Category Archives: travel

Day 4

Ohio
Well, this is a bit late. I drove from Columbus, Ohio, to Washington, DC, way back on Thursday, March 29. When I got to DC, I really didn’t have any time to write. I just got back to San Jose about an hour ago, and I am back at work tomorrow. So the epic road trip and Washington rendezvous are over. But back to Day 4…

Can’t say too much exciting about most of Day 4. Dad and I got up, got some coffee, and hit the road, driving through Ohio, and then ducking in and out of Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Maryland. We stopped in Cumberland, Maryland, for lunch, and then arrived at Dad’s temporary housing right next to the Pentagon by 4 in the afternoon. I did most of the driving that dad, and navigated myself through DC (well, Arlington, really), with making just one wrong turn.

As for the drive itself, it was lots and lots of hills through forests of trees without leaves. It was a little pretty, and I could tell that it would be really nice once the trees got leaves. I talked to a couple at Dulles airport later that night who were from that part of Pennsylvania, and they said that they just got rid of their snow two weeks ago. So that made me very grateful for the nice weather we had that day.

The drive was finally over after logging 1775 miles. I then spent five amazing days in Washington. Since I probably won’t get around to writing about it, just check out Flickr.

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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.

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.

Fast Food update

Playing in the heart of Fast Food NationI am back from Colorado posted my pictures on Flickr, so here’s an update from my Thanksgiving post. I did make it back downtown to take this picture of Fast Food Nation playing at the Peak theater. Sadly, Chinook Bookshop closed last year, so another independent store is in this history books. I did, however, find a decent used book store, Poor Richard’s, which I can’t find on Yelp and so can’t add a link.

You’ll see from my pictures that I made it to Michelle’s for the best ice cream sundae I’ve ever had, and I did in fact tour Focus on the Family.

Back and ready for some action

BeautyMiss me? I just got back from a week in the beautiful Inland Northwest. I flew into Spokane, saw my family, and went to the annual Camp Biack Rock. I was completely exhausted, phyisically and emotionally, but after a good night’s sleep, I am feeling rested and ready to go. But the best news is…

My camera is fixed! Horray! I know you were worried. The service guys at Huppin’s in Spokane are my new best friends. I was quite discouraged last week when I called some places here in San Jose and was told that I would have to send my camera in to Sony to be fixed (starting at $181). I took my broken camera along on my trip anyway in case some miracle would happen and it would start working again. Thursday, I was downtown at Auntie’s Bookstore, and I saw Huppin’s Hi-Fi Photo and Video across the street. So I ran across and talked to them. I ended up leaving my camera there while I was at the lake. I get back to great news: the LCD was in fact broken, which costs $150 to replace, but they had a spare one from a damaged T7 and they would give it to me for $20. Plus they replaced my beat up case with the extra one. With labor, I have a completely functional and shiny-looking camera for under $100. How great is that?

The 2006 crewWhile I was there, I also checked out the newer Sony cameras: the T9 and T30. Not impressed. They are both twice as thick as my camera. Sure, they have more megapixels and the T30 has a huge screen, but I am still quite happy with my camera and see no reason to upgrade yet. And now it works and I can take pictures again!

Oh yeah, so back to my trip. Even though I couldn’t take pictures at the lake, Marlene (not my mom, another Marlene) had her Canon D70 with a nice zoom lens there. Her pictures are really great, much better than I could have done, and I have posted them on Flickr. She manages to take candid shots that really capture what it is like to be at Biack Rock. I have been going there for probably about fifteen years (see?), and it is really a special place with special people.

This year there were lots of new “kids” there, and it was really fun spending the weekend with them. This was my first Biack Rock weekend sans a +1 since 1998, and it was really fun to be there on my own, I must say. Although, I had no idea how much “Tattoo Boy” would be missed by everyone. Fortunately, there were no jet ski incidents aside from me almost launching one onto the dock.

It was amazing how much we packed into such a short weekend. It felt much longer than it actually was. I swam a lot, rode jet skis, played Pinnocle, sang campfire songs, cooked dinner for 30 people, played some intense charades, read a whole book, and ate tons of food.

BiackRock06 394I also spent some time with my family on this trip. It ended up being quite emotionally draining, but we had some good talks and I am glad that we were able to talk about important things in person. I am really thankful for my great family and I am really looking forward to seeing them again during the holidays.

Up next: lots of work stuff to get through, and then some fun parties up in the city this weekend. And then Laura and co. will be visiting from Germany! Horray!

Slacking…or not?

I feel like I have been slacking on this blog a bit. As usual, I have a whole list of things that I want to write about, but I haven’t gotten the chance. Maybe Sunday will be the day. But, in the mean time, I have had quite a few posts on the metroblogging site over the past few days, so check them out to see what I have been up to: