Monday, December 31, 2012

Boots, Juice, Chicken, Hawks and Mountains

We are now more than halfway to Los Angeles. Three days of 8 hours or more in the car, climbing mountains - Blue Ridge; counting hawks (26); crossing rivers (today it was the Mississippi and maybe the Arkansas?), and collecting states - have added Tennessee and Arkansas to the list.

Spent some time in Nashville, where I walked south Broadway at night with scores of NC State fans as they got ready for the "Music City Bowl" game; made a quick trip to the Farmer's Market this morning finding fabulously fresh and spicy tomato juice, and Memphis en route -  where we caught our first glimpse of the Mississippi and ate GREAT fried Chicken via take out from Gus's World Famous Fried Chicken. (Sweet Potato Pie on deck)

Saturday, December 29, 2012

(S)no(w) Delay

They say that timing is everything!  Hours before I had planned to depart the East coast for the West, Freyer, a nor'easter, decided that he wanted to make an appearance.  Those of you who know me know that I very rarely pay attention to the weather.  I mean, I live in New England, it's different every minute, if not every hour - so why bother?!

I'd spent a lovely evening with close friends, saying "see you in April"; had a very rough night's sleep and after taking a quick peek at the radar this morning, it occurred to me that I could wait a day, get some sleep, enjoy the storm cuddled on the couch, knitting... But then, I was born in New England - a few flakes couldn't slow me down. So we packed up the last of the boxes into the car; assigned a few last minute tasks to those staying behind; grabbed breakfast with Joey and hit the road by 11 am - just as the first flakes started to fall.

It was a very easy day - hopefully an omen of more to come.  Made great time through five states - no real traffic to speak of, snow ended by Exit 8 on the NJ Tpke,  spent a small fortune on tolls ( over $25 between CT- MD)crossed the Delaware, Susquehana and Shenandoah rivers (and yes, I did sing), missed the Blue Ridge Mountains and Shenandoah Valley due to darknesss,  made two stops - mostly for Emmy and landed at the Staunton, VA Best Western by 7:45pm.

We're checked in, both fed, Emmy's sound asleep, I'm watching trashy tv and perusing tomorrow's schedule.  Next stop - Nashville!  (dining suggestions??)

Friday, December 21, 2012

Beaches, Maps and Gyros

I love to drive.  No, really.  I think it's in my DNA.

As a child in the 60's-70's I remember lots of "long" trips in the car with my father:

  • Two hours to NYC where on the way in we would stop in the Bronx at a White Castle for a sack o' sliders and then, after walking around Rockefeller Center to see "The Tree", hit the Baronet/Coronet Diner on the upper East Side for exotic Greek treats - Gyros and Baklava.
  • Barely waking up on a summer Sunday morning, to be packed and ready to go at what I now refer to as "o'dark thirty" for the ride to Misquamicut Beach in Rhode Island, where by 8am the car was parked directly adjacent to the sand.  My sister and I spent hours building sand castles, swimming in the surf (the "real" ocean - no Long Island Sound beach, this); eating salami sandwiches on white bread  and ultimately getting so sunburned that no amount of Solarcaine could help. (oh, how we suffered, lobster red - shivering with sun poisoning!)

  • Then there was the trip to Chicago - driving west from Connecticut, one adult and two little girls, straight through.  I honestly don't remember that we stopped to rest - 14 hours... singing show tunes... the Music Man's "Gary, Indiana", as we passed through this depressed steel town to visit the extended family of aunts, uncles and cousins. (and yes, a pilgrimage to another White Castle - do you see a theme here?)

My grandparents were avid travelers - world wide - in the 60's when that was a true luxury.  Grandma in heels and pearls, Grandpa in a suit an tie, jetting off to Europe, bringing back wooden shoes and Dolls of the World to add to our collection.  But we drove, and a blank US map was around to help us memorize the states and figure out where we'd been/were going.  I think about that map today, and how many states I've traveled to/through.  While I'm not sure that I'm able to complete the Mountain time zone (apologies to Erica and the states of Montana, Wyoming, North/South Dakota, Idaho), I'm looking forward to coloring in Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Arizona.

I've made treks alone (and/or with the dog) to Wisconsin and South Carolina - enjoying the time in the car; the freedom to stop and explore; the vastness of the mid West.  But those trips were chump change compared to the 3,000+ miles I'll be logging.   My M.O. is to drive until I'm tired - but finding lodging, especially with the pup, is often a challenge.  A friend has recommended that I set goals of reaching particular places so I can make reservations - I think I will. (Thanks, Lisa!)

I'm not going to rush -  taking six days seems doable and allows for a swing through Nashville and maybe Memphis; a wave to Bill and Hill's Little Rock; a  stop at the Oklahoma City memorial; good grub in Texas; a soak in a Santa Fe hot tub; a visit with a friend in Flagstaff and rolling into LA county in daylight on or around January 4th.

Time to load the iPod, pack the snacks and print the trip tik - I've only got a week left!

Sunday, December 16, 2012


It's starting to set in - I am actually leaving my home for a few months.

I have been known to shake up my world every decade or so - usually with everything in a truck going ahead of me.  This time it's temporary - maybe 3 months.

Packing for a different climate and preparing for someone else to live in your home during this time comes with it's own set of challenges! (which some of you have experienced first hand) Personal photos on the walls/shelves have to come down; closets and cabinets need to be cleared and stored; which clothes and household items to ship/carry/leave must be determined and dealt with, and of course,  some cleaning has to happen - it's a bit overwhelming.

I've also started to say "see ya'" to friends - hard.  Sure, it's my emotional state with everything that's going on in my immediate life and around me causing me to tear up so easily (thoughts to those in Newtown, CT and beyond) - but difficult nonetheless.  I'm reminded of how lucky I am to have this core group of amazing people in my life - many for almost 30 years - and how grateful I am that they are willing to store boxes, foster plants, absorb some of the food in my freezer and support me emotionally on this journey.

SO, 9 days before Christmas, surrounded by different types of boxes this year, I will try to squeeze in some last-minute handcrafted gifts to show my love and appreciation, try to make headway on the long list of things to be done before blast off and keep reminding myself to BREATHE.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Countdown to California... 16 days 'til departure

It's happening - I'm relocating to San Pedro, CA for a few months to do a little work with my cousin, Michael, in his veterinary practice, and spend some time with my West Coast family.  The last time I blogged, was when I attended Michael's wedding to Shanna in September of 2009, which I tied in with a drive up PCH through Big Sur to Santa Cruz.

I will be driving cross-country, via the southern route, I-40.  I expect to take about a week, driving a minimum of 6-8 hours a day.  As of today, the route looks like this:

Hope you'll come along for the ride!