"Happy Travels!" ABQ_Hugh's Profile

Happy 80th Birthday Dad!!!

My father in an inspiration to many people...he has so much energy and enthusiasm, and he is so kind and patient with my mother. For them, it was "love at first sight"...they were married 53 years ago, just 100 days after they met for the first time.

April 2007, we celebrated my father's 80th birthday by giving parties at their home and by taking him on a backpacking trip to a small cabin in the mountains. it is a place he visited frequently as a boy and as a young man, then again with my brothers and I when we were teenagers. In the picture, taken on his birthday, he is getting ready to close the gate and begin the hike to the cabin. I can hear him saying, "c'mon guys, get the lead out....we're burning daylight!

If I were to describe my father in one sentence, I would say: "His life is driven by love rather than by ego."

Dad's cedar tree

In 1937, on my dad's first trip to the cabin, he saved this cedar tree. It is located about 1km upstream from the cabin, and he had seen it as he was looking for a good place to fish. The tree, growing along the edge of the creek, had been knocked over by recent rainstorms.

Once he saw the tree, he knew he must save it. He spent most of the day making a berm of dirt and rocks around the tree to protect it, and carrying water to it from the creek with his hat.

In 1937, my father was 10, the cedar tree was 4 feet tall and 1 inch in diameter. In April 2007, Dad [now 80] took us to find the tree. It is now 60 feet tall and 2 feet in diameter. It is the only cedar tree for quite a distance, but now, there are many seedlings growing from its roots.

To me, the story of the cedar tree provides a perfect example of who my father is...someone who loves living things [human, animal, botanical], and is willing to put in the effort to help them to grow and thrive.

Update: Sadly, during the first weekend of August 2007, this entire area burned in the Zaca forest fire. Therefore the tree is probably no longer alive. I am so thankful that we took the pictures of dad with his tree.

Update 2: Dad and my brothers visited in April 2010 [right portion o fpicture].....the tree survived the fire and is doing fine. A miracle!! Most of the trees around it were burned, so it no longer has to fight for sunshine!


My wife Irene is patient, helpful, a wonderful cook, positive to a fault, and shares my love of traveling...even if at first she was nervous.

She deserved to be nervous! For our first overseas trip together, I dragged her off for 2 months....with no more than a travel pack that would fit in the overhead compartment of the airplane. Well, she survived, still loves me, and is always ready to go off on another adventure! What more could I ask?? I am a very fortunate guy.


Happiness is having a partner who loves traveling....even if her mother- and father-in-law come along. I know many people could never travel with their parents, and I know that am unworthily blessed. My parents are energetic, flexible, enthusiastic, appreciative, positive, and willing to immerse themselves in the cultures of the places they visit. They are more fun than most people half their ages!

The four of us have been on three European trips together:

First trip: Madrid, Segovia, Zaragoza, Barcelona, Granada, Jerez de la Frontera, Ronda & Pueblos Blancos, and Sevilla.

Second trip: London, Inverness, Scottish Highlands, Isle of Skye, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Bruges, Brussels, and Antwerp.

Third trip: Amsterdam, Antwerp, and Munich [during Oktoberfest]

Our Travel Philosophy

Travel appreciatively...realize not everyone has the time/health/resources to do it.

Travel not only to be entertained, but also to learn about the world around you.

Get out of your "comfort zone"...be adventurous, try new foods, meet new people.

At the very least, learn the "polite" words in each destination's local language.

Not sure how to do things? Spend a few minutes observing the locals.

Patronize locally-owned rather than multinational enterprises; you'll have a more authentic experience.

Treat locals and other visitors with respect; most of them will treat you likewise.


McD, Burger King, etc. are good for one thing: a usually fairly clean, usually free WC!! ;-)

Our Travel Planner

Zorra the travel planner organizes our trips. She's pretty shrewd at finding bargains, interesting locations and enjoyable activities.

However, I am getting a little worried...I just got a bill for a large shipment from rodents.com, which I guess had been ordered at 0200 in the morning. I wonder how that happened, and sure enough, the security camera identified the culprit! I'm not sure if catnip causes the munchies, but since reducing her catnip ration and changing our userid/password, we've had no more problems.

Life at Home - Simple Pleasures are the Best

It's funny, I have never owned a new car and have have only bought a few pieces of new furniture, but I have traveled to quite a few places. To me, each journey builds experiences and the desire to go traveling again soon!

We lead pretty simple lives: riding bikes along the Rio Grande [see our tiny black rat dog in the front basket], hiking in the nearby mountains, enjoying a meal outside in the evening, growing fruits and vegetables [most of which we give to friends and neighbors], and helping the older people in our neighborhood.

Our home is simple, but has many reminders of other places....posters of Roma, decorative tiles from Sevilla, beer glasses from Belgium and the Czech Republic.....so many happy memories!


Those four words make Irene nervous. Of course, I jokingly remind her that it is much better than hearing "COME BAIL ME OUT [of jail]" he he he.

I have a lot of hobbies [in addition to traveling]; a few of these are: foreign languages [Spanish, Portuguese, some Italian, now trying to learn French], woodworking [with old tools bought at the flea market], refinishing furniture, ceramic tilework, auto mechanics, gardening/landscaping, curing olives, making ice cream, hiking, biking...and a myriad of home improvement activities. Recently I bought an old pottery kiln [at the flea market, of course] and plan to begin making my own ceramic tiles.

Irene is pretty patient with my hobbies, and like in the picture, she even helps me crank the ice cream....maybe she's just glad that I'm not a TV addict or barfly.

  • Intro Updated Nov 7, 2010
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Albuquerque, New Mexico
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