Thursday, January 4, 2018

Coast to Coast: Day 8- Tennessee to North Carolina

This post is coming atcha a tad late! I made it safe and sound to North Carolina a couple nights ago and then instantly got really bad food poisoning and spent literally my entire first night at my new place throwing up every 30 minutes. It was the worst.

In terms of my final day of travel, however, it was a lovely day! We kicked it off half an hour earlier than most of our days. A friend of mine from Nashville told me that while I was staying in Crossville TN that I should check out the world's largest treehouse. Turns out, the place was just down the road from my hotel. Win!

Sadly, the fire marshal condemned the place back in 2012, so it is surrounded by a big fence and lots of scary no trespassing signs. According to the locals, apparently you won't get arrested or fined for going in, so I braved the fences and the 2-degree weather and went in! Being all alone (mom didn't want to leave the car) on a cold winter morning at a massive abandoned (and somewhat vandalized) tree-mansion was a really surreal experience. It's both an awe-inspiring and super creepy place. Totally worth the stop if you ask me, though. I'd like to go back in the future with a friend so that I can explore the place more extensively.


From there, we headed out to my final stop: North Carolina!
On the way there, we passed by the second pyramid that we saw on this trip. That was strange. I expected to see the pyramid in Las Vegas, but one in Memphis? We assumed it was some sort of convention center... nope. It was a Bass Pro shop. Whaaaaat? Okay then.

Eventually, we hit the Smoky Mountains, and not long after were officially in my new state. What a relief to be back in a place where I was surrounded by trees and winding roads and hills! I had no idea how much of the United States is flat. Good gravy. A lot of the driving can get pretty mind-numbing! But this? Ah, this was so nice.

After a 7-ish hour day on the road, we finally made it: Pinehurst, North Carolina. My new home for at least the next six months, and possibly more if my marketing apprenticeship goes well. Here's to hoping the remainder of my stay goes better than my first night! So far things are slowly starting to look more up.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Coast to Coast Day 7- Arkansas to Tennessee

So... We survived the sketchy looking Econolodge last night! Hooray! Once we left Brinkley, New Years Day took a turn for the better. We hit up Nashville and stopped at the atriums in the Opryland Hotel on our way through. That was splendid! It felt so great to get to basically take a walk outside without freezing to death. The atriums are basically massive glass-enclosed rainforrest gardens. It is amazing. Mom says,"It should be one of the 7 wonders of the world!"

Now we are at our very last hotel of the trip, in Crossville, TN. No more Econolodge for us! This place is a fancy looking Comfort Inn, and due to a lack of other rooms and this being only $119, we have the Presidential Suite! This is fun. It's neat having a hotel room that has couches and ottomans! It also has a workout center, so I might go down and use that for a bit. I love the idea of getting to walk around some more. I know, I just got to this afternoon- but still, I've been couped up in a car for 6 to 8 hours a day. I'd love to get to move a little more!

Anywho, tomorrow is the big day- we will be ending it in Pinehurst, NC, and as long as all goes according to plan, in my very first apartment!

Coast to Coast Day 6- Oklahoma to Arkansas

Thoughts from the day:

7:38am- Oklahoma... apparently I am officially in the south. This hotel gives instant grits packages out at breakfast. Never seen that before!

9:30am-You know you've lived by Idaho too long when you get to Oklahoma and see "Open arms & open roads" and instantly think they are an open carry state (turns out they aren't, fyi).

11:45am- Today's entertainment: guessing who on the road is local and who is from the north. There was a light dusting of snow this morning and if the lady who works at the hotel is any good representation, most locals think the roads are covered in ice and therefore shouldn't go out. So far these roads are fine!

- We chatted with the guy at the Arkansas state welcome center- apparently the hotel lady may have had some legit concerns. He said early in the morning the roads had been covered in ice and several accidents happened as a result. We've so far managed to miss all the bad weather! God is good :)

- I've noticed something: the farther south we go, the nicer the rest stops are. Whether it is at a gas station or a government funded roadside stop, they are GREAT. Rest stops in Idaho and Washington are typically pretty gross and unappealing looking. Out here? Fancy granite counter tops and stone tile, super shiny everything, and really really nice folks to greet you at each place. Also, I love Arkansas- it's great to have trees and winding roads again! Makes driving so much more interesting and pretty.

- Brinkley AK is super cold... but we didn't drive through bad weather all day! So yay! We are stopped for the night. Tomorrow it's on to Nashville.

8:00pm- Ringing in the new year in an el-cheapo Econolodge in Brinkley Arkansas! Come party with me. I have a knitting project, an iPhone, a book, and my mother. You know you don't wanna miss this :-P

This Econolodge features:
- Extra door locks
- Weird guys who lean on your window while they smoke
- A pipe sticking out of the wall instead of those stereotypical fancy-hotel shower heads.
- A melted-off door-stopper in the bathroom.
- Paper thin walls so you can enjoy the discussions of your neighbors and share their TV shows and music.
- A broken luggage rack.
- Dirty bedspreads (but the sheets look safe!)
- Dinged up furniture!

Econolodge: bringing in the new year right!

Coast to Coast Day 5- New Mexico to Texas to Oklahoma

Today we drove in 3 states: New Mexico, Texas, and are stopped for the night in Oklahoma.

Here are some thoughts from the road…

If you're going to litter, do it in New Mexico rather than Arizona. In New Mexico it costs only $300, rather than the $500 it will cost you in Arizona.

New Mexico is painfully dry. Chapped nose and lips!

New Mexico... land of a million billboards.

Texas, where you can visit the Windy Cow Cafe (I hope it is windy around the cow and not from the cow...hmmm). Also, really big pretty rest stops.

Oklahoma! I thought it would be more farm land-y. Or maybe have more windmills. Oh well. They did have a really awesome state welcome area/rest stop where they sold tons of great pins I could add to my jacket, so I am happy!

Friday, December 29, 2017

Coast to Coast Day 4- Arizona to New Mexico

Challenge of the day: staying awake.

One might argue that staying in Las Vegas as long as we did and not going to bed until 1am when we had to drive 7.5 hours today was a regrettable idea. Despite the exhaustion, I regret nothing. This is why my friends and family gave me Starbucks gift cards for Christmas, right?

Today has overall been uneventful, though I stayed amused by road signs...

Billboards in the order I've seen them:

Nevada: Gamble here!!!
Arizona: Didn't get lucky in Vegas? Try our casino.
New Mexico: Get help for problem gambling.

Then there are the fabulous Burma-Shave signs that feed you a few words at a time along the highway:

If you / Don't know / Whose signs / These are / You can't have / Driven very far

Thirty days/ hath September/April, June/and a speed offender.

In Kingman, AZ, we stopped by a Route 66 shop so that I could nab a pin for my jacket. While we were there the lady talked us into driving the remainder of Arizona via 66. She handed us a cute little red passport filled with fun facts about the towns we would see. There were also places where local businesses would stamp the passport, but we sadly did not have time to stop at them. Someday I'll come back and drive this to collect the stamps!

Driving 66 took a tiny bit longer, but it was so worth it. The road was far more scenic and it kept us from having to dodge so many trucks. I-40 is a major truck route and it get's kind of annoying sometimes.

Other than stopping at a couple of Route 66 shops in Arizona and New Mexico, it's been a fairly uneventful day. We did get to meet one of my mom's long-time internet friends at a pizza place, however! She seemed nice. Now we are stopped for the night in Albuquerque- cue the lengthy Weird Al story song!

Follow #coast2coastsair on Instagram for trip photos or add my account, @Adventureofsair.

Coast to Coast Day 3: Nevada to Arizona

This has by far been the most fun day on the trip:

Kicked off the day a little freaked out- couldn't get my key into the lock on my car. Didn't strike me until later that washing my car last night might have been a poor choice- forgot about the freezing overnight temps because compared to Idaho, Nevada seemed so warm! So yeah, my locks were frozen. Whoops. But we got into the passenger side and still hit the road, so yay!

From there, mom and I took a couple hour detour down the Extraterrestrial Highway in an attempt to hunt down the famed Area 51. We didn't make it to the gates of the mysterious air force base, but we had fun taking photos at tourist traps along the way and suspecting every black SUV we saw to be a potential secret service van tailing us.

After that, I did the sketchiest sounding thing I've ever done: met a guy in Las Vegas. The less sketchy side of the story: he is a worship pastor who is the son of a missionary family and is actually a super nice dude. We got lunch, then him, mom, and I went to an aquarium and explored a little of the Las Vegas Strip and walked around inside of the Mandalay Bay and the Excalibur (a hotel that looks kinda like the Disney castle). We also saw the Statue of Liberty, a pyramid, a sphinx, the Eiffel Tower, and the glitziest most so-totally-trying-to-be-classy McDonald's I’ve ever encountered.

Jared (my Vegas friend) was amazing and drove me and mom around the strip in his Mustang. We got a little lost getting back, and the traffic and lights were pretty overwhelming, so it made me SUPER glad he was driving us (even when we did almost side-swipe a limo- but hey, he still handled the place better than we would have). Anywho, we made it safely back to my Companion Cube, said goodbye, and armed with caffeine (yay Jared for buying me coffee!) and map apps, me and mom made it safely out of town and are now in Kingman Arizona, on the historic Route 66.

Follow #coast2coastsair on Instagram for trip photos or add my account, @Adventureofsair.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Coast to Coast: Day 2- South Idaho to Nevada

9:05 AM: Caldwell Auto Repair rocks. They got us in super fast on short notice. Waited for around an hour-ish to get the part put in and now we are back on the road! YAY. Here's to hoping the worst is behind us.

11:44 AM: The last two hours have been the best so far. Chill, no emergency lights, and an episode of Vinyl Cafe for laughs. Lunch and a side stop at an aromatherapy shop in Twin Falls now.

5:38 PM: Mom (after 5 hours on the road): I could really use a whoopie-cushion right about now!

Me: A what??

Mom: Oh. Um. Like one of those hemorrhoid pillows.

7:10 PM: MUCH better travel day today!

First thing in the morning a nice mechanic fixed the sensor on my car for a reasonable price. After that, we had a nice uneventful drive and hit up an aromatherapy shop in Twin Falls, Idaho.

From there we left the frozen Idahoan landscape and made it into the desolate (and surprisingly pretty and mountainous!) land of Nevada, where we were instantly greeted with a town called "Jackpot" that was nothing but casinos for a mile.

Mostly the drive was uneventful (I'll take that gladly after yesterday!), however, we did have one exciting moment: in the middle of nowhere, we almost had a head-on collision at 80mph with a pickup truck who was on the wrong side of the road. Turns out he is some kind of outlaw who is on the run from the cops! Seconds later two police came zooming by. I had to laugh. That guy is kind of an idiot- there is literally NOTHING out there for miles. When he runs out of gas, there is nowhere to hide. I hope I can find out more. I'm pretty curious what on earth he did.

Anyhow, we are now in Ely, Nevada for the night. We are super thankful for a great hotel, a working car, safe travels, and a climate where we can now feel our feet :)

Thank you all for your prayers! <3