Saturday, January 24, 2009

Wednesday January 14th: A changing day in Austin.

After the exhilarating night before with drinks, grilled cheese, cake, and ice cream, I woke up in a rather strange mood, and I greeted my friends at the door on my way out. I wondered why they had come to visit, but I was still happy to see them!

Mere, Dave, Jacqui, and Patricia, all show up to say hi!

After sleeping late, we all decided to go to go to this outdoor coffee place, Joe's, where Susi and I could set up the blog stuff. We worked for a while, and Cathy and Katrina went off to go look at some stores. We joined them after a couple hours, and a little shop beckoned us as we passed. It was a neat little shoe place that had all sorts of hippie/chill jewelry and clothing. This is where Susi acquired her infamous hat, and I was able to find the ultimate hippie hairband that I wore pretty much the rest of the trip. That's how much I love this headband. I also got some flower clips for my hair. I was always was one of those kids who made daisy chains and then put them on my head, pretending to be a princess. =) We then left for a late brunch at one of Cathy's favorite restaurants: Magnolia Cafe. Not only did they have amazing omelets and gingerbread pancakes, but they also had "The Onion" for free!

Magnolia Cafe

We had to stop and pay tribute to our favorite folk singing New Zealanders.

Oh, wonderful Brett and Jemaine...Just for you Jason. =)

We miss your sing-songy voices and cannot wait to catch you on Sunday nights.

We all enjoyed a good laugh at Susi's and Katrina's expense. It was the day of high spirits. We were half-way across the country, and the fun was just starting. We still weren't sure of where we were spending a couple nights on the trip, and that made it all the more exciting.

Susi and Katrina being...well...themselves. =)

Unfortunately, we did have to leave. Saying goodbye to Cathy was hard. We all remembered the good times we had had at Starbucks when the morning crew was still intact. Memories of Brittney cracking jokes, Christina getting hit on all the time, Cathy's ability to laugh off the abundance of rude customers that seemed to come her way, Susi's dominion over the bar (haha), and Patricia's wonderful smile and shouts of "I'll miss you" as we walked out of the store to take our ten minute break swam through my head as I recognized the reality of this goodbye. It made me realize how much I grasp at straws in my life. I wish for times in my life that have already passed, I hope they will return in some form or another, and I wait for it, often when waiting is just torture and the thing is really gone for good. Besides, things never will be the way they were. I'm not saying they will be bad. I am expecting many wonderful and exciting things to happen to me in my life. I just tend to believe that my experience today should be like it was yesterday, and that's not realistic.
This trip has been a wonderful break from the reality that I've placed myself in. It's been a cathartic experience that has brought questions about my life that I had buried or ignored to the forefront of my thinking. And it was so wonderful to see Cathy, and find out how she was doing.

We were very sad to leave... ;)

Austin has a sense of magic about it that I have yet to find in another city. It felt as if people open their eyes in the morning and see other people. I know that sounds simple, but I think our culture has taught us to open our eyes everyday and see a list of things we need to accomplish, things we need to do, stuff we need to buy...Goodbye Austin, I'll be back again one day.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Tuesday, January 13th: Erin Has Beautiful Hair

"zees eez sexy, no?"

When I remember Austin, Texas, the first thing that comes to mind is this picture, which, to me, is Erin's interpretation of my French iPod Shuffle, Jean-Louis. "Oui, oui, I vill play zees song for joo, but only eef joo rrrespect me moostache. Vat do you mean, it iz no genuine? Iz so very ausentique! I iz enraged by jur inzinuations! Iz no moar gonna work for joo, joo smarmy eembeseel!"

That's exactly what Jean-Louis sounds like. Well, if he could talk, it's what he'd sound like. And he'd definitely have a vegetable mustache, just like Erin. Why am I talking about an inanimate object, you ask? Well...I don't's just what came to mind when I saw this picture. In all reality, what comes to mind when I remember Austin has NO connection to my iPod Shuffle, especially since I don't even think I brought him along and we certainly didn't use him.

What I ACTUALLY think of is Cathy, warmth, riverside beauty, music, and hats (we'll get to that tomorrow). Of course, we started out doing some sightseeing in Denton, after some sleeping in and showering at Katrina's (which felt wonderful, by the way). After we gathered ourselves together and packed up Katrina's car (a very nice change), she gave us a little driving tour of her town and the school. First stop was Rudy's. He makes breakfast tacos with barbecued beef brisket. Well, I don't know if Rudy actually makes them anymore, but his fine establishment sure does. Rudy has an outdoor seating area where we had much fun pretending we were Jack from Jack and the Beanstalk. Apparently, Rudy is rather...over-sized. Must be all those delicious, meaty breakfast tacos. We would've eaten in his lovely and large outdoor dining room if it hadn't been for the cold front that had consumed the usually warm Dallas weather right before we arrived. Instead, we pretended a bit, then headed inside for some breakfast.

Katrina and Erin, normally rather tall, enjoy feeling little for once.

Dr. Pepper (from glass bottles, no less) and soft tacos with eggs, cheese, and BBQ beef brisket. Mmmm. There is no better combination. Seriously, Erin and I each got three tacos--against our better judgment. Turns out, we really should've listened to our better judgment, because we waddled out of there with extreme caution, worrying that we might bump into door frames or elbows and explode. Thankfully, we managed to maneuver our way out the doors without any such unfortunate incidents, but we remained in something of a food coma for several hours.

Which is why it was good that Katrina was driving. After Rudy's, we drove around Denton and she showed us U of NT and the various places she hangs out (including Sweetwater, which, as it turned out, has no affiliation with the Great American Restaurants). We ended up at Starbucks (shocking!), because I needed to do some online research regarding travel times to Arizona and various California locations, as we had yet to find out whether or not we had a place to stay in Flagstaff. Besides, we, er, needed more coffee. Finally, we decided it was high time we hit the road. We'd told Cathy we'd be leaving around 11 or so. Which we did. In Pacific Standard Time, anyway. Heading down I35, not long after we'd gotten out of Dallas, Katrina and I heard exclamations of dismay and horror from Erin, who was in the back seat. "My phone!! It's broken!!! The flip part fell off and I can't get it back on!" she wailed, as we sailed down the freeway. "Everyone's gonna be like, 'See, I told you that would happen. You shouldn't have gotten a flip phone.' Man, this sucks!!"

Erin glares from the back seat, after throwing her broken phone out the window. She'd just gotten a text message after she'd let go and was angry with herself for her impetuosity. Now she'll never know who loved her enough to text her, nor what important insight they felt impelled to send to her phone. Next time, Erin, I'm putting on the child safety locks.

As it turns out, however, the phone still works fine. She just runs a greater risk of calling people with her pockets now. At the time, however, she was inconsolable until I handed her the Nintendo DS. This item is an excellent adult pacifier. She muttered to herself happily the rest of the trip, huddled over the screen, completely unaware of the beauty passing by us.

Jacob: Woolly, Wild, & Wonderful

Well, actually, she did look up long enough to notice we had pulled into a Starbucks in Waco, TX. I, having certain bladderly needs, had requested a potty break, and we just so happened to see a sign for Starbucks. This turned out to be rather fortuitous, despite Erin's rude comments about me always having to pee. She is NOW quite grateful for my above average abilities. While we were chatting it up with all the baristas, I turned to Katrina and said, "Hey, check out that guy's hair! That's awesome!!" We were in there long enough for him to overhear our conversation with other baristas about where we were from, and he complimented Erin's hair, which made it all worthwhile in her opinion, since everything is always about her. Even more fortuitous it was that he was getting off work, which allowed us to hold him captive for one of our "Starbucks # fifty billion" pictures (now, with real baristas!) and lure him into our company with our stunning conversational abilities enough to delude him into thinking we might actually have something worthwhile to say. Poor guy, he never even knew what hit him. Before he knew it, he was sitting at one of the outdoor tables with us as Erin regaled him with descriptions of her musical talent and I nodded in agreement (hey, she may be vain, but I'm still loyal). Jacob, poor unsuspecting barista that he is, actually allowed us to friend him on Facebook and demanded that we put his picture up. Not that he really had a choice in the matter (hahaha, no one can foil Erin and Susi's evil plan to take over the world!).

In all seriousness, we had a blast hanging out with our new-found friend. He was engaging and funny and a great sport. He and Erin agreed to collaborate musically, something Erin has been wanting to do forever (if she could just shove her huge ego out of the way). They decided they'd model themselves after The Postal Service, to which I responded that they should call themselves UPS. Reasoning that perhaps they weren't quite at UPS level, they decided on DHL--Jacob's idea, I should add. Anyway, we ended up talking for well over an hour, and finally pulled ourselves away guiltily when we realized it was 4 p.m., and we still had at least an hour and a half before we'd get to Austin, where poor Cathy was patiently waiting for us. Sorry, Cathy! Erin and I are suckers for cool hair...

The sun was showing off as we rolled into the outskirts of Austin, amidst rush hour commuters and Motel 6 signs, which dotted the free way every five miles or so, the nightly rate increasing by several dollars as we neared the center of the city. I used the spare time in the traffic to snap some sunset shots and ogle the sky.

My mad skillz capture a beautiful sunset, made beautifuller by my mad skillz.

So we finally arrived at Cathy's, ready for adventure. And food. By this time, Rudy's tacos were but a hazy memory and our stomachs demanded something besides the gallons of coffee we'd offered them. We walked down to 6th Street, apparently the famous street for restaurants and clubs and music. Unfortunately, our options were actually pretty limited. Tuesdays aren't a big party night, I guess. Who knew? We lucked out though. There was this cozy little Irish pub with a live band that wasn't so loud you couldn't hear yourself think, so we settled in for some fantabulous grilled cheese, Shiner Bock, and tunes. The band, although a cover band, were actually really good and mellow. The sax player was great, plus he looked like Don Knotts. Which is always in a person's favor. Sometimes I wish I looked like Don Knotts.

Austenese Guitarist, Saxophonist Don Knotts, and Singer Acoustic Guitar Chickie.

The guitarist reminded me of my friend Bradley. Not because he looked like him. He looked nothing like him. But he played guitar like him: really well--with style and skill. I texted Bradley, telling him where I was and knowing he'd appreciate it. Erin, operating under the assumption that I was at a loss for how to respond to the text he sent me, decided to take it upon herself to respond for me. This was great, since she said
exactly what I had wanted to say--although I pretended to be upset: "When I dream at night I dream of goats and they remind me of our friendship and the moon and corn on the cob which I ingest with much zeal." How did she know?? Have we really been together so long that she can truly read my mind?

Erin demonstrates that she DOES know how to take pretty pictures of other people, when obliged to do so.

Shortly thereafter, Katrina and I realized we were twins. So we made Erin take a picture of us, which was hard, because she hates taking pictures if she's not in them. Somehow, we finally managed to get her to cooperate, and we had to snatch the camera out of her hand before she could delete this one, since she also hates any picture in which anyone else looks cute. I had to make amends by taking a really hot picture of her delighting in the Guinness ice cream/brownie dessert she reluctantly shared with me. Needless to say, the results were much to liking and she insisted that I post this picture last, so that everyone would remember how hot she is:

Erin being hot with the dessert.

After dinner, we walked back to Cathy's place, catching a night view of the city skyline across the river once we got back to her apartment, which is right on the water. Katrina and Erin were sleepy (Erin's always sleepy. She says that's how princesses keep their good looks), so they quickly collapsed on the air mattress and began a long night of loud snoring, which Erin tells me, is also a necessary attribute of beautiful people. Against the backdrop rumble of zzz's, Cathy and I stayed up until at least 1 a.m., and we had a wonderful heart to heart. It was just like old times. I love Cathy. She's always real with you, very authentic, very wise, very easy to engage in meaningful conversation. I love her down-to-earth insights and that ubiquitous sense of humor that peppers her conversation. Cathy helps me laugh about things, she helps me find humor in everything. I love her attitude toward life. Finally, we went to bed, I on the couch (glad to escape the air mattress, which Erin claims is the only way to get a good night's sleep), and Cathy in her bed--all of us snuggled up in the little but charming studio apartment she calls home. I fell asleep to thoughts of our conversation and wonderings as to what the next day would hold for us.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Tuesday, January 13th: It's going to be a jolly good day, I'ld wager.

Ah Austin...
This was a glorious day, filled with magic and the unveiling of our true selves. We awoke to find ourselves turned into cubes of ice from the lack of heat in the apartment. True, it was hard to thaw ourselves, requiring much running around in circles and screaming, but with every hardship tends to come a good story. Second air-bed experience: over...After becoming human again, we made our way to a cute little gas-station-food-breakfast-taco-BBQ-giftshop-weird-bathroom-place thingy. It was quite unique, and their seating area was quite a spectacle. We all felt our childhood returning as we climbed gregariously over the arm rails. Susanna started becoming what she had always dreamed of being: The person who bosses everyone around!!

Queen of the world!
She triumphed over poor Katrina, while I (The court jester, of course!) scoffed at her silliness.
As we moved to a more comfortable location, being benches on the inside of Rudy's, we began to ingest many wonderful breakfast tacos the likes of which we had never tasted, EVER!

They were delicious. Susi demonstrates how much she enjoyed them.

As we made our way out of Rudy's and through the town of Denton, I became steadily more bored...As I was FORCED to sit in the back seat, all alone, without anyone beside me to keep me company or to cheer me up when I'm depressed or calm my fears, or anything that I might need in such a trying time, I decided to play my DS!! This made me feel a little better, and I began kicking some sky pirate butt in Final Fantasy: Revenant Wings!!! I began flying my airship, so aptly named Aeryni, around to different sky isles and finding many evil sky pirates who were using Yarhi to kill people. I had to stop them, and I knew it would take allllll day. Plus, there was all this trouble with my pal trying to destroy this really precious auralith. So, I had to teach him a lesson, but then I found out that he was just doing the right thing and that I had been wrong the whole time... It really sucked. I hate being wrong... ....
Yeah, anyway, I'm sure you all don't care, but I really enjoyed it. All that to say, that I was playing this game, and was very rudely interrupted by Susi's urgent need to use the bathroom. Of course, this might be the best thing that has happened to me in a very long time, because we stopped at a Starbucks in Waco, TX. There, a very hip barista told me that he liked my hair! "Well, thanks to you, my good sir, you have a rather nice patch on your head as well," I replied (Not quite like that, but whatev). He found out we were from DC, on a road trip, and wanted to come out and talk to us, since he was just getting off work. So, not wanting to be rude to the poor young man, we obliged. lol. We sat down outside, and started chatting about why we were on a road trip. BUT, I found out that he was a musician and studying audio production. Now, there are a rare breed of people who would respond to me in the manner that he did, but it still makes me smile to think this actually happened: I began babbling, as I do on occasion, about how I've always wanted to find someone I could work on music with in a long distance fashion, like Postal Service. And he got all excited about the idea. "You really want to start a band with me?? Well, more like a chill long distance project? That's awesome." We were really happy and started dancing around in circles. Anywho, His name is Jacob, and he happens to be really cool. We talked for a good hour, which was kinda bad, 'cause we were already really late leaving to get to Cathy's, but we were really excited about our new friend, who happens to be stalking us on facebook now.. =)

Jacob and I discussing the details of our "band." =)

We finally did leave, with promises of posting his picture on facebook, 'cause he's so vain. haha.
Boredom took over in the car again, which resulted with me and Susi taking pictures of ourselves for no apparent reason.

"I am so hot!!! No man can resist me."

"Good God woman, get over yourself!!!! What is wrong with you?"

I then entertained myself by taking on the form of an AMAZING photographer from Australia! "And 'ere we 'ave, the elusive 'edge-og of the amazon. In it's natural 'abitat no less! We've never seen it before dis close up. It's an amazin' sight to behold. Honestly, we may 'ave staged a show or two in the past, but this 'ere is a genuine sighting. Be sure to tune in next week for the elusive 'edg-ogs mating rituals, it will really be somthin' out o' dis world!!"

The elusive "edge-og".........

We finally did make it to Cathy's and were very excited to see her. It was like old times again. It almost felt like we'd be seeing each other at work the next day. Alas, we knew this was not true. We headed to downtown Austin and walked sixth street. It was pretty quiet, due to school being out and it being a Tuesday, but we loved seeing all the neat little music joints. We chose an amazing Irish pub, where we all got grilled cheeses of some variety or another. Weird, I know. They had a really good cover band playing, and all the musicians were very good.

Cathy is AWESOME!!!

We tramped back home, blew up the air-bed, (My third experience with air mattresses, in a row, yuck!) and began chatting over a glass of wine. I promptly fell asleep, and Katrina soon followed, leaving Susi and Cathy to talk about who-knows-what-and-I-probably-don't-want-to-know until all hours of the night. Day 3: finished. Another amazing day to add to our journey south and westward towards things unknown and fulfillments unmet.

PS. Air mattresses really suck.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Monday, January 12th: We've Only Just Begun

Erin's covered the day pretty well already, so I don't have much to add. I think the thing that most stood out to me was how far I already felt from home. Not homesick, just far from where my roots have been. It was a long drive, mostly because we left so late. Something about driving at makes the hours pass more slowly. I actually like night driving. There's an utter stillness in it. But by the time we hit Arkansas, it was getting dark and we still had the entire state, along with a chunk of Texas to drive through. I think the highlight of Arkansas, for me at least, was the rest stop. The toilets were amazing! Good, old fashioned septic outhouses. It was a beautiful, aromatic experience which Erin, oddly enough, declined to partake in. I can't imagine why.

The Amazing Arkansasian Toilets

Erin's response to my plumbing experience.

Actually, the above picture is an example of how tired we were when we finally hit Texarkana, the town that borders Texas and Arkansas. We still had several hours of driving ahead, and at this point, Starbucks was not likely able to dispel our desire for bed. In lieu of sleep, we got a little punchy. Erin has an amazing, contortable face, and she used it well for my delight and entertainment. The drive through Texas was long and quiet. Well, actually, I had the music up pretty loud, while Erin dozed/rested/didn't actually sleep but wished she could. That last leg of the drive, it was all I could do to stay awake. Katrina greeted us outside her apartment with hugs, and we wasted little time snuggling into bed. Austin awaited us the next day. Right now, we just wanted a few moments of unconscious slumber.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Monday, January 12th: Chattanooga, TN to Denton, TX!!


You will wonder why I am laughing, or maybe you won't, but I will tell you anyway...
Well, you see, when I remember this day of the trip, the first thing that comes to mind is our sleep experience. You see, I started out the previous evening on a comfy air mattress. Susi later joined me on the same mattress because she was soooo cold on her own bed. BUT, here's the kicker the air-bed had already half deflated by the time she joined me, but she was so cold that she decided sleeping on a half deflated bed and being warm would be better than trying to get me to move. In any case, the beautiful rising sunshine peeked through the windows that morning, and we groaned in unison as we realized we were sleeping on the floor, and that that is why our bodies felt like planks of wood. Not a very restful night anyway. But we were excited!
Day 2 had only just begun.

Beautiful sun room that froze us.

We got dressed, said our goodbyes to our lovely host couple, and tried to hit the road. I say we TRIED to hit the road, because we just couldn't seem to get going... We stopped at an ADORABLE coffee shop called Greyfriar's, where my desire to live in Chattanooga was amplified ten-fold. People were just so chill there. We met a hippie yesterday when we were eating at Aretha's. He was hanging out on the wrap-around porch of the place, just chillin' with a coffee mug as his companion. We went outside for a smoke, and he just started talking to us. I think "the bubble" we hold up around our minds and hearts just doesn't exist in Chattanooga... Everyone is family. In the short time we chatted, we found out about his trips around Europe when he was just 19--Stopping in hostels for weeks at a time, becoming and apprentice potter, and having his life dug through at customs on his way in to France. The people at Greyfriar's were open and friendly, entertaining my wait for coffee with stories of truckers who hated Washington DC more than Atlanta, GA, and groanings of how much they hate the mall. (This made me happy to no end, especially when I found out that it was a good half hour away, haha.)

We finally got underway around 11:30AM. (Yikes) This was bad, because we knew the drive to Texas was going to be about 14 hours. But we didn't care. We were two carefree ladies making our way across the country. Plus, Katrina was at the other end, and we knew she would be pretty chill with our lateness. ... .. At least, we hoped she would be anyway. =)

We stopped at the closest Starbucks we could find, a good 200ish miles away in Manchester, TN. I didn't realize it was Manchester until we asked the baristas where we were. I was so totally surprised and excited because this was the small town that hosts Bonaroo every year. Bonaroo is a giant hippie festival that attracts upward of 80,000 people every year. 3 and 1/2 days of strait folk-rock, indie, blues, and funk music! I've been twice, the last year I went being in 2005. I was so excited to have stumbled upon the spot of so many hilarious and fun memories for myself.

Starbucks #3

We continued on our way to Memphis! Sadly, we encountered our first bout of crappy traffic.

We stopped to pay homage to Elvis.

Susi prostrates herself before the king.

And pay homage to an egg??

I am excited because it's an egg with "MEMPHIS" written on it. =)

I was told by Susi, who was told by her bro, that we had to stop in downtown Memphis and get BBQ. We did, and much eating and merriment was had by all. Seriously, it was the best BBQ I have EVER eaten.

Me stuffing my face.

Susi pretending she is a walrus after stuffing her face.

After Memphis, we knew we were screwed... We had so far to go, but we were chill and just kept on driving, entertaining each other the whole way. I know we drove through Arkansas, but the only two things I remember are the fact that I saw a sign that said it was the birthplace of Bill Clinton (probably their only claim to fame.. Sorry Arkansasians... ). I made up that word! =) It's pronounced Ark-an-ZAZZ-ee-ans, with the emphasis placed on the "Zazz" part. lol. And, we decided that the state was so sad it wasn't unique, that it decided to mimic everyone else with their town names, a few being Texarkana, Okolona, and Arkadelphia???

We finally did make it to Texarkana and stopped at Starbucks. We about wanted to die, we were so tired. I was so tired that I spelled Texarkana wrong on our sign...

Susi and I wishing we didn't still have another several hours left of our drive.

We finally made it though. About 1:00AM. It was cool, we went in and died on our second air-mattress experience. Might I say, much better than the last, even if we were still cold. =)

Friday, January 16, 2009

Sunday, January 11th: Time to Move On

I woke up in the utter darkness of 5:54 a.m. to Sara nudging me. "Susi, weren't you guys going to leave, like, now?" I mumbled something incoherent to her (I knew what I was saying) about Erin and I deciding to get up at 5:55. Except I said 6:55, which caused a mild aneurysm in Sara, since she has church, and was planning on stopping at the Pan Am Starbucks with us and then heading home to shower and go to church. Once my hazy brain realized the misunderstanding, I clarified: "No, no, I'm getting up at 5:55." "It is 5:55." "Well, yes, it is now..."

Anyway, Mom was up to see us off, so we packed in our last few things and headed to the Bux. I had stuffed several bags of clothes behind the passenger seat which was making Erin rather grumpy. I can't imagine why. I mean, sure, her seat would only go back far enough for her to sit at attention with her knees folded into the dashboard, but it was only a 12 hour drive we had ahead of us.

At Starbucks, Sara and I had our last cigarette together. Ever. Because I am quitting when I get to Seattle. After some thought, I revisited the car logistics and decided to ditch a bag of clothes and the sleeping bags we'd brought. Erin's mood changed drastically when we got back in the car and headed down 66 West. I'm sure it was more the coffee than the fact that she could move without grinding against dashboards or car doors...

Since we were passing right by Bradley's house on the way out of town, we (or maybe just I) had decided we'd stop by, wake him up, say goodbye, and then send him back to bed and leave for real. When we arrived, all was quiet...

Susanna sneaks up to the front door

Bradley was way excited to get up before the sun just to say goodbye one more time. You can see how excited and awake he is:

Bradley: Bright-eyed & bushy-tailed

Although I don't look too perky myself. That stop made this whole leaving thing start to sink in. I knew we needed to get on the road, but part of me felt like if I just stayed a little longer, maybe I'd wake up and realize I'm still here. Not that I want to be. Except part of me does.

I drove the first few legs of the trip. Normally, I gladly relinquish morning driving to my fellow travelers. Today was different. I needed to drive myself out of town. I needed to actively take this step, my own foot choosing to hit the gas and carry myself West.

Erin and I had a great day. We read some scripture and prayed to start out the trip. Music, conversation, laughter. Air guitar.

Susanna has mad skillz

Erin had some fun with the camera. And with her journal. I thought she was waxing eloquent with deep thoughts and poetic insights. Well...

We got REALLY excited when we finally hit Tennessee.

Erin leaps for joy

When we came across a Best Buy, Erin asked to stop in "really quick" to find a computer game she really wanted (to alleviate the boredom of being next to me in a tiny car for 9 days straight). I agreed, not really understanding what "really quick" meant. I took extremely bored pictures to make her feel bad. :)

Susi bored SENSELESS waiting for a computer game

Our first stop on this trip was Chattanooga, TN, where my friends Andrea & Justin live. I haven't seen them for at least a couple years, not since they moved down there. It was really wonderful to hang out with them. We just picked up where we left off. Great conversation, great food, AMAZING, monstrous pancakes at Aretha Frankenstein's.

Justin & Erin walking out of Aretha's after a VERY satisfying meal

Justin & Andrea: thanks so much for the great company and a place to rest our weary heads.

Justin and Andrea!! (don't worry, his eye didn't actually get poked out by her glasses)

At some point that day, I can't really remember when, I had this moment where I thought to myself: "What am I doing??!? Who thought this was a good idea? Am I insane?" It passed. Mostly, I'm really excited about all of this. I can't wait to see how God uses this time in my life.

Erin wants to move to Chattanooga. We'll see. We've got a few places left to visit.

Sunday, January 11th: Hittin' the Road

We started out the journey on a relatively mild note. I mean, who really likes to wake up at 6 in the morning after going to bed 5 hours previous, only to understand that you will be driving for the next 14 hours? Despite our sleep deprived state, we were relatively excited. I personally started screaming as we left our home Starbucks: "WE'RE GOING TO SEATTLE!!!!" I personally couldn't believe it, and it sure didn't feel real.

The trip was an almost constant conversation. Ripples of laughter layered the interior of the car as we bantered. We weren't driving, we were flying.
Though rather uneventful, we managed to get in the first two Starbucks stops of our trip. We met some cool baristas, probably creeped them out by asking to friend them on facebook, and got back in the car for the long haul.

It was a great start to the our nine day excursion across the United States.
The drive ended up being shorter than expected, (Which was awesome) and we ended the evening dining at a really awesome place called Aretha's.

Andrea and Justin are an awesome couple, entertaining us with silliness and stories of adorable toddlers. End of first day: An exhilarating start to what seems to be becoming a beautiful escapade.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Saturday, January 10th: Packing Up

The day before Erin and I set out on our much-anticipa
ted road trip, I spent the day tying up loose ends, packing the car in the rain, and then, after Sara arrived, heading over to Erin’s church, where they were having their first Saturday evening coffee house/church service thingy. My friends Jason and Bradley met us there and good times were had by all. Sara and I had to leave before all was said and done, because I still had stuff to do to get ready, and Erin and I wanted to leave very early in the morning. Jason and Bradley helped us out by going back to Erin’s house with her afterwards and “helping” her pack, then driving her and her stuff to MY house.

The plan had been to go to bed as early as possible. However, Bradley and Jason were far too entertaining to send away, particularly when they began modeling Erin’s clothing for us.

Bradley shows off his sexy girly jacket

Jason demonstrates his Emo skills

Around 1 a.m. after Erin collapsed in my foyer,

"This is the arm I put the drugs in..."

we finally said a long goodbye.

Jason poses with a sleeping Erin

I think I was trying to avoid saying goodbye at all…but I knew I couldn’t keep them forever. So at long last, I let them drive away, and trudged up to bed for my last night in the house I’ve lived in since 1995. So much for early to bed. But it would be our first day of driving and adrenaline would be high. No worries. The journey was about to begin.