Tuesday, May 10, 2016

The last leg

We left Albuquerque this morning to begin the last leg of our journey to our new home.  Technically, we won't be in our apartment until tomorrow, so it's one more night in a hotel room.  We're looking forward to getting into our new apartment, but since we don't really know when exactly our stuff is supposed to arrive, it's going to take a bit for it to feel like home.  And since we got rid of our mattress and box spring, we really need to replace those ASAP!

The drive through New Mexico wasn't as bad today as it was yesterday.  The winds were much calmer so it was a smoother drive.  We made one pit stop before we crossed the border and Michael was thrilled that it took us down onto the old Route 66.

As I was driving along today, I just kept thinking how beautiful this country is, and how many different landscapes there are throughout the U.S.  I wish I'd been able to take more pictures of the road, but with a tight schedule and us each driving our own cars, it just couldn't happen.  Ill just have to look the images inside my memory.

I do have a couple from Texas.


Windmills.  These are all over the place in Texas.

Overall, the drive was pretty good.  It was long, but we broke it up into good chunks and that really helped.  And the weather cooperated for us.  We had some rain when we left NJ, and a little more through Indianapolis, but I think that was about it.  And we made it safely out of Oklahoma avoiding the severe weather they experienced this week.  I honestly believe that my Mom was our guardian angel on this trip.  And I also think she was happy and excited for us and this adventure.


Our drive from Albuquerque today took us west to Flagstaff and then south into Phoenix and Glendale.  Flagstaff is beautiful, and for those who seem to think Arizona doesn't get snow, I can show you that it most surely does.  I've always known they did, and just this week, Flagstaff had some snow.  And here is a snowcapped mountain that we saw on our way into Flagstaff.

And while I think Flagstaff is beautiful, I do not like the drive from there to Phoenix.  At first it's beautiful with all the trees, but then you get to the area where the trees are gone and you find yourself hurtling down the side of a mountain, and then climbing again, only to go flying down again.  And then there are the signs warning about possible high winds as you go over a bridge where the dessert lies far below.  I'll be honest, it freaks me out a bit.

I was so happy to reach the valley.

And now here we are - in another hotel, in another time zone, ready to start this brand new adventure!

I hope you've enjoyed this little bit of insight into our drive across the U.S.  I'm hoping to post again tomorrow with some of the final details about where we've been and how far we've travelled.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Texas and New Mexico

We couldn't leave Oklahoma fast enough this morning.  There were tornadoes out there and I have no interest in seeing one of those.  Thankfully they came through after we arrived at the hotel, and the storm system was moving east as we were heading west this morning so we were in the clear.

We stopped in Amarillo, Texas to have lunch at The Big Texan, home of the 72oz steak.  If you eat the whole thing and the sides in under an hour, it's free.  We did NOT try.  It's hard to see, but below the steer head are 6 clocks set to 60 minutes, and a table with 6 chairs set up on a stage.  That is where the participants would sit.  Nobody tried it while we were there.

The drive today was probably the toughest.  It was very windy the entire way and there were times I felt like I was fighting my car.  Would have been great if it was a tail wind, but it wasn't.  Times when it was hitting us head on, I'm thinking I didn't get very good gas mileage.  But, at least gas prices in OK and Texas were still below $2 and in New Mexico, they are just over.  I always thought NJ had the best gas prices in the country, but now I think it's Oklahoma.  We paid $1.79 at one stop today.

The drive from Texas to Albuquerque is pretty boring.  And I apparently don't know much about New Mexico because I had no idea it was so hilly. From our hotel we can see som e of the mountains that we drove through.

I actually took this from a place across the street called Green Jeans.  It's an eclectic little place made from shipping containers with some restaurants and shops.  Check it out at Green Jeans.  We had pizza from Amore and it was really good.

Tomorrow we begin the final leg of the trip, and once we cross into Arizona, we will change time zones again.  We started yesterday in Central Time.  Today we are in Mountain and when we get to Arizona, we'll be in Pacific time.  I think I have jet lag.

Oh, and I'd like to offer my condolences to all the bugs who ran head-on into my car today.  It looks like a flying insect graveyard.  Gonna need a powerwash to get that thing clean.

Sunday, May 8, 2016


Sing it with me!

We made it to Oklahoma today.  It was a really nice rest at my sister's and I wish we could have stayed longer, but we need to finish this journey and we can't do that if we stay in IL.  Hopefully they will be able to visit us soon.  I think they'll enjoy visiting Arizona.

We left Illinois around 7:30 this morning and made the short drive into Missouri.  Apparently my GPS doesn't like Missouri though and it kept trying to send me back east (Carol, did you do something to it in an attempt to get me back to Boston?), and it wasn't until we crossed into Oklahoma that it finally started working correctly.

And I'm starting to think the Missouri means roadkill in Native American.  I think I saw at least 100 armadillo, and a few other things.  And the state of Oklahoma likes to give you lots of warning about things.  For example, they told us that we'd pay the toll in 42 miles.  And that we'd reach some road construction in 40 or so miles too.  Oh, and there were some very helpful signs along the way.  Such as, hitchhikers may be escaped convicts.  And don't drive through smoke.  Very helpful on these roads.  And the speed limit in Oklahoma on Interstate 44 is 75mph.  Again, we only saw a few people exceeding that.  Most seemed to stay right between 70 and 75.

We didn't have any problems with the drive today (except my crazy GPS), but now we're under a tornado watch in Oklahoma.  We did run over to Hooters to grab some dinner.  The wings are delicious and service was fantastic.  We just ignored the tiny uniforms.

And now we're back in the room watching the sky and hoping we don't get woken in the middle of the night because of a tornado.

Tomorrow we head through Texas, with hopefully a stop in Amarillo, and then we'll spend the night in Albuquerque.  Keep those fingers crossed for good weather for the rest of this journey!

I can't believe I almost forgot about Mom on Mother's Day.  As most of you know, my Mom passed away in October, so this was our first Mother's Day without her.  For the first part of the drive, I had her with me because I was bringing her ashes to my Dad who is now living with my sister in IL.  (It wasn't really an option for him to take them on the plane with him.)  So this morning, when I left my sister's, Mom stayed and I was on my own.  Or was I?  See, the stat of Missouri had electronic signs along the road that said:  "Buckle Up!  Drive carefully!  Love Mom!  So I'm pretty sure she was with me all the way.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Corn country

Ohio, Indiana, Illinois....those are the states we covered on Wednesday.  And now we're resting at my sister's house, somewhere near a cornfield.   There isn't any actual corn at the moment.  The fields are actually pretty much jus dirt right now, but trust me...this is corn country.

So far, the drive has been thankfully pretty quiet.  No major traffic, no real problems.  We have had some rain, most of which occurred in Indianapolis. Do you think they know we're Patriots fans and therefore they decided to rain all over us?  They can't beat us at football, so they made the rain beat down on is instead.  We did see Lucas Oil Stadium, home of the Colts.  Really couldn't miss it.  It is huge!  I think it is the biggest building in Indy.  There isn't much else in Indiana, so I guess they needed something big.

We have been sharing the road with many big rigs.  And there has been a fair amount of construction along the way, but nothing that caused any significant delay.  There hasn't been too much to see along the road, although there is a giant cross in Effingham, IL.  And we saw signs for the world's largest golf tee and largest wind chime, but we didn't actually see them.

So now we're in Illinois, but we're in the southwestern part of the state.  Not anywhere near Chicago.  (I love Chicago!  If you've never been, you should visit at least once.)  We're actually closer to St. Louis, although we haven't crossed the Mississippi River yet.  Not sure if we'll make it into the city for a visit while we're here, but I've been a few times before and we'll be back to visit here again, so there isn't anything that we need to do right now.  I'm just enjoying spending time with family, especially my niece's baby boy.

We'll be staying here in Illinois for a few days and then we'll cross the Mississippi and start heading toward Oklahoma, which is about 8 hours away and our next stop for rest.  Neither of us has ever been to Oklahoma, so we're looking forward to it.  And I hope the weather continues to be good to us.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Somewhere in Ohio

We left New Jersey this morning on our way to Ohio.  That was one very long drive through Pennsylvania.  I hope I never have to do that again.  I felt like it was never going to end.  One positive about driving through Pennsylvania, the rest rooms at the service areas on the PA Turnpike are actually pretty clean.

A few interesting things we noticed along the way...the Delaware River Bridge is a toll but there aren't any toll booths anymore.  Apparently PA is really promoting use of the E-ZPass system.  But what if you don't have one (incidentally, we just returned ours to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts yesterday), apparently they're going to mail us an invoice.  Wonder how long that will take since our cars are registered in MA still.

And most of the speed limit signs on the PA Turnpike were 70 mph.  I found it interesting that most drivers stayed between 65 and 70.  There wasn't much speeding.  There were several places where it dropped to 55 because of construction and we did see someone get pulled over.  They had come up next to us right after it dropped to 55.  We were slowing, but they just kept going at about 70.  I noticed the cop up ahead and then saw him pull out behind us.  He followed behind the guy, who finally started to slow down a bit, and then once they got past the construction zone, the cop pulled him over.

I noticed several cops along the way between PA and Ohio.  The speed limit in Ohio is also 70 in many places and like in PA, I didn't notice much speeding.  I found it interesting.

Anyway, we're spending the night in Ohio and then heading on to my sister's house in IL.  We're looking forward to spending a few days there with the family.  And we're really looking forward to sleeping in a real bed tonight.

Until next time....

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Road Trip - 1st Stop

After an extremely stressful and exhausting week of packing, we hit the road yesterday to begin our journey to Arizona.  The packing was awful and I can only hope the unpacking goes a little easier.

We decided to have our stuff shipped using a pod.  They dropped the container off Monday afternoon.  We'd been hoping it would be in the morning, since hubby had to be to work at noon, but no such luck.  Then it rained much of Tuesday, so that seriously hindered our packing ability.  Because he was working much of the week, that left the majority of the packing to me.  I did have one friend who was able to come help on Thursday, which was so very much appreciated.  I'm not sure we would have finished otherwise.  As it was, we ended up tossing out a lot of stuff because we couldn't get it all packed before they picked up the pod on Friday.  There were a few other glitches along the way too, but I won't bore you with those.

The rest of Friday and Saturday morning, we spent packing our cars and cleaning out the apartment.  We finished right around noon, although I didn't clean it as well as I would have hoped.

We dropped off the keys at the management office and then headed south to New Jersey.  Arriving right around dinner time, we spent about 1/2 hour at my in-laws before we climbed into their car and drove down to the boardwalk to grab some dinner.

I definitely look a lot happier in this picture than I'd been 24 hours earlier when I felt like we were never going to get everything packed.  I honestly think I was having some type of anxiety attack or something.  I couldn't stop shaking and I just wanted to cry.  I couldn't sleep at night either because I just kept thinking about packing.  But, when this picture was taken, everything was packed and we were onto the road trip portion.

So now we're in New Jersey and I'm finally able to relax.  Today I even took a nap after breakfast.  Me...who doesn't nap unless I'm sick.  But I needed it, and I'm pretty sure I earned it after all the stress of the past week.  Tomorrow we'll be doing a few errands, things I didn't have a chance to do during the week, and making one more visit to the boardwalk.

Tuesday morning, we'll be hitting the road again.  Next stop, somewhere in Ohio.

Friday, April 22, 2016


This post really doesn't have anything to do with books, which was the focus of this blog, but since it's been silent for about a year, and since it's my blog and I can write what I want, I think (hope) you'll want to read it anyway.

Today marked the end of an era.  After 11 years, I said farewell to the law firm where I worked as we prepare to move across the country.

Eleven years is a long time, but sometimes it seems like no time at all. I won't pretend it was the perfect job.  There were many ups and downs, and like most people, I had my complaints about work.  But I most certainly didn't hate my job.  I learned a lot and I think I did a damn good job, especially considering that I didn't have any legal experience before I worked there.

I also made some incredible friends...some were with me from the beginning, and others, joined us along the way.  These are the people I will never forget.  There were definitely some tears shed today.   These are the people who I spent the most time with.  We shared good times and bad.  We complained about work, but we worked together to get the job done.

Saying goodbye was bittersweet.  I am looking forward to this new adventure we are about to embark on, but I will miss my friends.  I am glad I live in today's world, where things like email, text, Facebook make it easy to hold onto those friendships.  Because I know I'm going to need my friends close by, even when they're thousands of miles away.