After a year of hibernating, fearful of traveling burdened with balance and dizziness problems already chronicled in this column the past August, I broke out of my self-imposed geographical isolation and journeyed two weeks ago with my wife to Wickenburg. AZ.
Yea, I did it, with no incident. Upon arriving home from the five-day trip, I felt full of childish delight.
Life is lived amid small victories. I’m ready for more travel and exploration, conceding my limited mobility, while propelled by motivation, assisted by a cane and supported by my wife.
For many years, we have traveled to Rancho de los Caballeros, a guest ranch located nearly 65 miles northwest of Phoenix, AZ in a town that touts itself as the team roping capital of America. The town and surrounding Sonoran Desert bear absolutely no resemblance to the Eastern Shore.
We picked our favorite dude ranch resort for our breakout because it’s comfortable, we love the venue and dry terrain and like the owners. The ranch resort has been family-owned since 1947. We’re partial to seasoned tradition and reliable hospitality.
Wickenburg has gained a reputation for its rehabilitation facilities for people dealing with addictions. I can understand why a quest for recovery might be successful in an area known for pleasant weather (except in the summer) and an environment conducive for self-renewal.
Ironically, I too was rehabbing my psyche, striving to build my confidence to leave my home, deal with the inconvenience of traveling by air these days and then enjoy a destination that lifts your spirits. It worked.
Another breakout of sorts happened as well. It was unpleasant and aggravating.
Deciding to spend the night before our early-morning flight out of BWI Airport at a nearby hotel, we drove on a rainy Sunday, Oct. 20 to the Western Shore. And we encountered a dreary, clogged mess on Route 50: it took us two hours, 40 minutes to cross the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, instead of a normal 40 minutes. On the way home on Friday, October. 25, the delay was a mere 15 minutes.
I pity the daily commuters who must endure the disruption caused by the two-year redecking project on the west span. It’s easy to feel imprisoned by a project that directly affects your lifestyle—despite understanding the overriding need for a safe bridge.
Metaphorically, I crossed a mental bridge two weeks ago. I realized that a medical condition, though frustrating, is just another obstacle to overcome in enjoying the delight of traveling (not the coming and going) and refreshing your soul and emotional well-being.
Fear is natural when confronted unexpectedly by a restrictive medical challenge. Perseverance is a time-proven antidote. Armed with a different perspective, I marveled at the resilience of fellow passengers, including a young man with a prosthetic leg.
More than 2,400 miles from Easton, Rancho de los Caballeros in Wickenburg, AZ provided an ideal place to feed the soul and redirect my thinking about traveling with a non-fatal but chronic medical condition.
My doubts disappeared.
Columnist Howard Freedlander retired in 2011 as Deputy State Treasurer of the State of Maryland. Previously, he was the executive officer of the Maryland National Guard. He also served as community editor for Chesapeake Publishing, lastly at the Queen Anne’s Record-Observer. In retirement, Howard serves on the boards of several non-profits on the Eastern Shore, Annapolis and Philadelphia.