Exhaustion and procrastination were the first two words that came to mind immediately following our Northeast United States road trip. But now with a little time back in Arizona to reflect on the trip, the first word that comes to mind is "Ahhh-mazing".
What caused of all the "Ahhhs"?
1) Beautiful scenery and fall colors
2) Three very sweet pets that stole our hearts.
3) Aches and pains from so many days of well-worth-it pickleball.
In all, we visited 23 states, 3 sweet pets and 46 pickleball courts in 67 days!
Our plan was to take a fall color trip to the northeast United States and play pickleball everywhere we could. As usual, we planned very little other than seeing some dear friends along the way, and doing three pet sits. The pets gave us our only fixed dates from the time we left our hummingbird pet sit in Park City, Utah on 9/9/21 until we returned to Arizona on 11/15/21. What were we thinking?!!! Looking back on it, that was not nearly enough time to do everything that we did!
And why is the title of this blog "Kicking Myself"? It's because I really wish I hadn't waited until the trip was over to blog about it! We experienced so many cool things that I would love to share, but I procrastinated in writing. Live and learn though! But here goes, and it will likely have to be in installments.
Our first stop was Cheyenne, Wyoming - Every place we visited after this town, nicknamed "The Magic City of the Plains", would have big boots to fill! We can highly recommend touring their beautiful capital building, and finding a rodeo to attend.
The small collegiate memorial rodeo we went to was held at the site of the historic Frontier Days Rodeo. The next Frontier Days will be held on July 22-31 and it is billed as the world's largest outdoor rodeo and western celebration. They've been kicking up dust since 1897. I'm not a fan of huge crowds, particularly nowadays, so this smaller event was perfect for us.
And of course, we found the pickleball courts. In fact, I also found a doubles partner there for a tournament in Arizona! Have I mentioned that I love the connections and friends that we make by playing this sport?
Next up, Omaha, Nebraska
Who knew that Omaha was so hilly? We had been to Omaha briefly a couple of times in the past on prior road trips, but we had never discovered that fact. I don't think I mentioned before, that after my motorcycle wreck Read Here, I used the insurance company payoff to make a sweet purchase. I decided no more motorcycles for me - instead I bought an E-bike. BEST decision ever!
The coolest part is that at no point in history have I ever been able to cycle as quickly as Ky, nor as steeply. I used to detest hills on bikes. Ky would always be in the lead and when he got too far ahead, he would stop and wait for me. I would arrive completely winded, but by that time, he was rested and ready to go, Grrrr.
Now however, I can give myself a little boost either with the assist control, or the throttle and ZOOM, I'm off like a rabbit! I now wait for him. In Omaha the hills are killers, and we discovered that not only can I zip around with nary a huff or puff if I want, I can also give Ky a boost. He can grab on to my bike basket with one hand and I give him a tow. Alternatively, he can draft off me. It is a glorious, heady experience! I'm very conflicted about him getting an e-bike now. The power is exhilarating! The fat tires are great too, makes it easy to ride on sand and other tricky surfaces.
We didn't see Warren Buffet while in Omaha, but better than that, we visited with my awesome cousin, Donna, who lives there - best story teller ever, The laughs with her are always non-stop, and this time was no exception. Everyone should be so lucky to have a relative like Donna, or Warren!
And of course, we found the pickleball courts. We were fortunate in Park City to meet a woman name Tish who happened to be from Omaha. She made advance introductions for us, and we were heartily greeted by many of her friends. Have I mentioned that I love the social aspects of this sport?
If you get to Omaha, I recommend going to the Memorial Park. It is a touching, beautiful and peaceful park. They had a tribute for 9/11 with flags for each life lost with a photo and bio of each person.
Around town there are lots of great restaurants, one of the world's top five zoos, farmers' markets, and plenty of activities year round.
Onward! Driving across the big 'ol US, we experienced Center Point, Indiana. No, it is not the center of the US, and it is not even the center of Indiana. It is just east of Terra Haute and it's name comes from being at the center of the small Clay County where a post office was established in 1854.
I must admit that we only stopped there because it was the right distance from Omaha for a good (but long) day's drive. The population was a whopping 242 at the 2010 census and in 2019 it had grown to 267. We were pleasantly surprised though, with what turned out to be one of our favorite Airbnb's. We've stayed at about 250 Aribnbs in the last 6 years, so it says a lot about a place when I call it a favorite.
There was not much around us besides corn and soybeans and more corn and soybeans which is true of the majority of Indiana.
The Airbnb space we stayed in is attached to a large lovely log cabin home. It was a former mother-in-law unit. In the spacious bedroom, there were some of the former occupant's historical items such as a wedding dress and an interesting history of the couple.
The hostess had made us fresh bread and left enough snacks and fresh milk to feed a family of eight. The small kitchen was fully stocked with everything needed to cook gourmet meals, which I did not do ;-) The library/music room had a piano and enough craft books to last a lifetime. Bottles of wine were stocked on the counter, and were offered on the honor system for purchase. The hostess was an exceptional craftsperson with a flair for decorating and every detail of the place had been considered.
The additional bonus was our own porch, and I do love me a good porch, especially with a swing on it like this one had. It was a good throwback to my grandaddy's house in Texas, (now my brother's) where we would sit and shell purple hulled peas outside when I was a young girl.
The extra, additional bonus was being invited to sit out on the large back patio in the newly built bar area. We enjoyed a good evening's conversation & drinks with Pam and Mark, the couple who owned the place. Of course the conversation turned to pickleball (wonder who started that?) By the time we left, they were keen to add multiple pickleball courts to their property as an amenity. We're going to have to go back if they do. They might have us as long term renters if they build courts! Heck, maybe we'll increase the population to 269!
Until Pam & Mark get their courts built, we found two nearby places to play in Terra Haute and Brazil. Have I mentioned that you can meet some funny people on the pickleball courts. Jonathan & Deli were great ambassadors for pickleball, making us feel welcome and getting us in to some fast paced games. Deli is another person we ended up seeing in Arizona later. It's a small world.
If you happen to be in the market for a University to attend, Indiana State has six beautiful new pickleball courts. It was a very windy day and everyone else was averse to the wind or in classes. We were happy that we didn't need to play hooky. We got on the courts for some drilling and a couple of quick games of skinny singles.
Our departure was with mixed emotions. We reluctantly, but excitedly, left Pam & Mark's place headed next for Marietta, OH.
On our way, we made a stop in Cincinnati. We took a leg-stretching bike ride along the enormous Ohio River. It would be a great place to return to in the future, and it was definitely one stop where we wished we had more time. There were even pickleball courts that we didn't have a chance to play on, so there's that reason to return among many others.
However, we were headed to see our sweet friends, Kelly & Rob, and we didn't want to dally. One of the main beauties of pickleball truly is making new friends. I met Kelly on a pickleball court in Tempe, AZ. We met up again in Tucson and played in a small tournament together. Then we saw each other again in Park City, UT. She always described her small town and her home lovingly, and she had invited us to visit. We found out why - it is a completely charming place, consistently voted as a top small town to visit and to live in the US.
Marietta was established way back in 1788 by pioneers headed west. It was the first permanent settlement of the new United States in the Northwest territory at the mouth of the Ohio River. The population was 13,385 at the 2020 census.
And... they had four brand new pickleball courts just over the bridge in Vienna, West Virginia. We joyfully had the pleasure of being the debut players on it. Does that make us debutantes?
After our quick visit, we bid adieu to our friends and headed to one of our three fixed date destinations - Baltimore, MD. And guess what... It deserves it's own blog post. I started writing about it and there was just way too much to put in to this post.
Stay tuned and please Subscribe if you want to get notified when I get posts published. Baltimore is an amazing place and just like Bill & Ted, we had some excellent adventures. I played the part of Keanu Reeves and Ky was Alex Winter (or maybe George Carlin.)
Please click on the interactive map below to go to see our destinations This post only takes us to #9! In is actually a map of all the places where we played pickleball (and did other good stuff too of course)! We haven't even reached the fall colors or the pets yet!
Each blog I like to share a pickleball related item that I really like. This month the Amazon Affiliate link to something I love to use or in this case need to use. And it's not just pickleball related.
These ahh-mazing little tablets work extremely well for muscle soreness.
Click on photo or Amazon link: https://amzn.to/30zH6cA to get them for yourself.
Thanks for following along with us. If you ever have any questions about any of the places we have visited, I would love to hear from you.
I hope all your holidays are all merry & bright, and white if that's the way you like them. As for the Coffeys2Go, we prefer sunny side up, so we're enjoying time now in Tucson, AZ with our two great kids!