hit that in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico. It was serious business as you can see.
The last thing on my bucket list that I checked off this year was a bit more personal. Every year my trailer group has an Alto rally and this year’s was in North Carolina. I made it there, despite a cracked windshield, a broken finger, a tire and blowout. It was worth it, both for the friends and being able to walk out of my trailer and seeing a whole campground loop full of trailers just my size 🙂
On to 2018 and more items to check off my bucket list. What’s on your list?
One day you’ll wake up and there won’t be any more time to do the things you’ve always wanted. Do it now.