Hey, it beats hitchhiking

Barring an unforeseen delay, Bob and Betty Matases probably will have arrived in Sedona, Ariz., by the time you read this. Well, that's nice, you say, but so what? Oh, nothing – other than the fact that they've chosen the resort town as their retirement destination and that they traveled there all the way from New York ... by taxi. The odyssey started because neither Bob, a former audio/video engineer, nor Betty, who worked as an executive assistant, has a driver's license. Flying was ruled out because of worry about how their cats would react to crossing the country at 35,000 feet in pet carriers. The solution presented itself as cabbie Douglas Guldeniz was returning the couple to their home after some shopping a few weeks ago. They took an immediate liking to him and, on a whim, asked if he'd be interested in a slightly longer trip. "Sure," he said. "This job isn't easy, and I'd like to do something different; I want some good memories." So they negotiated a fare of $3,000, plus the driver's meals and lodging and fuel for the taxi. At that, the 2,500-mile journey still was a bargain; it would have cost the Matases an estimated $5,000 if they'd paid the meter rate. And that's just outbound; Guldeniz's return would have doubled the cost. Along the way they stopped for the night in Allentown, Pa.; Bristol, Tenn.; North Little Rock, Ark.; Shamrock, Texas; Grants, N.M.; and Flagstaff, Ariz. No word on what happens should Guldeniz decide he also likes Sedona well enough to stay.

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