In November last year, I wrote a blog post entitled “Saturday Mornings with Daddy.” I shared how much I appreciated hearing from my 86 year old dad when he would call me from Arizona on FaceTime each week. This was usually after his 20-mile bike ride from where he lives in Scottsdale to Tempe and back. He bikes three days a week and does workouts and laps in the pool the other three days. Every.Single.Week!
I ended the post with a desire to be with him in person and then go on a bike ride together. Of course, this dream would only be possible if and when we were all vaccinated and it was safe to travel. Now that I’m retired, my wish just came true.
During a few days on what my husband called “Barb’s graduation trip” to Arizona, we were able to spend time with my dad and stepmother between rounds of golf and hiking. We enjoyed a delicious lunch they prepared at their condo and then had a chance to catch up. Another night we took them to dinner at a wonderful Thai restaurant in Old Town Scottsdale.
The highlight of my week was renting two bikes for me and my husband. We picked them up the night before we hit the amazing trail system between Scottsdale and Tempe with Daddy. We got up bright and early the next morning and were on our bikes by 7 a.m. The highs even in April were hitting 96 degrees and we were coming from 39 degrees in Washington so earlier is better.
My dad is an amazing inspiration! In fact, even though we are over 20 years younger than him, he kicked our butts. We couldn’t keep up with him. It gives me hope that with his level of commitment I can get into better aerobic shape after sitting in a home office this past year.
He served as our tour guide and took us up hills and down, over bridges and through underpasses. We kept falling behind and he was surprised we couldn’t catch him. He even had to slow down and let us take some water breaks.
We road through parks, golf courses, and town centers. The rocks of Papago Park and along the canal system that feeds into the man-made lake in Tempe were just a few of my favorite scenic spots. The campus and the bike trails around Arizona State University is a diverse and vibrant place that had lots of students jogging, biking, and riding on scooters.
After three hours we were hot, tired, and hungry. Daddy took us to breakfast at Randy’s for some old-fashioned comfort food. We went back to his condo and put on our swimsuits and floated in the pool for several hours.
I am so grateful for this time with him. I can’t remember having such an opportunity to truly relax with my Dad. Usually, when we are together at holidays with the noise of kids running around, meals to prepare, and dishes to do, we don’t really get to talk.
Retirement is giving me precious time with those I love, a chance to explore and have adventures. I can’t think of anything I would rather be doing than “Riding Bikes with Daddy.” I hope I can do it again this winter.
Barbara is the new star of the Rock Your Retirement show! For one year, she'll let Kathe Kline tag along as she goes through her retirement journey.
Sounds like a magical day.
Thanks so much Karen, it really was magical for me. After being separated for so long, having time to spend with my daddy was so healing. The pandemic has taught me that life is short and I need to make the most of the time I have with my loved ones.