Day Six- Welcome Home!

I know its been awhile, but I’m finally loading pics onto my laptop and the last day of the road trip were on there, so here’s the last day!  img_1355My dad apparently took this picture on the last meeting.  You see the earplugs on the bed.  My dad snores so I came equipped.

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img_1359Here is the first snow we spotted!  We’re getting closer to New England!

img_1360Here’s the tractor haven that my dad wanted to visit.  I stayed and read in the truck and he went searching for tires and parts.  This would be to my dad as Archives bookstore is to me.

img_1364Here we’re driving back to the freeway through Pennsylvania.  We’d go all the way to those hills and had some breathtaking views from there.  Too bad I didn’t get any good pictures.  Also, we passed a Mennonite church that said, “Visitors Welcome, Members Expected”.  that was my favorite church sign along the way.

img_1369Of course we passed many of these historical markers.  But is this really that important to be marked?

img_1371We wanted to see how much the truck weighed, so we stopped in at the truck scales.  The lady wasn’t nice at all, ignored eye contact, and refused to say “Have a nice day”, “You too”, or even “Your welcome.” But she did give us a big rig trading card.  I guess that is to encourage people to weigh their trucks.  Not sure how effective that is.

img_1375This is for “The Office” fans out there.  No sign of Jim’s cell phone on the side of the road.

img_1376Another sign we’re getting closer to New England.  You’ll notice 1. A Suburu; 2. A Peace and Smiley Face Sticker; 3. Extensive salt on the car; 4. Green Vermont License Plate.  All that is missing is a Grateful Dead sticker.

img_1378Mercifully, our time in New York was limited.  Though I did notice an error on this sign.  It’s missing “Evil” before “Empire”.

img_1381Potentially the most boring state sign.

img_1386This was hiding behind some trees and couldn’t be seen until you were on top of it.  That explains the poor angle.

img_1387A sign we’re getting closer: The Mass Turnpike!  This was always a sign we were going places.  Either on vacation or to Easter States Fair.  I also remember loving the rest area on the turnpike.  It was like an indoor city, plus an arcade.

img_1389I believe this may be the only sign we saw that was in two languages.  We’re so cultured.  There is a bigger, nicer one on the freeway.  This is just over the boarder on the main road I live on. And notice the greatest state motto.  New Hampshire is so hardcore.

img_1390And this is what welcomed me home!  This is the hat I got him at Tombstone.

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Pictures of East Texas

Sorry for the great delay on posting pics from the trip, but I haven’t gone online with my own laptop since I got back.  Here are some pics from our day in East Texas.  We woke up a little later, had waffles shaped like Texas, and drove out to our family’s place in Omaha, TX.  We only drove about 5 hours or so, passing through Dallas.  We got a grand tour of the family’s fields, and had a good time visiting with family I haven’t seen since childhood.

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Our hotel that night was next to a couple abandoned restaurants, one being “Jalapeno’s”.  It looked picturesque.

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By far our best breakfast was the Texas shaped waffles.  Here is my first attempt.

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But I was determined and we were the only ones around, so I made another.

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What you see here was the worst weather that we confronted on our trip, besides the winds through Virginia and Pennsylvania.  Not bad considering it was February.  This is Dallas through a fog.

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I included this for all the Ron Paul fans out there (that’s you Beth and Mike!).  So many conclusions could be drawn from this billboard.  I’ll let you fill in the comments.

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This is Clarice and Rod’s place.  If you are anything like my dad, you’ll notice the old Ford tractor in the distant right.

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Cow.

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They put donkeys out in the pasture to keep predators like coyotes away.

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There was a lot of beautiful land.  At this point, my father is on the other side of the road, looking at a tractor graveyard while trying not to trespass on someone else’s land.  I chose to take a picture of this.

Day 5- Back to the East Coast

Our second to last day saw the mighty return of Tim Costine to the East Coast, the land of his heritage.  You may not know this, but there are actual visible signs that you have reached area that can be classified as ‘East Coast’.  What are they?  Check out these two pictures:

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There is Mt. Dew available in abundance and Dunkin’ Donuts on every corner.

The day started in normal fashion in Tennessee, watching the sun rising over the road ahead.  Thankfully, now that we’ve moved in a more northward direction, the suns not in my eyes for the first hour of driving.

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One of the stops we made today was trying to find the birthplace of Davey Crockett.  As the popular song goes, he was born in the mountains of Tennessee.   We saw a sign pointing us in the direction, and decided to take chase.  After taking a wrong turn due to a sign that was bent to keep the direction hidden from the view of a driver, we found the place…. AND…. it was closed for the season.  But we walked around it and it was still neat.

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In the back there was an authentic covered wagon that was used to move a family from Virginia to the area.  This thing could hold up to 8 tons of stuff.  That’s a lot of shoes.

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After that, we got back on the road and hustled through Virginia.  Virginia is a place that I’ve already spent quite a bit of time in, so it was really the end of the line as far as things we haven’t seen before.  We spent a few vacations in Virginia, as well as my honeymoon, although that was in a separate part of the state.

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This is the Shenendoah Valley, which is just gorgeous.  The whole drive through it is fun to think how the Union and Confederate armies marched up and down, seeking to out maneuver their opponent.

At the end of the day, we crossed over the border into West Virginia, and suddenly the lights went out.  But thankfully we found a hotel that had electricity and are waiting out the night before we make our way up the coast to New Hampshire.  We should get in sometime in the late afternoon/early evening.

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Day 2 Pics

As promised, here are the pics from the second day of travel, from Arizona to Texas.  It was a very long day with a monotemous ending.

img_1284This is Arizona, which has been, so far, the best state to drive through.  Its unfortunate that it was at the beginning.  It was just beautiful, and for a lot of it I just sat there and imagined what it must have been like to come over the hills on a horse.  You can just imagine the outlaws and sheriffs riding through.  There were also a ton of trains going through.  We concluded it must be the main railways between L.A. and Texas.  It was just a very pituresque state to drive through.  Texas and New Mexico never had a shot, really.

img_1287If you wondered what it looked like to fill up the truck, here ya go.

There was a series of signs that kept popping up throughout New Mexico and Texas.  They were warning of large wind storms.  I can’t imagine what it must be like to get caught in one of these.  Chances are, you wouldn’t be able to read the signs.

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Welcome to Texas.  It should read, if you know what’s good for you, you’ll pull over in El Paso, get a plane ticket, and fly Arkansas.

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This is Juarez, Mexico.  You can see it from the freeway.  When I was in high school, I had gone on a trip to Juarez to build a house with a group from Calvary.  Looks the same today.

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Only in Texas do they decorate water towers with high school football records.

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This is going through a nice part of East Texas, through a mountain range. Its only nice because it was like Arizona.

You want to know what the rest of West Texas looked like?

….

..

.

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Day 4- Back on the Road!

After a mostly relaxing day in East Texas, we set back out on the road, finishing off Texas, worked through Arkansas, and drove halfway through Tennessee.  Along the way we stopped in Hope, Arkansas, the birthplace of Bill Clinton.  Ironic, huh?  You’d think Obama would have been born in Hope.  Or maybe that was Change.  We also stopped over in Memphis, and walked along the Memphis river.  Here are some pics of the day:

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If you thought Texas was flat, you’ve never been to Arkansas.  In Texas you had hills and mountains off on the side, but Arkansas is for the most part completely flat.  But it was ok because it was mostly farm land and the scenery at least changed.

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This is a historic cobble stoned port that steam paddle boats took port at.

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The great B.B. King.

A Day of Rest, Kind Of

Today we started off a little later than we previously had, and woke up at 7:30.  Now that is still 5:30 California time, so it still felt fairly early to me.  But we got up refreshed after a long day of driving, knowing we only had about 4-5 hours to drive today.  The morning was made better by the make your own waffle experience in the lobby of the hotel.  The waffles were shaped like Texas.  I will put pictures up tomorrow when we’re at a hotel again. 

After chatting up a truck driver over breakfast, we set out for a relatively quick drive to Omaha, TX, where my dad’s aunt and uncle live.  The topography of East Texas is in stark contrast to West Texas.  Here, they have actual hills and trees, and the operation of a motor vehicle actually requires a steering wheel to turn the tires.  So after a few more pleasant hours of driving, we found our destination.

After meeting my great aunt for the first time in person as an adult (I know there are a lot of qualifications there), we were taken on a tour of the land by my dad’s cousin, Judy.  She brought us all around, driving through field after field, looking at cows, checking out the lay of the land, hearing stories of neighbors and whose land was whose.  We even saw a tractor dump pile!  My dad was in Heaven.  After touring all of the territory, we headed back to the house and had a great southern meal of beef brisket, potatoe salad, corn bread, and black eyed peas (the food, not the band). 

It’s been a relaxing day and like I said earlier, I’ll post some pics of the day tomorrow night when I can go online with my own laptop.  Tomorrow we’ll head off and finish Texas off, go through Arkansas, and end in Tennessee, a little past Nashville.  Three more days of driving!

God’s Curse Revealed- Day 2

Day 2 started off a little later than Day 1 did, but it lasted a lot longer.  We felt courageous, and decided to go from Benson, AZ to Eastland, TX.  That’s 782 horrible, flat, desolate, dead, repetative, cursed land.  Arizona was nice, but we didn’t have much left to go through and it was dark while we were driving through there.  Then we got into New Mexico and it was flat and straight, with mountains way off in the distance.  One thing that was of interest was seeing a ton of trains and lots of hills.

Then we just hit flat, horrible land.  It lasted into the rest of our time in Texas with few exceptions.  We went through El Paso and the rest was just totally drab.  Here are some thoughts from the trip:

  • Apparently El Paso is in the middle of a big Right To Life debate.  We passed four or five billboards that were all about pro-life.
  • Saw a billboard that said, “If your body is a temple, why don’t you make it worth worshiping.”  Because everyone knows you worship the temple, not what the temple was built for.  Wait…
  • You couldn’t give away most of the land in New Mexico and West Texas.  Really, its that bad.
  • The GPS betrayed us once again, sending us down a dead end street to get to the hotel.  I had to pull into a parking lot that wasn’t big enough to turn around in.  There was a boat on wheels in the parking lot that we had to push out of the way to get the truck by.  Hope they don’t mind.
  • While driving through the land, I mentioned how difficult it must be to get anything you’d want to put on a postcard.  When we stopped, I searched for some and there weren’t any at truck stop.  They proved my point.
  • I’m becoming more familiar with Weigh Stations.  We have to pull into them, but I’m not really sure why they ask the questions they do.  The point is to see how much we weigh, and that we’re legal.  But they are all concerned with where we came from and where we’re going.  Then they ask what we have in the truck.  If I were carrying nuclear warheads or illegal immigrants, do you think I would tell them I had anything other than household belongings in the back?  One guy wanted to see the rental agreement and asked who was in the passenger seat.  Did he think I had a hostage or something?  I think they ask these questions because they hate their job.  Another guy asked why I had a Boston hat on and a Virginia Tech jacket.  And this is important, why?
  • We’ve also passed quite a few border stops, as we were very close to the border.  At one, they guy asked the same questions we’d already been asked by the D.O.T., except they were valid questions in his case.  Then he asked my dad and I if we’re citizens.  Again, what answer was he expecting.  “Shoot!  You caught us.  Too bad I’ve made an oath against lies and half truths!”  Again, I don’t think they like their job.
  • The biggest tourist attraction on the way was the “Museum of Petroleum”.  No joke.  Unfortunately, it was past 5pm and we were running late as it was.
  • New Mexico’s slogan is “Land of Enchantment”.  Apparently, that only applies to the northern section of the state, because I saw nothing to back that up where I was.  More “Land of Hypnotic-landscape-that-should-be-bottled-and-sold-by-Merk-as-a-sleeping-aid-its-so-boring”.
  • I’ve decided I could have been Doc Holliday because I’m so quick with the camera.  Same reflexes.

I don’t know if I’ll post tomorrow as we’re not staying in a hotel, but driving through Dallas and stopping at visiting family near the Arkansas border.  We’ll see!