As some of you are aware, I’m on a journey to reconnect with friends/relatives from the Pacific Northwest. Not a task for those with iffy organizational skills. I have thirteen groups of friends and family with whom to connect in less than three weeks.
I’m watching myself taking on this task with a measure of pride, because my mother never taught me the skill. On our many trips cross-country (we followed Dad, an Army officer, everywhere), my mother’s modus operandi, was to call the friend or relative as we approached his/her residence…about 50 miles away from his/her home. If the person answered the phone, my mother suggested a drive-by (an hour stop at the most). If the friend or relative weren’t home, Mom would shrug her shoulders and say: “I tried.” Later she’d jot a letter to the person we’d failed to see, saying she’d been in the neighborhood, as if that excused her lame try at a contact.
Nope. Not me. I started working out our itinerary months ago, checking to see who was in town and when the best meet-up times would be. We even set up a hotel-stay in a location that made it easy for us to go visit friends. A step further: we were invited to stay overnight with two different couples…something we do rarely.
Such an itinerary isn’t easy, especially when planning rendezvous points. Which restaurant is lovely, not too expensive, and central to each particular group of friends? What do the reviews say about food and service? Is there parking? Do they serve wine? Is the food generic so all would find something on the menu to like? Is the restaurant quiet enough to allow comfortable conversation? (I picked this restaurant because it had a gorgeous side-room...and if we met here at 4:30, we'd have it to ourselves...wouldn't need to pay rent!)
And I forget to mention: If friends come on a ferry, what’s the best time for us to hold the lunch/dinner, and who picks up the ferry passengers and drops them off? (We’re in ‘ferry country,’ and in high summer season, with big crowds and days of fog that delay the ferries, we’re talking complications! Forget about driving on a ferry…foot passengers have the only chance to make it to the other side on time.)
So far we are doing well. Six groups visited…seven to go. Ferry rendezvous tomorrow. I’ll let you know if the last half of the month (including a one-week family reunion) goes as smoothly as the first half.
How about you? What’s the most intricate trip you’ve ever planned in an effort to connect with friends and family?
Speaking of intricacy. Here’s my story about tourist itineraries that go wrong, very wrong…in Aix-en-Provence France: CÉZANNE’S GHOST http://a.co/bQdl7jp