Saturday, May 08, 2010

Going West #1

May 7, 2010 – Barboursville, WV

Exit 20 on I64 North – that’s where we are. Barboursville, WV.

We left Greensboro today, on our Western adventure. We are headed to our new home, in Spanish Fork, UT.

The movers came as scheduled, somewhere between 8 and 9 AM – which to snoozy me meant a pure criminal wake up call. Especially after a whole week of packing, and working, and calling places, and errand-ing, and of course, my least (much to all your disbelief!) favorite thing: worrying

The movers were prompt, but not very fast. They did a thorough job, though (so far), so I should not complain! We were freed of belongings and to lunch around 1.30. Our fast food adventure began in Greensboro, at Chick-Fil-a.

A couple of sandwiches, and another two hours or so of chores later, we headed West on I40. With the cats. Ah, the cats! We packed all three in each of their carriers, and off we went. Crying, screeching, screaming, and us adults ignoring it all, we started our big trip.

We had no idea how far we were going to go today, or what states we will cover. We went through North Carolina, bidding Mount Pilot farewell (no pictures from NC since I was driving), then, we crossed briefly into the Western tip of Virginia, en route to Charleston, WV.

Cats gave up and got quiet, mercifully! We chatted and enjoyed a beautiful (albeit terribly bright) sunset through our mountain drive.

West Virginia is beautiful, indeed! Mountains everywhere, lots of bridges, and tunnels, lots of toll roads, too. As usual, the money they collect seem to make no sense, as the roads are not at all good! But it must be for all the bridges and tunnels!

The Capitol building in Charleston is exquisite (what you can see from the rush of the traffic and from off the highway), but we could not get good pictures, as we were blinded by the sun. Its setting in the middle of the hills is beautiful, as well.

We stopped at a Comfort Inn for the night, and let the cats roam free. They are skittish, and hissy, but at least one of them is eating and lying around as normal. Maybe the others will join him. Hopefully, this will be their new routine and we won’t have too much trouble with them. We hope.

I will have to mention of few words of thank you for WV, not only for a beautiful state, but for a clean hotel room, even a clean “pet friendly” hotel room, off the highway! These places are not always easy to find.

For dinner we had a couple of Taco Bell combos, but we’re not sure what they were. A soft taco and some sort of other “chicken wrap” thing. Delicious! Or at least any food tastes that way when you’re tired, hot, on the go and very hungry!

Tomorrow, we’re off to the next state: Kentucky, and who knows what else from there!

Cheers, from the road! Pictures will have to wait for a couple of days. Hotel wi-fi’s are not very fast.

May 8, 2010 - Columbia, MO

And we advanced a couple of more states. Yep, we’re in Columbia, MO right now, at a Days Inn, and of course in a pet friendly room.

I counted all the states we’re going through on this trip and we’ve got a total of 10. We passed the mid mark of that count today, but let me tell you, the longest ones are yet to come, so lots more to go.

Today, we drove through very diverse landscape, I’d say. We drove through the remainder of the mountains of WV, and then we rolled down into the smooth and wavy hills of Kentucky. Kentucky is so green. Everywhere you turned, just fresh green trees and pastures. Beautiful and lush pastures. It was a very restful drive through Kentucky, from a visual perspective. The cats were agitated though, for some unknown reason, so the auditory landscape was not as pleasant.

Everything in KY had to do with horses, pretty much – the license plates, the billboards, the horse farms, you name it. That and aging liquor. Louisville was impressive. Set on the Ohio river, it had enormous bridges that continued from way in West Virginia. I have not seen bridges this huge in a long while as I have seen on this trip. They are metal, and massive! The town itself looked, from the run of the Echo, as pretty much all big town look like: busy and tall.

We slipped into Indiana next. The landscape became more and more yellow and more and more flat. Indiana – or the little bit I have seen of it, in its Southern tip - was pretty non descript, I’d say. I did enjoy seeing lots of silos on lots of farmland, and beautiful plains of yellow flowers everywhere. Reminded me a bit of the farmland of Pennsylvania with the Dutch barns and red sidings or roofs of the houses.

Next, we were, almost without notice into Illinois, and then, Missouri. It was interesting to me that everything was very “vague” as far as naming went. Everything around us described a very approximate land of “the middle” or “the center” of something. We drove by “The MidAmerican Airport”. Just somewhere … in the middle of America, this airport was. That’s when I had my revelation that this trip is really, actually, happening. I am not longer in Greensboro. No longer close to The Ocean. I am crossing the continent. I am crossing its middle as I was driving. The vagueness of it all emphasized my own vagueness about what is really happening with every second of my every day lately. I am clear about the goal. Not so clear how I am getting there, you see.

Sitting on the Mississippi river, St. Louis was really beautiful, what I could see of it from behind the wheel! I was looking for my next turn in the road there, because thereabouts is where we got off I64 and took I70 onward. It had large bridges as well, but the show was stolen by The Gateway Arch . It was so shiny and looked “new” in the (again, as yesterday) bright sun, as if prepped for a party! Aa. thought it doesn’t look as big as you’d expect from pictures, but it looked pretty big to me! It was, for me, a symbolic entrance into The West, once again. And another milestone of realization.

We also drove by The St. Louis Cardinals stadium, another St. Louis staple. And a massive, and I mean massive sign of Anheuser-Busch beer. I almost drove into the side walls trying to get Aa.’s attention to take a picture of it. Hopefully, the pictures turned out, but as I have mentioned before – a bit of patience for those. The hotel’s wi-fi is not very speedy.

The fast food saga continued today. All they tell you on all the chat rooms online about eating nothing besides fast food on such a road trip is true. There is not much time for anything else. And traveling with pets, especially, is tricky on the amount of time you have for your stops. So, it was fast food day #2. I know it sounds cheesy but we had KFC in Kentucky, as I was (maybe subliminally?!) craving it; and we had Wendy’s chili and baked potatoes for dinner.

And thus, through good and bad roads, many a shiny, bright skies, mountains, hills and flat lands, medium flow traffic and lots of speed , music and great chats we ended up to our stop for tonight – Columbia, MO. When the places are not named vaguely (like Centralia), they were named with names familiar to me from NC and VA (like Danville, Burlington and Williamsburg), or SC, like the town we’re in for the night. Life still feels slower than out East. When we walked into the reception area of the hotel tonight, the lady was so thrilled and welcomed Aa. with “Oh, great! Finally I’ve got something to do!”, as she was sitting alone, listening to the radio, bored, eating popcorn.

We’re going to plow on through the big open road ahead of us, tomorrow, and try to keep awake, less and less worried, and just excited to be here, to be together, to be able to do this.

Miss you all, but we’re having fun!

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