DOWNSHIFTERS' DIARY: And so our Great Adventure begins...

With the job in Washington behind me, it's time to move west.

My wife, a/k/a The Timid Traveler, and I have long planned to retire in the Pacific Northwest. It's an area we love and which is close to our kids so, with our house sold and the job in DC ended (a story for another time), we decided the time was right to move back.

While we're not yet ready to completely retire, we are ready to become "downshifters" and take life a little easier. We will still work - though perhaps not as hard or at jobs that are as high-powered - and we'll take more time to simply enjoy the many wonderful things life has to offer.

Our adventure will start as soon as we've turned the keys to the house in Indianapolis over to the new owners. Then, in the spirit of Willie Nelson, we'll be "On the Road Again."

Our plan is to take several weeks crisscrossing the country as we head west, visiting friends and family, seeing sights and sipping wine along the way. It'll mean many nights in hotels, and lots to blog about here on TheTravelPro.

Currently en route from DC to Indianapolis, I'm ensconced in a Hampton Inn in Somerset, PA. I got on the road about 4:00 in the afternoon and, facing a drive of more than 11 hours, wasn't inclined to push on through. As if to confirm my decision, the windshield wipers on the rental truck gave up the ghost in a driving rain about two miles from the exit off the Pennsylvania Turnpike I'd intended to take anyway.

So here I sit.

Not a bad place, really. Not luxe, but not exactly Motel 6, either. And, Lord willing, either tomorrow will be dry or the rental agency will have a branch here in town, I'll move my possessions to a new truck, and will hit the road again.

If not -- more adventures to write about. Stay tuned!

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