A Whole New World

Friday, August 16, 2002 Road Junkies 0 Comments

Although we both loved the work we were doing, we retired in June 2001, to begin the next chapter in our lives.  In addition to the nice retirement events which our respective places of employment held for us, we invited 200 people to a blow-out retirement party at Park Tavern, adjacent to Atlanta's Piedmont Park.  (Pictured above:  Yaya girls Karoline, Rachel and Whitney watching the band warm up)
It was our way of thanking all the family, friends and co-workers who had supported us during our careers and just a time to have fun.  Terry and the GTs, our oldies band, kept people on the dance floor and followed our instructions to keep the mike from being used for any speeches—even when our mothers made an attempt to convince them.
Line dancing was a retirement party hit.
Once the dust settled after the party, we began considering what our next chapter would look like.  We knew travel would be a priority but we still had two cats so we wouldn't be going on any extended trips.  Now that we had more free time, we both found volunteer opportunities—Ken at Zoo Atlanta working in the commissary preparing food for animals, and Dianne at a nearby elementary school helping in the library.  

Our first few forays on the road involved visiting family in the Southeast.  We were in Charlotte visiting Erika on September 11 of that year, when the world was profoundly altered by the actions of 19 terrorists who hijacked four commercial airliners and intentionally crashed them, killing nearly 3,000 people.  Like all other Americans and much of the world's population, we were stunned that an attack of this kind could occur in the United States.

By November, we felt that we should try to help in the general efforts to return to normalcy, so we took an off-season road trip to the Outer Banks, something we couldn't have done before retirement.  The quiet in this seasonally very busy area convinced us that retirement travel definitely showed a lot of  promise.  
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At Kitty Hawk, Ken tried hang gliding, with a bit better equipment than the Wright Brothers had.
By early 2002, people were still wary of air travel and of visiting New York and Washington, scenes of the worst crashes.  So we again attempted to do our part by flying to New York for a visit in February and to Washington in March.  Later in March, Dianne organized a trip to Disney World with niece Rachel and grandnieces Karoline and Whitney plus their mom Karen.  This was the first of what would be many trips with the yaya girls.
Whitney, Rachel and Karoline at DisneyWorld on first yaya trip.
Making the acquaintance of a reliable cat sitter  to stay with our furry friends while we were away in the summer of 2002 opened up new opportunities.  And thus began our longer trips.  First on the agenda was a trek following the route taken by Lewis and Clark in their 1803 exploration of the American west.