Greetings, neighbors. On our journey for this edition of Ken’s Korner, we are NOT going back in time other than to the beginning of October 2020. My beloved wife and I took one of the craziest trips in our forty-plus years. I think you will agree with this estimation.

We have been blessed by God with one grandson who lives with our son and daughter-in-law in New Mexico. His first birthday celebration was being planned, and most of our immediate family was going to be there. The celebration should have corresponded with the annual balloon fiesta, but our current health emergency shut that down for the most part.

Rather than fly over, a fun idea started racing around in my head about driving over to the birthday party and then doing some site seeing on the way home. We were supposed to have done a cruise to Panama Canal, but COVID killed those plans. Monument Valley was only some two hundred miles or so northwest off our driving route. Monument Valley is where so many western movies have been filmed over the years, especially several old John Wayne motion pictures. Plus, we could stop by the south rim of the Grand Canyon on the way home. Sweet!

After checking out a route and figuring out the whole Monument Valley visitor thing, I was ready to put a deposit on a cabin. Next would have been to arrange a tour while there with one of the approved companies. The Valley is part of an Indian reservation, so you must have a guide.

Then I received a very special invitation from a friend and brother in Jesus who moved to South Carolina in Sept. 2019. Bobby was going to be married on Oct. 10 on the beach in Myrtle Beach. He asked if there was some way we could attend and play a role in his special day with Bobby and his new wife-to-be. After checking with some others in our church here, we decided we could be there and made those plans. The Monument Valley trip would have to wait.

This is where things are going to get a lot crazier. Susan and I would leave Patterson on Sept. 30 to head for Sacramento, where we would fly out on Oct. 1. Before returning home on Oct. 12, we would sleep in seven different beds, stay in five different hotels, rent three different vehicles in three different cities/states and fly on eight different planes through eight different airports before returning back to Sacramento.

It gets even better. We had four destination cities for this coast to coast to coast trip. The airlines which we use (and will remain nameless) changed our four major legs of our flights six times, which caused rental car reservations and our long-term parking to be changed multiple times plus one additional night in a hotel. Are you dizzy yet? We were!

The birthday celebration was a total blast. Being a grandpa is everything I was told it would be and a little more. That little guy is so much fun, and he loves his Pops. While the balloon fiesta was canceled, the one morning, we still were able to see some twenty-seven balloons in the air at one time. It was still something to see.

Here is another fun memory we were able to make. Our son, who graduated from Patterson High School, is now serving a church in the Naples, Florida area. We were able to spend two nights with him and his wife before heading for South Carolina. On my birthday, we went swimming in the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, a first for Susan and me. Two days later, we were in the Atlantic Ocean, enjoying the warm waters off Myrtle Beach. On Oct. 19, we drove to Carmel by the Sea, where we waded into the Pacific Ocean just because we could, but did not stay in the fifty-nine-degree water very long. The Patterson Hasekamps were in all three salt-water seas which surround the continuous forty-eight states in a twelve-day period of time. A trifecta of salt-seas if you would.

Bobby and Jessicca are now married and enjoying their new lives together. Many of you will remember Bobby’s very special Ford pickup truck, which is a one of a kind. Please note the picture of it with me standing next to it outside of the wedding reception. It is enjoying life in South Carolina now, along with Bobby’s rather loud Harley motorcycle.

Most of the time, I am not ready for a trip to be over. We enjoy travel. This time, both of us could not wait to get home, unpack, and just stay home for a while. The next trip is only weeks away, and we are ready for it…we think!

Some have asked, “Weren’t you scared of COVID-19 with all this travel?” No, not at all, But for the record, I was home for ten days, exposed to the virus, and caught it. I traveled some seven thousand miles safely and caught COVID-19 less than three miles from our home. Lots of irony there.

By the time you read this, I will be “enjoying” my final day of isolation due to my positive virus status. More on surviving COVID another time. As always, God was very good to us.

Thanks for reading this, neighbor. Stay healthy. Enjoy the day!

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