Traveling

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…)

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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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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.

Brave New World: Days 3 & 4

10 states, 36 driving hours, and upwards of $40 of toll-road fees later… WE MADE IT TO ROCHESTER!!! There was no better feeling than the one we experienced early Wednesday afternoon. Yes, we were tired. Yes, the car smelled weird. Yes, I’m convinced if I had to take one more rotation of driving I would’ve revolted with vomiting and God knows what else.

But we made it.

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Illinois (to be even more annoying) had no welcome sign due to road construction.

Truth be told, we had fun. The road trip, though troubling and challenging at times, has given me memories and experiences I will cherish my whole life. My wife has an incredible person to travel with; I’m spoiled to have her.

I’ve already written an update in the form of “Brave New World: Days 1 & 2.” Here’s a recent batch of lessons I’ve learned from the road.

1. Toll roads. Holy geez. If you’re driving through Illinois (ill-annoys, as I’m calling it), Indiana (indy-and-I’ll-take-your-money), or Ohio (nothing clever, sorry), be prepared to have cash. Better yet, get one of those I-Pass or EZPass things. It’s cheaper and faster, apparently. Well, that’s what the sign said every other quarter-of-a-mile.

2. 30 Rock didn’t lie; Cleveland is incredible. Megan and I were both very impressed—despite our grumblings from having to pay to exit the freeway, stupid tolls—in the Ohio big city. It was clean, friendly, and safe. We passed two Irish themed restaurants (ate at one of them) and saw a couple other buildings offering corned-beef year-round. I could live there.

3. It’s hard to relax after a long drive, especially when your new apartment has no furniture. Yes, we were thrilled to be “home.” Unfortunately, “home” has no “furniture.” It is beautiful though. Check it out! (We have just an apartment, not the whole house).

photoAny readers with Upstate New York experience who have a little advice to give? Restaurants? Jobs? Furniture? … Furniture???

Breaking Sad

I’ve been feeling a lot of emotions lately. This moving across country thing, ya know? I’ve been all over the place. Like a good episode of Breaking Bad, I start content but end my day sweaty and angry.

All the packing and repacking and selling and goodbye parties and hugs. After awhile—no matter how much you want to go, now matter how easy it’s been to leave in the past—moving across country, away from everyone you know and love, just sucks. And I’ve been feeling it.

The other day, I nearly broke down in tears after hearing the main theme song from Home Alone 2 in a local toy shop.

HE GAVE THE TURTLE DOVE TO THE PIGEON LADY!!!

Saved by the Bail

We’ve been selling stuff, as mentioned, on Craigslist. The selection is getting thinner which is good. We’re down to the big ticket items like guitar amps and record players. These need to sell, NEED to sell. If they do then we can afford hotel rooms on the way to Rochester. If not, we’ll buy drugs and drive straight through. Well, no.

Craigslist has been affecting my emotional state more than I probably realize.

Every time a potential buyer bails on me (which is often, thank you Craigslist community), I shrug my shoulders; on the inside, though, I’m screaming, “DON”T THEY KNOW HOW IMPORTANT THIS IS?”

“I hate you,” is a text message I also fantasize about sending.

They’re not all bad though. Yesterday, we met a guy at outside a Cabelas to sell an old motorcycle (uhem… moped) helmet. This guy’s head, and that helmet? Match made in Heaven. He looked stout. I could’ve hugged him.

It seemed best to let the stranger leave without a warm embrace.

As he left, I noticed the last link to my scooter was gone. I’ve never talked about my scooter on here before, but let me tell you, I loved it. The scoot was a beast. The Lance Venice, my Lance Venice. 150ccs of pure power. Silver color, 2007 model. 0 to 60 in… well it never quite got to 60, but you get the point. I sold it last year, and God I miss that thing.

I sat there in the parking lot, drunk with emotion, caught between the misery of selling my scooter and the beauty of that stranger’s head wearing my helmet.

Not-so Sweet Emotions

You see what I mean? All these emotions. What’s going on here? This isn’t normal. I’ve been so damn emotional lately! Is this, maybe, the softer side of Kevin, breaking, bursting through the surface like Free Willy?

I’d argue and say that I’ve always had a softer side, in the movies especially. Play me the end of Homeward Bound and I’ll cry my way into puddles. “SHADOW!!!”

Maybe moving across country is just hard. Maybe it was never meant to be easy. Maybe I’m referencing old 90’s movies because I’m afraid of getting older and, right now, looking to the past is easier. Maybe I should’ve talked about my scooter sooner…

Maybe, I’m just breaking sad.

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What’s your response? Any advice? How about a good Craigslist story?

Gum Butt: The True Story of a Stuck Butt

So we’re in the car. Driving. I think at this point, it had been sixteen hours. Only two hours left and we were home. Or New home. Whatever.

We’re at that point where nothing is funny, nothing is interesting, everything is nothing. We just want out. Get us out of this car. It smells, we smell, I just ate Taco Bell…

Two hours and then it’s over. We’re out of the car for good.

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So my feet are on the dash and Megan’s driving. My back is completely slump with my butt barely on the edge of the seat. I realize, after 20 minutes of sitting like this, how extremely uncomfortable I am. We can’t exactly just push the seats back considering how we packed the car (as much stuff as anyone could possibly fit in a Prius).

So I stretch and begin to move up. For the sake of my back, I desperately need to sit up straight.

When I attempt to sit up, my butt… it… it just won’t move. I’m caught. Like I can pull up a little, no man, game over. It’s stuck.

My first thought is: ok, my keys are stuck to the seat. Trying not to be obvious, I lift my butt as much as I can muster and check my pockets. But no, there are no keys in my pockets. What am I thinking?  

Megan still hasn’t noticed. I’d prefer to keep it this way. It’s not embarrassing, I just don’t want her to know. As a husband I’m expected to protect her, support her, be her knight in shining armer sort of thing. Currently, my butt is stuck to the seat of the car and I don’t know how or why. 

And then, right before I start to panic, I figure it out. In a complete moment of stupidity, I bow my head and start laughing.

Megan looks over and asks about it. There’s no choice, I have to come clean.

“Remember that wad of gum I threw out of the window a couple hours ago?” I ask. She nods her head, “Well, it didn’t exactly… make it out the window.”

“Where is it?” She asks, with a smile, mine giving something away.

I’m trying to find the words, proper words that make me still feel like a man, but all I come up with is: “Under my butt… my butt is stuck to the seat.”

A brief moment of silence passes. She bursts into laughter. I burst into laughter.

I grab the ice scraper for the windshield and began to free myself. There’s a feeling in the pit of my stomach, or butt maybe, that I will probably hear about this for the rest of my life.

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