The Grand Canyon and Roughin’ It

Sorry it’s been a while since I was able to update. Here’s the explanation.

Camping in Missouri ended up alright–we arrived and began putting up the tent to discover there were no poles with the tent Julie’s friend lent us. Whoops!! So Julie had to go back out to a walmart to pick up a new (smaller) tent. We decided to wake up early and book it from Springfield to either Santa Rosa, New Mexico or maybe even Albuquerque…! That was a bit optimistic. But we actually made it.

The night in the tent though was kind of stressful for us both. It was late when we arrived, we made some beanie weenies and s’mores (yay!!), which were delish. But the tent was super small, like, I couldn’t even stretch out my entire length. And I’m not that tall. And it was humid. But more importantly, I discovered that my inner lizard brain works quite well.

In the middle of the night, I suddenly awoke, due to some kind of animal sniffing at our tent. When I say suddenly, I mean literally shot up. I almost opened the tent to see what was there, but that seemed like maybe not such a great idea. And then I heard howling, quite nearby. So maybe wolves? Coyotes? Rodents of unusual size?? I did get back to sleep. And then awoke later to more sniffing. Creeeeeepy!! But we survived. So it’s all good.

So Monday we drove through the rest of Missouri on 44, went through Oklahoma and proceeded to the tip-top of Texas, through Amarillo. Oklahoma was boring, and Texas was similar, but for some reason more beautiful and interesting. I guess there was a bit more vegetation, more curves, which makes things interesting.

Texas was short and sweet, and suddenly we were in New Mexico and everything was gorgeous! Though very empty. There’d be mesas or mountains in the distance, then just flat, as far as you could see. We saw lots of shrubs. And cows.

We got to Albuquerque after about 12 hours of pretty much straight driving, taking turns and stopping for gas, bathrooms, food and coffee. We found a hotel in Albuquerque, and a sweet Mexican place nearby. We ate some delish food and went to sleep. Finally, I got a decent nights sleep. It’d been quite a while.

So because we were able to go the full 820 or so miles from Springfield, MO to Albuquerque, NM, we could afford a leisurely start to the day this morning in our sketchtastic Travelodge place, but we did have to figure out the rest of our plan.

So we sort of knew today would be about getting to the Grand Canyon, but neither of us knew anything about the Grand Canyon, or like, what to do there. Just pretty much that it exists. So we headed to Flagstaff and just figured we’d take it from there. We ate a fantastic lunch in Flagstaff, which was an adorable little town with such beautiful scenery. And then we headed to the Southern Rim of the Grand Canyon.

We arrived at the Grand Canyon around 6pm, which is a bit late, but we’d decided just to basically take some pictures and move on. It was a bit dark, but truly one of the most fantastically beautiful and awesome sights I have ever seen. I got some nice photos, Julie and I were both overwhelmed by our amazement. And then it started raining. I had my D-SLR with me. The rain scared me. And it was cold!! But we made it back to the car, camera in tow and though we were soaked, in excellent spirits. Especially because we got to see a rainbow in the Grand Canyon…! I’m sure that happens a lot, but it was so incredible. Just the Canyon seriously, was amazing. And the rainbow added. So we’re back on the road at 8pm Pacific time, heading to LA. Our plan now is to find a place to stay along I-40 in an hour or so and then get to LA tomorrow morning so we’ll have time to get Julie a bed by tomorrow night.

I am overall so impressed by how beautiful, vast and empty this country is. There is a whole lotta nothin’. Not that I didn’t know that at least to some degree before, but I have now seen it. Though the Southwest is gorgeous. I would someday like to return. I liked Flagstaff a lot–it feels like Colorado.

I think that’s all for now. I’m tired, but the past two days have been wonderful. I love driving, and it has been such a pleasure at least doing that, and even though we’re buzzing through the country, it’s kind of cool–pushing the limits of how many miles we can go in a day. Still, flying back into New York after this will be….magical. And Monday brings a whole new world.

Louisville to Missouri

We’re on Day 3 of our cross-country road trip. Last night, Julie and I arrived in Louisville at 10pm, at the affordable farm house her sister just recently moved into. We were both exhausted, so we went to sleep pretty quickly.

This morning, I was able to contact an old friend, Cathy, who lived with me and my mom when I was 14, and meet up with her at her work for her 30 minute break. It was nice to see her and get to catch up randomly. And, really, that’s what this trip is all about for me. Taking things as they come. Practicing relaxing in stressful situations.

We left a bit late because we met up with a couple more of Julie’s friends kind of at the last minute, but we should still get to Springfield (the stopping area of choice due to time constraints and our desire to camp). I kind of wanted to meet up with my cousin in Columbia, MO, but it’s too far out of the way. This is unfortunately not a leisurely trip. Anyway, we just stopped at walmart (thanks, walmart iphone app!!) to pick up an extra sleeping bag, camping supplies and food. I drove all morning, so I’m super-exhausted. But I’ll keep you updated. The scenery has been lots of corn, flat. Getting a bit more interesting now, but West Virginia was way prettier. That’s all for now!

It MIGHT be okay

I’m on the road, traveling on I-64 between Lexington, Kentucky toward Louisville to stay with my friend, Julie’s sister for the night. Tomorrow we head to Missouri tomorrow, though we’re not yet sure where we’ll be sleeping….probably a campsite somewhere. It’s a bit of a fly-by-the-seat-of-our pants endeavor. It’s all good though.

I found out on Thursday that had I not gotten my promotion, I would’ve been laid off, which my two coworkers are. I’m both extremely relieved and also scared out of my mind about the reality of there being just no promises in life. It’s also a reminder to go after what you want.

I started packing (which, really, meant doing laundry) Thursday night for this trip, then woke up early to finish packing everything on Friday morning. I hauled all my shit to work with me on the subway, and luckily it wasn’t too crowded on the commute; I think everyone took off to go to the beach or something. Anyway. I was at work for my last day both of my job and possibly of seeing my coworkers, in case they don’t stay with the organization, which is quite likely, at least for one of them. So I had to close out all of my patients, which is both a fair amount of paperwork and sort of emotionally draining, and also say goodbye to my coworkers. Then I had to haul all my shit to Brooklyn (Julie’s house, not mine). Then we drove one of Julie’s roommates to Jersey, after of course sitting around for a while, saying goodbyes, etc.

We also had to stop in South Jersey to say goodbye to one of Julie’s best friends, Jenna, who’s grandmother was in the hospital, so it took a fair amount of waiting. It was already about 10pm and I was tired, and we wanted to make it to DC to stay with Julie’s parents for the first night, where we were gonna have to pick up some more of Julie’s stuff.

So finally we left around 11pm and made it around 2:30am, at which point we crashed. In the morning, we went to breakfast with Julie’s mom and brother, which was nice, and then headed on our way.

We headed for Lexington, where we met up with friends of Julie’s (she went to school at University of Kentucky), and then now we’re headed to Louisville. More updates coming soon!