Monday, October 29, 2012

Spending Time With Mo

I ended my long drive across country yesterday by driving through Mo. Missouri, aka Mo, as in MoDOT Cares and, had been previously known to me as Misery. What I remember from all those college-years drives is the dark cold wind and miles of uninterrupted flatness. Things have changed since then. Mo is all friendly and filled in between St. Louis and Independence with patches of activity; places for shopping, getting gas, sleeping, hanging out. In particular, the exit for the state capital is fun land: Ozarkland and Nostalgiaville

Mo is also very interested in having you believe in Jesus and rethink your attitude towards abortion. I feel I did a service by driving through with my Coexist bumper sticker. Fighting back against billboards one bumper sticker at a time!
I had planned to stop for lunch around Kansas City, hoping for Chinese or Asian. Having learned from previous experience, I took the bypass route around the city. Two qualifying eateries were advertised at exits but the traffic was so frenetic and the exits so complex that I gave up.

I crossed the state line hoping for a glimpse of the Mississippi. What a brain fart that was! I had already crossed in St. Louis without even noticing. I should have made more of that crossing of the Missouri. It was so wide it looked like a lake!

Then it was on to the Kansas toll road where there was no stopping! Speed limit: 75 MPH and you know everyone was driving faster than that. I just kept on keeping on, knowing I would arrive at my destination before 2 PM and feeling reasonably certain I could get lunch in Topeka. That worked out.

My daughter was glad to see me. I was glad to see her and that the driving was over. I made it. I'm here. Now I just have to figure out how to get the rest of my stuff here. 

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Lovely day in flat country

Rain ended by morning. An hour of driving brought me to blue skies with brilliant sunshine.

Illinois, Indiana, and Missouri: the pass-through states. Six lane highways at 65-70 mph with travel plazas and rest stops. I sped past Candle Glo, Boot City, and Historic Greenup.

On the plus side I had a lot of happy music to listen to and parades of semi-trailer trucks to keep me company.

St. Louis is the most confusing city. They take 70W, divide it into four parts, bring it back together and then lose it completely only to bring it back miles later. I chose to go through town. Word of advice: take the 270 bypass. I got stuck in construction traffic where six lanes were reduced to two as a crew did something to the bridge that smelled like glue.

The arch was impressive the way the Washington monument is impressive: tall. 70W took me right past it. Don't think I would make a special trip to see it.

This Motel 6 (in Wentzville outside St. Louis) is the fanciest so far. It's in a corporate area and used to be a Holiday Inn. Unlike the other Motel 6's it is not surrounded by Waffle House, Mc Donald's, and gas stations. The nearest breakfast place is one exit down. Or up. It's also more expensive and I was not automatically offered the senior discount.

Last night on the road. Looking forward to sleeping in a homey place tomorrow. And seeing my daughter, of course.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Columbus and Rain

It doesn't matter where I start from or when, I always end up outside Columbus at rush hour. If I had skipped visiting my friends I would have been there before lunch. But what would be the point of that?

I'm so glad I made the trip to Cleveland to see my friends. It was like being home again.

The drive to and from Cleveland was mostly misty. From Columbus to Dayton the sky broke loose and poured. I got tired of the sound of wiper blades. It's still raining. Hoping for a cessation by morning.

To simplify directions I made a short list to get me to Cleveland. I'm using the long list now. Yay google maps!

This Motel 6 (outside Dayton in Englewood) hasn't been renovated yet and its difficult to find the entry but it's clean and well maintained. I got a nice single room around the back convenient to a scrap of land for dog walking. And at a really convenient price! Also, gas is a mere $3.05.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

First Leg

Drove seven hours. Still have about two hours to my friend in Cleveland. I'll do that tomorrow.

Over two hours was spent driving up and down and up and down over mountains and across the eastern continental divide which is underwhelming compared to the one in Colorado.

They have a thing about trucks in West Virginia. They can only drive 50 mph, are constantly told the degrees of the inclines, and reminded to downshift.

Stopped at a pretty overlook rest area. Drove around in circles looking for a take away Chinese place. Mistook a tan shop for a Thai restaurant. And I think a women was giggling at my high rise yoga pants. They're so comfortable!

Staying at pet friendly Motel 6 in a brand new double room for only $52! However, I made up for it by having to get gas at $3.75.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A real adventure!

Moving out of my home and staying with family and friends has left me with little time to consider journaling my travels. I've been to Yogaville a couple times. I highly recommend it as a retreat center. Incredibly peaceful and relaxing and you get spiritual practice to boot.

In the morning I'm beginning a drive to Topeka KS. I haven't travelled that far by car for 10 years. Looking forward more to arriving than traveling.

Pip, the dog, is accompanying me. So I'll be on the lookout for dog-friendly hotels. Motel 6 has been recommended to me. They are fairly priced and even have an app.

I'm leery of the iPhone Maps app. I was steered wrong to the obscure closed back gate of the local dump instead of the front gate. Not a type of mistake I'd like to repeat when trying to find a hotel at the end of the day.

I tried Waze but it didn't work. Took in addresses from my contacts list and then just sat there. And it has over 16,000 downloads with a good rating! I'm going to consult and then get a back-up app. Or maybe one with turn-by-turn voice. There's some for $.99 that look pretty good.

Hoping I get to sleep soon. Gonna try to drive for 8 hours tomorrow to get to a friend's house. After that I plan to cut back to 6 hours a day.

Gonna be a long day.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Equatorial Hot Spots

From the "Snowflake Creator" app.
As usual at this time of year – the winter fully gone, spring in full swing, intimations of summer reminding me of extreme humidity – my thoughts turn to cool summer spots. Most of them are off the list due to distance, i.e., Norway, Denmark, most of Canada, the Arctic, Antarctica, Alaska, Mongolia, etc.

Places that seem to be within reach actually aren't, i.e., Michigan, upstate New York, and Maine. This year there is a new contender, although sadly in the out of reach category: Ecuador. Actually, anywhere along the equator would be ideal. Not too hot, never very cold. Unfortunately there are other reasons why the equator is out of the question.

Have you ever followed the equator around the world? Thanks to Google Earth it's easily done from the convenience of your armchair (or whatever device you use to park yourself in front an internet connected device). Most of the countries on that latitude have issues. They are the Congo, Ecuador, Uganda, Brazil, Somalia, Sumatra.

There are a few that are nice, i.e., the Maldives, Easter Island, the Galapagos.

Which still leaves the problem of what to do when it gets super hot here in Richmond VA (RVA).

Utah and New Mexico are nice, simply because they have very low humidity. Colorado has those great mountains. However, these areas, although more easily reached, are also too far to go – for me.

Sadly, I am unable to live on the road, which would be ideal. I could follow the temperate temperatures wherever they go. I've heard Michigan in the summer and Austin TX in the winter is a nice combination. Bit of a journey, though.

What would be my ideal? I believe I may have mentioned that spring and fall in RVA are ideal. That leaves summer and winter.

The only places I've been in the winter are Miami and the Bahamas. Have to say, the Bahamas win flat out.

Maine is excellent in the summer – particularly northern Maine. Another excellent refuge from the humidity.

Realistically, what could I do? Camp. Am I interested in camping? No. I like to think I am. I have a very romantic notion about that; remnants of childhood memories. I am, in reality, more interested in five star accommodations with swimming pools and hot tubs.

Until I win the lottery, I'd best prepare for living indoors for the six weeks from the middle of July until the end of August. Maybe I could camp out in a mall with free wifi.
Indoor camping – NOT in a mall.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Baños de Santa Agua!

Courtesy WikiMedia.
The only reason I choose Baños is because you need neither heat nor air conditioning there. Travelers report the wonderful weather, friendly natives, and natural hot springs. What they fail to mention in much detail is the local volcano and that Ecuador is a volcanic country. They also fail to report on the conservative Christian culture and government. While it's lost some of it's charm for me (including the myths about cheap and/or free housing*) I still would like to visit. And right now would be nice.

*A search on airbnb turned up only really expensive places to stay. None of them in Baños.