Some of the trips are for Ron to do his sporting clay competitions. He has worked his way into Class A now but is hoping to reach Class AA soon. After that, he will go for the Masters level. I have no interest in shooting or watching other people shoot. So, over the years, we have worked out a good system for going to his competitions.
When we go to his competitions, we stay at a hotel that is conducive to my being able to take long walks and with good scenery nearby for my painting. While he's gone all day with the sporting clay competition, I stay at the hotel and hike around the area and paint. It's a great compromise. We both do what we enjoy during the day, and then we meet up in the evening and enjoy dinner and local scenery together. We will be doing four of those long weekend trips over the next few months.
I am beyond excited that because of Ron's other hobby - flying his own airplane - we will be going to Alaska this summer. I love Alaska. This will be my fourth trip there, but this time will be different. For the first three days, we will go back to Afognak Island near Kodiak for fishing and painting. Such a beautiful place! We spent a few days there in 2016 with two of our granddaughters, Lily and Sophie. Special, special memories. Then, we will leave Afognak and spend four days in Talkeetna where Ron will be taking "tail dragger" plane flying lessons - learning how to fly around the mountains in Alaska. We will be staying at a remote place with gorgeous scenery. While he flies, I will set up my easel and paint, and I'll also do some hiking. I'm thrilled to be going back to Alaska!
However, Alaska is the next to the last trip planned for the summer. Before that, three of the trips are for my painting. This year I will go to Plein Air South in Apalachicola, Florida. Ron will be doing another sporting clays event elsewhere that week. I will spend that week with artist friends improving my art and soaking up the learning and sunshine.
Then I will attend my third Plein Air Convention and Exposition. This year it is in Denver. Ron will fly us there in his plane. We will have to do the flight in two legs - possibly over two days or maybe flying for 3 hours, landing at a small town airport somewhere and stretching our legs and taking a break - and then flying the rest of the way. Then while I'm attending sessions and painting at PACE, he has arranged some mountain flying opportunities.
And then there is Italy. I never guessed when Ron and I went to Italy for the first time last March that we'd be going again so soon. I'm leaving a week before Ron and attending a workshop in Cortona led by my good friend and amazing artist, Rachael McCampbell. Ron will join me there when the workshop is over, and we will tour Pisa, Cinque Terre, Milan, and Lake Como. We will go home via London.
Our last trip in July will be a family vacation to the beach - Ron and me, our kids and grandkids. I can't wait. That's always my favorite week of the year.
Note: 8/9/2020 - Re-reading this post is such a great experience in how plans can change. Of all those trips I wrote about, only two happened. One early in March to a SC beach - and then our family vacation in July to the Florida beach. Italy, Alaska, Colorado - and the others - all canceled. In the first couple months of quarantine, I figured things would get back to "normal" after a few months. However, I'm beginning to realize that things might not ever get back to normal. It will likely be a long time before Ron and I will feel okay about flying commercially. As I go on errands, I see everyone wearing masks and think about how things have changed so much since March. Masks are the norm now. I've personally sew somewhere between 300 and 400 masks - given them all away. Change is always happening. Sometimes quickly - sometimes slowly - but always change.