Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Doin’ KANSAS in the DARK

(Posted by Lil' Birdie)

Day two of the great road trip. I was in no shape on Day 1 to blog at all, having staying up until 4AM alone at my parents’ Tennessee home with the dilemma of having a strange and random assortment of items scattered about house and garage that somehow did not make it into the “Relocube” currently en route to meet me in Portland. For the five thousandth time in a three-week period, I was faced with having too much stuff for the space I was allotted. I have no idea how many times I have purged and repurged, packed, unpacked & repacked (repeat the purge cycle and start all over again) my belongings over the past couple of weeks, but I wish I had kept track, because I may have been close to hitting a world record. Leaving that all behind me (in my parents’ garage), I did my best to endure all the other challenges that occur when one tries to leave town, and the point I consider the Real Beginning of this Grand Road Trip was a truly lovely dinner at Lynne’s in Louisville, a tasteful (as in tacky and wonderful) diner I’d always heard about but never gotten a chance to try out while actually living in Kentucky (Judy Branch is a long way from Louisville, my friends!). After emerging from the incredible mental challenge of trying to once again repack my car in the Berea Post Office parking lot and then reattach my bike rack to the car, both Carla and I were like kids in the candy shop when we entered Lynn’s. It was just what I needed to kick off the trip and get in the mood – festive and busy and kitchy and just wonderful. We nearly bought a yodeling pickle from the diner shop– it was so tempting… but we instead settled on the amazing head scratcher and a skull & cross bones air freshener for the car (in the spirit of Portland and of covering up the kitty and dog flatulence issues).

So on very little sleep from the night before (hit the bed at 3AM, got up at 6AM), and an emotionally exhausting morning of trying to get this adventure started… the westward trek began, fueled by Krispy Kreme donuts and coffee and accompanied by what started in Louisville as a light rain and in Indiana turned into a torrential downpour. Maybe attaching Carla’s suitcase to the roof of the car wasn’t such a great idea afterall… Fortunately, when we pulled off in Evansville, IN we were greeted at the first hotel we pulled into by the Patels, who set our entire entourage in one of the most comfortable and clean hotel rooms I’ve ever stayed in. Boy were we all tired, and while Bella, Carla and I slept like logs, the cats began to recover from sedation. I ended up having to shut Rosie in the bathroom, because she kept jumping on me and demanding attention and love, waking me up just about every hour. Revenge, perhaps for drugging her and dragging her unwillingly on a road trip?

Currently it is about 11PM and we are driving through the blankness that is Kansas at night. We awoke this morning in our oh-so-comfy hotel room, refreshed and ready for th road. While the drugs were getting into the kitties’ systems, I completely unpacked the car and repacked it so that 1. we can see out the back window, and 2. things that are needed are within reach so that we don’t have to continue the erratic pack and repack cycle on which this trip was christened. So far so good. Our food goal was to make it to Columbia, MO. I had two restaurants recommended by one of best friends since childhood (she lived in Columbia for a really long time), but by the time we got there, they had both closed. At the time I asked her, I thought we’d be in Columbia by breakfast. We enjoyed a couple hour break, walking through the neat little Midwestern college town. Bella LOVED the brisk autumn breezes and all the scents there were to sniff. We ended up eating at a neat little vegetarian café and then headed Kansas way. Goal is to end up in Hays, Kansas and then get up & drive to Loveland, CO where I get to meet up with my brother, who is a paramedic in North Denver, at Johnson’s Corner, a joint recommended by our trusty road food guide. What course we’ll take from there, we don’t know yet…


(Posted by Appalachian Diva)

Sometimes life hands you unexpected and serendipitous things. In my case, that thing was the chance to take a cross-country trip to Portland with my dear friend Suzanne, who is moving there. Since I had some free time, I jumped at the chance to not only hang out with a dear friend, but also to take a great road trip and see a part of the country that I’ve never experienced, and which I’ve heard is beautiful. We’ve decided to share our adventures with you, dear reader. We’ll both be adding entries, so check back often.

We got a later start than we had intended, due to the fact that Suzanne had a much harder time than expected cramming all of her stuff into her new Volkswagen Passat. Oh, and did I mention that in addition to LOTS of cool shoes, some antique furniture, quite a bit of organic coffee, and a really cool old ceramic churn (that I am coveting really hard), we are also traveling with Bella The Wonder Dog and three cats. The cats are currently drugged in their little carriers, so they are not much of a presence except for the occasional weak meow or strong bout of flatulence.

We finally got out of Berea around 5 PM, after much cussing and gnashing of teeth induced by Suzanne’s new bike rack, which seems to have been designed for persons with more manual dexterity and/or spatial skills than either of us seem to possess, AND after stopping at the post office to mail out several boxes of cool shoes and pillows to Oregon.

Since Suzanne and I are both foodies, we have decided that food will feature prominently on our journey. We are aided in our quest by a book called Roadfood by Jane and Michael Stern. It tends to emphasize diner and barbeqeue-style restaurants over any other style of cuisine. We stopped to eat at one of the restaurants recommended in Louisville, KY, called Lynne’s Paradise Café. I’d been there before, but it was Suz’s first time. The décor is funky and kitschy, with a wacky store that sells bacon gift wrap, guns that shoot tiny nuns, and “angry mob” action figures. She had a fried green tomato BLT and I had some black bean chile. We toasted our trip with a mojito (me) and an espresso martini (Suz) and stopped on the way out of town for some Krispy Kreme donuts (because calories don’t count when you’re on a Momentous Road Trip) and drove as far as Evansville, Indiana, where we were welcomed warmly by the Patel Family of the local Comfort Inn. After a great night’s sleep, we drugged the cats and are now on our way again….

Life Away from Judy Branch

NOTE: I don't know if I'm going to change the name of my blog or not, but I figure that I will keep on writing to keep you all posted on this new chapter in my life. Right now, we are on the road - the official westward journey to relocate in Oregon. It has been a really long few weeks of uprooting and packing and getting rid of so many things and saying so many goodbyes. But now the fun has begun. The ROAD TRIP. The next few blog entries will be coming both from me, and my guest blogger and cohort in travels, Appalachian Diva - my soul sister and very fine friend. We'll try to post pictures as well as we go.