Happy New Year and welcome to the 2022 version of Traveling With Tom! I don’t know about you but I’m glad to put 2021 behind me. As Alexander Pope wrote in his poem “An Essay on Man” published in 1732 the proverbial “hope springs eternal.”
Here are my hopes for the new year. I hope that the most difficult days of the pandemic will be in the rearview mirror by the end of 2022. I hope those who promulgated the January 6 insurrection on our democracy are brought to justice. I hope those enduring hunger, homelessness, and income inequality will have comfort and solace in this coming year. I pledge to do my small part to make improvements so these hopes come true.
Personally, 2021 brought some positives despite the swirling events going on in our world. First, I was excited to get my first jab of Moderna vaccine in March, the second in April, and the booster in October. Thanks to all the scientists that developed the biggest thing to fight the virus and those who worked to deliver the vaccines to the people.
Second, after vaccination we were able to do a bit of travel and camping in the summer and fall without taking any unnecessary risks to contract or spread the virus. Plus, the Dane County Farmers Market returned to the Capitol Square after a one-year break. We also were able to visit with our families in North Dakota during the Thanksgiving holiday after not seeing them since January 2020.
And third, we spent a lot of time in our yard and garden during the growing season. Lots of walkers stopped to chat while we were outside. They helped make the mundane tasks more enjoyable. We were blessed with new neighbors Juan and Karina. And our neighbors across the street, Ryan and Melissa were had their first baby, a girl named Eva. A lots to be thankful in 2021.
In 2021, I published 52 blog posts. Thanks to everyone who viewed and offered comments on this site as well as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Linkedin. I value your input. Here are a few highlights from those posts.
The first part of the year, I dug through my photo archives and wrote or refreshed stories from past travels. After watching the first few episodes of the PBS Masterpiece Theatre series All Creatures Great and Small, I wrote an article about our 2014 visit to Thirsk located in England’s Yorkshire Dales. This is small town where J. A. Wight lived, practiced veterinary medicine, and wrote his stories under the pen name James Herriot. It was a lovely visit on a beautiful spring day. Here’s the link and a few photos from our day trip to Thirsk.
It was in mid-May, after getting vaxxed and the pandemic looked like it was waning, my Traveling Partner and I decided to travel to State College, Pennsylvania where The Eldest and the Son-in-Law live. They requested our assistance in selecting materials and planting their newly re-landscaped backyard. Our plan was to make the 700 mile drive in one-day for safety reasons. We left Madison early in order to get through Chicago without too many delays. That worked but our delay came in a stretch of I-90 in eastern Indiana when our water pump stopped working, in a construction zone and a Saturday afternoon! Thanks to the actions of Indiana State Trooper Tony, a kind woman from the construction company, and the expertise of Tim from Grates Wrecker Service, we were on our way after just a four-hour delay. We had a great week. Here’s the link to that story, titled “Luck Will Be Yours When You Least Expect It.”
As I mentioned earlier, the Dane County Farmers Market returned to the Capitol Square this summer. We wore our masks and attended every Saturday morning of the market season. Here is the link to the story and a few photos.
We did a lot of camping this summer including a month-long stint as campground hosts at Potawatomi State Park in Door County Wisconsin. Even though we were really busy, we enjoyed being outdoors and interacting with the campers. Here’s a link to the post I wrote about our hosting experience.
During our month of campground hosting, The Eldest, the Son-in-Law, and dog Shiner spent several days with us. One of those days, we took part of the day off to go on a light house trolley tour. We had a great time. The highlight was the stop at the Cana Island Light Station. Cana Island can be accessed by wading through the shallow, rocky channel or riding on a wagon towed by a tractor. We chose the bumpy wagon ride but at least our feet were dry. Here’s a link to the story. Below are a few photos and a short video of the crossing.
Late September found us camping in the north unit of the Kettle Moraine State Forest. The colors were turning so the scenery was beautiful and the campground was quiet. We drove the scenic drive and hiked some of the trails. Click here to read the full article and all the photos.
On October 30, my Traveling Partner and I loaded up the Red Rover and headed southwest from Madison. Our eventual destination was Death Valley National Park where I would meet up with a group of friends in mid-November to spend five days photographing the park. In between, we would spend nearly two weeks visiting national and state parks, monuments, and historical sites in southern Utah. In late November, I began posting stories and photos about our nearly six-thousand mile trip. Click here, here, here, here, and here to see read those articles. Stay tuned, I continue this series next week. In the meantime, here are a few photos to spark your interest.
You might be wondering how I did on my 2021 New Years resolutions. I’m happy to report three out of four resolutions were fulfilled. The first one was easy, I resolved to continue writing this blog. I wrote and posted 52 articles during the year.
I also resolved to continue taking and sharing photos. I did but I took the fewest number in recent memory. I did take more photos with my iPhone, it’s alway with me.
Another resolution was to continue writing in my journal. I happy to say that I met this resolution. When the pandemic began, I kept track of how many days since the lockdown began in March 2020. There were a few times this year that I thought the pandemic was waning and I could quite keeping count. Little did I know that in the past month the world has been infested with yet another variant and the cases skyrocketing. Today is day 658. I hope sometime this year I can quit counting.
I also pledged to take more writing classes in 2021. I took three, all online and have enjoyed and learned from each one. This year I also published my Storyworth book consisting of 53 chapters plus photos. If you want the perfect gift for someone who likes to write about the past, check out Storyworth.
The resolution that I didn’t achieve was my goal to take 2,750,000 steps in 2021. I fell short by taking just 2,494,617 steps but it was 157,000 more steps than I took in 2020. At least I made progress! That’s over 1100 miles last year or about 3 miles per day, not too bad for an old guy!
For next year, I pledge to strive for those elusive 2,750,000 steps, take one or more writing classes, continue this blog, and take photos. I’m going to add one more resolution: I pledge to reduce my social media time to no more that one hour per day. This doesn’t count email and web searches. I’ll see if I can do it, may be the hardest resolution ever! Wish me luck.
That does it for 2021. Again thanks for tuning in and best wishes for a very Happy New Year!
Until next week, happy travels!