Friday, September 28, 2007

No more living out of our car

We checked out Savannah and Charleston, which were both cool (we liked Charleston a bit better) but we think we were jaded from spending so many nights in the woods, that being in city traffic and trying to park annoyed us so much that we didn’t stay very long. We continued up the coast and then cut over to JMU in Harrisonburg, VA where Sara and I went to school. We spent a day walking around campus, wishing we were students again, and peeking in classrooms at our same old boring computer science professors still talking to the whiteboard while no one paid attention behind them. We had a nice dinner in town and then hit a favorite local bar for cheap beer and the company of many JMU students who apparently had finished all of their Wednesday night homework. We awoke Thursday morning and reluctantly drove the short two hours back to our house. About 5 miles from our house we were greeted with stop and go traffic on 66, both ways, at noon on a Wednesday… welcome back to Northern Virginia. Amazingly enough there were no disasters awaiting us upon our return. The grass is dead and there are lots of spider webs everywhere, but otherwise the house is in good shape. Thanks to Kelly Tracy for watching our house this summer!

So you might ask, “how come they are home a bit early given that they don’t go back to work for another few weeks?” We just wanted some time to decompress, do laundry, clean the house, finish some house projects and get back into a normal life again. We are planning to do some mountain biking, go sailing, and enjoy having some time off around town. Sara and I are rested, refreshed and may actually be looking forward to going back to work on 10/15, but getting home early was not a reflection on the enjoyment of our trip. We had an awesome time on the road, and will probably continue posting for a few weeks since we consider ourselves still on the trip, just not living out of our car anymore (which looks quite different now that you can actually see the back seats again). On that subject, we believe the SUV was the correct decision and are glad we didn’t buy an RV of some type. We traveled much faster, more flexibly, and were able to get into some places that RV travelers could not. Camping in the tent for over 60 nights wasn’t bad either; we actually enjoyed it quite a bit. We attribute the tent comfort to the terrific weather out West (cool, low humidity every day) and the fact that our aero-bed fit quite nicely in the tent. If we had been traveling east of the Mississippi, camping in a tent would have been impossible. The heat and humidity would have been unbearable… our last few days in Tennessee, Georgia, and Virginia were miserably hot.

Pics- Sara hugging the house, Chris braving the crawl space to turn the water on.

Somewhere in Kansas we discovered a book-on-tape of George Orwell’s 1984 within our massive MP3 library donated by Dylan, so we listened to that while the miles ticked away (“Big Brother is always watching”). In between chapters, we compiled the following list of metrics, measures and observations. Some of them might be interesting to you, some might not be… things like “# of bags of ice” might sound uninteresting but we got a lot of ice this summer and at some point we started to keep track… give us a break will ya, we didn’t have anything else to do sometimes.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Return to the East Coast

Well, we left the West side of Rocky Mountain National Park on Saturday afternoon at about 1PM and decided to drive for a while. It is now Monday evening, 1900 miles further along and we are just about in Savannah, Georgia. There just wasn’t much we wanted to see in the Great Plains of Kansas and Missouri, or Illinois and Kentucky. We stopped in Nashville last night but resisted the urge to do touristy things in Music City and decided to head further East this morning. We stopped in Great Smoky Mountains National Park for lunch and continued Southeast this afternoon. It is nice to be back in the Eastern Time Zone and among the familiar types of trees and rolling hills of the Eastern Seaboard. We are not as pleased with the 95 degrees and high humidity that smacks us in the face each time we stop for gas (many, many times in the last 48 hours). We are going to spend the next couple of days visiting a few coastal towns. Above: the St. Louis Arch passes by at 80MPH. Below: our favorite "custom RV" of the trip… actually it was a ticket booth on wheels that a family was using as an RV… if you are interested, it was for sale… “if you have to ask, you can’t afford it.”