Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Cliff Notes...

Here we are. Over two years after the roadtrip ended. And I still haven't finished writing the story down. I have, however, just now finished typing up the notes that I started taking during the trip when I stopped blogging. There's a little bit of repetition at the beginning, but after Maine everything is new. Everything is word for word what I wrote at the time, whether I remember what it meant or not, except for any notes in [brackets]. Those are present-day-me (as of May 26, 2011) commenting. Have fun trying to decipher!

MA: Greena, church, Diana;

ME: “junk” store, ME pretty, Lynn, Sandy River General Store, emotional, wise/helpful/anger/let go/love mom, Jeremy WA, morning parted :’( /awake kinda, electricity out --> nap (lol), left, gas station, up road? sure?, waiting, Pat, Jerry, Ally --> tug, pics of all, charm, steak dinner, splits (yum!), Bangor, book/thighmaster --> older guy, Dover/gma/funny --> dog 8 years to 6 years but not 2/looks/gpa came in/”for Christ’s sakes” lol Pat said, small talk but nice --> Gemini sign/left, Pat & I shared/bonded, Jerry changed oil/fuse :D --> Hannah’s Subarus, got cars, home then Bville Jnc, Gpa’s/mom’s house/pics/small town, back home, Pat store, both home --> Kylia (sp?) for moose but none, home/dinner (yum! again), joking/friends :), tv, bed, kiss on forehead, dog barking/coyote? moose?, gas station/drama :), old man spandex boxing dress shoes, lighthouse, Acadia/pretty, Pat on bed/chatting, called Debbie, said bye, meet Deb/stories, Smith’s/Martin?/shirts;

NH: Middlesex, pretty drive (again);

VT: Stowe “mtn,” Burlington, hotel, dinner, Bham vibe, early bed/H[ot] C[hocolate], still rushing, bfast/ warm milk, Muddy Waters/cold HC, co-op/jobs/Whistler sticker, Burton?/ask/found/pics, Vergennes/ lunch, Middlebury/bookstore/Alpine/Dave lol/Breadloaf/Rob Frost/same air/creepy, back to NY/bridge closed, Borders stop, cabin, movie/freaky, cabin/bad vibe/all night drive, 24 hrs!, sunrise over Atlantic/random/bad directions [Long Island], Han annoyed/I slept & drooled;

PA: A[dam] & C[hristina]’s/no answer -->Shawnee Gnl Store (again), [note found], pump bad -->mom’s house, 10ish mile walk (woops)/thru woods/up hill :P, Fern Gully, dinner, bingo/Geana, Zoe, Warren, read/crash on couch, morning/church?!/not feelin’ it/good message, Home Depot/nope, home/nap 4 me;

CT: YWAM/time Δ, goodbyes, White Castle, donuts, New Haven, Rebecca (Illinois?) & Olivia (Arkansas) kitchen chat, txt/stranger, Jeff Pratt/convo/in house, updates, stuck in bathroom/rescued @ 5am, love146/peeing from armpits/great!;

NY: Nickleback/”whine whine whine,” dark tunnel/Han glasses forgot/lights on car;

MD: “Maryland, Maryland, Maryland”;

VA/DC: Kim, Vince, Karlyn, Sierra, Trinity, rad [orange] polish, rest & Arlington, dance in car, no Southeast WH :(, Smiths, Kennedy Center, smile trip, WA plate, Cap tour & LOC (bored & wander), Ben/3rd floor/Mt B aker, WA/snowboard/history/kind & friendly, protests/hat man, air & space, WA mon, rainbow Lincoln, Vince pickup, Fudd[rucker]s/crazy, Fri morn/Han sleep/cards, Holocaust/genocide, Lincoln, Vietnam, home/stuck in lot/traffic --> late :s, mall pickup in [stretch] Hummer/lots of 13-yr-old girls/quiet/loud, night sights, crosswords, Michelle/spiderman/Af. work, sat me slept, hang out --> WV/Maryland/App Trail (short :()/makeout/couple met by Jeff rock, home, scrabble, Han sick/church/suffering/compassion/huge, soccer! --> goal, Mario Kart/movie/late, morning left/hugs, bagels/coffee, Williamsburg/pay?, Aura Lee, candy shop, Han mems/Jamestown/Lamestown;

NC: Katie/Carmen/Sam, sleep in/write/relax, rain tramp [in “hurricane”], dinner/HS sex/preggos/dump cake/movie, siren/tornado?, D sis/awk, Shelby Star/Amy/not there --> note;

SC: Columbia/Hannah/Josh/Erin, Chilis, sml room, Lauren, Glee, awk kid, apples [to apples], ENT, talk to my friends/chill, EarthFare, hangout, donuts, Buffy/Angel/B&B dream, food hunt;

GA: Karen/Pete/Petra/Buddy, college group [at Emory!]/Hunter (superman)/Bob/Ross/Dan/Erin/Lisa/Steph/Marissa/Michelle/Joey/Luke/Tim/Nathan, Daniel(?), Ben Mindy, Alex, Dave, Tuan, Anise(?), Nathan, Mafia, “juggernaut,” city sky view, John Rocket songs, Coke World/high pitch/4D/tasted Beverly :P, MLK/eternal flame, run/talk/stories :), pizza, dog gas & kid with balloon etc (giggles), Ezekiel?/hats/awesome/hands, oil search/store, Stone Mtn/”bike” trail, turk din/Kathleen, playtime/learning, good talk/prayer;

FL: sbucks search, rock out fway friends, “come in behind me” truck guys/4D/wave/goodbye, car leak/guy help, Han sleep/me wake/guys!/NOT cute, Jan & Mike, “sleeptalk,” Han swim/noodle, crosswords, cards, beach!/80°/sun/warm ATLOC, fish, pelican attack, harpoon boys, burn :S, spaghetti, Michigan Rummy?, bike ride/ali[gator]s, oil Δ/sketch/nice, Nancy [Mindy’s mom]/verse/Ps 145:15-16, early/Han slp, dancing woman in car;

AL: beach/sand/sting ray, no sleep;

LA: NOLA!, Donna/Jim/George/Dal!, dinner/Indian/gelato, setup room/hotel, Hook/grocery/games/B & J, fam arrive, sleep (kinda)/ 1:30[am] arrive Cans, early morn/lots ppl, setup/pics/vid/fliers/called in on, [no rain – barely!], lots pple/food gone/Eugene – music-Houston/Gary – pic/Corey Hicks – rap/do nothing but bless 2 D/Reggie – here/Steph – NY/John-Sandra-John-Kasey-Bethy (friend)/Cans!-Steve/Erin/Graeme, Robert, playing with kids/camera, end circle, exhausted, showers next door, laughing with Cans/snoring on vid, groc store, puzzle, milkshake/fries --> fail, fun! night/Steve accidentally farting/ “we’re from WA” guy: “same f*n thing”/tip girl/penguin/ “I just remembered. I don’t know how to get there.” [Steve driving]/mud/lake view/clean up/hilarious/home/talk til 3am/Erin’s story (amazing)/bear (God perfect)/just incredible/ “won’t sleep” 1 min, out next :D lol/cuddle w/bear all night, church (All Nations)/late but calm, Tabitha’s story & dance, great worship & sermon, day w/Lashon/Krong “Krunk” (Cambodia)/Manuel (Columbia)/L’s house/parking L: “Thank you Lord” M (in deep voice): “you’re welcome” LOL/Po-Boy fest/music (Rebirth Brass Band)/strip dance/M’s questions/air drum/beat box in car/French Quarter/beignets/ walking, mon: clean up/goodbyes, Paul’s Café/small bathrm;

MS: Sandy & John/not feel good, tues: job hunting/movies, great convo w/J & S, wed: Townes & Katie/Blind Side attempt/movies, Thxgiving w/MS fam: Mime/Skipper & Terry/Britt/Jeffrey/Jennifer & Ken? & Max? & Page/ J & S/T & K, great food & fun/pool, Mime/piano/John sing, Blind Side/good, writing, Canton Lights, creeper John/candy/ “Ave Maria”/lay on floor, cleaning stuff, football/John cats, church/morning/wine/strict/Sandy --> hell/LOL [b/c me wine?], evening/sneeze/good, woman on comp just kicked out by fiancée & on singles site, Han job/Cell South, me/FCS/Robert George/Devin (air force)/Ashley (finish school)/GiGi (school)/Ian (FL, “martial arts”)/Tabs (40ish?)/Brian (Bellhaven?), housesit/Don/Jen accident/move out/old dog/funny/Winston, meteor/ “random” clearing, thunder storm, move to Shana & Brad’s in boonies/Zeus/Roxy (diaper), Cell South dinner/bar/Fenians, party/Gus/ “toe strap”/puke couch/Christian & Keith/Han bath-pee/Chris-smart/facts/belch/Kelly & Bradley “shining”/David/abstinent/drink/all puked, sick @ work Sunday, deerscetti (yum!), Brad: “Kelly said can just shoot if crazy”/tats/strip club after :), coupon Christianity, McD’s girls/friends (lol) lang, Kashandra/guy/ “kick me” sisters HAHA!, Christmas @ Don’s & Mime/Jen’s, Kayla/ “kooky”/talkative, last days at work/skipper [stalking?], left Jackson --> Skipper’s/New Year’s/fireworks/intolerance/ bathroom write, [sleep] floor idea/bad, North/Pojo/Jennifer/Page/Max/Bear/Boo, kids funny/tramp lips/Guess Who “can’t wead” [when I guessed Page’s person]/Corky’s waiter pic [in KY]/finger bite/max/ “like pink”;

KY: tiny ferry on MS river [to MO], cat sneeze, “Prairie Queen”;

AR: Han’s MONSTER sneeze in car/laughing, Fayetteville, AR/Olivia/CT/Linda & Niel/self sust. house/ “Selah”/dinner (yum)/birds/write/fav author/SNOW/COLD, morning talk;

OK: OK city, motel hunt & barter – studio 61 $40/very nice ppl, real Indians, pizza, awk/cute guy dance @ store, chill night, left early, check engine light (bad timing)/nice rental mechanic peeps (no charge);
TX: Amarillo/Mexican (yum!)/Sbucks & B of A, almost off road 4 lid (lol), tumbleweed!, giant cross;

OK [again]: BEAUTIFUL sunset/scenes --> OK ranch!, gorgeous/cold/dogs (9?) + Babe Ruth, drive diesel/fee cows & horses/pellets & hay, Han scared @ night/weapons, shooting/.22, “hike”/climb/tough but pretty (great view! of all land & cliffs & winding river)/Han “lost”/both worried/dog near end, Mike & Bill Bailey/trappers, dino stuff, Roy Young, Paul/young cowboy/shot own leg/swears, good convo w/Roy on everything, dirt rd into Colo./no one;

CO: talk to Shelli, DENVER!/oil Δ, Liz getting ready…, party/HUGE contrast to South/all black :), grocery hunt, exhausted/time Δ/pass out, to Shelli’s!/Nathan tall &facial hair (boxing)/Savannah 16!, lotta fun, GB game :(, Hangover, Stan! --> “cheesy,” “is that Denzel Wash?,” cookies, Sav pic/ “Orphan” identical, Pho, music stealing issue, into mts!/pretty, Meghan Costa, tour/sliding, Lomo, Caitie, Jess, Erika/wrist, Jeff “Skittles” (not Chris), Hangover/Chinese, BORING 1st day/alone/Office, shopping around Breck, outlets, SFC (foodspitting/jumping LOL!)/chill/good, ULLR fest --> wrong way car, Bham for Boomer’s debate/nope, breakfast/free skis/David/no pass/Mickey/free runs/Han ski/City Year, girls Bible study/ Ewoks/Dutch Blitz, sleep/finish AmCorps [I’m in it now!], pizza/Kevin/Mickey/Lomo/Jeff/Costa --> prank calls: hamster [selling]/Blockbuster msg – Jon – callback Ben phone/Gamestop – Dan, “your mom,” telephone Pictionary LOL/bucktooth Einstein farting, church/Spirit, Office, SFC/crowded/random ppl, Erik’s/Noah/Brett/David/Audral?, ride home/distractions/me: “fav form of apple?” H: “round?” me: “apple sauce?,” 7-11 TP stop/guy: “hope no one’s turtle heading at home” me: “nope, it’s preventative,” Denver/movie/Shelli/Sav/Nat/Reader/Jeff B-day bail/Han drive/snowboard/Caitie, Kevin & Erika wrestle /Scott/Forrester, leaving/sliding freeway/accident/we stopped/Han panic/me “plz help,” Cali angels [a bigger car following/leading us?];

UT: beautiful!, bald eagle, Oscar Meyer Weiner Mobile, Arches/walk w/noname guy/Nashville, TN/photo/where we were, sticker in DEEP snow/Han Δ pants side of road;

CO [again]: couchsurf/Donna/son & friend (Aaron? & Nick) check us out, STORIES/dogs/Mia/bed, plunger/no GC, 4 corners;

NM: drive [just to be there…there was ice!];

AZ: snow everywhere!, Jim & Jackie’s (Rachel’s rents)/HUGE!, both very nice, Rolls Royce to Blockbuster, Angel/McTrifflin, Bella & Diesel (XTREME), to dentist/HUMMER/walk around/ “Arizona Territory”/cool stuff/barter, walk w/Jackie, hot spaghetti, cool talk w/J & J about right guys, go to stores – looong time, cookies/burn, Office, Kev & Heidi’s/din/Yogurtland (mmm!)/Holy Grail, Which ‘Wich/antiques/homes/ shops/mall/walk/make friends/pizza/tax fam/triv. persuit/hard/scene it x2/Han outburst/Kev win/ church/glass selves/fam, Deb/lunch/talk/great, Heidi fam/dinner/very cool/Office/ Red Dwarf/Lobo (dog) – cute/Frankie (cat-hiss-autistic-shortbus)/Luna (cat-fat-hid a lot), back 2 Jacque’s, make pudding [not sweet enough haha]/ James/Sam/Ashley, S & J loud talkative/funny/Jim annoy, poker lol, “party left” – Sam, no cownie [?], bye Jacque, lots of WA,BAD smell, Yuma/Susie/Bob/lunch/tour/neat;

CA: Salvation Mtn!, Leonard in store!/SO cool/[gave stuff]/cat, SMELLY drive, Taco Bell/ “no Spanish”, PST!, Roxy & Dennis/travels/poker/fun, POT in bathroom, beaches/seals/cute!/pretty, yummy dinner!, WALL-E, drive to Carmella, Boys & Girls Club/volunteer/Katie & Kristen/Jose, try to find Lindsey/Mexican, grocery store/Han’s awkward “convo” w/store guy, Maverick (dog)/Jack & Linus & Colby (cats), “Yes man,” 2nd vol day/paint!/ping pong, Life!/new :S, In & Out/men, Drunk Kate cuz :(/Bugles dump in purse & car/forgot Hannah’s name --> “I’m sorry, I’m drunk” LOL, superbowl/not fun/ timeshare/SWEET!/Colts lose/Saints win, exercise, bed in wall, no Disneyland :(, Huntington Beach/not nice/cold/pretty ocean/dolphins?, Han taxes, exercise, candy, me Dland tix/not Han, free Denny’s attempt/too busy --> freeway to Vegas!, starving, kept trying for Denny’s/IHOP instead;

NV: arrive at timeshare/far from strip, Goodwill for “nice” clothes/awesome white heels but no, dress-up & then shuttle/barefoot a lot in rain, Caesar’s Palace, Planet Hollywood restaurant (not real casino – oops)/ Peter Sellers & Pink Panter/married guy gawking/Han flashing? lol, hurting feet, tour Caesar’s/watch 3-card poker & guys taught, slots 1st time/won 5 & lost ticket, shuttle home, more comfy shoes/touring/ me 16?!/lost $ in slots…a lot, ppl helpful, Han saw Orcas guy, decided to walk back/BAD decision/6 miles/offered ride right in front of timeshare, saw Azena/Joshua (12!)/Martin (9!)/Isaiah (4!), in bathroom asked cop where poker was, out to Fremont/cool/El Corazon & roulette win $/:)/guy at table nice, light show pretty/KISS, Han margarita/cowboy boot/Thomas/TWSS/”want stiff? long black? thick? I can go deeper”/check out butt when leave, kid w/dad: “I feel uncomfortable,” Han tipsy & funny/ “stiffler blow brains out in car --> b/c of tram falling (so random), $1 burgers/ waitress: “you want 2 burgers too” me: “NO.”/almost hit girl in line/A1 bottle dropping/extra burger like diaper/not to alone lady, drunk lady gambling, home/argument/good?, not wake up on time, SF not good time, Disney tickets!/try to find lodging in LA/nope;

CA [again]: hurried to Disneyland/Splash Mtn/Sml World/turkey leg (bad idea)/Indy/Space Mtn (couple hands up)/young girl “this is the best day”/guy comment --> random woman “and then he left to war,” pizza, drove all night on Hwy 1 – BEAUTIFUL/COOL, SF, Borders/not nice/brushed teeth with stranger in bathroom, Lomard St./bricks/Fisherman’s Wharf/Alcatraz/Golden Gate, timing bad so to Bend, Soceiletio (?)/lunch/pretty, Napa Valley, looong drive, Shasta pretty, Subway girls/watching for cops;

OR: Bend! OR weird, Sadie & Dan, showers (ahh), Zeus (pretty dog), Han hike, yummy stir fry, Winterfest/Scott & Chris/snow ramp/Hells Belles (ACDC tribute but WOMEN – awesome)/lots of chips/ guy hit on me “ran into”/ -“is that good coffee” –“is HC” –“tastes like coffe” – “good” – “no, it’s not”/awkward tent moments/ “you need to rep this” (guy w/b4 it melts tee)/lost Scott (?), Han & I home, Han issues, S & D finally home/found guy in bar, breakfast, drive to Salem/PRETTY, mom’s/good talk/drove Claus/haircut/card, up to Portland;

WA [again]: Dad & Robin’s, Emma’s/Jacque/wine (only Em)/really cool open & honest talk (God/religion/sex/guys/etc), to Julie & Rick’s, to Mormor’s/Nancy/bruises/eye surgery/Orcas/puzzle/Bonnie, Jack/tall/6 pack/proud, Hoover hurt/dogs lost & found, green tree frogs, “Into the Wild” --> :S, Luke & Holly, Mark (Irish painter) ferry back/Kincaid puzzle, Kristin hangout, New York talk :S PLEASE! [it happened! I moved to NYC to work for Operation Exodus as an AmeriCorps VISTA!]

And that's how I drove to 48 states. The end...

Or is it?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

It's Been Awhile...

I know, I know. It's been over 2 months since I've written a new post. And I'm SORRY! I've discovered that it's more fun to actually experience the trip than it is to write about it. But I'm going to try to write some quick updates for each state we've been in since November. Which is a lot, because now we are in Colorado and only have six states left to hit. But before that, I found a post I had started writing way back when we were in Maine, so I finished it and am finally publishing it. So enjoy this for now, and hopefully I'll be able to summarize other events soon. Oh, and if you want to look at new pics, go here and here.

Our next stop was Brownville, ME to meet my Aunt Pat, who is my mom’s twin. When we got into town, we stopped at a gas station so I could call her from a payphone (still no cell reception) and it turned out that station was only a couple blocks away from Pat’s house. I wasn’t completely sure she was right about that because what she was describing didn’t match with what I was looking at, but I figured there probably weren’t too many gas stations around for her to get it confused with. So we headed up a hill looking for a white house with black trim, and spotted it just before I noticed that Pat herself was standing outside waiting for us. After we pulled into the driveway Jerry, Pat’s fiancée, came out of the house, being pulled by their dog, Ally.

That night we had an amazing steak dinner with banana slits for desert. Pat found a bunch of pictures, both of me as a baby and of her family when they were young, that I got to look through. She even let me keep a lot of them, which I really appreciated. She also found a charm bracelet that she gave to me.

The next day Pat didn’t have to work, but she did have a couple of meetings down in Bangor, so Hannah and I decided to go with her to check out the city. On our way, the three of us dropped our cars off at Jerry’s auto shop so he could change our oil for us (SO nice!!). On the way there Hannah and I had been talking about her having a car again someday and how much she wants a white Subaru, but how she didn’t really think God would let her have one because she likes them so much. Well, when we got to Jerry’s shop, we saw a few cars for sale out front, one of which was (dundundun) a Subaru!! It was silver, not white, but Hannah still liked it. And since we were all leaving our cars, we had to take one of the for-sale cars, and Jerry said it was okay for us to take the Subaru. What’s even better, Pat doesn’t really like to drive, so she had Hannah drive the whole day. I thought it was pretty awesome that Hannah couldn’t imagine God putting her in a Subaru sometime after we get back, yet He was able to put her in the driver’s seat of one that very moment. :)

Throughout the drive Pat pointed out various buildings and towns and told us stories of what she knew of them. I think my favorite was a large building where apparently people gathered to just drink and dance and have a good ole time. I think it had a funny name, too, but I don’t remember what it was.

Once we got to Bangor we dropped Pat off and then went searching for a Goodwill, which we found fairly easily. We browsed through the store for a bit, and eventually left with some goodies: some awesome purple snowpants for Hannah and “East of Eden” and (are you ready for this?) a Thighmaster for me. Yup, I found a Thighmaster. I figured it’d be good for those long days of driving, but we’ve only used it a couple times since then.

Next we went on a search for coffee for Hannah and by the time that mission was completed it was time to pick up Pat. Our next stop was a little town called Dover, where I would meet my mom’s mom for the first time. I was really nervous, but it was something that I thought I’d regret not doing. She is living in an assisted living home and has a hard time remembering things sometimes, which can make for a very entertaining conversation. For example, her dog was mentioned multiple times, and one time he was 8 years old, another time he was 6, but he was always NOT 2, which, if I remember correctly, may be the actual age of the dog. :) She was very sassy and kept looking at me like I was a crazy person who might attack her. I’m not even sure if she knew who I was. After being there for a little while my mom’s dad came in to visit his wife, which apparently he does every day. Pat had said that if I did meet him, his response would probably be “For Christ’s sake,” and that’s exactly what he said. All of us sat and made small talk for awhile, then Pat, Hannah and I left. Overall, I’m glad I went, but I’m very impressed that Pat visits so often because I don’t think I’d have the strength or the patience.

On the way back home we picked up our cars from Jerry’s shop, then we headed up to Brownville Junction and the house that my mom grew up in. We had to hurry and sneak in while my grandfather was still with my grandmother, but it was cool to see where my mom and her sibling were raised and to see some of the old family pictures around the house. We drove around the rest of the town, too, which didn’t take very long because it’s so small.

Hannah and I both really wanted to see a moose while we were in Maine, so once everyone was back home that night, we loaded up the car and went moose hunting. Pat seemed very sure that we would see one, but we didn’t. Unless that thing we saw from the road really was a moose and not a horse, but I have serious doubts about it. It was a lot of fun driving around on all the backroads, though, and we had delicious snacks.

That night we had another yummy dinner and then just hung out for a bit. I really enjoyed getting to spend time with Pat and get to know her a little better. That night when she was headed to bed, she kissed me on the forehead and it kinda gave me chills -- in an amazingly good way.

The next morning Hannah and I drove out to Acadia. On the way we stopped at a gas station and I had to go inside to pay. I don’t remember why it was taking so much extra time, but I ended up hanging out inside for a bit...I think because I had to wait for change? While I was waiting, though, the two workers, a guy and a girl, started teasing each other about being overdramatic. The guy eventually said to the girl something to the effect of, “You’re not the dramatic one here.” I knew he was implying that another one of their coworkers was a drama queen, but I decided to play along and say, “Are you calling me dramatic?” I think the guy was a little freaked out for a second, but then he realized I was joking and make a fake apology and then said that maybe I was. I was very entertained.

When we arrived at the Acadia visitor’s center, a glorious sight awaited us: an old man, wearing spandex pants and dress shoes, boxing the air. Yup. We drove around the area, which was gorgeous, and then decided to try to find a typical Maine lighthouse. We found one on our map, went there despite how far away it was, and were severely disappointed when we got there. It wasn’t even in use anymore. Pathetic. So, then we headed back to Pat’s, still keeping our eyes alert for moose.

Since we were planning on leaving the next day and I still hadn’t heard from my mom’s other sister, Debbie, Pat suggested I call her kinda late that night, hoping that we could scare her into answering the phone. And it worked! Debbie and I planned to meet up early the next morning at a little restaurant not too far away called Smith’s.

The following morning I woke up early so I could say goodbye to Pat before she left for work. She was typical family and tried to give me anything she could. :) Eventually I agreed to take some water, which actually ended up coming in handy. Awhile later I headed down to Smith’s and met Debbie. Cute is the first word that comes to mind to describe her. She had some coffee and I had some hot chocolate and she told me about some of her adventures traveling around the world. She seemed to be pretty good friends with the guy who owned Smith’s (his name may have been Martin) and the bantered back and forth quite a bit, which also entertained me. Before we left Debbie insisted on buying sweatshirts for both Hannah and I. The sweatshirts were awesomely hilarious: they were modeled after college gear and had a picture of Smith’s surrounded by all the courses taught at “Brownville University” (not real), including meat cutting and other huntsman-type skills. Debbie also gave me an extra can of mace, which I thought was funny. Once we parted ways, I headed back to Pat’s house where Hannah and I packed up the car and headed towards New Hampshire, with Vermont being out ultimate destination for the night.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

½ Tank #27

We set out from the church in Kittery, ME and called my Aunt Lynn to see when we could arrive at her house. She told us that we could take our time and whenever we got there would be great. I was grateful that we didn’t need to rush there, but I also didn’t want to dawdle too much because I wanted to have a decent amount of time to spend with her, since I had never met her before and she was really only available that one day. So we stopped at a neat “junk” store and a cute antique store, but I was against turning off the main road to try to find a view of the ocean and a restaurant, which I think angered Hannah a bit. When we got to Augusta we were supposed to call Lynn, but I didn’t have any reception on the phone. Luckily she had left a voicemail earlier, which I was able to listen to, and she gave more directions there.

When we arrived in New Sharon, we tried to call Lynn again, as instructed, but we still didn’t have reception. So instead of using the cell we stopped at the Sandy River General Store and used a payphone. When Lynn answered, she knew exactly where I was and said she would drive over and meet us so we could follow her back to her house. I wasn’t nervous really about meeting her...until Hannah started saying, “Is that her?” every time a new car came into view, which was quite a bit. I decided I wasn’t going to watch for Lynn, but Hannah kept her search going. I can’t even describe it well enough to accurately show how humorous the situation was. But trust me, it was pretty funny. Finally a car pulled in and we knew it was Lynn because she was staring at our car with a big grin on her face. Now, I was sitting in the passenger’s seat, and she pulled up on my side. All three of us got out of the cars, and Lynn gave me a quick hug and then hurried off to the driver’s side to see Hannah. I was kind of perplexed that she was so eager to hug Hannah, but I thought it was nice of her to make us both feel so welcome. When Lynn got to the back of our car, I think she finally looked at Hannah and realized that she had just hugged her niece, and wasn’t heading towards her. She paused a little bit and you could see the light going on in her mind. She still went to Hannah for a hug, but then came back to me for another hug. She said I looked just like my mom the last time she saw her (she was yeah, I still look like I’m 17...I know I’ll appreciate that when I’m older).

We caravanned back to Lynn’s home after our quick hellos, and there we met her dog, Chelsea, and had a delicious dinner. The three of us talked a lot that night, mostly about family and life [and how important it is to not hold onto anger, because it will destroy your relationships, especially with your kids, if I should have them]. I think talking with Lynn was really helpful for both Hannah and I, and I know it has encouraged Hannah to try to get in contact with her dad and try to mend that relationship. (Thanks, Lynn!!) We also found out that Lynn has a moose friend named Charlie who sometimes comes right up to her windows and drives Chelsea nuts. Hannah and I liked the sound of that, since we were determined to see a moose while in Maine, but unfortunately he didn’t come around while we were there.

That night we said our goodbyes to Lynn since she had school the next morning and we weren’t sure that we’d see her. But the next morning I woke up to hear footsteps in the house. I figured it had to have been noon, well past when Lynn was leaving, so I thought someone else was in the house. I got up, checked my watch, and discovered it was 10 minutes before Lynn had to leave. I went out to see her again and she left us directions to my Aunt Pat’s house and her son’s phone number, since he now lives in Washington too. I had a hard time parting with her, I think because we really only got to spend that one night hanging out. I’m pretty determined to make it back to Maine sometime soon, though, so I’ll get to see them all again.

Hannah got up right after Lynn left and we made breakfast. While I was doing dishes and Hannah was putting food away, she noticed that the light in the fridge was off just before the water in the sink stopped running. The electricity had gone out, and just before we were going to take showers. So what did we do? We went back to bed. Yup. For a few hours. When I finally woke up again I rolled towards Hannah and opened my eyes to find her staring at me. It was rather creepy. And funny.

The electricity was back on when we arose from our nap, so we got cleaned up, made some sandwiches, and packed ourselves back into the car.

God bless, over and out.

Oh yeah, and if you want to look through more pics, go here and here.

Monday, November 2, 2009

½ Tank #26

We took the long(er) route to Massachusetts since we had to go through Rhode Island. On the way we stopped at a mailbox and stickered, of course.

When we finally made it to Greena’s, we took awhile to decide if the house we were circling was actually her house or not because it looked pretty dark and we couldn’t see a house number on it. But it was, and Greena welcomed us in warmly. We all sat in the living room chatting and looking at some pictures of her daughter’s wedding. Greena brought up, seemingly out of nowhere, the subject of speaking in tongues. She said that she felt very led to talk to us about it, which I didn’t really understand because I don’t know that Hannah and I have ever talked about it before. It has since proven to be kinda applicable, though, especially for Hannah. The topic of the Spirit and gifts has been coming up frequently for Hannah the past week and is getting her to think about the Spirit’s leadings in her life. She has become very focused using all of her skills and passions to glorify God and help others, and right now the vision she has is for a coffeehouse that will work with victims of sex trafficking, both as an employment opportunity and as a financial support of other related organizations. There is of course more to it than that, and you can ask her for more details if you’re interested, but I’m really excited for her to have the goal and can’t wait to see the idea become reality.

Anyways, back to Greena’s. Her husband, Ian, got home late from work, so we didn’t meet him until the next morning. He was super helpful, though, and kept finding maps of various places for us to take. Included in that was a map of Boston, which is where we were headed that day. So after a good breakfast and lot’s of advice from our hosts, we set off to meet on of Hannah’s “friends” who lives in Boston. I put that in quotes because I think she only met him once, maybe twice, this summer while she was living at home and he was working at the camp her brother went to. Yet Francois was kind enough to take the day off from studying and walk all over the city with us. On the way into the city we ran across a toll booth that we didn’t know about. And we weren’t really prepared with cash. And it was pouring to the point that we couldn’t see. So we accidentally pulled into a lane that was for EZ Pass holders only, and of course a car pulled up right behind us so we couldn’t back up, and we had to count out a bunch of change in order to pay for the toll. They probably weren’t too happy with us dumb Washingtonians that morning.

We saw all kinds of stuff that day in Boston -- some historical, some random, some beautiful, and some Cheers. Okay, that might qualify as the random, but I was excited. Except it didn’t really look much like the show did. I also learned that my roommate (hi Abby) was very right when she said that Boston was not laid out very well. I felt lost the whole time we were walking around. Some random highlights from the day: Francois looking right at Hannah and not recognizing her and walking away, seeing a tour guide dressed up in colonial attire and trying to convince his group to buy nuts from a vendor, seeing a car all the way from Idaho (which is also Francois’s home state) and watching them go the wrong way down a one-way street [sidenote: remember this car, it comes back later], saying goodbye to Francois, only to run into him again inside a Whole Foods that we said we weren’t going to go to, and getting back to the car and finding a parking ticket because apparently meters are only free on Sunday (it was Saturday).

After getting dinner really quick we set out to Salem in hopes of finding something really scary since it was so close to Halloween. Those hopes were crushed. Everything either cost money, or just wasn’t scary. We were highly disappointed. So once we were thoroughly soaked from the rain, we drove around a bit, stopped at a Dunkin Donuts, then took the very roundabout way back to Greena’s house. When we arrived there was lots of candy put out before us, so even though we had just had doughnuts, we snacked on that for a bit. Greena and Ian went to bed around midnight, and Hannah and I stayed up checking email and watching SNL. Which, since we were on the east coast, should have been live for real, instead of a delayed live. Or I might be wrong about that. Either way, it was really nice to just sit and watch tv, and luckily that episode was actually pretty funny. It’s nice of SNL to try something new. :)

The next morning we woke up early and followed Greena up into Maine where she goes to church. While there we met her daughter and one of her sons, both of whom were very nice. The church service itself was very interesting. They were pretty charismatic, and towards the end some members of the worship team started speaking in tongues. Hannah was really turned off by this, and I just wasn’t able to connect to God as well then. I know that everyone has different styles of worship, but that isn’t mine. I’m not a fan of people speaking in tongues when they’re in front of a group of people because I think that that should be a private thing between just one person and God, or that there needs to be an interpretation for what is being said. But that’s just my opinion and obviously not everyone is going to think the same way. And that’s good because I’m probably wrong. It was cool to see how much emotion some of the people there put into their worship, though.

God bless, over and out.

½ Tank #25

Hannah and I said our goodbyes to Christina and Remy, and, before heading out of town, stopped at a cute little general store for breakfast.

Just before crossing into Connecticut, we came across a little town called “Sleepy Hollow.” You may have heard of it before. We drove around trying to find scary places from the movie, but found none. Eventually we stopped at the entrance to a cemetery where a kind couple gave us a map of where various characters from the story were buried. We located Washington Irving’s grave and called it good. Hannah also found an area marked out for “Knapps” on our way out.

We hit the road again and booked it to New Haven, CT. Scratch that. We tried to book it, but rush hour was against us. The reason New Haven was so important is that the non-profit Love146 is located there. What is Love146 you ask? It’s an organization that is focused on end child sex slavery and freeing as many victims as possible and helping them get their lives back together. And it’s Hannah’s dream. She’s very passionate about that issue, and would love nothing more than to work for/with Love146. She had also raised money for them this summer via a car wash, and we thought it’d be cool to hand deliver it while also giving Hannah the opportunity to chat with people who work there (i.e., schmooze for a job...haha). Well, unfortunately it was Friday and they closed at 4 p.m. so we didn’t make it in time and had to plan another time to stop by.

So instead we just headed straight through to Mystic, CT and Mystic Pizza, the setting of the movie with Julia Roberts that I’ve never seen. The pizza was delicious, though. While there we asked out waitress about places that might have free internet in the area since we wanted to look up hostels in Rhode Island. Adam & Christina had a family friend (Greena) in Boston who was going to let us stay with her, but we weren’t going to make it there early enough. A coffeeshop right near where we parked ended up being recommended, so we stopped in after pizza. We ended up not being able to connect to the internet for some reason, but while we tried we struck up a conversation with the two girls (Chelsea and Sherry) who were working. I believe Chelsea was from Cali originally, and Sherry had been in Mystic her whole life. They were super nice and very fun to talk to, and even looked up hostels for us when we couldn’t. I turned out that it was okay for us to show up at Greena’s late, though, since her husband, Ian, wouldn’t be home until around 11 p.m. or midnight anyways. So we said our goodbyes and hopped back in the car.

God bless, over and out.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

½ Tank #24

The drive down to Pennsylvania to visit Hannah’s friends Adam and Christina was also a beautiful one. We stopped along the way to get a better look and were surprised to discover tons of (Kristin, cover your eyes) ladybugs!! It was incredible! I’ve never seen so many in my life. We started to wonder if perhaps that’s what had been pelting our windshield as we drove.

We arrived at A&C’s in the afternoon, and were greeted by Christina and her almost-one-year-old daughter, Remy. And Remy is adorable. She’s so happy, especially when her Aunt Diana is around. It’s hilarious.

I wasn’t feeling very good the first couple days, so I spent quite a bit of time alone that night and the next day. That second day Christina, Remy, Diana, Hannah and I went to a trail in the Delaware Water Gap National Rec Area. Apparently the land was bought by the government for this big development, but they ran out of money so they sold it back to farmers for about $1 per acre for the next several years. Now they are working on a trail that will go all the way through it, but there are still fields of corn set against a backdrop of tree-covered mountains on one side and the Delaware River on the other. It was fantastic. Diana and Hannah ran while Christina, Remy and I walked. On the way back to the house they pointed out a Thai restaurant and Hannah and I couldn’t believe we had finally found a Thai place outside of Bellingham. And it ended up tasting pretty good, too.

That night a bunch of people were supposed to come over, which I was a little nervous about since I didn’t know any of them. I was afraid that I would just end up sitting silently by myself while they all reminisced about shared memories. But it actually ended up being a lot of fun. Adam and Christina’s friends Jeff and AJ were there, along with Diana. And the special guests of the night were Meghan, Lauren and Louise. Meghan used to work at the same day camp as Hannah, Christina and Adam, and she had no idea Hannah would be there while she was visiting. So that was a fun surprise. Lauren is Meghan’s good friend, and Louise is Lauren’s sister. Except I don’t know if her name was actually Louise. I don’t think it was, but I don’t remember her real name. :S Oops. Anyways, most of the night was spent eating and talking and playing with Remy. We also watched some of a Phillies’ baseball game because Lauren loves them but AJ feels the opposite for them. We also tried to play 65, but it didn’t really catch on.

The next morning did not start well. Once again our alarms failed us, so we got a late start heading to NYC. But eventually we made it to where our fairy was supposed to leave from, only to find out that it only travels in the morning until 10 a.m. (it was around 11:30) and wouldn’t start up again until 3 p.m. So we set off to find a different fairy, not having any idea where to go except near water. We drove aimlessly around New Jersey and eventually found another ferry, but it wasn’t running either. By this point we were both very hungry and therefore kinda stressed, so there was a lot of tension in the car. We ended up trying to ask a woman walking her dog for help, but she didn’t speak English. Instead we interrupted a cop’s phone call and he was kind enough to point us in the right direction. However, when we got to the transit station he told us about, we had a lot of trouble finding parking. That led to even more tension. We finally gave in and decided to pay for parking in a lot. Quite possibly the sketchiest-seeming lot ever. There were a few Hispanic guys, all pretty young, attending the lot, and they kept talking to each other in Spanish so we couldn’t tell what they were saying. The system there was to hand over your keys so that they can move your car and let others out when people leave mid-day. I had never heard of anything like this, but decided to be trusting and give it a shot. So we paid, said “goodbye” to Pete (for possibly the last time), and headed to the PATH train that would take us to Manhattan.

Hannah and I cleared the air while we were on the train, and agreed to get food as soon as we could.

We arrived next to the site of the WTC construction and looked around there for a bit. Next we walked to Chinatown and Little Italy, got some pizza (and “Don’t Stop Believing” came on while we were in the pizza place) and gelato, then hopped on a Subway train that took us up to Times Square. That place is amazing. Everything is SO BIG. I really wish we could have seen it at night, but we didn’t have the chance this time around. While we strolled along Broadway, a guy asked us if we were interested in going to this taping of a comedy show that night. Me, being the skeptic I am, was curious to find out details and what the catch was. It turned out to be stand up comedy from some SNL cast members and was being taped for Comedy Central. We already had plans that night, though, so we declined, only to overhear later that you had to buy at least two drinks while there. Pshaw.

We walked up to Central Park and were blown away by this huge park and vast amount of greenery that happened to be in the center of a large, bustling city. And bustling around the entrance were hot dog vendors, so we indulged in a couple of sausage dogs. While we were up that way, we also found the Plaza Hotel (as seen in Home Alone) which Hannah was very excited about. By the time we exited the park, my feet hurt really bad. I guess I didn’t wear the best walking shoes, and we walked a bunch. Hannah’s feet were hurting too, so we decided to go to the Museum of Natural History and then find some dinner.

The Museum had some cool stuff in it, but it wasn’t quite as exciting as we thought it would be. Maybe if we hadn’t been as tired, or if we were kids, it would have been more interesting. Funny story, though: Before entering the museum there’s a sign listing items that are prohibited inside. On that list is mace. I had our bear mace in my bag (in case anyone happened to try to attack us). We decided to go in anyways and just ask if perhaps they could hold it for us while we walked around. I was a little nervous though. A guy started checking Hannah’s bag while a woman started going through mine, but I let her know. They both looked at me like I was nuts. The guy asked, “Why in the world do you have bear mace?” We laughed and told them about our trip, and how we figured it would be handy if we came across a bear or a bad person. The woman signaled for me to just put it back in my bag and not worry about it, and the guy advised us to just stay away from bears because mace wouldn’t do much good. They were really nice and funny.

After the museum we boarded another train back down to where we were going to see Donald Miller talk that night. We found a little pub to eat at (my burger wasn’t very good) then headed to the church. The talks by Susan Isaacs and Donald Miller were both great. DM was very inspiring as he discussed what makes for a good story and challenged us to live out things that scare us. I hope I am able to do so. That night ended up being a really good one for Hannah, since she ended up being able to go backstage to meet DM afterwards, and she was the winner of autographed copies of all the books being sold that night. She also met a lady named Vicky who was very impressed by this trip we were taking. Vicky was super nice and friendly and offered to help us in any way she could. Funny story from here: At the end everyone got in line to get signatures and chat with Susan and DM. Vicky somehow ended up at the front of this line, and thus Hannah and I were at the front since we were talking to her. Susan got to the table before DM did, so I ended up talking to her a little. I have a friend who will be (hear that, Kenny? WILL BE) moving to NYC sometime soonish, and since Susan, like my friend, was into stand up comedy and writing, I decided to ask her for any advice she could give. Eventually it was brought up that I was from Bellingham, and she said she had a friend who lived there. I asked who, she said Dave W. and I was shocked that she and I had a mutual friend. Such a small world, who would've thought.

We headed back to the subway and let a few trains pass by us before we finally asked a couple of girls if the ones going by would take us to the right place. They were really helpful and let us know which trains were safe and what we should avoid. They ended up boarding the same train as us, and pointed us in the right direction when we got to our stop, too. While on the train we also talked to two other girls who had been shopping at Whole Foods, one of Hannah’s fav stores. So it turned out to be true that New Yorkers are actually incredibly kind when you talk to them, they just tend to live in their own bubbles until you pop in. When we got onto the PATH train back to Jersey, we chatted with a man who lived in Hoboken, NJ (where the station was) and worked in NY. We found out he had friends coming to visit that weekend, so we gave him our leftover vouchers for transit rides. I don’t remember his name either. I’ll name him Gene. Gene from New Jersey. Yup.

At first when we walked back to the parking lot, we didn’t see Pete. Then we spotted him hidden behind a newsstand. And then it turned out that the key was in the ignition AND the front window was rolled down all the way. Hm... But everything was still there, so our trust paid off. We drove by the water to see a night view of the city lights, then headed back to PA, hoping to find the White Castle we had seen a sign for that morning, but no luck there. I slept very well that night.

God bless, over and out.

Oh, and for more pics, go here.

½ Tank #22 & 23

The drive from the Canadian border to the cabin in New York was beautiful. The colors of the trees are just amazing. The yellows, greens, oranges and bright reds mix together to form incredible collages. It’s strange to think that this scenery is caused by the leaves dying and that the trees will soon be bare. It was a pretty quiet ride, too, since most of the time I was driving Hannah was asleep, and most of the time Hannah drove, I slept.

When I awoke from my nap, all the colors looked really dull. I wondered later if it was because we were now on a main freeway because when we got onto backroads again the vividness reemerged.

We ended up taking the scenic route to the cabin. Although, considering the area, I think any route would be scenic.

The cabin was incredible. It was right on the lake and was simple and comfortable. The only thing wrong with it was that the furnace wasn’t working. And it was cold. Very, very cold. It was actually colder inside the cabin than it was outside. We decided to drive to a “town” where we would hopefully have cell reception and find a grocery store. We called the owners of the cabin and found out that the furnace was probably out of oil and couldn’t be repaired until the next morning. We also found a little store and bought some fixings for a spaghetti dinner and cookies (to hopefully generate a little heat from the oven).

We returned to the cabin and bundled up in several layers before huddling by the stove while dinner cooked. Eventually we forced ourselves to sit at the table to eat and play cards for a few hours. We of course also decided to speculate about the chances of a thief or murderer or zombie sneaking into the cabin. So by the time it was late enough for us to go to bed, Hannah was thoroughly freaked out. Our scared factor along with how cold we were led to the decision to share a bed that night, even though there are two rooms in the cabin. The whole setup was rather humorous: we combined all of the blankets we could find (I believe we had 9, all pretty thick), we were each wearing about three layers, and we had bear mace, a knife and a heavy Maglite flashlight next to the bed. We were set. We put on the only movie Hannah had on her computer (P.S., I Love You, much to my dismay) to distract us from any sounds the cabin might make to scare us. I have a hard time sleeping through movies, especially if I haven’t seen them before, and even if I don’t really want to see them, but Hannah didn’t have that problem. She was out in no time. I got through about half of the movie before the picture froze and the sound continued. That really drove me nuts, but I wasn’t about to get out of the cozy bed, so I rolled over to try and sleep and passed out within a few minutes.

The next morning we both woke up to a light knock on the door. I wasn’t even sure it had been a knock, but when I saw Hannah seemed to have heard it too, I jumped out of bed in hopes it was the oil man to fix the furnace. It turned out to be Bob, the caretaker of the cabin. However, I had just woken up and was still very out of it, so I may have offended Bob by trying to be cautious. He was nice about it, though, and did get our heat working. Having warmth made the cabin much more comfortable.

We enjoyed a delish breakfast made by Hannah, then took turns showering. Eventually we finally packed into the car and headed for Saratoga Springs to hopefully find internet so we could plan out the next couple weeks. I’m not sure if you know this, but there are a lot of little states on the East Coast, so it’s tricky to make sure we hit all of them.

Starbucks was right on the corner where we parked, but there weren’t any tables with outlets nearby, so we hoofed it down the block and stumbled upon a Borders with free Wi-Fi. Woohoo! I think we spent a good four or five hours there emailing and calling people.

By the time we got back to the cabin we were starving, so Hannah heated up some left over spaghetti and I made a quick box of Mac & Cheese and we both added hot dogs to our bowls (classy, eh?). We played cards again while we ate, with Hannah rocking me at 65, then we each went to our own rooms and had “quiet” times. I listened to music and read another chapter from Blue Like Jazz, but then was too tired to keep reading so I just decided to sleep. Not long after Hannah came to my door asking if I had heard that noise. I hadn’t, so I asked, “What noise?” She was obviously still edgy about being in the cabin at night. When she left, she didn’t close my door all the way, so when the heat kicked on, my door opened, which bugged me, so I rolled over and closed it all the way. When I rolled back over, I realized that that had probably been loud, and would possibly startle Hannah. I was right. She was back in a flash and asked me if I had opened the door. I told her what had happened, we giggled, and then she shut the door all the way and went back to her room...for good that time.

Both of our alarms failed to go off the next morning, so we left a little later than we had planned.

God bless, over and out.