Monday, July 9, 2007

Day Sixteen

July 8, 2007
- Today we woke up a little later than we hoped and took off for the remainder of our journey back home to the beautiful golden state of California. It was going to be a little shorter of a drive than yesterday's, only about 11 hour drive. haha...whoopy! Anyway, we made our way through New Mexico and stopped in Albequerque one last time to look at the shops downtown to find a turquiose ring for Roger and some earrings for myself. I found some earrings, but Roger couldn't find a ring that he liked that actually fit him-his fingers were as fat as hot dogs. haha. So we left and went through Gallup New Mexico and grabbed some Papa John's and headed through Arizona where we stopped at Indian City to look for some more rings but with no success once again. THen we saw the "Welsome to California" sign and yelled with glee. It was absolutely amazing coming up over the hills and seeing all the lights of Barstow in the distance as wide as the eyes can see realizing how much bigger ALL of the California cities are compared to some of the biggest cities we have seen across the US. It was an aww stroke moment. Anyway, we drove about 2 more hours and arrived safe and sound in Alta Loma, Ca. about 40 minutes sooner than we thought at Roger's dad's house and hit the bed immediately. So that is it. We are back home. Thanks to everyone that has been keeping up with our trip and we will be posting pictures soon. Take care.

Roger and Melissa

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Day Fifteen

July 7, 2007

- Today we drove ONE THOUSAND MILES from Memphis to Albuquerque. It was a long day to say the least as my eyes are blood shot red from chasing the sun west as the miles clicked away. The most interesting thing we did see was the Oklahoma City National Memorial, which was beautiful and sad all at the same time. To walk those solemn grounds really brought that day fresh into our memories though it was twelve years ago. I still can not believe we crossed so much country in one day.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Day Fourteen

July 6, 2007
- I arose to the sound of my phone alarm clock ringing, I walked down to grab some breakfast and then we got ready. We drove to a local oil shop and got Suzy Suzuki's oil changed. we then drove on to Atlanta were we stopped for lunch at OK Diner. They serve traditional southern food fish almondine, corn on the cob, squash and cracker casserole and we even ate fried sweet potato chips. we then drove all the way to Memphis, Tennessee. We stopped and walked down Beale Street and had barbecue. The ribs were good though I did ask for dry rub ribs and the waiter walked out with sauce drenched ribs... he said dry rub comes with sauce all over them, I didn't argue. We then looked for a place to stay, Melissa walked into a motel were the manager was watching TV. She asked if they had any rooms? Not Turning she said "Iainthaveanymore" in a thick accent and not one identifiable word(Translation: we don't have anymore rooms) needless to say we finally found a room

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Day Thirteen

July 5, 2007
- We woke up this morning and immediately got on the road, we drove north on highway 75 up out of Fort Myers Beach towards Tampa, we stopped about two hours later for lunch at Steak and Shake. Melissa had a chocolate banana shake and a club sandwich, I had a double steak burger with cheese and a peach shake, for the price it is a great deal. One thing we did notice about Florida is that they have had the worst drivers so far; the fast lane is long trains of cars while the slow lane is peppered with trucks. You have to pass in the middle lanes while trying not to get hit by the teenagers in mustangs and pickups weaving in and out of traffic.We then drove north and headed out farther and farther on 75 making it all the way to Georgia, where we stopped at a truck stop and bought a cheap audio tape to listen to as we continued north to Macon, Georgia. Well, that is where we stopped for the night. Macon is in the center of the state with beautiful rolling hills, temperate climate and all around beautiful landscape. Melissa and I both really find the area a gorgeous place to live.

P.S. Beta the blog is written by the both of us so it skips from 1st to 3rd as we trade off, but thanks for commenting...

Day Twelve

July 4th, 2007

-Today we checked out of the inn and walked to Blue Heaven Restaurant for breakfast and drinks. We had shrimp omelettes and banana bread that was like my mom’s but still not as good. Then we walked to Ernest Hemmingway’s house and saw all of the cats and took a mini tour of it. It got really hot and we were sweating we needed to cool off so we decided to walk back to Mango Tree Inn and see if Peggy would allow us to take a quick little dip in the pool. So we swam with Kailey Mae for a little bit and then we walked to the beach and swam in the ocean for a while. We met a guy who worked for Guy Harvey’s there, so we went there and bought a shirt for Roger. We met some cool black guys on the street who let us wash off with their hose. Black guys are always the nicest people! We love them. Ten we made our way back to the cruise ship. We watched Pirates of the Caribbean, which Roger actually learned that he liked. And checked back into the Econo Lodge where we ate our Arby’s. haha. Goodnight.

Day Eleven

July 3rd, 2007

- We went snorkeling today from 9:30am-12:30pm. It was absolutely unforgettable!!! Roger and eye both saw a 4ft shark trying to eat something caught in the coral right underneath us! I AM NOT EXAGERATING!!! It was just 10ft under us…even though my eyes were pretty much glued to the shark beneath me, I decided to look up and at that very moment saw two 3ft long white spotted sting rays swimming right passed us about 20 ft. away. Unfortunately, they swam by so fast that by the time I got Roger to look away from the shark, they were already out of sight. But I won’t forget that J. Oh, swimming through tons of little jellyfish and yellow tail snappers wasn’t bad either. We just drank free beer and wine and stood on deck watching dolphins swim by the whole way back to the dock. It was very relaxing. We ate at Uppercrust Pizza again tonight. Best pepperoni pizza ever!

Day Ten

July 2nd, 2007

- We woke up and took a 3 ½ hr cruise ship ride to Key West. It was very nice. We checked into the quaint and wonderful bed and breakfast Mango Tree Inn. We checked in with Peggy and met her birds on the front porch, saw the swimming pool, and pet her lovely lab Kailey Mae. Our room was huge and very well taken care of with a walk in closet and bathroom, and a walk in kitchen, not to mention all of the little touches like rose petals decorating everywhere, magazines, and helpful tourist recommendations and coupons. We were very excited and very pleased for the price! We took Peggy’s recommendation and ate lunch at Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville and had our first Rum Runners…delicious!!! We stopped to have some homemade strawberry ice cream and their famous key lime pie. We took a 3 hr nap, got up and walked around the strip and bought some souvenirs.

Day Nine

July 1st, 2007
- We woke up at the worst hotel ever and drove down to St. Petersburg, Fl. And ate at a incredibly cheap but high quality cuisine restaurant, Guppy’s and had lobster escargot, seared ahi, and crab cakes all for under $30!!! It was a mix between Chilis and Scott’s. haha. We checked into the Econo Lodge at St. Petersburg by Fort Myers, did our laundry, ate Taco Bell, and got ready for our trip to Key West.

Day Eight

June 30th, 2007
- We checked out of hotel St. Marie. It was raining while we made our 2nd and last breakfast trip for more beignets and café au laits at Café du Monde. As we made our way out of New Orleans, that’s when we saw all of the decrepit houses that were left abandoned and wrecked by Katrina. They were all marked with red graffiti. There were boats left half crushed. Tourism is about 80% of the city’s economy, so I think they focused all on rebuilding the city to attract everyone back to it and everything outside of the city was looked over. We got stuck in traffic in Mobile, Alabama which made our trip 12 hours instead of 9 and what made it worst is that we got a speeding ticket L. So then we checked in and called it a night.

Day Seven

June 29th, 2007
-We woke up at the lovely Hotel St. Marie on Bourbon Street and walked to Café Du Monde and ate our very first beignets (French donuts covered in powdered sugar) and café au laits. It was delicious! Roger bought me a nice little summer dress that I when we went out to eat at a raw bar and had the first oysters that I ever really liked *Bill and Marie were right ;) Then we had the most exciting part of the trip yet…we went out on a small airboat on a near bayou and saw tons of alligators! They were everywhere. The guide let me drive the boatJ. The best part was seeing an 11 ft. alligator come right to the boat and our guide petted his head and fed him hot dogs. He named the gator Big Al, because apparently he always stays there and has gotten so used to the boat coming around that he feeds him chickens and hot dogs and he sometimes comes onto the boat. It was absolutely amazing being just five feet away from an 11ft wild alligator!!! Later that evening we ate at Café Toulouse at our hotel and had mashed sweet potatoes and roger and I both had our first taste of home made gumbo-very yummy! Then we had a few drinks at the local bars again and went dancing.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Day Six

June 28th, 2007
- Today we started the day by having craw fish cakes and po’ boy sandwiches at a nearby restaurant in the French Quarter. After that, we took a stroll along the Riverwalk of the Mississippi and sat down by the river. We had to stick our feet in the mighty Mississippi. We watched the flying fish jump out of the water and then made our way into the mall where I bought a couple of Banana Republic blouses on sale and Roger got to see the most complete art gallery he had ever seen full of original pieces from the best photographers of the past century. The entire second floor of the gallery was dedicated to Diane Arbus alone. Then we stopped to buy some post cards, an Icee for myself and a nice cold beer for Roger. Then we went back to the hotel and took a nice little nap and watched Jurassic Park. We needed to rest up for the night. We then got up and went to The Bayou restaurant to get some dinner, I had crawfish pasta and Melissa had the seafood sampler. Bourbon Street came alive as we finished dinner, so we went for a walk as soon as we were done. The street is filled with bars frat guys and strip clubs. We ended walking into two different bars that had cover bands. The first one was amazing, they played songs from the 70’s and the 80’s like Bon Jovi and Stevie Ray Vaughn. We then went home and got rest to get up this morning.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Day Five

June 27, 2007
- We woke up in a hotel in Lake Charles, LA. We then drove straight to New Orleans. It took us a total of about 4 hours to get there and it was amazing crossing Breaux Bridge and driving in the middle of a lightening storm. Roger was excited. He had never been in the middle of a rain storm in the middle of summer. We crossed the Mississippi in Baton Rouge and we hoped to see alligators but were disappointed. We then checked in at The St. Marie’s Hotel off of Bourbon and Toulouse St. right in the middle of the French Quarter. It was very hot and humid, so we decided to stay in the hotel for a little and have some good quality R&R…and a little more ;)…which lasted a little longer than we expected. But then we went out on the town and had cherry bombs (rubbing alcohol soaked maraschino cherries) and some drinks in Lafitte’s Black Smith Shop. It is the oldest building used as a bar in the United States. There was not a single electric light used. Everything was very authentic and candle lit. We loved it. We walked around just a little bit and then called it quits for the night.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Day Four

June 26, 2007

- Woke up far to early after such a long drive last night but went and got breakfast and got ready to explore San Antonio. It was still raining sporadically as we drove downtown. We went and saw the Alamo (which by the way is interesting but just by pass the lines by walking around everyone that stands there like cows). We then proceeded onto the famous riverwalk. The riverwalk is a U shaped diversion in the San Antonio river which flows directly through town. It is absolutely beautiful, although very humid. It's what we imagined a tropical version of Venice to be like. There are restaurants and shops all along the way, we ate at Boudros where we had amazing food and our first prickly pear margaritas which were delicious and all very affordable. We then took off for Louisiana and got a room in Port Charles. Tomorrow we head to New Orleans :) YAY! One of the most interesting things that we have seen as we travel is the homogenization of culture. Today we stopped in a mall to kill time and heat as the Houston traffic passed, everyone dressed looked and spoke the way they saw on television. Except for the southern use of y'all you wouldn't know the difference between that mall and one in California.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Day Three

June 25, 2007
- This morning we slept in and then preceded to leave Roswell for Carlsbad Caverns. It was supposed to be a short hour and a half drive to the caves which were made longer by stop lights and a wrong turn off the highway. We finally made it there where we parked and changed into our jeans so that we could endure the 50 degree temperature change from the surface to the big room below the surface. Melissa had never been there but I had about fifteen years ago. To anyone that gets a chance to visit this National Park, do. This place is one of the most visually stunning places I have ever been, though I had seen it before it was worth the revisit everything looked better and more spectacular than before. We stayed a few hours and then took off for Texas. Our first stop was Fort Stockton where we had dinner. The countryside from Roswell to Fort Stockton was surprisingly green, I had spoken to an officer about our route the day before and he let me know that the region has received far more rain than usual. I was very surprised by the beauty of the country as we pressed on out of Fort Stockton to San Antonio. The drive was filled with the beauty of the prairies infamous lightening storms which lit the distant clouded skies. As we drove on the route the cloudes thickened as we left the west Texas Mesquite for the Oak hills of central Texas. The air was thick and breezy as the rain began to fall when we entered San Antonio late this Evening. It is far to late to be writing this and I need to get to bed.

Day Two

June 24, 2007
- This morning I awoke to the light of sunrise, though this is not something that I am unaccustomed to it was something that I was not prepared for. The previous night Melissa and I climbed into the back of the car to sleep as I had built a bed to accommodate the two of us. This bed though comfy for the first hour proved to stiff for our backs waking the both of us up through out the night. So by 6:30am we were on the road heading out of flagstaff towards Albuquerque. We stopped for breakfast and Melissa took pictures of concrete dinosaurs. Old Town Albuquerque was hot overpriced and not as interesting as I had remembered so we walked to the natural history museum and took a tour of New Mexico’s history, if you ever go a 70 year old women by the name of Gayle can give you a fascinating 20 minute discourse on rocks of New Mexico (just back up and say thank you to escape). We decided that we had enough of Albuquerque and drove on to Roswell, along the way we drove through a prairie thunder storm and Melissa saw her first pronghorn antelope. Today we drove over 600 miles and ended in a horrible Motel 6 in the heat of the desert.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Day One

June 23, 2007
- Well, today started off wonderfully, the first ten minutes… as soon as we got on the road our skid plate started flapping and scraping the ground so we had to turn back and take it off. Come to find out…Deer Creek Car Wash decided to steal the universal clips that held it on the day before when we got an oil change. So…an hour later, we were off. The trip was uneventful until Melissa, as we entered Arizona; saw her first desert hurricane (dust devil) ;) The first major stop of the day was the Grand Canyon. It was beautiful although we didn’t go on the skywalk as we had enough canyon through the “grand” views. We were satisfied. We then traveled to Flag Staff AZ, and stopped for some good old fashioned live entertainment down town and saw some nerdy old men try to dance to a Jimmy Hendrix and Stevie Wonder cover band and ate huge hot dogs. We then hunted for a camping spot and got really lucky finding something on an eastern slope of the valley. We drove a total of 578 total miles. And here we are at the end of the day writing the journal entry at 8:58 pm in our car tent.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Leaving Tomorrow

We leave tomorrow on our trip. If anyone needs to get ahold of us just give us a call you can reach us by cellphone or email which I will try to check periodically throughout the trip. The car is packed and pointed out of the driveway, we just need to sleep and get up early in the morning so that we can see the Grand Canyon by midday- Roger and Melissa

Monday, June 18, 2007

First Post

Well, in few days Melissa and I will be leaving on a trip that I have been planning for ten years. It all started in high school when a friend Erik let me borrow his VW Trends magazine. Within its pages it held a reoccurring article about a man that traveled around the country in his 1950's Hebmuller. I wanted his job, life and car. Though ten years later I don't posses all of those things, I do have the time to take part in part of my dream.
I have always been interested in history, geography, literature, music and art. In particular books by Kerouac, Bukowski and Kuralt spiked my interest in seeing the nation that these men experienced. The world that they illustrated through their written word gave me a blueprint for which to plan an adventure that not only gave me the insight into our varied culture but the ability to experience it first hand. I hope to see the art, music and culture that makes up our nation, I want to know the way in which the country effects its people and conversely. Well, this and having a good time just trying to get by.
We will be heading out this week through the southwest to see the south and eastern seaboard. Our trip will hit most of the nations major southern cities, while still making the trip a feasible possibility with my budget and time. These next few weeks will be fun but rushed, you'll be hearing more from me later - Roger