I guess I felt silly blogging about my travels when I felt like I was “home” in America. Or maybe we just got caught up in the end of the year rush. Either way, now it is time to play catch up. I know the title of this blog is “France, China, Bostton in a Year”, but the travels continue and so should the stories. You might want to grab some tissues for this one though, its going to be a roller-coaster of story.
So where did we leave off? Oh right, the road trip…
Even before I got out there history started writing itself. The plan was, Adam would be packed and ready to go when he picked me up from the airport and we would leave straight from there. Talk about a short stay! Sadly, we had to push back departure for a few days because Adam had to stay in town to support a friend through the loss of his parents. Of course I understood, and just hoped to be out of the way and supportive. I did get to see his home, meet his friends, and catch a ball game in Denver. Go Phillies! Beat them Rockies!
Then the trip began. We drove South to Santa Fe, New Mexico on the first day, taking the scenic route through this really cool artsy town. We even passed through Larkspur and I got to get an Iced Green Tea from the Pony Espresso. That drink tastes like ice cold happiness. In New Mexico we visited one of Adam’s friends, had great Margaritas and some dinner, and hung-out with the new age hobos in the town square. Then I got the call.
The call from my Mom that you never want to get, especially not when you are across the country. The find somewhere to sit down first call. My Grandad was sick. Two types of cancers, either one of which would have been fatal. But he should have at least six months to live so just take your time, get home safe, and spend as much time with him as you can when you get back. I asked her to buy a tape recorder so that we could sit together and he could tell me his stories. It was already late but I would call him in the morning, to say…what?
For better or worse, we had a long drive ahead of us, thought a brief stop along the highway to take in the amazing expanse of starry-night sky. We wanted to make it to Roswell that night and camp in the desert with the Aliens. We did just that, passing through town around 2:00 am. I think that is the best time to visit a place like Roswell. Do you Believe?? Just outside of town we found a park and set up camp. Well, Adam set up camp. I know better than to get in the way of an Eagle Scout and his set-up routine. In three minutes flat we were tucked in and listening to the coyotes yip and play their midnight games.
From there we had to play catch up and had some long travel days. We shot down to Texas and I visited with Chela while Adam visited friends in Austin. From there we crossed over into Louisiana and stayed with Rachel in New Orleans. We got chased out of Texas by a monster rain storm. In New Orleans we had another chance to “rest” and we spent the day getting drunk on Bourbon street and listening to the great street musicians. Our plans of going to a Southern Baptist church on Sunday morning were thwarted by a couple of rough hangovers, but the timing couldn’t have been better.
From Louisiana we hit Alabama. First the Gulf Shores where some of Adam’s friends were staying at a beach house for a the Hangout Festival. By the time we got there, it was the afternoon of the last day after a rainy morning. The festival decided to let guests in for free once they started playing music again in the clear evening. And so we found ourselves sitting in a sand couch/alligator, with the Gulf of Mexico to our left and a massive stage in front of us, listening to Trey Anastasio (Phish) rock a great set.
In the morning we had lunch at the Floribama, a bar straddling Florida and Alabama, famous for their fish chucking contests and mudslides. In the evening we were in Birmingham, enjoying moonshine and macaroni and cheese on a back porch enjoying the warm summer air. Sadly our stay in Alabama was a short one, and we kept on trucking the next morning.
Up next? Tennessee, Lynchburg, and the Jack Daniels Distillery. This was one of the most relaxing days on the trip. We had a short drive, an afternoon tour, and an early camp. We stayed in a nice park some locals directed us towards, with a big lake. Sometimes you need a vacation from your vacation and this is what this night was. All it took was a camp fire, cool night air, and a bottle of Jack. A quick dip in the lake the next morning and we were ready.
Lunch was in a Nashville bar with a great musician. He played Willie Nelson and my request for some Johnny Cash was met with the San Quentin Medley. Our stay was short though because we were trying to make it to the Maker’s Mark Distillery that afternoon. Sadly we misjudged closing time due to a change in time-zone, so we didn’t make it in time for a tour. We did make it in time for a quick stop in the store though. Adam bought some bottles and got to hand dip them in the signature red wax. There was nothing for it but to keep going after that, into West Virginia and the country roads that would take me home.
After this time was a blur. Make it home, pack the car, visit with family, and head up to Boston before classes started. We spent the night in Philadelphia for my birthday, and held one last party on 32nd and Brandywine with the Philly Crew and the Jersey Boys. I will always love that crappy house.
And then there was Boston.