Just over one year ago, I retired with heady plans for rest, relaxation and travel! The rest and relaxation were immediate, and very, very satisfying. Travel, apart from one family reunion, was put off for awhile, but Gary and I did take our first trip with friends, a golf outing to Riudoso, NM, via Carlsbad, last week. It started out well. We headed west, stopping for breakfast at the Smoke Stack, in Thurber, Texas. (Population, 5) From there we drove to Carlsbad and spent the afternoon exploring the caverns. We spent the night at a motel in Carlsbad and at about two a.m., I wakened with a scratchy throat and dull awareness that I was coming down with something not good. The next day, we shopped and had lunch in Cloudcroft then proceeded to our condo in Ruidoso. My malaise became markedly worse as the day progressed, to the point where once we got to the condo, I headed to bed with the first of many boxes of Kleenex and every variety of cold/allergy/pain medication I could lay my hands on. By dinnertime, I was running fever, had a headache and body aches, could not catch my breath, and pathetically mopped a constant flow of runny eye and nose fluids. The next day and the day after were the same. Nothing I took helped. As I suffer from allergies, I am convinced there was something in the caverns that set my histamines raging. This was exacerbated, I learned later, by high altitude sickness – hence the aches and pulmonary trials. The last day, I was well enough to go to breakfast and do a mere hour of shopping. Once we headed for home, I improved rapidly as the elevation dropped. By the time we drove across the state line, I was almost completely well. Since I basically missed this vacation, I am eagerly anticipating the next – some locale that does not include mountains or caverns.