Tuesday, September 3, 2013

"Somebody told me don't stare at horizons, unless you are ready to run..."

I know this is a week late, but better late than never.  Our 28 day, 30 state cross country road trip is officially over.  We got back last Monday around 10:30 pm.  From my notes of things I wanted to mention, Washington DC was awesome.  We saw almost all the main memorials and statues and got to see three of the Smithsonian Museums: the American History Museum, the Air & Space Museum, and the Natural History Museum.  We also took pictures by Capitol Hill and the White House (which was a lot smaller than I expected it to be).  I really enjoyed Washington DC.  And with that, we began our "long ride home."  It's fitting that I write this last post tonight because after downloading the license plate game app and seeing plates for all the states plus Washington DC we were only missing Rhode Island by the time we got back... and today, during my bike ride to the gym, here in Astoria was Rhode Island.  39 days after we started, I had finally seen all of them.    

So here are my final thoughts...

I don't have the best memory (my boyfriend can attest to that), but I will never ever forget this trip.  I never want to forget how I felt on that car ride home... knowing that I have a home to come back to, only I now have all these amazing experiences and memories.  Seriously, I know I will be a different (hopefully better) person because of this.  This trip has given me such a unique perspective on this country that I've lived my whole life in, and never really experienced.  It was a completely humbling and eye opening experience.  And to have gotten to do it with someone who I love, only makes it all the more special.  

It's so easy to get sucked into the big moments in life and not always in a good way.  It's easy to say, I would be happy if I just had 'this,'  but life is not about just the big moments.  Life is about the little experiences that we have day to day and the choices that we make.  It's easy to get sucked into all the negative (believe me, I do it a lot)... the real challenge to living is being grateful for everything that you do have and continuously growing and learning and striving to be better today than you were yesterday.  

I am so blessed and so lucky to have had this experience and nothing (not even my horrible memory) will ever take it away from me.  I *am* a different person than I was four weeks ago.  Only time will tell what comes from this whole experience, but I absolutely wouldn't trade it for the world <3  

It's been a long ride home, indeed... <3

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Our last weekend traveling

Here we are in Charleston, West Virginia.  We drove through the rest of Tennessee and all of Kentucky yesterday.  While we were in Kentucky, we stopped at the Buffalo Trace Distillery for a tour and a bourbon tasting (yes, this was Bill's stop, lol)  It was actually kinda nice.  The grounds are gorgeous and I was definitely getting tipsy off the smell of "college" in the air, lol.  We had our tasting and our mini tour from Art, our bourbon expert, who was awesome.  He changed my world and introduced me to the deliciousness that is Bourbon Cream and Root Beer <3

Last night we explored Charleston, which is a cute little town (and another state capitol).  We ate at the Charleston Brewing Company, where I enjoyed a couple of cold Moonbeams (their Summer brew).  Our hotel is right on the water, which is kinda nice.  We might do some more exploring today and then it's off to Washington, which is our last major stop before New York.  I can't believe that this is all really coming to an end.  I mean, it's gonna be nice not living in hotels, but this has been such an incredible journey, I can't imagine not waking up in a new town every day.

Till next time!      

Friday, August 23, 2013

Hello from Music City!

Some quick updates as we are getting ready to leave Nashville and head back into the Eastern Time Zone...

* As we left Texas, we thought it was appropriate to shoot guns, so we found a shooting range and did just that.  It was... interesting, lol.  It was the first time for both of us, and I am still 100% for more gun control, but I'm not gonna lie, it was intense.  Good times...

* On our way to Tennessee, while still in Texas, we got pulled over for the first time on Interstate 30! We were driving 9 miles over the speed limit and we were messing with Texas, so we got pulled over and got a warning.  Wouldn't be a complete road trip without it happening at least once, lol.

* In Memphis, we headed to Beale Street and listened to some live music and ate catfish.  It was pretty lively for a Tuesday night.

* The next day we headed to Graceland.  I gotta admit, I really enjoyed Graceland more than I thought I would and I have a much bigger appreciation for Elvis now!  Been listening to his station on Pandora ever since and I really wanna see some of his movies.

* After Graceland we drove to Nashville, where we are right now, and again, I was a little hesitant at first because I'm not a big country music fan, but it's been a lot of fun.  We went bar hopping downtown and listened to some really great live music at every place we stopped at.  Yesterday, we checked out the Parthanon and State Capitol.  Every Thursday they also have live music outside in Public Square Park and we tried chicken and waffles for the first time, drank beer, and listened to a free Michael Franti and Spearhead concert!  The whole concert was fun, but his encore tied in perfectly with our whole trip <3

Till next time...  

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

More Texas

We are getting ready to leave Texas, and just like I considered dipping my feet in the Pacific Ocean was the unofficial half-way point on our trip, to me leaving Texas symbolizes that we are really on our way home, even though we still have six more days on the road.

* After leaving Carlsbad Caverns, I really want to get back into rock climbing again.  It really made me miss it.

* Even though it is sad that this journey is coming to an end, one thing I am looking forward to when we get back to New York is that it will almost be ready for pumpkin lattes and my favorite time of year - Fall =)

* In Austin we visited Zilker Gardens, ate at Hopdoddy Burger Bar which was so worth it, and toured the Texas State Capitol (which got me even more excited for Washington DC).  At dusk we checked out the largest urban bat colony in North America which live under the Congress Avenue Bridge aka Bat Bridge.  Supposedly between 750,000 - 1.5 million bats live there and come out at night, and although it kinda felt like we were waiting for Old Faithful once again, it was a pretty awesome sight and worth doing, especially since we didn't stay to see the Carlsbad bats come out at night.  Austin was a lot of fun and I would have loved to stay and explore more than we did.  Definitely made it into my top five favorite places on this road trip.

*   Yesterday we explored Dallas instead of Houston.  We were originally supposed to go from Austin to Houston to Memphis, but a bunch of people said Houston wasn't really anything special and in the end, going to Dallas instead is going to make today's drive much shorter.  Dallas was OK.  Unfortunately, after we explored the Historic District and where JFK got shot (there are actually Xs on the ground to show the exact locations) a lot of museums and things were closing (plus apparently a lot of restaurants and businesses are closed on Mondays), so it wasn't that exciting.  We did eat BBQ at Lockhart Smokehouse, which was delicious and made friends with our bartender when we went out for beers near out hotel afterwards.

Till next time...

Monday, August 19, 2013

Here we go again...

Leaving Austin and heading for Dallas instead of Houston.  Can't believe we are on week four of this adventure!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

You don't mess with Texas...

Hello from Texas!  Here are my random thoughts and feelings since my last post...

* Somewhere between the Grand Canyon and Colorado we stopped to look at the stars and it was just awe-inspiring.  Nothing makes you feel as tiny (in a good way) as gazing up into a night sky with no city lights around you.  Absolutely gorgeous <3

*  After the Grand Canyon, we stopped at the Four Corners, which is something I have wanted to do since my 6th grade social studies teacher told us about it, and we got to stand in four states at once.  We walked through Colorado, Arizona, Utah, and New Mexico in about 30 seconds, which was cool.  Other than that, there really isn't much else to do there, lol, but I'm happy I got to check that off my bucket list.  

* After Four Corners, we drove to Santa Fe, which I had no idea was such an arts-y town.  We walked down Canyon Road and took tons of pictures.  And I had a local seasonal beer, which wasn't half bad (I usually stick to drinks I know, so for yay for being bold, lol)

* After Santa Fe, we checked out White Sands National Monument, on the suggestion of one of Bill's friends on Facebook. OMG, it was a whole other world!  In the middle of the desert, just miles of white sand dunes for as far as you can see.  It was so worth the stop!  It's like playing in snow, lol.  So much fun!  I highly recommend if you are ever in New Mexico!

* On our way from White Sands to Carlsbad, we hit basically a 4 hour lightening storm as we drove through the mountains at night.  Bill was ecstatic.  I was scared for my life.  Looking back now, it was kinda cool, but as we were driving through it, not so much, lol.  It didn't help that we saw at least two different things on fire as we were driving, which we assumed were from the lightening.

* The next day we went 170 feet into the Earth and explored Carlsbad Caverns National Park, which was another totally awesome experience.  We were too late for a Ranger group tour, so we explored it ourselves.  So much fun!  It's not the deepest cavern in the world, but they say it is the prettiest and it really was!  Another must do if you are ever in the area!

* After Carlsbad we drove into Texas.  There was no state sign on the road we were on, so we will have to do that on our way out of Texas tomorrow.  We explored San Antonio yesterday and it was clear that the perfect weather of San Diego was no more.  It was hot and humid!  We did the San Antonio River Walk and remembered the Alamo.  We had Tex Mex for lunch (where I tried another local beer - go me!) even got some famous  San Antonio flavored ice.  Not a bad visit.  Oh yeah, and Texans sure are proud of their state flag because it is everywhere, lol.

* And today we are in Austin, which is just an hour away from San Antonio.  We checked out the night life on 6th Street last night and it is crazy!  There are so many bars - all with live music - packed into five blocks (and pop up pizza places because nothing beats a slice of pizza after a night of drinking <3) and we did some bar hopping.  It gets so crazy that they just end up closing the streets, lol.  Definitely a fun time!

* Today we got our free Texas-shaped waffles at our hotel and are getting ready to explore Austin.  I can't believe that tomorrow we begin week 4 of our road trip!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Heading back East...

Here are some quick updates as we get ready to leave Santa Fe...

* I think I said this before, but this country has so much land!  It's one thing seeing it on a map, but its insane when driving through and all you see is mountains, and hills, and farms, and grass, and rocks, and dirt, and cities... and all you can see is land!  It's unbelievable!

* There have been a few times on this trip, when I am just get the strong feeling that this whole experience will make me a better person.  I think a part of it has to do with me getting some perspective of other places and just seeing what is out there.  It's a good feeling =)  I don't regret anything from this trip at all =)

* Vegas was fun.  We stayed at the Luxor Hotel and checked out some of the different casinos on the Strip.  We had a nice dinner at Gordon Ramsay Pub and Grill in Caesars and I only lost $100 at Roulette, so overall not a bad stay, lol.

So after we left Vegas on what is referred to as "Route 66" right be exit 123, we broke down.  Our car engine just died.  We were fine, but sadly, the car we started this road trip with will not be the car we end it with.  We called Budget from the side of the road and within an hour and a half they sent a tow truck and our new Jeep.  It's similar to our first car, but not the same.  We drove about 5,300 miles from New York to Las Vegas with that Jeep.  So here we are continuing our journey...

* I am both beyond excited and already slightly overwhelmed to scrapbook this whole trip, lol.

* Because we broke down, we ended up getting to the Grand Canyon just in time for sunset (which was gorgeous).  There are just no words to describe it.  It's just breathtaking.  Everyone should have that experience and check it out for themselves at least once in their lifetime.  You will not regret it!  (and that says a lot coming from a city girl)