Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Hey Nebraska, guess what, YOU SUCK!

That the US is big is sort of an obvious point. It's not Australia big, certainly, but there are some serious miles between the coasts. Somehow it's easy for us to lose sight of this. We'll think "Yes, let's drive across the country. It'll take us a few days, sure, but it's not that far." Except it is that far.

Truthfully, it's probably further even than that.

From Omaha, our last stop as far as the blog is concerned, we spun like a needle through the heart of Nebraska and then north into the corner of Wyoming then, eventually, into Colorado to spend the night before my 29th birthday in Fort Collins with our friend Rachel. Did you see that? All of that happened in one sentence, that's the misleading bit. Words condense distances just as thoughts do, but there is nothing about tires meeting a highway that condense or mitigate anything. There are the miles and the heat and there is the truth of myself behind the wheel driving across them. What I'm saying, ultimately, with no offense intended to any of our readers in these states: Nebraska and Wyoming are boring as hell.

Arriving into Colorado, then, was a wonderful thing. Trading the interminable plains for hills and then mountains sped us along, gave us a motivation toward our goal that no shady Wyoming fireworks stand could provide.

What I didn't expect from Colorado was the food. After a few days on the road stealing what we could from the buzzards and coyotes and, failing that, eating at roadside cafes, we really needed the recharge of good food. Thanks to Rachel's suggestions, Fort Collins provided in spades. Our first night there we stopped by a New Mexican Semi-Fast food place (is there a name for this I don't know? It wasn't fast food, but it was ordered from a counter and brought out to us in baskets. Medium food? Normal speed food?) called La Luz. The guacamole was just as fantastic as it looked and the local beer even better.

The next day, the morning of my birthday as it happens, Dana took me to Lucile's, a cajun breakfast restaurant that was truly fabulous. We ordered two beignets to start and then followed up with plates of really amazing Eggs Benedict and Eggs Sardu served alongside a buttermilk biscuit as big as a trash can lid and easily twice as delicious.
Do you know beignets? If you don't, you should, they're essentially amazing airy donuts covered in powdered sugar gone nearly caramel from the residual heat of the oil. These were enormous and filled with gorgeous pockets of air. If we lived anywhere in Colorado, Lucile's would definitely be a staple in our diet. As it is, it was a wonderful way to start a birthday on the road.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Expect Delays and Gigantic Adirondack Chairs

Okay, I have to say something here: four hours to get through one city? Four hours? Not cool, Chicago. I feel like this picture really sums up that particular part of our drive from Ohio to Wisonsin:

We arrived in Madison at 9:00 PM, hungry and tired and barely able to lift our eyelids, let alone the sub-par hamburgers we procured at a Red Robin. Actually, I had a turkey club sandwich on a croissant and Justin had the hamburger, but my sandwich tasted like bland mouthfuls of ash bobbing across the tongue. It made me wish I had ordered the sub-par hamburger, which glistened at me temptingly from across the table. Shortly after this, we passed out in an AmericInn, and I dreamed of better meals.

The next day we traveled through the upper reaches of Wisconsin and into the Twin Cities, where we spent an amazing couple of days with family, friends and The Mall of America, a figure that hulks on the horizon, dwarfing even the IKEA in the parking lot across from it. Oh, also, we found an even bigger Adirondack chair!

Thankfully, Minneapolis provided the best meal we've eaten so far on our road trip, a lunch at the French Meadow Bakery in Uptown. When our friend Jon walked us up to the front door, I immediately knew it was a good restaurant: the line to order was out the door, and the patrons were hipsters to the bone, little wisps of androgynous girl/boys who flitted about in plaid button-up shirts and ugly, too-large reading glasses. I knew, then, that all the cool people ate at this place, and I was not disappointed when our meals came. The coffee was hot and smooth, my eggs benedict oozed perfectly poached yolks onto the plate, and Jon's curried chicken sandwich on croissant claimed the prize for Best Lunch Order of the afternoon.

Currently, we're at a Starbucks in Omaha, NE eating free pastries (it's Free Pastry Day!) and drinking huge cups of flavored coffee. The drive behind us, through Iowa, was long and cornfieldy, and the drive ahead of us, from Nebraska to Colorado, promises to be much of the same. Hopefully, somewhere along the way, we'll find a decent place to lunch, and this gray day will brighten to something sunnier.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Come down to Cleveland-town everyone

We've moved! As of Thursday, with the help of the Sollas, Eisha, and Advance Moving, we cleared out our apartment and cleaned it with caustic and toxic chemicals to a spotless gleam.

After stopping in for one last lunch at Moosewood, we packed up our car, filled the gas tank, and took to the road. The first leg of our road trip took us out of sunny Ithaca (*sniff*), past the enormous Adirondack Chair near Horseheads, through Pennsylvania's pines and premiere firework/karate supply distributors, and into the plains of Ohio.

Our first night away from home we spent in the guest room of Dana's aunt and uncle's house in Westlake, one of the wooded suburbs of that bastion of clean air and drifters, Cleveland! Well, mostly we spent it in bed. Despite our assertions that we'd been holding up under the various stressors of the move very well, once we closed our eyes we didn't open them again until we'd had a good eleven hours of recuperative rest.

As I'm typing this, we're safely ensconced in a hotel room in Madison but as we're doing this with sporadic unreliable internet I'm going to stop here with our first day. The road is stretched long ahead of us and while we don't have much to say about the food so far (as we've been stuck mainly to the tollway's various oasis fast food joints), the countryside has been truly gorgeous.You, dear reader, are under strict orders to think of us as we pave the ill-maintained roads of the nation. And if you're located somewhere along our route to keep an eye out for our car. If my experience is any indication, there are plenty of them out there.
More road tripping to come! But, finally, in honor of Cleveland's air which managed to give Dana an asthma attack while we were still twenty miles from the city, let me leave you with this:

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Bonus Pictures: 4th of July

Just a quick note and a couple of pictures today. We're in the middle of packing up everything we own in preparation for movers to cart it all away so posting might be sporadic the next couple of weeks but will return to a more reasonable schedule by the end of July.

Until then, we'll be doing smallish posts heavy on pictures and stories about our drive across the country.

Below, there are a few pictures of how we spent our 4th of July weekend. So, some fireworks, graveyard strawberries, a fantastic barbecue, and generally awesome times.

This may have been our last 4th of July living in Ithaca, but I think we gave it an admirable sendoff.