Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Can I Write It Off?

Posted by Linda

I’ve never written off my office expenses or travel expenses when I’ve followed up with articles about our journeys whether we traveled in the States or overseas. But this is the second article I’ve written about this trip. Can I write it off?
            We hit the road on Monday morning to celebrate Uncle John’s 100th birthday on July 4th and hopefully find cleaner, smoke free air. When we left Fort Collins, a haze hugged the mountains and obscured the view all the way to Cheyenne. We stopped at our favorite gas station to fill up and smelled the smoke.
One hundred sixty miles into Nebraska, we lunched at a rest stop where a faint smell of smoke wafted around us on a heavy breeze. As we approached Iowa, a newscaster predicted a sunset more orange than normal because of Colorado fires and smoke.           
            Sure enough the orange sun, still above the horizon at 8 pm before we dined in Des Moines, proved the newscaster knew of what he spoke. At last, we left the smoke behind somewhere in Minnesota as we headed north to flood ravaged Duluth.
            Today we leave early so we can find a parking spot, walk to Main Street, and watch the parade. While Uncle John rides as Grand Marshall Emeritus in the parade, my husband’s friends and family will find us on the same corner by Roosevelt’s bar where we’ve stood off and on for the last 47 years in the northern “Iron Range” town of Eveleth. Amid handshakes, hugs, and conversations, we will again connect with those we haven’t seen in at least a year or in some cases much longer.  
            There is nothing like the patriotism of small towns. The same parade of politicians, clowns, Taconite tractors, firetrucks, old cars, and high school bands stagger their time over several days and parade down the main street of each nearby small town.  
            We drove almost 1,000 miles one way in two days, spend nights in two hotels, ate restaurant dinners, and then returned by the same route. Can I write off my part of the trip and the pajamas I forgot the first night on the road? Will a write-off send a red flag to the IRS?

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