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October 15th, 2010 (07:06 pm)

Wow, so I completely, utterly fail at sight-seeing around Chicago.



So I've had two full days in the city, and yet I've seen hardly anything! Yesterday, our first full day, was spent mostly shopping. We wandered up/down Michigan Ave and went in half a million shops and also wandered the Navy Pier. We stumbled into a pizza place for lunch where I tried the whole deep-dish pizza thing. I'm pretty sure it's all calorie free, right? Right? RIGHT?

 

Today we set out to get the Chicago City fast pass and see as much as we could. This is where we failed. Miserably. Our first stop was the aquarium. And we spent the majority of the day there (and the gift shop). Ashleigh and I both agreed that we could have sat hours watching the dolphins and beluga whales.



There was just so much to see and so little time. We also saw a 4-D movie about planet earth. So much fun. From there (because it was almost 5pm - the time the other museums close) we walked to the Sears (now Willis) Tower to ride the elevator up to the Sky deck to look out over the city. It was pretty effin' cool. I'm just glad that it was pretty clear so that we could actually see. I even went out into the glass box so that you can look down at the street below.



And then... that was it for the sight-seeing. I had all these plans for the museums and whatnot, but nope... not it's 9pm, I'm resting my feet (so tired), drinking homemade Sangria (yep, i made it) and thinking that I really should pack up... I've got a long day ahead of me tomorrow. I'm off to Omaha, Nebraska.

I'm really starting to feel the physical/emotional toll this marathon around the US is starting to take. I'm tired, my feet hurt, and I hate that I have to keep saying goodbye to my friends. I find that I'm ready for bed earlier and earlier each night, and before I couldn't sleep past 8, now I've been fighting to get out of bed at 9. I have the feeling that I am going to get home and crash, for like a week. I will roll out of bed for coffee, the new episode of NCIS, and really I can't think of much else.

(state count so far: Washington, Oregon, California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Virginia, D.C. Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana & Illinois)

epicroadtrip [userpic]

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October 13th, 2010 (09:11 pm)



I spent Monday night in Port Clinton, Ohio, a few miles from Marblehead, Ohio. There wasn't much in Port Clinton, but there was this cool old lighthouse in Marblehead. It was windy and I didn't stay out long, but it was pretty cool. Then I stopped in a little local cafe for lunch (didn't leave my hotel until almost noon -  I almost/sorta slept in!). Then I set out toward Jackson, MI. I thought I'd detour through Toledo, Ohio. Baaaasically, I sped through/didn't make eye contact, and made sure my car doors were locked. Sketchy.

I arrived in Jackson, MI around 6:30'ish and oh holy crap... I was hoping to find bed bugs so I could cry, get a refund and move to the holiday in. Talk about a sketch-ass hotel. I'm not gonna lie, I can lower my standards to save a few bucks, but this... this was beyond my lower standards. Damn you, hotel, for being 'clean'. At least the door locked. The toilet semi-worked. But not really.

At least Ashleigh and I got to watch/squee over NCIS together. It was a good episode. And to anyone who thinks that Gibbs and Abby have a father daughter relationship. Poo. On. You.

We left around noon today for the three hour drive to Chicago. It piss-rained half the way, but at least no thunder/lighting. I went through a scary lightning storm on my way to Port Clinton from NYC. As in, I could see the lightning bolts coming down around me. One of the only times driving solo where I really wished I had someone with me. It was scary.

So now we're in Chicago at the Hotel Monaco (sooo much better than last night). But get this - they are out of Goldfish. Um, that was the whole fucking reason we decided to pay $160 a night. So we could have an effin' goldfish in the room (also because I was gonna steal him and bring him home with me). These are $300 a night rooms (we got a good deal) - you'd think they'd run to petco and get me a fucking fish. Sheesh. We had to drink our sorrow away at the Irish pub across the way. Hello chocolate martini's. Rawr.

First things first though. I bought a new purse. I shall try to get a photo posted tomorrow. Much love.

I'm not 100% what we'll do tomorrow, we've got a long list of things to see, and from just about everyone we've talked to, we shouldn't stay out past dark. Looks like it'll be an early start.

epicroadtrip [userpic]

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October 11th, 2010 (08:46 pm)



Dear NYC,
I wish I had seen more, but lets be real. I wasn't in town to see you, I was in town to see my bitches.
                                                         - Hanne

NYC was pretty much a blur. I arrived in the evening on Friday and managed to walk around a little bit before relaxing for the evening. Got up late on Saturday and hungout with Kels until she needed to go to work. Then I hit up the theater for tickets to Mamma Mia, grabbed dinner, and then it was time for the show.  I met up with Kelsey and Kamari after the show and we were out until 4:30'ish. Thank you 24 hour diner,
I'd appreciate if you'd return my liver.

Sunday we headed out to brunch around 1pm (brunch is the new 'it' thing in NY apparently - I could've told them that). I had a spinach and goat cheese omelet with a tomato-basil salad. Yummy! From there Kelsey had to go to work, so Kamari and I did the 'quick' tour of the city. Saw where the world trade center was, walked to the water front to see the Statue of Liberty, then rode the Staten Island Ferry (better view of the Statue of Liberty), then after multiple subway!fail we go to central park at dusk. Saw nothing but a raccoon, and then we went out for Thai food (fried banana and ice cream for dessert. Um, YUM!). So all in all, I saw the sparknotes version of NYC. Times square was pretty cool (and ridiculously packed), and really, NYC wasn't as intimidating as I expected it to be. The Subway was pretty easy and not scary. I had to get from the Theater to a specific bar to meet Kamari all on my own and had no problem. I guess I was expecting it to be.... scary? I dunno, had to explain. But not at all what I expected. Still not DC, but maybe I could live in DC and come up to New York for the weekend to see some shows. I like that idea.

Today I was up early (like every other day of my trip. Determined to sleep in to at least 10 tomorrow) and out the door at 8:15 - picked up my car, unloaded Kelsey's crap, drove Kelsey to school and then hit the road. I've been through bits of New Jersey, most of Pennsylvania, and a majority of Ohio. I swung approx 11 miles off of I-80 to drive through Stillwater, Pa. For most people it's a big 'who cares', but if you are a fan of NCIS like *me* you know that Stillwater is where Gibbs 'grew up' according to the show. I couldn't not stop there, but it wasn't so much a town as a church with a few houses around it. Oh well, Gibbs got his photo taken there, mission accomplished. The area was beautiful. The colors were breath-taking. Every shade of yellow, gold, orange, red... even plum. Remind me to spend a few weeks in the fall somewhere in PA. Beautiful.

The drive was alright, just over 9 hours with the added detour to Stillwater. At one point it was piss-raining with thunder/lightening. Not nice. At least it washed a lot of bugs off.

 

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October 7th, 2010 (07:30 pm)


Liberty bell, I saw it.

Today was my crazy one day tour of Philly with onlyonechoice . We went to the zoo (first zoo in America) and oh dear I want need a giant elephant shrew.  So cute! The weather was perfect, it was sunny and since we went early, the animals were pretty active. After the zoo we took flat!Gibbs to the art museum for a little photo-shoot outside and from there we headed to the historic district to see the liberty bell and have dinner.

We ate an Italian place where we were serenaded by a street performer with one leg and his very own sound system on his electric wheelchair. He was a hardcore entertainer, like whoa.

I haven't seen near enough to make an official judgment on the city as to if I could live here, but from what I saw it was pretty (lots of brick buildings - love) and people seemed pretty nice. And I guess onlyonechoice is ok... Kidding! Thank you so much for letting me crash with you, and for hauling me all over the place today. I wish we had more time to fangirl and squee and have fun! Come see me in Seattle, m'kay?

Tomorrow I head to NYC with a stop in New Jersey for lunch with baltic_beauty , yay!
 

epicroadtrip [userpic]

(no subject)

October 5th, 2010 (08:29 pm)

All these things I am seeing... I'm storing them away to deal with properly when I have time to reflect and analyze what I've seen.

Arlington National Cemetery.
The Vietnam War Memorial.
The Korean War Memorial.
The World War Two Memorial.

It's all just beyond powerful and having seen them all in just a few hours - with a few other sights added in - was just... a lot. So I basically spend the morning stalking war veterans around the various memorials, the ones visiting with family because as they strolled along they would share little stories and memories of their time overseas. So while I pretended to look for a specific name on the wall, I stood just beside them and squished my urge to ask questions.

I was only out and about until about 5pm when I headed back to my hotel. I could have done one of the hop on/off buses around from memorial to memorial, but it was $27 (and I'd rather spend that $27 on new shoes) so I did it all on foot. I might regret this.

Tomorrow taylorgibbs  and I will be taking an early tour with flat!Gibbs for a little photo shoot. I will try to stay out of trouble, and from there I head up through Baltimore (to have coffee with  capnhobbes ) up to Philadelphia to stay with onlyonechoice for two nights and continue my exploration of U.S. history. Who knew U.S. history could be so interesting. I could really use a few more days here in DC to attempt the rest of the museums, but... I guess another trip to the East Coast is in order.

A few shots from the day:

 





I found it slightly insulting that I was not asked into the White House for coffee, but I understand that the President is pretty busy these days, but still...

I still can't get over the polite/niceness of people from the South. I met an older gentleman in the hallway of my hotel this evening as I went down to my car to grab some bottled water. We were talking about hotels (he just arrived and wanted to know what I thought about the hotel - basic, but better than the one in OKC that had bugs), and he asked why I was in town. I gave him the basics of my trip and suddenly he's like "You comin' down ta Georgia (imagine the accent)?" Nope. Then he said he was headed to the Chinese place down the street and asked if I had had dinner yet. Yep. He seemed very nice and genuine, but I don't know what it is about this beyond friendliness and openness that has me on edge. I guess my inner 'stranger-danger' alarm goes off when people I don't know are overly nice like that.

Let me also just mention this hotel I am staying at. It's a Best Western - a bit on the older side, but clean and the bed is comfortable, and I had a cozy spot to watch NCIS tonight. However, I'm fairly certain that it is haunted. Weird noises, a quick whiff of cigarette smoke (it's a smoke free hotel) and then it's gone, footsteps. It doesn't feel threatening, but the first night was pretty intense. Last night I was too tired to care, and tonight... I'm sure will be the same.

(chicken count for Nellie: 3)
(state count so far: Washington, Oregon, California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Virginia, D.C., Maryland)

epicroadtrip [userpic]

(no subject)

October 4th, 2010 (10:19 pm)

Dear D.C.,

I would greatly appreciate an amazing job offer and/or a rich husband, because I enjoy your city very much and wouldn't mind living here for awhile. Or at least so that I could afford a return trip in the semi-near future. Thank you and goodnight.

I've only spent one full day in D.C. and I absolutely love it! There are several things downtown that really remind me of Copenhagen, and for a split second while I was on the metro, I felt like I was on the s-tog. Made my heart skip a little beat. I didn't take so many photos today because it was piss raining when I left the hotel. It tapered off pretty quickly, but still... I didn't want to lug my big camera around if it was shitty weather. It isn't supposed to be sunny until later in the week, but tomorrow is supposed to be better than today. It was pretty funny though, it was chilly today, but people here were bundled up like a major winter storm was headed in. Tomorrow the high it supposed to be 63F, not too bad. I'd just like a little sun for my picture taking.




First I went to the Holocaust memorial museum. It was really hard to get through, and I didn't even watch the videos. I've been to Bergen-Belsen (where Anne Frank died) and to Anne Frank's house, but for some reason, this place was the hardest to go through. They had a little section on the Danes ferrying people across to Sweden, so that was cool to see. Also, when you walk in, you get a passport of a real person (as if it were you), and it gives information on them and their life during WWII. On the very last page it tells you if you survived or not.

I did not. 

I was shot by retreating SS soldiers just days before U.S. forces arrived.



My second stop was the Natural History museum, and wow... I'm pretty sure I could spend a week there and not see it all. It was absolutely amazing! I don't know if you've seen 'A night at the Museum' or whatever it's called - but you know how everything comes to life once the museums closes to the public? Yeah, I'm pretty sure that's real. I wandered the exhibits, went up to the Insect Zoo and butterfly room (so worth the $6 to get in) and then had lunch before spending almost as much time in the gift shop as I did in the museum. The butterflies were amazing, and there were some huge ones that would flutter by your ear and you could hear them.

 

I also saw a (dead) Giant Squid. It was pretty wicked.

From there I went to the National Aquarium - pretty small. Tomorrow I will do all the major monuments/memorials and take my dSLR camera and see what I can do with that. Then, depending on the time, I will try and catch another Museum or two... also the White House. I hope Obama is home, I have a few questions, things to discuss, favors to ask... you know, the usual.

Tonight I had dinner with the lovely taylorgibbs  and her husband. I met her at FanFest, so it was cool to see her again. Lots of Fan Fest stuff to discuss, as well as future trips (did I mention I need a job ASAP when I get home?). We're meeting up again on Wednesday am to take flat!Gibbs on a little photo-shoot. I can't wait!


 

epicroadtrip [userpic]

Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government -Thomas Jeffers

October 3rd, 2010 (10:56 pm)

Wow the past few days have been crazy!

From Nashville I drove (what seemed like forever) to get to Charlottesville, Va to see the lovely dannicawebb  (omg, love her!). Last night she *made* me watch the first two ep's of Firefly, and I was surprised that it was actually pretty good and worth watching - I'm usually not into that space crap. But now I'll have to watch the rest of the episodes to see what happens. At least it only lasted a single season.

Today we went to the Monticello - Thomas Jefferson's huge mountain top home/plantation. It was absolutely gorgeous and now I feel like I am a better American citizen having seen it. The man believed in free education (yes please), separation of church & state (again, yes please), and wine. How could you not love the man? Yeah, okay, he had a few kids with one of his slaves, but... who doesn't have a secret or two, you know?

A few quotes of his found around the house:

"No nation is drunken where wine is cheap; and none sober, where the dearness of wine substitutes ardent spirits
as the common beverage... fix but the duty at the rate of other merchandise, and we can drink wine here as
cheaply as we do grog: and who will not prefer it?"

"wine from long habit has become an indispensable for my health..."

"my measure is a perfectly sober one of 3. or 4. glasses at dinner, & not a drop at any other time. but as to these
3. or 4. glasses. Je suis bien friand [I am very fond]."


Also, the man had 'walk-up' closets built into his house. You opened a door to a staircase, and took it up to a closet with windows into the bedroom. Genius!

I'm even contemplating sitting down and seriously reading the declaration of independence. I haven't been this interested in U.S. history since the Pearl Harbor movie came out. But that was more about the attractive men on screen. TJ - not quite my type.

After that we went down to the mall and walked around, had lunch and gelato for dessert and then we walked around the University campus for a while. I left around 6 and headed for my hotel here in Lanham, MD where I will spend the next three nights while I tour DC. It poured rain for part of my drive, and it's supposed to rain through the night. I sincerely hope the rain stops tomorrow while I'm out and about, but I'm from Seattle, I can handle it, right? I think I will drive to the near-by station (parking isn't that bad for the day, like 8 bucks) because the free shuttle only goes once and hour and then you have to call for pick-up. I don't know when I'll be back, and I'm not all that great with getting down to the shuttle at a specific time. I'd rather not feel rushed in either direction.

Tomorrow I conquer the gift shops of the million + museums I shall see. The recession in DC will end tomorrow.

You're welcome.

epicroadtrip [userpic]

A full tank of gas and a '69 tempest, taking me to that Nashville sign...

October 1st, 2010 (07:41 pm)


I spent the morning at the Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tn with Beth and Bo. I really, really enjoyed that museum. It's oh-so-very eye opening and in some ways it helps you to see how far we've come over the past 40+ years, but at the same time, it makes you realize how far we've still got left to go. And that's a little depressing. There was one sign that implied that if you supported desegregation you supported communism. Er, what? I'm not quite sure how I see the connection, but I think there was a small communist part that supported one of the African-American groups so a few turned to communism. But still, really? The whole museum was really thought provoking, and then there was a 30 minute video that we watched and I ended up buying a copy on DVD. Very, very good.

The museum is located at the Lorraine Motel where Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. The whole thing was very surreal. I'd love to go back.

I left Memphis around 2:30pm and headed Northeast to Nashville. I'm headed to Charlottesville, VA next and decided I needed to cut down the long haul, so I shaved off nearly 3 hours of tomorrow's drive by coming to Nashville tonight (though I could've stayed one more night in Memphis). I still have like 8 hours on the road tomorrow, but I'm in my PJ's relatively early tonight, sipping some wine and I'm sure I'll be asleep much earlier than the past... week and a half. Then tomorrow I can just take my time.

epicroadtrip [userpic]

I've been living on the wrong side of Memphis

September 30th, 2010 (09:48 pm)



Oh gosh, Memphis has been so much fun (but maybe that's because I finally got to meet/hangout with Beth & Bo). Today we went to the Memphis Zoo and walked around looking at all the pretty animals and talking. The best part was actually in the farm section where I got to pet a pony (I know, I know). He wasn't keen on the idea at first, but I gave him a good scratch under his mane and then we were best buds. The zoo isn't quite as big as the woodland park zoo back home, but it had a good selection of animals (and a small aquarium). It was pretty warm today though, so many of the animals were camped out in the same not doing much.We went when for a late lunch, and then drove past Graceland (nope, no pics) and then ended up wandering around downtown near my hotel, grabbing a drink and then taking a horse-drawn carriage ride around the city. That was lots of fun (and informational). 

I have to say, people down here are so frickin' nice I could vomit. Srsly. People in Seattle are generally pretty friendly, but this is like, above and beyond. So polite. It almost makes me feel bad when I've got a bitchy thought.

Memphis is lots different from home. I see some similarities between the two downtown areas, but once you get closer to suburbia, the houses (style-wise) are much different (and holy shit, so much cheaper)! Parts of the city further away from downtown seem really run down compared to what I'm used to seeing and it's pretty eye-opening. Granted - I don't spend much time in Tacoma either, so perhaps it's similar.

I got back to my room around 10 and ended up ordering a pulled pork sammich from room service while I got my shit together. Tomorrow I need to check out by 11 and then I'm meeting Beth & Bo at the civil rights museum before I drive to Nashville for the night.

epicroadtrip [userpic]

Then I'm walking in Memphis...

September 29th, 2010 (11:26 pm)


Wow...  It has been a crazy few days.

Santa Fe was absolutely gorgeous and I'm so glad we decided to spend the day up there, rather than Alburquerque. We spent most of Monday wandering in and out of the shops (buying beautiful jewelry for the most part, lol).  Had lunch at the blue corn cafe and toured some 'old stuff'. It was warm, but not hot, so it was perfect for wandering the city. On the way back we took the long way on a smaller two-way highway and it was a nice drive through the brush.

  


Tuesday we drove through the rest of New Mexico, to the Billy the Kid Museum (yep, Gibbs made an appearance), through Amarillo, TX all the way to Oklahoma City. What a long day. Billy the Kid museum was interesting, but I've got to say the best part was the small stuffed Jackalope that I got. He's so ugly, he's adorable! From there we had to hurry - in the central time zone they watch NCIS at 7pm rather than 8 and we also had a time zone change, so we lost an hour! Mindy and I rolled up to the hotel with 3 minutes to spare for NCIS. We got to our room and... it was nasty! There were even dead fleas on the nightstand. We ended up standing in the middle of the room for an hour to watch NCIS and then ended up switching to a hotel nextdoor (they gave us a deal because they felt bad for us). Luckily, we were so worried about getting to NCIS on time, we had left all our bags in the car. *shudder* So gross!

    



Today we had to be on the road to get Mindy to the bus station in Little Rock by 3. We made a quick stop at the Oklahoma City bombing memorial, and I was surprised at how emotional it was - esp. at the fence where people still post items in memory of the friends and family they've lost. Also, the survivor tree. So beautiful. It was eerie to hear sirens in the background (it's located not far from the hospital) and there was a weird smell as soon as you moved off of the street and into the memorial park. Very weird.

   

I dropped Mindy off in Little Rock and then headed solo to Memphis, Tn. I had dinner with Beth and Bo (yay!) and then we walked around and had a few drinks (only a few, I was pretty tired - didn't get as much sleep last night and then looong drive). More on Memphis tomorrow (when I actually see the city by daylight).



(memphis hotel room)


(state count so far - Washington, Oregon, California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Tennesee)