Originally published Monday, January 7, 2019 at 07:31p.m.

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These were just a few of the Canada geese that Outdoor Writer Don Martin saw on his trip to Oklahoma. (Photo by Don Martin)

Taking a trip out of state to visit family and friends not only strengthens the bonds between us, but also produces a lot of new and exciting memories.

I recently returned from a trip to Oklahoma to see my son, Jimmy, his wife, Shannon, and my two awesome grandsons, Logan and Jace.

Jimmy and I have a unique bond that is really hard to describe. Being over a thousand miles from him is tough, but we chat on the phone often, and I get to keep up on what’s going on with him and the family.

When I’m there, it is uplifting to my spirit, and I cherish the memories that are made.

After arriving in Oklahoma City and being well-known to be consumed by the great outdoors, it was only right we started off my visit with a trip to Cabela’s in Oklahoma City.

I had received some gift cards at Christmas from friends for this mega outdoor store, and I needed to pick up a few things. Plus, I actually got to hold a new Ravin crossbow and admire how technology has improved these things to almost rifle-grade accuracy out to 100 yards.

I had the opportunity to actually shoot it in the range, but decided against it. That bow costs over $2,000, and I was afraid if I shot it I’d be tempted to buy it. So Jimmy took a photo of me with it and then moved on.

Since the boys were out of school we decided we would go to a hunting lease that Jimmy and a couple of his friends have near Wetumka, Oklahoma.

Logan had a special youth antlerless deer tag, and I wanted to bring home some good eating whitetail to complement the mule deer meat one of my hunters had given to me.

During the 75-mile trip to the lease, I got sick and that resulted in me spending a lot of time on a 5-gallon bucket while at the same time inhaling a lot of petroleum-filled camp fire smoke. That led to an upper respiratory infection that resulted in a trip to urgent care back there and ultimately in Kingman, too.

Sadly, Logan didn’t get a deer, but it really didn’t matter. While we sat in a cold stand watching a feeder, we didn’t see any wildlife at all. Driving around the lease we did see three does and a pair of mallards on a pond.

I’ve never been on a private lease where they have game feeders, and it was interesting to see how they actually work. The feeders had interactive cameras on them, and Jimmy and his friends can actually see the deer anytime day or night they were at those feeders. I told Jimmy game feeders like those weren’t allowed in Arizona, and the use of those interactive trail cameras were also prohibited. That’s just some of the differences between our states’ hunting regulations.

When it came to waterfowl, we saw a lot. There were ducks and geese in a lot of farm ponds we drove by on the way back to Jimmy’s home in Edmond, and we watched three flocks of Canada geese feed on a church lawn less than a mile from Jimmy’s home.

On the day my visit was coming to an end, and while on the way to the airport, we watched as about 500 Canada geese winged their way over the freeway toward a nearby field to feed.

The cold and wet weather (3 ½ inches of rain fell in one day at Jimmy’s house) meant that for the first time, I didn’t get to fish in the pond behind Jimmy’s house with the boys. But that’s OK.

Despite all of these sometimes negative events, I really did enjoy the trip. Family is the most important thing to me, and the older I get the more I realize that.

None of us are going to live forever, and we need to appreciate all the time that we are given to make memories with our loved ones.

During our tearful goodbyes, Jimmy suggested I move back there and retire.

Part of me thinks that is a great idea. To be close to Jimmy and his family at this time in my life sounds really nice.

But then another part of me knows I have many friends and family in Arizona, and Kingman is a place I cherish and call home. I have business interests here that would be hard to walk away from.

So at this point, it looks like Kingman and Arizona will still be home to me, at least for another year, but I’m already trying to figure out how I can get back to Oklahoma later this spring.

Jimmy says they have turkeys on his lease and spending some time in a blind with him and the grandsons sound like a really good idea to me.