South by Southwest

th-54We made it to Tampa International Airport with time to spare…a well coordinated effort starting with timely pick ups by Patti and Jane and Patty in Patti’s car…first Jean, then Julie and finally Trudi.  We were tightly wedged into one car with all of our items as we pulled in to the final pick up at Trudi’s house.  Five gals, Five carry-ons, Five back packs.  And Trudi arrived proudly on her front porch to greet us and wheeled out three large suitcases.  We laughed and laughed when she FINALLY revealed that she really only had one carry-on but just wanted to see what we would say!  We were thrilled to all be together…

Next came the unbelievable realization that we really really are doing this.  We really are.  I’m writing from Chicago.  It’s 1:15 am on Saturday..the day that will hopefully end with a few miles of Route 66 under our belts.  Today.

We arrived at TIA and made our way to the Southwest IMG_3947ticket counter to check our luggage.  We were surprised to find that Moffitt Cancer Center had sent a representative, Katie,  to greet us us and to give us Moffitt t-shirts and well wishes and lovely hugs.  A surprise to all of us!  Such a wonderful gesture from the folks who really have done so much to ensure that our Patty is here with us…thank you so much to Katie and Moffitt!  This was the first of many surprises the day held…

We left Katie in order to check our luggage and as we went a woman yelled from the up escalator, “Hope you guys get to meet ELLEN!!!”  None of us knew her.  The power of social media?  Perhaps Ellen’s stylist?

We boarded our Southwest flight in the traditional way…standing in line waiting and chatting with other passengers many of whom were interested in our matching shirts.  We revelled in explaining that the keys around our necks were keys to our city of Bradenton gifted to us just the day before by our Mayor!  Patty passed out our pancreatic purple bracelets that have our blog name embossed on them.


The flight attendant made a brief announcement about six gals who were traveling on a special trip on Route 66 and off we went.

When hikers on the Appalachian Trail come across gifts of food or drink left along the trail they call such things TRAIL MAGIC.  Locals are known to leave coolers of beer, or boxes of sandwiches at the cross points of the trail with town roads.  These are kindnesses that are just appreciated so much by the hikers.  The Sixtahs are benefitting from Trail Magic too.

At the end of our flight one of the flight attendants brought over a stack of napkins with beautiful messages that had been written for Patty by the staff on the plane but also by passengers…



A stack of beautiful messages from people who don’t know Patty.

While we are hit every day with terrible world, state and even local news that makes us question where the good is in the world, here is proof that there is good all around us.  All around.  It’s so easy to watch and do nothing, but these lovely people wrote meaningful messages to a stranger



Can you believe it?  It was just a fantastic moment.  The messages are handwritten treasure filled with wishes for a safe and wonderful Route 66 trip.  Many of the writers shared about family members who are also fighting cancer…and when the passengers disembarked from the plane many stopped to say hello, to shake hands with Patty, to share a thought.  We chuckled when one gal stopped briefly to wish Patty a Happy Birthday!  She might have misunderstood, but she sure wasn’t going to miss out on spreading some cheer…as the gal moved on Patty said, “I’ll take it!”

Bags are free on Southwest Airlines.  Kindness is also free.  And we’re taking that kindness with us as we hit the Mother Road tomorrow…we’ll remember our flight and the gals that made the flight special too…

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Finally, It’s my pleasure to introduce you to the final addition to our team…Sparky is now IN THE HOUSE.  Tomorrow we travel south by southwest….

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36 Comments Add yours

  1. Carol Fisher says:

    How exciting! Great way to start your journey. We will be prayin for safe travels and for memories that will last a lifetime. Have fun!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. glad to have you along Carol! ❤


  2. Jamie Thomas says:

    Be safe ladies! I can’t wait to hear about every adventure! One thing is for sure…Route 66 will never be the same It will truly be blessed! Love you all!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes. The napkins… ❤ Thanks for following along with us, Jill ❤


  3. Keeping you in my prayers and thoughts as your wonderful adventure continues Saints Peter and Paul be with you

    Liked by 1 person

  4. mcwhirt4 says:

    Positively overwhelming. An awesome start to your adventure!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Couldn’t agree more. Positively overwhelming.


  5. trawals says:


    Liked by 1 person

  6. Elizabeth says:

    What an awesome start to your trip! I can’t wait to see what other trail magic you come upon.


    1. We feel the SAME way, thanks Elizabeth!


  7. mc swab says:

    You guys are awesome!!! This is FANTASTIC!! I hope I get to do a story on you when you breeze through Tulsa!! Sending love and hugs for the happiest of trails!! The world needs more people like you gals!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Cesare Caldarelli says:

    More Pictures…keep ’em comin’

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We all of the sudden have TONS of pix, we’ll keep ’em coming! Thanks CC!


  9. Terry spokes says:

    All these amazing happenings and it’s only the first day. Can’t wait until tomorrow’s kindness appears. Travel n

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There’s just SO MUCH kindness along the road, Terri…Route 66 too. 🙂 Thanks for following us!


  10. sgbassett says:

    Julie, keep writing and telling Patty’s story. Your friends in RHW are following along.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. How wonderful! My heart is full for my friends from RHW! Glad to have you along SB!


  11. Becky Levengood says:

    Love the shirts, love the blog, love the love being shown by Southwest. and love all of you!!! Keep on traveling!!!!! Praying everyday for all of you!!! Oh, and I love Sparky!!!! ❤️😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Becky, and yes, we agree…Sparky is easy to LOVE! 🙂


  12. Lori Diamant says:

    Oh, my gosh! What an amazing start! The napkins had me bawling. Have fun girls! : )


    1. Thank you so much Lori! <3<3 Thank you for traveling along with us!


  13. Jen Matthias says:

    Love the notes from people!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We do too, Jen, SO MUCH


  14. Jan says:

    What time will you get to STL and where?

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Barb Polis says:

    Thanks for update, keep on trucking, laughing and just have fun and enjoy each other! Love, Barb Polis

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We will keep on trucking sweet Barb! xo Thank you so much.


  16. Patty Turbeville says:

    I wrote to Ellen D. and asked that she consider meeting the sixtysistas! I sent her your blog link too. 🙂 Have fun ladies! We’re all following you! Love, Patty Turbeville

    Liked by 1 person

    1. How wonderful, thanks patty! So glad to have you with us!


  17. lynchlines says:

    Reblogged this on Smelling the flowers and commented:
    Please follow this witty blog by my dear friend Julie as she and her five friends travel Route 66 to help their friend Patty cross that off her bucket list as she battles pancreatic cancer! You go girls! You rock!


  18. lynchlines says:

    I love the celebrity status you all had on the flight and that the other passengers sent such thoughtful messages to Patty. Have a great time you guys. I wrote about your adventure on my blog yesterday. Here’s the link:


  19. Marilyn Phillips says:

    Beautiful memories of a celebrity status flight! Can’t wait to read more of the adventures to come!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad to have you along, Marilyn!


  20. Jackie V.O. says:

    Move over!! more gal riding along via this amazing blog!!! 😉 You all are an inspiration and much needed lesson in kindness, love and most of all..friendship!! Keep on truckin!…errr…SUV’in!! Lots of hugs and prayers!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad to have you aboard!


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