What a GREAT Road Trip!

Gerry Driving

Gerry Driving

Two days into the trip Max turned to me and said, “I just want to keep on driving and driving and driving…”

I think we have a budding Road Trip aficionado on our hands.

Obviously we had our doubts about a long road trip; would it be too much for Gerry (and his back) to stand? Would the kids fight? Which one would be left standing at the end of the trip? Would we be caught in Superstorm Draco?

Max in Santa Fe

Max Regards Santa Fe

The answers proved to be No; Yes; Both; Not Really…

We left Saint Paul on Friday morning, about 2 hours later than I wanted. Note to self: Yelling up at the kids, “Are you up?” is NOT good enough. Cold water must be employed if we want to leave before 6am.

I had each family member pack a suitcase of their stuff, then we had a spare suitcase where we kept clothing for 3 days, toiletries and medicines.

According to Max, his McDonalds Bagel was "a travesty!"

According to Max, his McDonalds Bagel was “a travesty!”

The long-term suitcases went on top of the car in a Rubbermaid roof carrier, the other suitcase + a cooler + pillows & blankets + computer stuff + my knitting + a tent* went into the back of the car.

This left lots of room in the back seat for the kids, and room up front.  We had good intentions of splitting the driving, but it was hard on Gerry (the whole trip was a bit hard on him) so I ended up doing all the driving but Day 2 (Wichita to Santa Fe.)

A Day's Road Knitting

A Day’s Road Knitting

We definitely took our time.  In retrospect, we could have done it in 3 days (and we will on the way back) but doing a 6 hour day and a 7 hour day made for a much more enjoyable ride!

The hardest part of the whole drive was going through Iowa.  They got hit VERY hard with Draco, and pretty much 50 miles in from the MN border we ran into entirely packed ICE on the roads, slow going and lots of backups.  We sat at on point for over 1-1/2 hours.  We also counted almost 60 cars spun out and in ditches along the road in Iowa alone.  As I said, they got hit HARD.


Kansas – Or Oklahoma? – Or Texas?

Once through Missouri, we were in great shape road-wise.  We stopped at a Motel 6 in Wichita, it wasn’t bad, but it was the TINIEST room I’ve ever had in the US.  It felt like the cabin on a cruise ship!

We were absolutely exhausted, though, so a clean bed was all that we wanted, and we got it!

Driving through Kansas / Oklahoma / Texas was just – interminable.

For each successful hunt a brave was awarded - a lollipop?  Oy.

Apparently in Oklahoma for each successful hunt a brave was awarded – a lollipop? Oy.

Nothing terribly interesting to see, just lots of driving and listening to Artemis Fowl books!

The next night we stayed at the Lodge in Santa Fe, a priceline name-your-price deal.  For $60 it was a great room, a very nice hotel, although it’s obvious that it’s getting a little ragged around the edges.

Santa Fe was absolutely lovely, we had a great dinner and headed out the next morning for Sedona.

The scenery we passed was extraordinary, but we were in NO way prepared for the beauty of Arizona (& New Mexico in general)  Just spectacular.


Sedona Sunrise

Once in Sedona we were intrigued by the Javalinos (a type of peccary) outside the house where we were staying. We even say a tiny baby Javalino!  Going through Arizona was quite beautiful.

But I have to say outside of Dallas and Philadelphia, AZ drivers are the most aggressive I’ve ever experienced!

The last driving day wasn’t long, but it took us down by the Mexico border (the hottest driving) and up the Kumiyaay Highway (the hardest and coldest driving outside of Iowa) and into Southern California and San Diego.  And our final destination!



We’re having a VERY low-key holiday, the first time we haven’t really ‘done’ Christmas, and I think we’ve all found it enjoyable and less stressful!

The kids had small gifties this morning and we had a great home cooked breakfast this morning and Gerry and the kids took our canine charge, Rusty, out for a long walk.  Later today we’ll take him to the beach and enjoy the California sunset.

*Don’t judge me!  I wanted to be prepared…

Life Gets Away Again!

I’m so good about posting for a week, then life runs away and I’m madly chasing it down the street!

Gerry & Hannah

Gerry & Max

First of all, HAPPY FATHER’S DAY to the best damned Dad in the world!

Gerry, you constantly amaze me with your love, care, tenderness and good humor – you’re the best Dad I’ve ever known, and I LOVE YOU!

Hannah and I are in Ohio right now.  We drove here last Thursday to camp for a few days before my Denison University Theater Dept Reunion.

My bike over the Licking River, Granville OH

I took an opportunity to bike from our current hotel to Granville and back this afternoon, and MAN did I need that ride!  It was only 11 miles, but it was absolutely necessary to loosen up my back and shoulder muscles, get my blood flowing and reduce my pain.  Walking really takes a toll on me, biking gives me back my energy.

Absent Friends

I wasn’t certain how this reunion would go.  I had some very dear friends at Denison, but – being a theater department – we also had our share of drama (and I was not immune to my own immature fits while a student) 

My memory is long and strong, and I tend to remember my worst moments very vividly.  Fortunately, it seemed that my friends were kind enough not to remember as well as I did, or not to remember out loud within earshot!

It was SO wonderful to see these good, funny, witty, wonderful friends again!  Having the opportunity to show off my daughter to my college friends, and vice versa, was a dream come true AND comic gold.

Either a terrible parent, or the best mom in the world, I did NOT subject Hannah to an evening of old-fogy-dinner-conversation.  I allowed her to buy a goat cheese pizza and eat it up in our hotel room, watch TV and check in with online friends while I drank and laughed and talked all evening downstairs.

I was very lucky in my choice of college – it really WAS dumb luck.  I’m the first in my family to go to college, how odd that I ended up in such a preppy-land, and how wonderful that our group still retains so much true affection for each other.

Camping, Phase I

We stayed at the Hocking Hill State Park primitive walk-in campsite, but hadn’t realized JUST how far of a walk our walk-in our site would be (1/2 mile)

We were able to switch to a different site, thank heavens, which was nearer to the car but still wild enough to suit.  It was just busy enough to say, “Hi!” to passing campers about once every 2 or 3 hours, very nice!

We built a fire and cooked our delicious dinner, went for a hike, sat, read, just enjoyed our time together.  Hannah crashed earlier than I did (very unusual – all the physical work wore her out!) and I sat by the fire reading Book II of Game of Thrones on my ipad as the fire died – it seemed most fitting.

Best of all – and I have NO idea why this should be – we were hardly bothered by biting insects at ALL!  Aside from a wasp nest in the picnic table (which we studiously avoided) and a few curious spiders, we were virtually mosquito free. We’re hoping our luck holds out in WV.  I’m wondering if the cedarcide I bought last month had anything to do with it…

We’re treating those first few days of camping as our dry run, knowing we’d be able to escape to civilized hotel living for Saturday & Sunday nights.

Camping, Phase II

Tomorrow, after a tour of Denison (Hannah most likely will NOT be going here, but as long as we’re in town it seems silly not to take a tour – her first visit to check-out a college!) we’ll be driving down to Monongahela National Park in WV for 4 full days of camping.

Our new site is supposedly about 400 yds from parking, we’ll see how I hold up!  I can bike for miles and miles, but walking really takes it’s toll on me.

Luckily our current hotel has a lovely hot tub/jacuzzi where I soaked for quite a while, heat and water are magical things!


I’m choosing not to post or blog about the Kickstarter project for History on Two Needles for a few days. I’ve been so overwhelmed with the positive response, so grateful to all who are funding the project!

I’m taking this time to concentrate on Hannah (who will be away for almost 50 days this Summer camping up in the Boundary Waters) and I’m working on samples and step-outs for a DVD and a class I’m taping this Summer!

Knitting by camp fire – lovely!

Wisp Yarn

Yarn Bombing in Granville, OH

Speaking of knitting, I visited a beautiful new yarn shop (well, new to me – it’s 1+ years old) in Granville, Ohio called Wisp.  It’s just lovely!

The proprietress and I had a short but comfortable chat, I believe she’s British.  The yarn choices are elegant and beautiful, the colors cool and seductive.  Now all she needs is a website!

I found it difficult to walk out without buying something, but TNNA is next weekend and I have to refrain.

Yarn Bombing, Granville, OH

I love it when the personality of a yarn shop is so evident, when there’s a defined leitmotif (albeit subtle) and the yarn is a reflection of the owner.  This shop is like that – absolutely lovely!

If you’re near Granville you should visit Wisp!

Also in Granville I saw some amazing Yarn Bombing.  I’m proud of my alma mater.