Monday, November 15, 2010

East Coast Road Trip: Washington DC

Today's side trip: 2 hours in Washington DC. As of posting, I have made it to just past Philadelphia on Rt 95. I drove down on 84 and 81...very different highways. Let me say, unequivocally, that I prefer 84 and 81. Rt 95 is just NUTS, especially between DC and...well, the rest of the way home. It's only 6pm, and in theory I could make it home tonight, but I have a really hard time driving at night. There's dead deer all over the road, and I get tired by 7ish.

On one of my long-ago road trips, I made it to PA and took some NoDoz, because I was really desperate to get home. I can assure you I will never, ever do that again. It made me so sick I had to get a hotel room, and then lay there unable to sleep for hours, and with a side case of bed spins. All from caffeine! (That's what NoDoz is, right?)
I convinced folks to take photos of me with the dogs. Most of the photos aren't in focus, but what can you do, right? :)
Oh, wait...are dogs allowed in the reflection pool at the National Mall?
Dogs are NOT allowed in here.
Dogs are not allowed up THERE.

Subtle carvings and reflections in a wall...part of the Korean War Memorial. I have to assume this is a new one, as they were still doing construction over to the side of it.

Dogs can't go HERE either.
I love my traveling companions. This has been a good trip. :)

East Coast Road Trip: NC and VA

This morning I needed to kill some time (in order to avoid Washington DC rush hour) so I got off the highway and found a park to walk in with the pups. The place we stopped was great...we took a long walk.

At one point, I turned around and thought that all 3 dogs had noticed. Elliot had NOT. I called out to him, my voice echoed off of the hill beyond, and Elliot took off at a dead the wrong direction. I had to run after him, and it took a good 10 minutes before we found each other again! The place is vast, and I had lost sight of him. Out in the middle of nowhere. I was tempted to call she could have helped. :)

This is right after Elliot and I found each other...problem was, by this point he had crossed a fairly substantial river (following my "voice") and we had to find a spot for him to come back across. Oh, my. Next time he stays closer to me.

Yesterday I stopped to visit my uncle Roger in North Carolina. Great visit!!
The view from his house...farmland all around.

Roger and his wife, Jennifer.

Friday, November 12, 2010

East Coast Trip: Alabama, part 2

Scott and I went over to a place called Five Rivers, where the bay meets the delta. They offer boat tours. Apparently he and Ruth have mentioned going on a tour, but as he said, sometimes you don't go to see the things in your home town until a friend comes to visit. :)
There were 8 other people on the tour...a cute, hands-on young married couple (honeymoon???), 2 couples from England (great accents), and an older couple that reminded me an AWFUL lot of my parents. The husband half of that couple was Mr Camera. He photographed everything!
Ruth, Scott, and Thomas.

This is what my car looks like when I set it up for sleeping. I have decided that my car is NOT ideal for sleeping in pretty much any capacity. I can't stretch out enough, and it's harder than you might think to sleep curled up. Ugh. The night I stopped (on the way from Mobile to Atlanta) I got off the highway because I saw a sign that said "campground", and I was exhausted even thought it was only 6pm. I figured that would be better than a truck stop...less parking lot lighting perhaps? So I paid for the camping spot, and drove back to pick a spot. The entire campground was lit up just like the truck stops. I needed to rig up blankets on most of my car windows. Gee, good thing it didn't get as cold that night. When I woke up it was a balmy 43 degrees.
Interstate 10 ran across the bay/delta area. The boat tour went under it. By the way, we saw alligators, gar fish, herons, and all sorts of other birds. The guy with the camera was in heaven. :)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

East Coast Trip: Alabama

The last couple of days have been spent in Mobile, Alabama, visiting Ruth and Scott. Yesterday Scott and I went to see Ruth on Dauphin Island at the Sea Lab, where she works. She showed me around, we went out for lunch, and then Scott and I walked along the beach looking for tar balls. (We didn't find any)

Scott works as a paramedic/firefighter for the Mobile Fire Dept. We stopped by to pick up some eggs (one of the guys has chickens) and the dogs got to run around the station and raise havoc.
The beach sand was at times an interesting combination of white and black.
The place we ate lunch had 4 cats roaming around. They weren't friendly, but not quite feral either. As we sat there talking, I was watching the cats and realized that every single one of them had a slice missing from their ear. The more I thought about it, I realize it must be the "tag" that was done when they were spayed/neutered. Apparently a group was here last year collecting and spaying all of the wild cats. The mark was always the same, and always on the left ear. Not bad! At first, we thought maybe a fight wound, or frostbite...but they were too consistent to be fight wounds, and I don't think that Alabama gets cold enough for frostbite.
Part of the Dauphin Island Sea Lab is a series of rooms for running tests and carrying out research projects. This room was a project about sea grass and fish environments. The grass was made of know, like the kind you wrap around presents and curl the ends up?
Lunch was fried pickles (above) and fried flounder (below). I asked for fish and chips...the girl had no idea what chips were.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

East Coast Road Trip: Georgia

Siena, me, Penny, and Kyler. And look at that killer red wall! Wow, who painted that wall?! :)
Sienna with her collection of...tree pods.
Sienna channeling Andy Goldsworthy. :)
I stopped at the Varsity in Atlanta to get a shirt for a friend...and lunch of course.

I made it to Georgia on Wednesday night. I am visiting with Penny and her family: Dan, Kyler, and Siena.

Kyler had a baseball game this photo he's the catcher.
Kyler and I went to the park the other day with my dogs. We taught the dogs to go on some of the playground...things. They weren't too keen about the car (above) but they were really good sports about coming across the bridges that spanned different parts of the slides and adventure course types of things.

East Coast Road Trip: North Carolina

I hadn't seen the Olsen's since 1998...but when I stopped by the other day, it felt like I had just seen them the week before. Ken has 3 kids now: Kenny (2), Anah Mae (9) and Addy Lyn (7). His sister Jen has 6 kids. The Olsen's (Lyn and Ken) are doing great, and welcomed me into their home for a couple of days. It was great!
Ken's daughters showed me around their farm. Ken is still in the tree business, and has all sorts of large pieces of equipment around...which the girls treat like it's a jungle gym.
The 100 year old house that Ken and Kristy have renovated and live in.
The first thing the girls did when I brought them to the house was check on the wood fired furnace that heats the house. It's in a separate building, near the house, and I am not 100% clear on how it works, but the girls have it all figured out. They are 7 and 9, and they know exactly what to do if the wood has burned down too low. They are amazing girls. Who knows kids that can (and will) do that? Seriously! I was so impressed.
Anah climbed a post in the horse pasture and was flying.
The girls with Kristy's horse, Goblin. He's 35 years old, and blind in one eye. He's in great shape!
This donkey lives at the Olsen's place, along with 2 horses and a goat. At Ken and Kristy's place, they have 1 horse, 6 cats, several guinea hens, several chickens, hermit crabs, and 2 tortoises. I love farms. :)

Monday, November 1, 2010

East Coast Road Trip: PA and VA

I decided to take the dogs and go on a little road trip...I am headed down south for a few weeks. I think I'll just meander, visiting friends along the way. Last night, I only drove 4 hours (didn't start until 6pm, oh well) and slept in the car with the dogs.

We were in a parking lot for trucks...and I parked in the shadow of one of the ones in the photo above. I hadn't considered before how bright these lots actually are...there's overhead lights everywhere. Ugh. The truckers can go into the back of their cab..I am stuck with glass all around. I put in my earplugs (highway sounds, another ugh) and buried myself in the blankets.

When I woke up 9 hours later it was only 33 degrees.

Tonight I am in a motel.
Shenandoah Valley in VA. I splurged and got a National Park Pass...and drove through part of the park. Very pretty area.
Breakfast of champions?