Travel Journal – From California to Florida

Day 1 – Friant, CA to San Marcos, CA – I had an emotional start to the day.  I actually broke down and cried at one point.  I was in the backroom fixing my hair and noticed a binder with my aunts name on it.  It turned out to be a memorial binder for her filled with pictures and letters written about her.  That combined with the emotions of leaving home hit me hard.  I locked myself in the bathroom until I got it together.  I was fine after that for the rest of the day.  I had a few more twinges of sadness for leaving, but overall, I was happy to be venturing off into something new.

We didn’t even make it off the road my house is on before we came upon a bad accident.  We got around that and made a couple of quick stops in town and then were off.  We were almost sideswiped by someone checking his phone on the 99, and hit bad traffic near LA (of course), but other than that it was a pretty uneventful drive.  Granny told me about her mother and father and how she had to start working when she was 14 and the different jobs that she had.  It was interesting learning about family I didn’t know much about.  We made it to San Marco, CA to spend the night with family.  We went out to dinner and enjoyed our time with family.

Day 2 – San Marcos, CA to Tucson, AZ – I slept horribly last night. We were up early again to take Reagan (my 8 year old cousin) to school & then were of to Yuma to see more family.  When we dropped Reagan off at school, she asked granny, “will I ever see you again?” I didn’t hear it, but granny told me about it and it about made her cry.

We stopped in Yuma to visit my cousin and meet her new twin sons, Liam & Lane.  What cutie pies!!  It was great to meet the boys and visit with the rest of the family.  I wish we could have stayed longer, but we needed to cover more ground today than San Marcos to Yuma (it’s only a 3 hour drive between the two).  After our visit we stopped at Cracker Barrel for dinner (the first Cracker Barrel of the trip and unfortunately it wasn’t very good) and then headed out to Tucson.  We checked into a Super 8 and plan to sleep in tomorrow.  If we drive 8.25 hours a day from here on out, we will be in Florida by Saturday!

Day 3 – Tucson, AZ to Fort Stockton, TX – Today has been mostly all driving, not too much excitement.  We did stop at a roadside attraction to see The Thing in Arizona.  It is a gas station, gift shop, and museum.  It is only a dollar to go in the museum and see The Thing.  There is three buildings filled with antiques and artwork and the mysterious Thing.  I’m not going to tell you what it is.  I’ve waited all these years to find out for myself what it is, and I am going to make everyone else do the same.  It’s worth the buck.

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Granny discovered James Hunnicutt’s music today and fell in love.  It was awesome to listen to her sing along with the songs and giggle with delight when one of his Christmas songs came on.  Looks like I will be ordering her some CD’s soon. UPDATE – I let James know how much Granny loved his music and James, being the stand up guy he is, said he wanted to send her a care package.  What a sweet gesture.  If you haven’t listened to James Hunnicutt sing, please go to his website and check him out at jameshunnicutt.com

We are at a Super 8 again tonight (a MUCH nicer one than last night), in a small little Texas town.  I still need to map out the rest of our trip, but we hope to be in Florida by Saturday and are going to stop and see my Great Uncle for a few days before taking Granny to Clearwater.

Day 4 – Fort Stockton, TX to Brookshire, TX – We were up early to have breakfast at the hotel and need to drive 464 miles a day to reach our destination of Ocala, FL by Saturday.  We put in our 464 miles today and ended up in Brookshire.  Our plans to stop in Ocala have changed and we will be going straight to Clearwater now.  I’ve been tired all day today so we made it an early night and had dinner and checked into a hotel by 7:30pm.  I’m excited because I can read my book and hit the fitness center too.  I need it after being in the car for the bast 4 days!

Day 5 – Brookshire, TX to Moss Point, MS – I think I am going crazy.  It’s been a looooooong day.  My grandmother is starting to drive me batty.  We have the same conversation over and over again and it is filled with so much negativity I think my head will explode.  Eh, what are you going to do?  Family, can’t live with them, can’t toss them out of the car on the I-10!  Tomorrow we are making it a short day and only driving 4 hours and then will be in Clearwater, FL on Sunday by noonish.  I can’t wait!  We covered a lot of ground today, unfortunately  some of it was  at 5mph, but we got thru it all.   We started in Texas, went thru Louisiana and ended in Mississippi.  I love this part of the country!

Day 6 – Moss Point, MS to Monticello, FL – Today was a short driving day.  We went thru Alabama (which I absolutely loved) and are part way into Florida.  We stopped at the Florida Welcome center and took some pictures and stopped again to eat at Ruby Tuesday’s.  We are now in the hotel eating Subway sandwiches and I have made a new friend with the desk clerk, who happens to be from East LA.

Day 7 – Monticello FL to Pinellas Park, FL – We made it!  Granny is now all settled with my Aunt and  I am off to stay in Crystal Beach with my Uncle for a few days and then I’ll be headed down to Naples!

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I will be posting more Florida adventures soon!  My uncle will be taking the boat back from Crystal Beach to Naples and that will take him 2 days.  I will be in my van and it will only take me 4 hours, so I have to stretch that 4 hours into 2 days or be stuck in Naples with nowhere to go.  I’m excited to spend some time camping along the Florida coast!

Theme Thursday – Mess

This is going to be a short and sweet Theme Thursday.  This mess is brought to you by;  slamming on the breaks and throwing the contents of the van all over the place.

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This happened  several times on the trip.  This wasn’t even the worst one, it is just the only one we documented.  The worst would have been in Canada.  We were driving thru some town and the car in front of me quickly stopped.  I slammed on my breaks and of course, everything we owned was now within arms reach.  I sat there shocked for a moment and Lacy just burst out laughing.  She grabbed something out of one of the food bags and said, “Are you hungry?  I can get you anything you want?  How about your toothbrush?  Need that?”  It actually made a stressful situation not so bad.

I don’t even remember the story behind this one.  I know it was in Colorado, but I couldn’t tell you what made me stop so quickly that everything got tossed around.

If you enjoyed the story of this mess, then head on over to Clan Donaldson for more Theme Thursday messes.

One Month on the Road (almost)

It’s been almost a month since we left California and I haven’t updated our blog yet so here is a quick rundown of what we have been up to…

We went to YellowstoneYellowstone (the lamest park ever) National Park

Saw Old Faithful

Old Faithful

Spent some time in the Grand Teton national Park

Grand Teton National Park

Saw lots of buffalo all over Montana and Wyoming…..LOTS of buffaloBuffalo Everywhere

We saw this cave on the side of the road in Montana and decided to hike up to it.  It was harder than we thought it would be, but totally worth it. Cave

We saw Lincolns head on the side of the freeway and stopped to check it out.  Lincolns Head

This Bear was in the visitor center by Lincolns head Bears

I think the elevation in Glacier National Park got to Lacy.Glacier National Park

There was a fire near Challis, ID.  Fire near Challis, ID

There was lots of love at Farmageddon Fest in Clinton, Montana. Farmageddon Fest

We saw more buffalo National Bison Range

We slept in the clouds at Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park

We went on a tour of Celestial Seasoning and met Sleepytime Bear Celestial Seasonings

We went to the Rocky Mountain National ParkRocky Mountain National Park

We were Inyo National ForestInyo National Forest

We went to Craters of the Moon National Park and saw a lot of thisCraters of the Moon

We hiked in the Garden of the GodsGarden of the Gods

And we took a tour of Hammond’s Candy Factory and got free candyHammonds Candy

It’s harder than I thought to keep up with this blog while on the road, but I will try to be a little better at it and keep everyone updated!

It’s a New Month!

 It’s finally February!  We are VERY excited about this.  January was too long! 

 This month brings two out of town road trips to see some awesome bands.  One to see The Pine Box Boys and The Good Luck Thrift Store Outfit in Modesto and the other takes us to San Francisco to see The Dirty Hand Family Band and The Phenomenauts at Slims.   We are looking forward to both of them.  While, Lacy got out of town a couple of times in January, I wasn’t able too and I’m starting to go stir crazy! 

 Another exciting thing happening in February is; I’m starting an online photography class! I can’t wait.  I bought myself a nifty new camera last month and haven’t done much with it.  Hopefully that will be changing as of next week!  I would love to take better pictures of all the bands that we see and when we are out on the road I know there are going to be lots of amazing opportunities for great pictures.  I really want to take advantage of it all. 

 And finally, February means that we only have 5-1/2 months left until we leave!!!! 

The Vacation That Changed Everything

Last year about this time I had decided that I wanted to attend the Muddy Roots Festival in Tennessee.  Actually, buy this time last year I had already bought my tickets and made sure I could get the time off (kind of, that is where this story begins).  I had decided that I was going to attend Muddy Roots toward the end of 2011.  I had one problem though, my annual sales meeting at work (which I plan & attend every year) fell the same week as Muddy Roots.  I had to talk with my boss to see what the possibility of changing the dates were.  I finally got around to talking to him about it in December of 2011.  We decided to move the meeting up a week and shorten it.  This worked wonderfully for me since I had planned on driving to Tennessee.  I bought my Muddy Roots tickets on Christmas day and started planning my trip and my sales meeting.  Fast forward to May 2012.  I am finalizing my contracts with the hotel we decided on holding our event at and my sales guys are asking questions about dates and locations.  I tell a few of them the dates and the reason for the change.  While one of my sales guys is in my office, the office manager comes in and joins the conversation about the dates of the meeting.  She starts whining that it is the week of her birthday and why did we change the dates and blah, blah, blah.  I tell her that I hadn’t had a chance to tell her about it or request the days off yet, but I want to take vacation the week following this years sales meeting.  She doesn’t say much and leaves my office.  This is when my work life becomes a living hell.  Apparently because I did not ask for vacation time first, but instead did the logical thing and asked my boss if we could rearrange the dates of the sales meeting, I was an underhanded and sneaky bitch.  My office manager went straight to the big boss and told him how sneaky I was and what a liar I was.  All because I hadn’t asked her permission to have the days off for vacation before I asked my boss if we could change the meeting dates.  I was waiting for the contracts for the hotel to be finalized before I requested any time off.  If things didn’t go the way I wanted them to and I couldn’t get the dates I wanted, I wanted to remain flexible.  My office manager did not see it this way.  To this day, I do not understand the logic in asking for vacation days first when I know that we have a meeting that week every year.  Anyway, that was the start of something that would end up changing my life forever.

My office manager didn’t talk to me after that unless absolutely necessary.  I turned in my request for vacation and it was granted without a word (actually she never responded to it, but later when I requested a 1/2 day for something else she said I used all my time up already, so I knew I had gotten the time off for Muddy Roots).  The sales meeting went off without a hitch and all the sudden it was time for me to leave on vacation and head to Muddy Roots.  The my last day of work before vacation my manager didn’t speak one word to me, no “have a good trip” or “See you when you get back” there was nothing.  No big deal to me.  I was going to be on the road for 13 days and didn’t care what anyone else thought.  We loaded up the car that night and started our journey.

We had as much fun and crammed as much sight seeing possible into those 13 days.  We traveled part of Route 66, Saw the Grand Canyon, and Meteor Crater, went to Cadillac Ranch, stayed in crappy motels, and listened to great live music along the way.  We also talked a lot about how much we were both miserable with our jobs and our city and how wonderful people where everywhere else.  We were sad when the trip came to an end and we were back in Fresno.

Since then we had talked about quitting our jobs and traveling.  In December 2012 we finally decided to quit talking about it and just do it.  Nothing was going to change until we did. That is where we are now.  We have been working on selling our things and getting used to the idea that in six months we are going to change our lives forever.  We are a month into our adventure of preparing to leave and I am FINALLY getting around to posting our first blog entry. YAY me!  It really is hard to find time to write blog entries, work full time, sort thru all our possessions, post things on E-bay, Amazon, and wherever else we can to sell them, and live life.  We promise to keep up with this on at least a weekly basis once we get out on the road!