Productive Afternoon

30 04 2007

Opened a new bank account.

Bought cleaning supplies for my little house.

Heard that my house sale is official! Closing documents were recorded this morning!

Bought a sofa – Quinn sofa – in a camel color with red-pattern accent pillows. I also got the chair and ottoman in the same fabric. No pillows for the chair, though, because I figure that Jocelyn and I will make some of our own.

Talked to a real estate agent who I’m going to start working with to find My House.

The power should be on at my house… I’ll head over there in a bit to start the cleaning process.


Best Sister Ever

30 04 2007

Just dropped my fabulous sister off at the airport. I think it’s good that she left so early in the morning, because I’ll go back to sleep (eventually) and when I wake up, I won’t have to say good-bye or anything like that. She’s a trooper. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, I mean she’s always doing crazy down-and-back road trips to different festivals or concerts, so I suppose it was only a matter of time before she cross-countried it. I’m just so glad she came with me.

So it’s becoming real… the fact that I live here now. Or maybe not yet, because I’m still staying in My Room at Hans and Jocelyn’s until I have power (don’t worry, it’ll be on sometime on Monday) and a bed (delivered on Tuesday) at my house. So I’m sure I’m still in vacation-mode. I’ll be busy this week, though, which should hurl me into life-mode instead. My to-do list is daunting, to say the least – at least it feels that way to me. I figure most of what I’ll be doing involves waiting for various deliveries and services: power, bed, cable/internet/phone installation, moving truck. At least while I’m doing all that waiting, I can be de-cobwebbing and cleaning my house in preparation for all of my worldly belongings to arrive… whenever that might be.

I mistakenly packed my digital camera in the moving truck. (stupid Kristen) So photos of my house really are on the way, I promise! Maybe I’ll see about borrowing Jocelyn’s camera this week. After my house is tidier, though! As for road-trip photos… we’ve got some great ones (via Jill’s camera, which she was smart enough NOT to pack in a moving truck) from the California – Nevada -Utah circuit… but after that, there just wasn’t anything that we deemed worthy of being captured on film for all time. I suppose she could have taken a few snapshots of my house… but after 40+ hours of driving, you can imagine how stagnant our brains have become!

Georgia On My Mind

29 04 2007

We planned the trip perfectly, with our last day only spanning a few hundred miles and about 4-1/2 hours. It would have been almost unbearable to have to put in a 11- or 12-hour day when all you really want is to just GET THERE.

Technically we didn’t have a list of must-see attractions, but there were a few things that ended up being CLASSIC. Case in point: Talladega SuperSpeedway. And… it’s RACE WEEKEND!!! Every square inch of about 30 acres next to the highway was covered by cars, RVs, campers, trucks… any vehicle imaginable. And I’ve never seen (nor will I ever see again, I’m sure) anything like that stadium/arena/track – I don’t even know what you call it. But it was impressive.

It’s funny how 57 miles will with either fly past, virtually unnoticed, or draaaaaaaaaag on and on… granted, the fly-by-57 were in Texas, and the dragging-on-57 were the last 57 miles of our 2700-ish mile voyage. But, they too shall pass, I suppose – and they did – and I’m here!!! Although I did get lost on the way to my house and had to call Hans for better directions than AAA Trip Tik provided. Now I think I can get there without any help at all. I think. Well, that’s my goal for the rest of the weekend.

Mother Truckers

27 04 2007

I. Hate. I-40. The first days of our road trip were so fantastic, with open lovely highways, beautiful scenery, etc… Now we’re on a super-highway, with 2 lanes of solid semi-trucks. And most of those are CRAZY mother-truckers who are SO scary to drive close to. Lucky for me (and for the other drivers on the road) Jill was driving, so everyone survived the day virtually unscathed. As for those crazy truck drivers and their driving-karma… well, that’s between them and their higher power.

I also can’t say I’m too much of a fan of the state of Oklahoma in general… See, the last time I drove through was April 2004. The weather that day was terrifying at best. Sheets of driving rain. Flashes of blinding lightning. Thunder. Hail. The works. Later on that particular evening, it became clear – as we watched The Weather Channel – that we had just spent the past 4 hours driving through active tornados. As in touching down all along I-40. *shudder* The purpose of this flashback is to give a little insight as to my current bias against Oklahoma… a bias that is only perpetuated by today’s travels. Sheets of driving rain. Flashes of blinding lightning. Thunder. But graciously, no hail this time around. Needless to say, Oklahoma’s second chance didn’t quite pan out. So I’m not coming back. Ever.

Despite our weather and truck-driver issues, we made good time from Amarillo eastward. So instead of quitting the road early, we bypassed Memphis and turned our sights southward to Tupelo, Mississippi. There just isn’t a whole lot of visual stimulation outside of our vehicle for most of the day, so we are forced to turn inward for entertainment. There is a fabulous list in-progress: Greatest Two-Person Sing-Along Songs. Stay tuned for a complete list. (I’d give it right now, but it’s in the car and I don’t want to get up and go out to get it… and we’re about to watch last night’s Grey’s Anatomy, so The List will just have to wait.)

Statistics: 13 hours driven – 5 states – 150 million trucks passed or passing us.

“Amarillo by morning…”

26 04 2007

As we were sitting 17 cars back on a construction-delay line of cars, waiting for the “pace car” to lead us to open highway, Jill was emptying the CD player and preparing to reload with the early morning’s soundtrack. While she was searching, I hit the scan button, not anticipating that any true signal would actually come through, when I heard the most appropriate song possible – “Amarillo By Morning.” (Amarillo being our destination du jour) Nice little preview for our day of driving!

The first few hours of our voyage were stunning – red rocks and soaring mesas with remarkably lush vegetation. Then… THE ROCKIES!!! (side note: I’ve enthusiastically claimed “It’s the Rockies!” upon spying every single white-capped peak since California – but this time I think I’m finally right!) More slight detours from our regularly-scheduled program and route which took us along an undivided, one-lane-each-direction sort of road. Which is great, because you can still set the cruise control at 80 mph – except when there are slower vehicles in the lane ahead of you. I think it goes without saying that there was frequent passing of the slow vehicles ahead of me. The reason for the detour was our decision to go through Durango, Colorado.

Interestingly enough, I’ve now gotten TWO oil changes in Durango… the last one being in August of 2002 on my first cross-country road trip en route to PT school in Cullowhee, NC. While in darling little Durango, we stopped for lunch because both of us were rabidly craving some dark-green-leafy veggies. We split a yummy salad and a bowl of cheesy beer soup. And had my first post-Oregon-microbrew experience with the ordering of a raspberry wheat beer… which arrived looking like a tall glass of red Kool-Aid. And didn’t taste all that different from its look. Supreme disappointment.

The rest of the day involved driving along flat, sometimes curving highways. We picked up a book-on-CD that both of us were stoked to experience – “Running With Scissors.” It’s a set of 7 CDs that we end up having to bring into the hotel in Amarillo to finish the story. We hit the I-40 interchange at Albuquerque right at the 5 p.m. rush hour. We both spent a few minutes bemoaning the fact that just yesterday we were cruising along the most beautiful stretches of empty highways… sigh.

Statistics: 14 hours driven – 3 states – 1 great book on CD

Reno to Moab

25 04 2007

I probably slept about 45 minutes at a time last night. We might as well have saved our money and slept under an overpass – it might have provided a quieter environment. Surprisingly, though, neither one of us felt too sleep-deprived and after a delicious bear claw apiece at the complimentary continental breakfast, we headed out.

GORGEOUS drive through rural Nevada and Utah… My super-stealth navigator Jill gets the Gold Star today for making the executive decision to bypass the out-of-the-way superhighway route along I-80 and opt for the more direct, MUCH more scenic, Hwy 50 – also known as “The Loneliest Highway in the Country.” I would agree. We passed an oncoming vehicle (98% of which were white pickup trucks – go figure) about every hour… but probably not even as often as that. The cruise control was set at 85 mph (or more!) for the entire day… Just exactly my kind of driving experience!

But I’m getting slightly ahead of myself. I couldn’t possibly tell the story of today without giving a major shout-out to Middlegate, NV… We turned off at this little driveway to see an old wooden building labeled “Bar” and another with a “Motel” sign on top of it. The place was CLASSIC!!! The women’s bathroom was papered with all sorts of those email-type “man jokes” and the locals (all 3 of them) were darling! Then the Best Thing happened… Jill got a Bloody Mary TO GO!!!

Neither of us slept in the car… mostly because we’d hate to miss something… but also because neither one of us likes to be the driver when the passenger is asleep. It’s a wonder either of us have any voice left, what with the incredible and un-ceasing car kareoke for the past two days! p.s. We do a rendition of “Lean on Me” that rivals Mr. Bill Whithers himself.

Jill’s nervous that the pretty portion of our trip is almost over. We’ll be looking into purchasing a book-on-CD or two. At the top of our list (with several rave reviews) is “How I Paid For College: A Novel of Sex, Theft, Friendship, and Musical Theater.” Pretty sure we won’t go wrong with that one.

As for tonight’s lodging situation… It’s virtually silent in our room. Ahhhhhhhh….

Statistics: 12 hours driven – 2 states – random topping-off of gas tank in the rural wildlands – 1 Bloody Mary for the road

Smooth Sailing

24 04 2007

Except there really isn’t any sailing involved. Unless you count the scads of houseboats trolling around beautiful Lake Shasta. But I digress.

I left Portland this morning as close to “right on time” as is humanly possible… especially for me. And, for the record, the reason for any delay was because my Dad was washing my car. Yes, I’m serious. And yes, I’m spoiled. We’re all in agreement here.

The morning delay was extended somewhat when I had to come to a full and complete sudden stop on the freeway heading towards Eugene. Emergency vehicles were screaming past in the shoulders, so I knew it had to be something pretty horrible. When I finally got up close enough to see anything, there was a little car flipped completely over and totally smashed up. Said a quick prayer and made a strong mental note-to-self to be careful and cautious and arrive at any and all destinations in one piece.

Had a lovely (though speedy) breakfast with Scott and cousins Kate, Max and Mike in Eugene. And then it was time to really hit the road. It really was a supremely uneventful drive from Eugene through the Siskiyous into California. Mt. Shasta was stunning, and I just love how I-5 runs right along the base of the mountain for so many miles!

$3.49/gallon?!?! I’m seriously contemplating trading in my fabulous Escape for the Hybrid version. Except I can’t see a Ford dealership from the parking lot of the gas station. And I’m not really looking to get lost at the moment, so I’ll just tuck this little idea away for a more opportune time.

Met Jill with no difficulty – funny how the Grbavac kids can find each other just about anywhere! We hit up a grocery store for some road staples: cheese puffs, water, Hanson’s ginger ale, and juice. These make a fabulous addition to the cookies and Red Vines already tucked into the “Food Box” in the car. I got myself slightly lost, but thanks to the wonder of cell phones, Jill directed me to the Redding Municipal Airport (where she’s parking her truck to wait for her return flight on Monday) and the Grba-Sister’s Great American Road Trip officially began!

Hardly any cars on the road besides ours – which is just exactly how I like it! – so we make pretty fantastic time across California and pull into Reno before the sun even sets. One of Jill’s friends lives and works in Reno, so we headed to her restaurant to surprise her… and to drink the greatest Hefeweizen since the Widmer brothers’ version and to eat some great pizza.

Back to the hotel semi-early, and right away we notice the highway. Or at least the audio portion of the highway. I try to imagine it’s like being at the beach… but beautifully relaxing waves are VERY diffierent from the road-noise that is just outside our window. Earplugs, anyone?

Unfortunately, I had to miss tonight’s American Idol performances… but I hear (from VERY reliable sources!!!) that Jordin was incredible (duh) and gave me her 2 phone numbers so I could call and vote for her… which I did.

So tomorrow we’re heading east towards Moab, Utah. After some continental breakfast and a coffee break, of course!

Statistics: 12 hours driven – 3 states – 2 tanks of gas totaling $90.45.