Monthly Archives: March 2007

Day 3

The Arch and treesI was tempted to not write anything today because I really should go to bed, but if I don’t do it now, I never will. So…Day 3 was a very long day. Before leaving St. Louis, my dad and I stopped at the St. Louis Arch. We didn’t go up in it, but the waterfront park there is very lovely, full of trees in bloom. I have to say, I really like St. Louis much more than I expected.

Then we crossed the bridge into Illinois. Woo. Hoo. The weather got grayer and colder. The trees, which were blooming in St. Louis, were gray in Illinois. And Indiana. And Ohio. In fact, this whole day was gray. We stopped in Terre Haute, Indiana, for lunch at the old Clabber Girl Baking Powder factory, which was about as exciting as you’d expect a baking powder factory to be. By the time we rolled into Columbus, we were beat. It was the longest day of driving, and we lost an hour crossing into the Eastern time zone.

Terre Haute, IndianaNow I am in exciting Columbus. I can’t really say much about it because we mistakenly took the freeway that loops 20 miles around to the north of the city. Now we are east of the city, so we won’t see it on our way out tomorrow. But the important part is that I am now just 413 miles from Washington, DC! I can’t tell you how excited I am that tomorrow is finally March 29 and I will finally be in Washington! We will arrive in the afternoon–I’ll drop my dad off at his temporary housing across the street from the Pentagon, and then I have a very important airport run to make.

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Day 2

Me and Ike
Day 2 began nicely, with a nice breakfast at the inn, and then a tour of the Eisenhower museum. I am not a big Eisenhower buff nor a fan of military history, but Dad is, so he enjoyed the exhibits, and I enjoyed walking around and not having to get in the car right away. Pictures on Flickr.

Heading out of town, we saw eastern Kansas, which was surprisingly hilly and covered with trees compared to western Kansas. Missouri looked pretty much the same. Not much to report except that Starbucks are really hard to come by in both states (although every other chain restaurant is repeated approximately every 48.2 miles).

We stopped in Kansas City for lunch at Bryant’s, which I found on Yelp, and which turned out to be quite the authentic KC BBQ place: no frills and full of locals. Saint Louis has also turned out to be quite the nice town. It is full of huge brick houses that look like castles to this West Coast girl. The Loop, next to Washington University, is a great little area with all of the college stuff: bars, bubble tea shops, pizza places, etc. We had dinner at Blueberry Hill, which while historic, wasn’t that interesting on a Tuesday night.

Tomorrow, we’ll see the arch and then plow through Illinois and Indiana.

Day 1

Death of a rural American town
Today, my dad and I drove from Colorado Springs to Abilene, Kansas. Here I am, in lovely Abilene at the Abilene Victorian Inn. It really is lovely (see picture below, not above), full of old Victorians and a quaint downtown. Can’t say much for the food or nightlife, but with the trees blooming, it is very pretty after a long, long drive.

Driving from Colorado Springs, which is out in the flat part of Colorado below Pike’s Peak, to the Kansas border is just about what you’d expect. Lots of horses, cows, tumbleweed, and even antelope. Crossing into Kansas, a state that neither my dad nor I have been to, we decided to stop for gas in Kanorado, just a mile or so into the state. We were ready for a break, and just the name itself warranted a stop. The town wasn’t right on the interstate, so we had to drive down a little highway and across the railroad tracks that passed the grain elevator. As soon as we crossed the tracks, my dad and I were shocked: the pavement ended, and we were in a town with no paved roads.

Kanorado, KS, is the saddest, most depressing town in America (see picture above). We drove a few blocks and saw just a few people huddled outside the senior center, which appeared to be the only building on main street not boarded up. It was just plain creepy, and as we drove out of town, we passed the deserted gas station and abandoned cafe along the old highway that used to be the main road in Kansas before the interstate.

Kirby Mansion, Abilene, KSThe rest of the trip was pretty typical of Kansas: flat, billboards for the “World’s Largest” something, and a million grain elevators, not to mention the anti-abortion sign about every 50 miles. But when we got close to Abilene, we started to see trees for the first time. We drove into Abilene, and I was quite proud of myself for finding this cute little town in the middle of no where. Tomorrow we go to the Eisenhower library, so I’ll write more about Abilene later.

You can see pictures from the day, including our stop at Fort Hays, on Flickr.

Another Colorado adventure

Castlerock Canyon

Last month, I flew to Colorado on a spontaneous little adventure. It was a wonderful weekend where I met new friends, saw new things, and, oh yeah, fell in love. Now I am back in Colorado, this time to drive with my dad across the country to Washington, DC. He starts his new job next week, and so for the next four days, we are going to be driving across the midwest and finally to the east coast. Ok, it isn’t exactly a Colorado adventure, but I don’t have a good name like Mandypulooza for it. Here’s the itinerary:

Monday:
Colorado Springs to Abilene, Kansas

Tuesday:
Abilene to Saint Louis, MO

Wednesday:
St. Louis to Columbus, OH

Thursday:
Columbus to Washington, DC

On this big drive, I’ll get to see things that I would never otherwise go out of my way to see, like tomorrow’s destination: Abilene, home of the Eisenhower Presidential Library. Also, I am really excited about seeing the Air Force Museum in Dayton, OH.

Today, since we were pretty much ready to go, including running errands and me getting a pedicure, we didn’t know what to do with ourselves. I asked, “So what do people do in Colorado Springs besides shop?” So we went to Castlewood Canyon State Park. The sun was bright and the air was thin, so we didn’t hike around too much, but it was nice to get outside and see some classic Colorado scenery.

Tomorrow, Dad and I will be on the road early, heading out on to the plains. I’ll keep ya posted!

Happy

My viewI don’t know even where to begin I am so happy. If you are cranky or bitter, you better stop reading this right now because I am just going to piss you off.

Good, are they gone? Now that it is just us happy, cheery folks here, I can be as sunshiny and chipper as I want to be. Because, let me tell you. Life is good. Great. Super. Excellent. Downright peachy.

The sun is shining, the trees are blooming, and the world is falling in love (seriously, what is with everyone getting married this year?). I work at a great company, live in an amazing city, and have the best friends. I am enjoying every beautiful sight, tasty bite, refreshing sip, kind word, and breath of Spring air. Just feeling the warmth of the sun on my skin makes me smile.

Timing continues to be perfect. When something is meant to be, everything falls into place. My life continues to change, and at every turn, it is fuller and more interesting. I am looking around and seeing more and more the life that I always imagined that I would live.

I have never felt so sure about my life. I don’t have a route planned out or a destination in mind. I am just taking one step at a time, enjoying the scenery along the way, and knowing that I am on an amazing, wonderful journey.

Spring skiing

Spring in Tahoe

For as much as I talk about it, you’d think I’d make it up to Tahoe before now. But alas, once again my ski season started in March. And it was classic spring skiing, so how could I not? It was over 70 degrees at the base in the afternoons, and since I had come equipped for hot-tubbing, I was inspired. As the token girl on the trip, I had to do my part. Although I did it at first for the pictures, it turns out that it felt surprisingly nice to ski like that. Of course, I was very careful not to fall and skied a bit on the slow side. The snow was almost slush by the afternoon, so I wasn’t going to be doing anything too crazy anyway.

My other first this weekend was buying a pair of skis! I demo’d over the two days, and ended up buying the last pair I tried: K2 “Burnin’ Luv”, which are women’s 167cm, The skis and bindings were only $400, and are like new, save for one tiny scratch. I am quite happy, although I doubt I will have many chances to use them again this season.

This trip was only my second time in North Lake Tahoe. I spent two days skiing at Alpine Meadows, which was nice, except for the runs were very limited since the snow wasn’t the best. There hasn’t been any snow in a while, so the ungroomed areas are ice in the morning and slush in the afternoon. We had to content ourselves with groomed runs, with the occasional foray into the bumps just to torture ourselves a bit. I was skiing with some guys who were just a little bit faster and a little bit better than me, which is exactly what I like: people to push me, but who I won’t slow down much.

I went with a group of guys who are renting a condo right at Alpine Meadows. It was great to drive only a few minutes in the morning the lifts. How can a girl refuse when she is offerred a ride to Tahoe, a nice condo to stay in, and fun skiers to ski with? Actually, I did refuse the first time, but it was because of a little last-minute trip to Colorado, which I will write about one of these days. Saturday night, we ate dinner at Jeremy’s, where I managed to stuff myself on just soup and salad. How can that be? I also drank almost an entire bottle of wine over the course of dinner, and found myself in quite a heated discussion about bad sex vs. no sex, which amused our waitress to no end.

To conclude: a great ski weekend! I hope to be back in April if there is any snow left, but even if I don’t, I’ll have great memories for this year, and great pictures to show my grandkids someday.

Credit card debt free!

I bought a condo in September of 2005. In February of 2006, I realized that I had a credit card statement that I couldn’t pay in full for the first time since moving to California in 2001. Having your monthly housing payment go up a grand hurts. Over the past year, I have been trying to be a little careful with how I spend my money in that every once in a while, I have decided that I really didn’t need to spend $30 on a new shirt. Also, a few raises have helped.

So tonight, for the first time in over a year, I clicked “pay balance” on my credit card bill. Hooray!  I am officially not paying credit card interest. It took me just over a year, but they say that the first year of home ownership is the hardest. It feels quite nice to be out of the hole, I must say.  Only five more car payments, and I’ll own my car 100% too! Then I’ll be left with just a mortgage and a tiny student loan, and those are the good debts, right?

I want to stay in a good mood, so I am not going to look at the balance of my savings account just yet…