After learning that I'd been taken off of chemo in August, my dearest high school friend Sheri (a cancer warrior goddess herself), put her foot down. We'd been trying to firm up plans all year to reunite, but this news would accelerate things.
Karen was able to get us a 3-bedroom condo at the timeshare property where she works, so I stayed the week with Sheri in Vail. We didn't do much other than talk, eat, drink, and relax in the resort's huge hot tubs.
But one afternoon, we did summon the energy for a trip up to Independence Pass, elevation 12,000 feet. Cold and windy up there, but we kept grinning!
It was a wonderful week, and one I won't forget anytime soon. It likely might be our last visit together in-person, so dropping Sheri off for her departing flight was pretty emotional for us both.
As Labor Day rolled around, plans for my final bucket list travels started to ramp up. My original bucket list used to be huge (every iconic world photo location!), but a final list now had to be very different. I couldn't plan too far ahead (for obviously health reasons), couldn't go anywhere too remote (needing to maintain access to an E/R and my health insurance), and I'd have to have someone accompany me on the trip or be at the destination (someone to help me if I have an emergency).
Lots of destination ideas started springing up, but the first place I knew I had to visit was....home. Sweet home, Chicago.
For this visit, while I'd be spending most time with my stepsisters and cleaning out the remaining couple of boxes I had stored at Carol's house, I also wanted to see another dear long-time friend, Carla.
Carla works full-time and takes care of her elderly mother the rest of the time. When she learned of my cancer recurrence, she wanted so badly to come see me. But there's absolutely no way for her to travel without major planning for her mom's care while she's gone. So this trip to Chicago was a chance for me to come visit Carla.
She certainly made the trip worth my while! Carla's company is one of the major sponsors of the Chicago Cubs, and her connections landed us 2 seats behind home plate for a sold-out Friday night game against the Brewers.
I hadn't been to Wrigley since the new buildings and park area have gone up. Really nice new area for hanging out before or after the game.
The new hotel across from the Wrigley entrance looks almost ready for opening.
In our seats waiting for the action to start!
It was a beautiful night for a ballgame. Not too hot or cold.
Go Cubs Go!
But sadly, on this night, the Cubbies lost 2-0. We took my sad Cubs Fan face and headed home.
To console myself over the Cubs loss, I filled up on all my Chicago favorite foods the rest of the weekend-- Italian Beef sandwiches from Portillo's and deep dish pizza from Lou Malnati's. Oh my goodness, if you've never had either, it's worth a plane ticket to Chicago just to get some! But, thankfully, you can also now order it online for air shipment too from Tastes of Chicago.
As I headed back to Colorado, my suitcase would not stay unpacked for long. Karen had finalized arrangements for 2 more of my bucket list trips-- a trip to southwestern Colorado to see the aspen colors and ride the Durango-Silverton narrow gauge railroad; and a 2-week trip to visit my final 50th state (if you're a WinnieViews Facebook fan, you already know which one it is)!