Friday, October 29

a warm welcome

A few funny things worth noting have happened.

The first was last week and I kind of forgot about it.
I was doing work at Andy's house (I was there alone) in the living room. There are two desks, one that faces the front of the house and one that faces the back. I was minding my own business when I heard some shuffling noises. I turned around to see a little bird sitting on the desk behind me! A real, live, little bird had somehow gotten into the house and was flying around. He looked like he could have a panic attack at any moment, so as quickly and unobtrusively as I could, I opened the door in the back room. He took the invitation to go back to nature immediately. Afterward, I kind of wish I had thought to keep him or train him to stop back in whenever he felt like it. The incident initially startled me, but in the end it was fun.

The second was yesterday morning.
I finally got everything in order to go to the DMV and get all the car and license stuff taken care of. I went first thing in the morning to make it as painless as possible. It was 8 am and my windows were dewed over. I couldn't get them to stay clear so I rolled the windows down. At a stoplight, a woman next to me rolled down her window and complimented Leeny's pet, the cactus antenna! Then she asked if I lived here or was just visiting. I said I just moved here. She said Arkansas is nice and I'll just have to go back and forth now. Before the light changed, she gave me a warm "Welcome to Richmond" and my day was made.

Other things, less funny, are that I carved a pumpkin at my sister's house.


a. It's like digging into a treasure box except you know what you're going to get.
b. The pumpkins carved by (from left to right) Sister, me, Steven.
c. My pumpkin, Mr. Monocle.

And that I went on an exploratory bike ride around my neighborhood today, specifically to find this house and this tree. I had seen them the other day, but did not have the proper recording tools on me. I didn't want to miss the leaves. And I nearly did!

Blue and orange. So pretty!

You better believe there are more photos here!

Sunday, October 17

Richmond, I am here

So maybe life hasn't continued to be quite as exciting since I stopped driving hundreds of miles every couple days, passing through the changing landscape of our fine country. That's not to say it's been boring though! And since I've waited a couple weeks to share anything, it will seem even more exciting! (Ha, good trick Frost.)

Two weekends ago at the Gaylord National, MLG was there. Don't know what MLG is? Well, I might not have either until I was face to face with thousands. They are gamers. Major League Gamers.

All these boys wearing headsets, small backpacks, pajama pants, and black hoodies playing video games against each other.

And, no, I did not go to the Gaylord just for the MLGers. I went because my dad was there for a conference. He brought along my mom, and Sister, Steven, Andy, and I went up to meet them. We had some enjoyable family and friend time and played on this giant sculpture. I sat on a big toe!

It's called "The Awakening".

Since then, Richmond has been stocking my fridge and pantry, copyediting and proofreading (not to jinx it, but the jobs are coming in pretty regularly), and figuring out how to handle my unstructured days. Um, it's hard. And I'm not going to lie, I miss New York and I didn't have time to think about it while I was on the road, but now I do. That's hard too.

The first meal I "cooked" at my apartment. The second meal I COOKED at my apartment.

But time is helping the little hole I feel. Richmond has cool things to offer. Like Toy Story 3 at The Byrd for two dollars! And riding my bike (thanks again, Nancy!) around the neighborhood through the fallen, colorful leaves without being fearful of crazy drivers!

And receiving unexpected, special mail!

Beautiful cloth napkins from Aunt Terri!

And the Celtic Festival! Funny thing about the Celtic Festival: I brought my big camera (that's what I call my Nikon) and was all prepared to capture the moments, etc. I turned it on and there was a big E flashing back at me, laughing in my face. I had taken the memory card out and forgot to put it back! Idiot!
So these are courtesy of my phone.

That is a sheep herding demonstration, and a man humoring kids by sword fighting with them.

Those are hardly a taste of the costumes, I mean cultural dress, that we saw. That's a Mini Cooper for Del.

In closing, I think it will all come together and I think I'll eventually get used to suburbia again. And if any of you out-of-towners need a break, Z and I make great hostesses.

And one last side note, because I feel the need to confess this: I downloaded the entire James Taylor discography today. I might have been influenced by mail from Aunt Terri, but I just couldn't help myself.

If you can't help yourself, here are more photos.

Friday, October 15

mile 4873 - 6895

I'm sad to say that this is going to be the last "on the road" post. And I'm not even on the road anymore (I got back to Virginia on Wednesday!). That is NOT to say I will discontinue telling whoever about whatever. I just might have to try harder to make it sound more exciting.

So let's do this! I am going to lump the last bit together. It was more "business" driving and less "fun" driving.

As I said, Santa Fe ended abruptly and we left for a long drive to Dallas. We stopped a few times in Amarillo.

One, for the Cadillac Ranch. Apparently some rich guy wanted a public art installation and commissioned some hippies to come up with something. This is what they did. In the middle of a cow field. And there are still spray paint cans there. I graffitied!

Two, at Sears to see about getting my oil changed. No go. It was going to take a couple hours.

Three, at Schlotzsky's for lunch! You say, what is that? A great sandwich place is what it is and if you ever have the opportunity you should go.

Mom and I got to cousin Kelly and Michael's apartment around 8:00 that evening, where I met the baby Adele for the first time! Wahoo new family! They cooked us a lovely dinner and we hung out until bedtime. Dallas is big and crazy.

We left early the next morning, eager to get back to Little Rock. The drive was a short 5.5 hours and we were home by noon!

The Little Rock time was spent visiting with family and friends and doing exercise routines with Mom and Dad. (Mom=walk in the morning with her lady friends. Dad=bike ride in the evening on the River Trail.)

Nap time! And meatball making at the Beaumont's.

I was kind of sad when I had to pack up so quickly just a day and a half later. Zissou and I left early Tuesday morning for the long road. I was sick of doing the drive through Tennessee and I thought I needed to change it up if I wanted to continue the spirit of the road trip a little longer. It was a half-assed attempt. I did drive different roads, through Kentucky and West Virginia, but I didn't make any detours.

Cotton on the roadside!

I had the cat and I didn't think it would be nice to make the 18.5 hours any longer than it needed to be. We stayed the night in Charleston, WV.

Z's various spots. She also liked to climb over my left shoulder from behind my seat and crawl onto my lap.

Here's the story, I was not planning on bringing Z back with me. But on Tuesday morning, as I was packing in the last bag, my mind was changed. I already had a hotel reservation so I was going to sneak Z into my room. When we got there, I saw that would not be possible as the elevators and stairs were right by the front desk. She had to sleep in the car! I felt like the worst mother ever and made sure she was as comfortable and set up as possible. Don't report me! She survived and didn't even seem too mad at me.

And now home sweet home is ole Virginny.

Look at those trees! Fall is among us!

The rest of the pictures are here. (Santa Fe and Little Rock. Sorry, Dallas, I didn't mean to leave you out of the photographing, but it was dark and traffic-y.)

Thursday, October 14

mile 4489 - 4872

It was already days ago so I'm probably going to be catch up brief!

Last Thursday Mom and I drove from Flagstaff to Santa Fe.

Our first stop was Meteor Crater, just East of Flagstaff. Remember the picture of the piece of the meteor from the Lowell Observatory. That's the meteor that made the crater! We got there right at 8 when they opened and looked at the giant hole. It looks smaller than it is. There were a few things for scale and you couldn't see them without looking through the telescopes placed on the rim.

The road we drove to get there. The big hole.

We tuned into the informational radio station on the way there and that's how we were reminded about the corner in Winslow, AZ that we would be passing. Of course we detoured! It was slight and the station boasted about a girl in a flatbed Ford slowing down. As promised:

A few notes about the benefits of traveling with a passenger like my mom. The air out there is incredibly dry and it shows. We both looked like we had rolled around in a pile of ashes. Or chalk. Anyway, while I was driving, Mom was kind enough to put lotion on my arms and hands. I'd just stretch one out and she'd rub it in. Now that is multi-tasking. The other good thing is singing duets. Not so much duets as just funny songs with someone. Anyway, our favorite is this and if you listen to it, it might be hard not to say "aha, mmm, hmm" any time your answer is yes.

We got to Santa Fe around 3:00 and went straight to the square.

Ah-doe-be. Same thing The Alamo is made of.

Everything closes around 6 so we didn't have much time. A bummer, but that's life on the road. We managed to refuel with some rooftop guac and beer, then moseyed into quite a few cool stores.

We had later dinner reservations at a place called The Shed. It was real good and hot. Spicy hot, which is something I am usually quite afraid of.

The tiny door that made me feel tall and normal people feel even taller.

Sad to say that was about all the Santa Fe we had.

Sunday, October 10

mile 4126 - 4488

I can't say I was sad to leave Vegas. Especially because the next stop was Flagstaff and I had never been there before.

The journey was a good one. We crossed the Hoover Dam and saw the new bridge they are building.

We stepped off of I-40 for old Route 66. Now that was fun, the little towns we went through and the way they cling to the Route 66 fame. We stopped in Seligman at one of the general stores. I got Leeny a pet and there was a penny machine! (I know I haven't mentioned penny machines yet, but this was the third of the trip.)

Leeny's new pet! I can be like that too!

So that morning, there were 4 tornadoes in a town just west of Flagstaff. We drove through that town and saw the damage. The power line poles were angled and there was an RV station that was all kinds of torn up. We also saw two overturned 18-wheelers. Luckily the weather had cleared up quite a bit by the time we got there.


That night, we walked around the little town, went into a couple shops, and then went to the Lowell Observatory. We saw a piece of the meteor that made Meteor Crater just east of Flagstaff.

The next day, Tuesday, we drove to Sedona. It's a beautiful drive through forests and canyons. then you get there and it's stunning.

Red rock canyons in every direction. There's pretty much one street where everything is happening and it's just shops and restaurants, but full of local art (and tourist T-shirts).

We had a handy book that told us the geological points of interest so we slowly went down the line, hopping from one to the next. Oh, and to get to some of these we had to do some serious off-roading. I think Leeny won an award for hanging tough.

Okay, so those aren't as geological as the others, but they were neat. And that was just a giant house.

Before heading back to Flagstaff, we walked on an easy trail to a creek with sheer walls a thousand feet high.

We also came across these old structures.

Mom feeling the energy from the vortex. Me being a monkey, or something.

That night we ate Thai food. Mmmm.

When we woke up the next morning to get going it was so cold the car had frosted over and I had to warm it up!

All the photos here!