Wednesday, September 23, 2015

7th Inning Stretch

We've had some people comment on Facebook who are following my posts ask us questions like:  "Aren't you bored driving and being in the car so much?"; "Who's taking those pictures in front of the state billboards?"; "Do you tent camp every night?"; "Are you on a strict schedule?", etc.

Well now.  Inquiring minds want to know, so here are your answers.

1.  Are you on a strict schedule?

Mostly, yes.  We left on Labor Day, Monday September 7th.  We needed to get to Savannah/Lyons by 9/17, as that was the date scheduled for my Mom's interment.  We also needed to get home by Saturday 9/26, as Adrienne needs to be back in Seattle shortly thereafter.  So when I sat down to route the trip out, I needed to be cognizant of how much time it would take to get to Savannah by the date, and then sort of backtracked it to Los Angeles, where I picked up Adrienne.

I also didn't want to have to drive for long hours every single day.  But, because of the distances involved, a few days have been long ones.  The shorter days were designed to allow us time to make detours if we saw something or read about something interesting, or to allow us time on that day to do something we had preplanned.  The schedule has even allowed for some adjustments along the way.

2.  Who's taking those pictures in front of the state billboards?

Why, my selfie stick has!  I picked one up a couple of weeks before our trip and it's been fantastic.  Each time we get near a state line, we sit up and start scanning the road ahead for the "Welcome to..." sign.  Most times it's been there, and it's been easy enough to pull over to the side of the highway or interstate, put our emergency flashers on and run and set up the picture, push the shutter button on the stick and skedaddle back into the car.  But there's been a few states where we haven't seen a sign or the sign is in the middle of a bridge, so we've had to get a little creative to get a photo.  The one state we missed altogether was Illinois.  But we were there, I swear!!!  Our visit at my cousin Gary's house in O'Fallon is proof!

No road trip is complete without a photo-log of our travels, and the state Welcome signs have provided a pictorial tracking of our route and our daily progress.

3.  Do you tent camp every night?

Good gravy, NO.  I knew that every few days for sure we'd want to stay in a hotel for a soft bed, a hot breakfast and a good shower.  And in a few places I wanted a bit of a treat (Savannah for my birthday).  But we've pitched our tent several times along the way - Grand Canyon, Las Cruces, Memphis.  We were supposed to tent camp 2 nights in Texas, but the weather has been pretty hot and humid, and the mosquitos have been out in full force.  Plus Adrienne doesn't do well in the heat, so he hotel-ed it both in Austin and in Houston.

Some campgrounds also have cabins, along with RV spaces and tent spaces.  Tonight, in fact, in Grand Junction, Colorado, we're staying in a cabin.  We were curious about them and wanted to try one.  They cost more than a tent space, but less than a hotel.  You have to provide your own linens, but they offer heat/air conditioning, power and beds.  And relief from mosquitos.  I've been bitten probably over 50 times so far, and spend a few of my days with one hand on the steering wheel and the other scratching a new bite.

4.  Aren't you bored driving and being in the car so much?

Hahahahahahaha.  We haven't been bored one minute.  We've been playing the state license plate game since we left Los Angeles.  You know the one -- spotting different states' license plates on cars along the road we're on.  Adrienne has been keeping a list.  She knows which plates we spotted on which days, and she's also got a placemat sized map of the United States showing just the states and she has circled each one as we spot them.  As of now, we only need Rhode Island, Connecticut, Vermont, Hawaii and South Dakota.  We were pretty confident that we'd get all of them except Hawaii and Alaska, but we've actually seen 3 Alaska plates in the last 2 days!!

We've also been on the lookout for National Monument sites and where we've been able to, we've detoured to a site so we can get our passports stamped. No, not the passport you're thinking about, but there's a U.S. National Parks and Monuments passport book that we purchased in the Grand Canyon, where we first discovered them.  For example, the St. Louis Arch is a national monument, and we got stamped there.

Adrienne is the keeper of the maps.  Yes, we use Indie's Navigation system - I plug in the destination addresses of the places we're going to visit and the places we're staying each day, but Adrienne uses the maps to keep me informed of the upcoming towns and highways.  They are place markers in our daily drives and many times she gets on Google (we've had great cell service along the way) and regales us with the history of the various towns along the highways.

We've also been on a quest to try out some of the regional fast food or restaurant joints.  What A Burger; Cracker Barrel; Hardee's; Sonic; Waffle House, etc.  Google can tell you the entire history of these places - we've learned who started these businesses, how they expanded/grown, what they are famous for --- all sorts of interesting tidbits of mostly useless information.  But it fills our day when we're in the car.

Adrienne crochets some, (when she's not looking at maps or reading out loud about something we've seen) and we also spend a little time thinking about and answering some thought-provoking questions that Adrienne gets from a little book.  Which then leads us to yak about other stuff.

Sometimes I've just burst out with some silly statement or answer to one of her questions and we both start cackling and laugh so hard we can't speak.

So, no, we're never bored.  Not ever.

1 comment:

  1. Sherita did a great job planning the route as well as doing ALL the driving!!! As she mentioned, we have never been bored and the flexibility in the route has allowed us to do some unexpected things. In fact, our "detours" have been some of the highlights of the trip.

    Visiting the Grand Canyon and getting the National Park Passport really has allowed us to explore a couple of the treasures found in our country. I would encourage you to experience them for yourself. If it is not possible for you to travel to them, then watch the Ken Burns documentary about them. 2016 is the Centennial for the National Park service so they are doing a lot of special things, go check it out!