Sunday, April 26, 2009

Country roads, take me home

4,958 miles, and 4 weeks.......It's been a long and wild road for us, but we arrived safely in Morgantown late last night. We got the chance to visit with my dear friend Misha in Asheville, NC, at her amazingly beautiful school, Warren Wilson College. We attempted to lindy hop the night before, after hearing that Asheville had an awesome scene. They were having a benefit dance for a rescue mission. It was really small and had live music with four musicians, they played fun country/swing. We were the only lindy hoppers there, but we had fun dances with each other for sure. The next morning to Misha's school, for a tour of beautiful gardens, veggies, and herbs. We saw the baby piglets and I touched their cute little noses, they get so ugly when they grow up, I know that's mean, but crikey! Misha toured us around the downtown, and showed us the health food stores, and a chocolate cafe, I kid you not, an entire cafe devoted to truffles, and cake! Yummy! It was great to see Mish, and get inspiration for the garden.

We were really ready to be off the road and wanted bed and shower.... so we went for the long haul and Brian drove the 6 hours to Morgantown. His family were all gathered in the house for a cousin's baby shower that Brain's mom hosted today. It was a long drive, it was late, 2am, we were exhausted..... but now we are here, and a new chapter has begun. It's warm and there is so much to do for the garden... I am hoping I can get my aunt Cathy to come up from Grafton and play in the dirt with me. Thank you to all of you for kind words, and thoughts, I'll maybe update later and let you know how things are coming. Blessings!!!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Way down in Arkansas

Looks like we really aren't in Kansas anymore. Drove through into Missouri, and South to Arkansas. Missouri didn't really move me, but we weren't there for very long anyways. When we entered Arkansas it seemed like we drove into a different planet, Arkansas is beautiful. Everything was green, green and lush as far as the eye could see. Flowers were blooming everywhere, crimson colored clover blossoms line the roads, and white dogwood blossoms giggle in the green forests. It had an almost tropical feeling, and really took my breath away, after so many mountain and desert sights, not that those aren't amazing too.
We went to visit my friend Ken in Hot Springs, AR. He's my closest girlfriend Abra's father, and I've known him for years. He showed us around an almost ghostly town, and we went to a lovely little Ecuadorian restaurant. We stayed with him and Abra's sweet Grandma that night, it's always such a relief to have a real bed, even a fold out sofa, and even if there is an insanely loud grandfather clock that is set to chime every fifteen minutes throughout the house. It was still great.
We went South the next day, through the breath taking country side, and continued to count the dead armadillos on the side of the road, there are too many, poor little ones. Brian had his heart set on going to the Crater of Diamonds State Park, and finding a massive rock to pay off his old student loans. So we went.... it was weird. You pay to get into this giant plowed field of dirt and rocks, you can rent digging equipment, and basically good luck! It was one of the more strange scenes I'd seen in some time, I pretended I was on another planet. You look out across this dirt field and see people sporadically dotting the view, digging, sifting, sitting in the hot sun, hoping to make it big. It's like really hot, dirty, gambling. So Brian and I played around and didn't find much but some pretty rocks, Jasper and such. He was bummed, he didn't find the big one.
As beautiful as Arkansas was, I can't really imagine living there, at least any of the spots that we went. Yesterday we crossed the big ol' Mississippi River, and into Memphis, TN. We found the whole foods, and a Lindy hop venue. It was a great time, Memphis seems really swell. Dancing was good, the DJ came down to dance with me and I found out that he was from Petaluma! Small world. They were so kind to us, asking us to dance and the DJ offered us his spare room.... so different from the Denver scene, or any scene I've been to, other than Ellington of course. We stayed at his house last night, most comfortable bed ever, well a close 2nd behind Abras, showers, we are ready to roll. We may check out some more dancing here in Tennessee, but then it's on to Ashville, NC, to visit Misha, though I hear there's dancing there too. Woo Hoo!!!!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore..

.... wait, actually we are. Kansas City, Kansas to be more exact. We left Colorado Springs last Wednesday, after a rather fun night of lindy hoppin' in Denver on Tuesday. It was a pretty bittersweet to leave, though we were excited to get back on the road and start the next leg of the journey, it was sad to leave Colorado springs, we were really starting to love it..... and Lisa, Brian's cousin. She's amazing and I miss her already.
Kansas, despite many folks lack of interest in such a place, we really think it's swell. We were greeted by driving through a rain-less lightening storm, a little nerve wrecking, but wow! Kansas is windmills, and fields of corn, wheat and sunflowers (none of which are blooming right now). It's rolling hills, big, bulging, beautiful clouds, it's everything historic, literally half of the road signs are directions to some historic site or another. We've been to quite a few towns, including the one that houses the worlds largest ball of twine!! It's pretty big, but resembles more of a dome, and wasn't as grand as I'd imagined... but the town was super cute. We also went to a town that has a dinosaur museum, awesome! Big skeletons, and robotic T-Rex that turns and roars at you when you walk by, it freaked me out.
On to Selena, another lovely town, more like a small city.... where for some unexplainable reason the universe decided I hadn't spent enough of this road trip sick, and I awoke the next morning with not only a sinus cold, but also a flu!! Yeah!! Both I believe I gathered in Colorado Springs. So Friday I laid in the back of the truck all day, with chills and a bad fever, as well a stuffy nose and headache. I woke up several times Friday night with my fever boiling and soaked in sweat, it's been rough. Now my aches are mostly gone and the main remnant is my stuffy nose. The weird thing is that I don't usually get sick, oh well.
Anyhow, yesterday we went to Wamego, to the Oz museum (The Wizard of OZ). I wish I had felt better, but it was nice anyhow. That was my favorite movie for a long time. We also went to Old Prairie Town in Topeka, which was covered in the most beautiful Tulips ever, so many
colors, and a cute little town, made of old time historic buildings, good old historic Kansas.
So far we think Kansas is pretty great. Most every town we've been to, we have decided we could live there, the people are sweet as blueberry pie, the houses are really sweet and the little main streets are classy and... historic.
I don't know why this big bread basket, sunflower state got such a bum rap, we sure like it.

Much love to you all! I hope you are healthy and enjoying the springtime, Sonoma County Style, unless of course you don't live there, then enjoy it however you can. Bye bye.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Rocky Mountain High... Colorado.

Well, we lucked out and found a swing dance spot last Tuesday night in Albuquerque, sorta lucked out. It actually wasn't all that exciting, we mainly danced with each other, but oh well, it was an adventure. We drove through Taos and I tried to remember the name of the novel that had given me a desire to travel to Taos, I can't remember it, and Taos is super touristy. It's beautiful though, Taos means, "the place of red willows". I didn't see any willows, but the Rio Grand Gorge is lovely and Taos mountains are not too shabby at all. It was fun driving from Taos into Colorado, there are signs for deer, elk, horse, and bighorn sheep crossing. (We only saw horses but the signs were cool).
We came to Colorado Springs last Wednesday night, with a wonderfully warm welcome from Brian's cousin Lisa. We've basically been perched up in her house for 6 days now, visiting with various extent ions of Brian's family, his mom and brother both flew in for the holiday. It's been really fun and relaxing, lots of cooking, and big Italian style meals and gathering. Colorado Springs is super beautiful. Huge snow peaked mountains to the west, and other natural wonders, cool rock formations and big sky. It snowed here yesterday morning, it was breath taking, first time I've seen it actually snowing in a long time, it was a winter wonderland. We built another snowman, but a big one, with bell peppers for nose and mouth. His family is wonderful and they are taking such care to make sure our stay is good.
I think I could live here..... but I'll try Morgantown first. I think tomorrow we will head to Denver and check out the Lindy scene there, hopefully it'll prove to be more entertaining than Albuquerque, then hitting the road to Kansas on Wednesday, that'll be interesting, I hope to find a yellow brick road and many singing munchkins.
I'm starting to miss everyone, as though I realize now that this isn't just a trip, that I'm actually moving, I miss little Shasta and my mama and papa, and so many others..... cest la vie, eh? OK... much love to you all, I hope you are well fed and laughing.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Little Engine That Couldn't

"I think I can, I think I can, I think I can......". The words of Pam the truck as she tried to climb up the Rocky mountains at an elevation above 10,000 feet. Her carburetor was special for ethanol and being that we hadn't found an ethanol station nearby, we were running on mostly gasoline. The combination of the altitude, the gas and carburetor, made for a very unhappy truck. It was beautiful, snow covered high mountain peaks, blue sky, a waterfall, and even a nice temperature.... Pam didn't care about such things,. She huffed and puffed up the hill and got slower and slower, until finally we were in first gear, not even 10mph, and losing power ...... curvy, steep mountain passes are not a good place to lose power. I tried not to panic, and said, "Let's just turn around and find a way to bypass the Rockies." Pam and Brian were thinking the same thing, he flipped a U turn in the highway, and headed downhill, pulled off onto a lookout spot (nice view), and the truck wouldn't start.
After a brief rest and some engine tinkering she started again. We finally made it back to the nearby town of Pagosa Springs.... again changed the route, Santa Fe, New Mexico sounded nice. We took a south east route and prayed for hill-less roads. Brian did a quick roadside carburetor swap for the truck’s original, so she could deal with gasoline better, and I made dinner. Brian drove for 10 hours yesterday! 10 hours! We pulled into Santa Fe late night, and parked the truck to sleep, I had many strange dreams, and awoke to the desert once again.
I think today we will just take it easy here, not too much driving. If only there was a Tuesday night lindy scene..... that would be amazing! Then maybe to Taos, and on up to Colorado Springs, we will have bypassed the Rockies and be back on ethanol. I like New Mexico, I could stay here for a while... maybe I’ll take the R.V route in life, and travel the states and Canada for a few years. Love and Blessings to you all. Ciao!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Grand Canyons and Rocky Mountains

It's been a few well traveled days. We left Prescott, and went to Jerome and Sedona on Friday evening, to ponder the beautiful landscape, crimson cliffs, miles of red earth and overwhelming tourism and growth. The sky was perfect, big blue, and full of chubby white clouds. The wind of course followed us, and kept us from doing too much exploring, though we got to go for a nice run, through the national forest (a forest of rocks rather than trees) in the morning. So Saturday we left and headed north, we drove over the magnificent oak creek canyon, and went to the Sunset Crater Volcano national monument, and the Wupakti national monument. There are Native American ruins there, and we were able to explore some that were popular spots in the 1100's. Pretty sweet.
We have decided to change our route some, after the wind and, cold we've met, going further north sounds... un-enticing. So we scratched Utah, Wyoming and of course Montana of the list, and decided to head eastward to Colorado where Brian's family will be for Easter. So, on Saturday we continued to drive through Flagstaff, and veered of to the west to taste the Grand Canyon. Made it to the edge for a beautiful and crisp sunset, made camp and yummy spaghetti in a nearby national forest, and returned in the morning, for more breathtaking views. I guess we are all tourists here.
Yesterday, Sunday we drove for what seemed like all day through some serious out of this world land scapes, got to the Four Corners National Monument 7 minutes after they had locked the gates, oops. We could have stayed, and slept nearby, stood in four states all at the same time in the morning, but we chose to call it a good laugh and drive on. We entered New Mexico, left it just as soon, and arrived in Colorado. We'd spent hours driving through the Navajo nation and my mind was rolling with this country's unfair and bloody history, it's such a shame the way humans can behave, it's hard to believe, but that's a whole different story, for another time.
Now to where we are, this is Cortez Colorado, my first time in Colorado. We slept next to snow last night, and we can see the snow peaked Rockies. Onward to the east, for ethanol and Taos, New Mexico.
By the way... today is day 2, that I am hive free!!!!! I doused myself with neem oil in Prescott and Sedona, they seem to be gone, and I am hope full they shall, not ever return.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

California deserts to Arizona sun

I've decided to upgrade my method of communing with all of you, to blogging. At first I was hesitant, but I've been told not to knock it until I've tried it. So here goes....

As most of you know, I've set out on a 6 week long road trip with my love Brian, we are travelling via his 1971, big, baby blue, ford F100, lovingly called Pam. It's packed to the brim, the camper shell houses most of our belongings and a bed, where we are sleeping. Attached to the truck is a small modified trailer (Thanks papa)... we call the trailer Greggy, he tows Brian's scooter Gloria, and 36 gallons of ethanol, the fuel for the truck. Yep we are going across this country running on moonshine. This isn't an ordinary road trip, because my plan doesn't include a return route, I'm planning to move to Morgantown, West Virginia with Brian. His mom has a house and land where we will stay and create a big organic garden.

The following is the first email I sent out, so it may be a repeat for you, but check below and new news will follow......

Hello everyone, day three of this here journey, and I am sending you all the first of my stories. let me know if you'd rather not receive my garble, or if you have a different email address that you'd prefer. Well now, we finally got everything together and left on Saturday morning. We spent all of Thursday and Friday packing up Pam, the truck and little greggy, the trailer. Friday night we watched, "The secret life of bees" with my mama, and i guess the thought of honey, bees, and their hives triggered my body to break out in a horrible case of hives on Saturday morning. All that aside ... I decided to say what the heck and head down the road that morning. I thought they'd get better, but they've been a 3 day long suffering. Saturday we drove to Lancaster to see the poppy reserve, and the winds here were insane, to the point that the poppies were hiding and there was not much to do in 50mph winds, so we left, and drove on and on, right about to the town of Ludlow, that is to the off ramp to the town of Ludlow, and Pam done died. Something with the axle, and bearings, and we came to a scary halt, where the brakes hardly seemed to be doing their jobs. 1 and 1/2 hours of waiting for a tow truck driver from Barstow to come and take us on an hour ride back the direction we'd just come from, arriving late night in a tow/ auto shop parking lot with a sad sad truck.... we were doing our best to stay optimistic. We survived the night eating salmon (thank you David and Cirkl), and avocado... and sleeping next to a noisy metal shop door. But we laughed and made due, plotted to buy this beautiful 1964 orange mustang and pack it up with our goods and take that across the country. Anyhow, it's 3:43 and I'm pretty sure Pam is mostly fixed up, much cheaper then I'd thought it would cost us, and soon we'll be out on the road again, maybe to the drive in movie theatre here in Barstow, I've always wanted to do that. Now if only my health would be back to 100% then we'd be ready to rock. Thank you everyone for all of your love, and salmon, and goji berries, and building trailers before we left, you rock! I send you my love and hope you are all well, and the weather is a bit less windy where you are.

New stuff....

Two nights ago we stayed at the Mohave national preserve, near Michell Caverns. It was painfully beautiful, vast stretches of desert, and thick plateaus and mountains, all covered in cacti, yucca, and desert brush that are beginning to bloom. It was so lovely. Besides an extremely windy morning and another itchy restless night, we took a tour of the Michell caverns. Our tour guide Daryl was awesome, he'd been doing it for years and was brimming with knowledge and silly cavern jokes, we went inside to mountain and beheld stalactites and stalagmites galore... quite a site! I felt we could have camped there for a least a week, but we were running a bit behind in our plans, so headed out in the afternoon and coasted for 16 miles from the campsite to the hwy..... pretty sweet, and onward... to Arizona. ( Where apparently it's legal to ride a four wheeler on the main road, without a helmet..... there was a cop right behind them, so it must be legal.)

We arrived last night in Prescott AZ, and were thrilled to find multiple health food stores in town. Prescott rocks! This is our measure of how cool a city is, it's Currently I am sitting in a dorm room at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, where our dancing friend Carrie goes to school. My hives returned this morning, I'm so bummed. It seemed they had finished yesterday, but no such luck, it's now day 6 of their horrid existence and I may go insane. Perhaps I am allergic to something I'm eating, I am working on it..... they will be gone soon, within the next few minutes I'm sure. I'm off to breakfast, hope y'all are well, much love.

P.S.... I'll add some pictures soon!