I've been gone. Did you notice? I didn't really warn you that I was leaving - it kind of crept up on me. In seven days, I traveled approximately 1500 miles, drove through nine states, and gained about five pounds. My brother just finished his time with the U.S. Navy and moved to Arkansas to work at a power plant so I hopped on a plane to keep him company while he packed up and drove halfway across the country. Feel free to settle in for a few minutes while I share some random thoughts and photos.
A Few Thoughts (I promise, I'll be brief):
- Random observation: The highways look pretty much the same from Connecticut to Arkansas. Two lanes in either direction with a good-sized, grassy (sometimes wooded) median between and trees on either side of the highway. Tennessee seemed to have more roadkill, and definitely had more billboards advertising "Adult" stores; Virginia's highways were narrower; Connecticut's were greener. They all had advertisements for Cracker Barrel and a plethora of hotels, many offering free wi-fi, hot breakfast, and indoor pools. You probably don't want to stay at the ones that don't... just sayin'.
- If you eat at restaurants for three meals a day while sitting on your butt driving 1500 miles, you're gonna gain a little weight. Especially when the weather is not conducive to jogging at rest stops. The dog and I will be going on some long walks in the next few weeks, mostly to get my blood flowing again. We ate a lot and sat a lot. 'Nough said.
- I didn't need nearly as much bug spray as I thought I would, and didn't need it at all until we got to Arkansas. The rainy weather probably helped with that. (Also, wearing any kind of shoe other than flip-flops on an airplane when you have mosquito bites on your feet is basically torture. You will have to choose between freezing feet (because it's always so cold on airplanes) or itchy torture.)
- Thunder claps can be worse than my brothers snoring. (But they still won't wake him up.) And lightening is awesome. Unless you're about to get on a plane. Then it's frickin' scary.
Ok, I'll shut up now and just post some pictures.
All packed up and ready to go! Bye-bye Connecticut!
Pennsylvania was very welcoming. It was also the only state line we actually stopped at (thank you, rest stop). The rest of my "Welcome To..." pictures are a complete blur.
Don't believe me? Here's Maryland at 70 miles per hour:
This is a dangerous place. I ate my weight in food. I can't believe I'd never eaten here before! You can't not eat the biscuits. The peach sweet tea tasted like candy. It's a store and a restaurant. It's probably a huge part of why Americans are fat. Why don't we have these in California???
Welcome to Virgina, where family dinning is served forever. That's a loooong time...
(I didn't take nearly enough photos of interesting signs. My other favorites were the "Diciples of Christ" (no, I didn't spell that wrong - they did) at a local church and the "Git 'Um! Git 'Um! Git 'Um!" on the advertisement for the taxidermy shop.)
Like true Southerners, we hit up the local Sonic for happy hour - where the sodas and slushes are half off from 2-4pm. I'd never been to Sonic before and this 44ounce slushy was a recipe for brain freeze.
My brother is renting the cutest little house (I'd totally live there!) - don't you agree?
To rouse ourselves from the food+driving induced coma, we checked out the local state park near where my brother will be living. We even went on a hike! Here's the view of the valley (his new home!) from the trailhead:
It was strange, and kind of sad, to get on a plane and fly home - just leaving my brother all alone in a new place. I know he's doing just fine - he's already been to a local range for a match and checked out the weekend rodeo - but there's still something forlorn about not knowing anyone (especially when there's no Target store to wander through for consolation. Yes, he moved to a place with no Target.). He starts his new job next week and I'm sure his social life will start to fill up pretty quick.
I head back to work at the same time, which means that summer vacation - all two weeks of it! - is basically over... Time to start looking forward to whatever is next!
What have you been up to while I've been gone?
All photos by me. Please don't use without asking first. Thanks!