Summer (Fall) Road Trip 2.0?

Well, the plan is up in the air again. And I don’t mean we are going to fly instead of drive. Although…maybe we are going to fly instead of drive. Our whole idea of using a family wedding as a touchstone to a Canadian/East Coast road trip may be kaflooey. I hate it when reality intervenes in my travel dreams.


I have acquired some freelance work and we have bumped up the schedule for becoming former homeowners, so we’re no longer sure whether we can pull off a few weeks on the road. On the other hand, if we become former homeowners in a timely fashion, we can travel when teachers and students are in class–a real novelty for me. Off-season travel rocks–fewer crowds, lower prices, but it’s been about 18 years since I’ve been able to pull it off.

This is all my long-winded way of says: “I don’t know what the what is going on this summer!” Here are some of our options:

  • Fly to the wedding and take fall road trip
  • Fly to the wedding and go back to work
  • Don’t go to the wedding
  • Fly to Utah to look for temporary abode
  • Drive to Utah to look for temporary abode and do a westward road trip
  • Go nowhere because we are busy packing and moving
  • Go nowhere because we are busy keeping the house in order and the dog out of the way for potential new homeowners
  • Spend another winter crying because we are still in Chicago (yes, Steven, I know) NOOOOOO‼️‼️‼️‼️
  • Stick with the plan as is and figure out the dog situation
  • Throw it all out the window, and plan a completely different trip once we have some idea what our lives will look like in the fall

Phew! So there you have it. No _________ idea. But isn’t that part of the fun?

Road Trip!

The summer is soon upon us and we are thinking about getting in the car and driving. The Saab is still in good shape (for a 13 year old car) and so we are getting into planning mode. As Sue told you in her last post, I have started a new job where, horrors of horrors, they actually expect me to show up and work. Not sure what I was thinking when I agreed to this. But, I have now been there 2 weeks so it is time to explain to them that every summer I need to be on the road for (hopefully) 3 weeks.

This year, we have to be in Boston in late July for a wedding, so our thought is to drive there via Canada. The outline of the plan is to head for Montreal via Toronto, then to Quebec City to see three great Canadian cities. Then drop south into Maine and visit Acadia National Park. After we hang out with the blue bloods in Bar Harbor (pronounced Bah Hahbah) for a few days, will set our sites on Boston for the wedding.

Thank you SomeEcards for capturing my sentiments perfectly.

While in Boston, we will (hopefully) have time to go to Fenway (and lustily root AGAINST the Red Sox). From Beantown, we will head to the Big Apple (home of the Yankees–the greatest baseball team EVER (he is delusional) and Sue’s team–the Mets!!!!!!!), because we both love that city. From New York, it is pretty much a straight shot westward across Pennsylvania, Ohio & Indiana until we get back home to the Windy City. All in, about 2,500 miles and 42 hours of driving. Sue would to go to Nova Scotia from Quebec City, but that will add another 700 miles and 10 hours of driving, so we will see.

All in, I figure it is a 20-day trip, give or take. That assumes a minimum of 2 days in each city and no driving days of more than 6 hours. We haven’t really started to do the nuts and bolts planning (hotels, what we want to see, odd ball places to stop, etc.–ahem, who’s going to watch that giant beast of a dog?), but I think we will probably start that pretty shortly–once I ask for the time off…

Ceding Control on a West Coast Jaunt

oakland2porttownsendUsually I am writing about my decisions or my future decisions about travel or how we decide what we’re going to do and where we’re going to do it, but much of my next trip will not be up to me. I did decide to go to Oakland, Calif., to see a very dear friend who is having a party (I love a good party!); therefore, the timing was not up to me. Then, we toyed with the idea of different road trips from there, and while I was leaning toward heading up the coast, she cemented it. So off we will go to Port Townsend, Wash.

I had a hand in most of that, but I am going to leave the rest of it up to my friend because she is bringing her dog and–surprise, surprise–most likely a foster teen (14 hours in a van with a teen?  – soooo pleased I won’t be there!). I am happy for her because she has been in the application process to be a foster mom for some time and she is very excited. Since I work with high school students all school year, I like to keep my distance in the summer, but it’s part of the adventure. Maybe it’s a good thing that my driving experience will be one-way, since I am flying back out of Seattle to cut some time off the trip.

My friend has already rented a Jucy, a vehicle I had never heard of; it’s a mini-RV, complete with beds and a little kitchen. I’m told they are very popular in Australia. 

Image result for jucy
Two friends, a teen, and a dog–should be fun!

Close quarters, but better than riding all that way in her sedan. (I was wondering how that would work and she was one step ahead of me.) I’m going to leave the details of the itinerary up to her, also, unless she really wants my input. I’m practicing relinquishing control (Steven, add snarky comment here  Moi?  I NEVER have snarky comments – especially about the idea that you might need some control over things… ), but I also think it will be fun to follow the travel plans of someone else and experience travel from someone else’s perspective. I know there will be hiking, good food, and friends. What more do I need? (Prozac? Lexapro? Thorazine? – oh wait you were talking about for the trip?  Nevermind.)

Day 0.5–Yellow City, Amarillo

Today was our second drive-all-day day. We made it from Rollo, Mo., through Oklahoma (past Tulsa and Oklahoma City, neither of which we stopped in) to Amarillo–about 650 miles–and arrived just ahead of a huge rainstorm. It was hot today, but not quite as hot as yesterday when we were driving through Illinois. We hit 100 again, but only briefly.

1,000 mile selfie at 85 mph outside Alanreed, Texas

This is going to sound really hokey, but this country is beautiful. Even the flatlands are awesome in their vastness and you can drive really fast. We went from the lush, rolling hills of the Ozarks to the brown, flat Texas panhandle. Let me tell you, there are places where there is NOTHING. Like, nothing can even be seen from the exit off the highway. Where are those people going? I spent some time staring and trying to imagine how I would paint the landscape, flattening it in my mind into rectangles, triangles, and arcs. Greens, grays, silvers, yellows, blues, and browns as far as the eye can see.


OK, now I really have something to write about. We decided to brave the crazy Texas rain to get some food. We do have our priorities. First we ran through the rain to the grocery store for a drink to go with our food and ended up with pineapple cider. It’s OK and that’s not what I want to talk about. It’s A Punjabi Affair is. Yes, that’s right, we got Indian takeout street food in Amarillo and it was fabulous. The place is not set up for pouring rain as you either walk up to the window or drive up to order. There is a small covered area where you can eat in, but not in a downpour. I was going to have the biryani, but then when I got to the window, I saw that there was a chickpea masala special, so I went for that. I also ordered the salad. Steven got tandoori chicken, which came with both rice and naan. For good measure, we added a couple of samosas. Wow! The potato in the samosas was fluffy, the crust was crunchy; the whole thing was delicious. I couldn’t tell you why, but the salad, which was warm, was very tasty. It had lettuce, chickpeas, carrots, pickled onions, rice, and their own dressing. I’m probably missing something, but boy, was it good. The masala was spicy and tasty. Just enough burn so that the flavors really shone through. Steven said the chicken was tender and moist and, just like mine, perfectly spiced. Oh, and the portions are huge. The woman who took our order seemed surprised at how much we were ordering. We found out why: We could have fed four people or at least three very comfortably. All for $30.

Day 0 of the road trip

At the starting line

The work gods smiled upon me and I was able to slip out of work a bit early and we hit the road today (Friday) rather than tomorrow morning.  It was a perfect day for a drive -warm and a bit overcast so we weren’t baked by the sun.  The top was down, the bags were loaded and we were on our way

Sue at the helm


It took an hour to go the first 23 miles, but after that, with a couple of exceptions, we were cruising along in the mid-80s….speed that is, because the temps were in the 90s and topped out at one point at 100.  We trundled down 294 to 55 and followed that all the way to St Louis.  We skirted south of the city to avoid passing by Busch Stadium and the Cards/Cubs game onto 255 and then south again on 44…all the way to Rolla, Mo.  Not a bad first day – 415 miles (and lots of singing in the wind).