I am not a big fan of kicking off the new year with headaches or the making of resolutions as these seem to be  an ideal way to ensure a sense of failure tinged with a bit a depression at some point in the coming twelve months. Instead, my dearest friend and I have developed two traditions to ensure that a new year starts on the right foot.
The first of these traditions is a grand adventure at some point in the month of January. Once it was to climb Amboy Crater, on another it was an adventure out to Kelso. 
This year, thanks to friends and associates in the Netherlands, we take that tradition to a whole new level. I hope to see you next Saturday afternoon at de Prael in Amsterdam.  
The next tradition has its origins rooted in practicality. As I have a tendency to use and, or wear, things until they are one and a half steps beyond worn out, we replace one of those items every new years. On occasion a few of these items, such as hats, are merely moved down the line. 
Now, hats and caps have been an integral part of my life for at least a half century and in recent years the former has become my trademark, literally. 
In the thirty plus years that my dearest friend and I have been sharing the adventure of life together, only one hat was fully retired from service, and that was a Stetson purchased new by a previous owner in 1948 at a Phoenix tack and saddle shop, and never worn. 
Now, as my hats age and begin to mirror the adventures, the miles, and the passing of time, they are moved from something worn in public when meeting with respectable folks, to something only seen around the campfire or on long desert hikes. So, this year as the tradition of adventure will be one of epic proportions, it was decided that the second half of our new years celebration would include an “out with the old, in with the new” replacement of equal proportions. 
As my current “dress hat” is sun bleached four or five shades lighter than when purchased, and is starting to show its age, the search for a suitable replacement commenced last week. Through the miracle of the internet, I found a little store in Pattison, Texas selling discontinued Stetson hats. 
The rest, as they say (who ever they are), is history. The new year will begin with a grand adventure and a hat worthy of that odyssey. 
The schedule for the rest of the weekend, and the next few days, is rather full as we count down the hours until the adventure begins. There is the first draft of the current book to polish and a photo file to complete (I am still need of pictures suitable for use as illustrations). Captions will be written on our return. 
The adventure in packing will commence as we plan on traveling with only a carry on bag, and camera bag. Can we do it? Stay tuned for details on that one.
As always, there will be a number of loose ends to resolve at the office. There is also the need to answer correspondence, ensure the caretaker (aka our son) has everything he needs, print out our boarding passes, check out the Jeep for the drive to the airport in Las Vegas, and make another valiant attempt to find the archives for Acme Newspictures.
So, its time to get to work – 
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