My Travels

Carrs in the car across the USA: Tornados, Volcanos and Floods

My wife and I just Prius’d acrossed the USA. Yes. I’m using Prius as a verb. After two successful cross-country trips (overloaded and overstuffed, might I add), I’m allowed to brag about my Toyota. Aren’t I?

Nine days, six stops. And affordable gasoline! Guess how much gas we spent?

I’m getting ahead of myself.

Our most recent trip was actually a move: Rochester, New York to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho (or the close by Spokane, Washington, where I’ll be working).

That’s a bunch of map

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Rochester -> Louisville -> Nashville -> Memphis -> Kansas City -> Denver -> Yellowstone -> Ceour d’Alene

It’s a crazy mess of a road trip. I know. Here was the thought process:

Kansas City and Denver had family. Admittedly, Nashville was completely out of the way, but we really wanted to see it. And if we timed it just right, we could lock down two nights in Yellowstone. Louisville and Memphis were convenient stops in between.

Most nights we would camp, others we’d stay with family.

Little did we know what we’d discover along the way; little would we see out of our blind spots.

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A quick note on the photos: We shot hundreds, some with our new Cannon Rebel T5, others with our iPhones. My wife took all the good pictures. I took all the weird, squirrelly ones. Also, since there are so many, and we just go home, please excuse the lack of editing. 

Okay, so, you ready? Me neither. Let’s go! (more…)

Taming the Travel Tongue: A Wanderlust Warning

Ahhh summer—that magical time when anything is possible and no destination is too far. It’s a time when plans change suddenly, and personal routines wave “bye bye”. We hit the road and chart a course to Getmeouttahere, in Somewherelse County, USA, leaving behind—in a crooked rearview mirror—our favorite hometown we love to hate.

Of course, when we come back, as we always do, we haul our pictures and magnets and receipts and stories and we tell and show everyone because we’re travelers, dammit. It’s what we’re meant to do. Facebook and Instagram, for instance, were practically built for us.

Friends, coworkers, and cashiers ask us about the trip, and then it happens: our eyes glow red and we latch on to them like a stamp on a postcard: “It all started at 5:15am on Friday morning. The day lie still before us, though we knew the journey would be treacherous!”

So it was good?

But we don’t stop there. No, instead, impersonating Ted Mosby, we recite How I Met My Roadtrip and the words bleed like an artery.

Movers and Shakers

I find that when someone asks about our trip that they are usually just being polite. We need to set limits and remember them. (Limits, I know, not the traveler’s favorite subject). We must revisit the thin line between sharing and bragging and learn how to better walk it. Because, really, everyone hates a bragger. Even braggers hate other braggers.

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New York State: (Three Month Recap)

What a year it’s been! I woke up in Idaho on January 1st, drove to California where I lived for six-months, and then ventured to upstate New York where I’ll finish out the year. I say “I” but I really mean we. We means my wife and me (I). Yeah. That’s a lot of driving. Our Prius is a champ. I think I’ll buy my car a wizard’s cap for Christmas, considering he did such a good job leading us across the continent (like Gandalf!).

But New York. Man, sometimes, I still can’t believe we live here. New friggan York! What a long way from home. There’s good and bad, but we like it; Rochester is growing on us. Constant unfamiliarity can be quite exhausting, but we’ve been using our GPS less and less, so that is good. A big step to accepting a new home, I think, is learning the street names.

Without further ado, here’s my three-month recap (or review!) of NY State:

August

Humidity and lots of fruit flies. But it could’ve been worse. We came in on the tail-end of the humidity; we’ll have to wait till next year to fully experience it, I guess. With no jobs or school in session we were bored out of our minds! We were broke too. Moving is ‘spensive.

However, we did manage to see Niagara Falls after a terrible, no good-very bad day. Megan landed a job pretty much right off the bat! And speaking of bat, we woke up with a bat in our room and almost contracted rabies. August was… well, it was… a stretching experience. Oh, I also saw mewithoutYou (my favorite band).  (more…)

Letchworth State Park: Beautiful Place, Ugly Name

I was hoping to write something meaningful today. But I wont. Three things have happened which deterred me from writing a “normal” blog:

1. My wife’s previous blog, “When We Were On Fire” is wonderful. How can I follow that up?

2. I have a mid-term for my Econ class today. Leisure and Hours Worked have been taxed.

3. Yesterday, I finished reading “The Great Gatsby.” It was just so good. I feel both inspired and incompetent to write. I’ll need time to reconcile.

4. My neighbors have sex really loud at 9am, almost every day. I’m trying to get used to it. However, I feel one is never suppose to get used to the sound of strangers having sex.

5. We went to a state park the other day, and it was so beautiful that I want to share some pictures. Here you go!

NOTE: Letchworth is a State Park about an hour-ish from Rochester, NY. Hit it in the Fall and you’ll see all the beautiful colors we did. There’s some great waterfalls and bridges and canyons. Everyone here calls it “The Grand Canyon of the East.” We also went to the Grand Canyon this year. Though beautiful, it is no Grand Canyon. That said, if you’re ever up this way, it’s worth your time.

Niagara Falls and the Speaking, Nasty Universe Pt. 1

I’m not sure if there is such a thing as a “Speaking universe,” one that tells you to stay in bed and avoid the day. Maybe it’s a cough and a dry throat at the start. Or maybe it’s an audiobook that won’t finish downloading.

Whatever or wherever “Signs” come from, well, this last Wednesday morning I ignored them all.

The plan was Niagara Falls. Megan and I would pack a lunch, hop in the car, and drive for an hour and a half to the State Park. Since we moved to Rochester, Niagara has been on our radar—mine especially, incessantly nagging at my curiosity to come visit.

“Stay in bed!” said the Universe. Instead, I threw a liquified shot of Emergen-C powder into my dry throat and headed out the door.

Highway 490, Revisited

About 30 minutes outside of Rochester we heard a funny noise below our car. It was just for a second. Like a… well… as if something fell out. But the car was handling great, and there were no warning signs. So we kept driving.

Five minutes later, that warning sign showed up. If any of you readers drive a Prius, then you’re aware of just how scary the big red exclamation point is. We took the first exit we could (paid a toll) and stopped at the nearest gas station for a gander.

We landed in a town called Batavia, and it was there that we learned we had a major oil leak. I knew this because I bought a fresh quart, emptied it into my car, to which my car—as if in protest—urinated it back onto the gas-station concrete.

Roadside ASSistance

Instead of an in-depth analysis, here’s a quick play-by-play of everything that went wrong soon after.

  1. After calling Allstate Roadside, the tow truck guy called me and said we were “Right around the corner,” from the Toyota dealer and that we could make it if we tried, and we’d save an hour.
  2. I disregarded my wife’s advice to wait, and had her plug in the Toyota dealership address into our GPS. Under five-minutes away.
  3. Megan accidentally chose South Main instead of West Main on the GPS.
  4. Five minutes later, we ended up on a country road, surrounded by large fields and spread-out houses. This was where our car finally jilted us to the side of the road and drove us no more.

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Pawnee or Bishops? (Go Take A Hike)

Every Saturday morning I wake up to a familiar and tempestuous thought. I roll over in bed, listen to the wind labor through the morning air and think: “ya know, I could just stay in bed… all day.”

As for Megan and me, we don’t have kids.

Neither of us work Saturdays.

It’s been a chilly California 57 degrees as of late.

Our TV is right in front of the bed; yes, of course we have Netflix.

This is the problem. See, we’re still adjusting to California winter. Our minds are telling us it’s much colder outside than it really is. In Idaho, it’s not uncommon to take a “bed day” here and there throughout winter.

It’s a terrible excuse, I know.

I didn’t even look outside before burning through three episodes of NBC comedy, Parks & Recreation. (Great show by the way; every episode literally gets better.)

But then I looked outside.

Sure it was a little windy, but also warm. Sunny in-fact! California sunny! We both had an “oh yeah” moment and thought: instead of watching Parks & Recreation, why don’t we actually go to a park and recreate… (it sounded better in my head).

All this to say, Megan and I turned our lazy Saturday into a volcano hiking, boulder hopping excursion. Finally, we marked a mountain off our list and hiked San Luis Obispo’s favorite volcano—Bishop’s Peak.

I won’t go into too much detail here. It’s a wonderful hike. The terrain changes every twenty minutes it seems. Take the trail and you’ll see: dry mountainous, shaded, mossy forest, New Mexico-esq boulders. There’s even a bench dedicated to “George: The Hiking Cat.”

To top it all off there’s a view of the ocean at the top. Not bad for a day almost spent in bed. As far as Sunday goes… I wont be moving my legs.

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George Cat

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Bishops 4