CROSS-COUNTRY TRAVELS WITH GEORGE, MY GOLDEN RETRIEVER • FALL 2017
Welcome to my web site and please follow my travels cross-country as I move to Pasadena. I plan on taking all the images with my iphone7 and uploading them at the end of each day as I hang out i the hotel with George and reflect on the daily travels.
Below is a photo of the carriage house in Maplewood,NJ where I've lived for the past 11 years. The carriage house was built in 1927 as part of a large estate. It was a quirky, charming home complete with a stone firepalace, wide plank wood floors that excited those in the know about wooden planks and a hot water heater that hissed and pounded on the coldest days.
What made living in the carriage house so special were my dearest friends and landlords, Bob and Yvette Pusateri and their son, Gregory. We shared so many occasions, memories and laughs. I refer to life in the carriage house as "communal living at its best."
On the road to first stop in Pittsburgh....Here are some of the rules I set for the trip:
• To keep daily driving time to no more than 6 hours (not counting stops)
• To take time, when possible, to get off the highway and explore.
• To avoid a steady diet of fast food.
• To plan my route around staying with Mary Beth Spann Mank in Battle Creek and Karen and Phil Larson in Boulder.
First stop en route
Where else?! A Cracker Barrel in Hamburg, Pennsylvania
Not a great photo but now you know
I was driving in 4 states today: Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana to Springfield, Michigan. I am staying with Mary Beth with whom I worked at First Teacher (many years ago) She lives in a beautifully reclaimed bank building and it feels like I saw her just yesterday.
This photo was taken in the fantasy forest in the Leila Arboretum. Spent today with Mary Beth exploring Battle Creek, a once beautiful now very economically depressed city.
Today I left Battle Creek for Morgantown, Indiana (near Bloomington). I spent time driving around Fort Wayne, Indiana looking for a FedEx or UPS office. When I was in high school and my grandmother stayed in my room, I stayed at the other end of the house. I used to turn the AM radio dial late at night to find the station farthest away from Livingston, NJ. I was always happy when I picked up WOWO Ft Wayne because that was REALLY far away.
The Acorn B&B was very homey and charming. Rita, the innkeeper, made homemade cream cheese coffee cake for breakfast. She sat with me and told me the story of her daughters. She has one birth daughter and one daughter she and her husband adopted from the Ukraine at 15 yrs. Rita is a very religious woman who was in the Ukraine on a mission trip when she visited an orphanage.
I took George for a walk around beautiful Griffy Lake after leaving Acorn Ridge B&B.
Laumeier Sculpture Park, on the outskirts of St. Louis.
Today was a long drive. I left Blue Springs, Missouri at 8:30 am and arrived in North Platte, Nebraska at 5:30 pm. I did get off the highway from time to time to explore the surroundings. The corn fields are beautiful and almost golden.
More than American flags or crosses on churches were the golden arches of McDonalds. They towered over each exit and, during this drive, felt like the real symbol of America. I wish I had counted how many McDonalds I passed on my drive. I did not see one other Prius.
I spent Yom Kippur afternoon hiking in Vedauwoo National Park. The hauntingly beautiful and ancient granite rock formations were my setting for reflection on the past year and excitement about the new year ahead. I am so grateful for family, friends and the opportunity to be in this magnificent park.
How great to be @ the home of Karen and Phil Larson. I love them so much. George found some tennis balls and only wanted to play. He was such a nudge that he had the tennis ball taken away.
Leaving Wyoming....Colorado in the disyamce.
Today is rainy and 40° in Boulder. This is the view from the Larson's kitchen window. I spent most of the day catching up on some work and moving details while sitting at their table and gazing outside. Then I did laundry and took a really long nap.
Here I am at a Florham Park (SJC!) reunion with Karen and Phil and Amy and Howie (Cantor)> The Cantor's recently moved to Boulder to be closer to their 2 sons. Phil and Howie used to bike together. I had lost touch with Amy until she worked for UJA-Metrowestand was wonderful to my mother and father. My mother cherished Amy's visits. It was so good to see them again. I excited about moving all over again.
Photo 2: George of the Rockies: Today started with snow on the mountains behind the Larson's home. George and I explored downtown Boulder and took a drive along Boulder Canyon Drive.
What a beautiful day! A visit to Wast Boulder dog park, complete with dog pond, a hike along the Bear Creek trail and then a trip to the Harvest Festival at the Boulder Farmers' Market.
A very full day
Spent most of the day in the car driving from Boulder to Santa Fe. Stopped for a late lunch at a funky Mexican BBQ cafe in Trinidad, Colorado.
Yay-Internet connection is finally strong enough. .Now I can post
The Home of Our Host
Craft market in the Plaza
Before leaving Santa Fe today, I was lucky enough to attend the Indigenous Peoples Day Celebration. Members & dignitaries of 23 Tribes & Nations were on hand to celebrate their culture & share their thoughts with the people of Santa Fe.
Karen went back to Boulder yesterday evening. George and I leave later today for Winslow, Now it feels weird not to be travelling with good friends.
Turns out "Standin' on a corner in Wislow, Arizona" is not as original as I thought. People make pilgrimages to stand on the corner....and everyone is happy.
Gotta say: Winslow in a surprise hit. The hotel, La Posada, is a historic converted railroad station with a really good restaurant. Here's to Jackson Browne and .Rt 66
"It's a girl, my Lord, in a flatbed Ford..."
I've often seen photos of the red rocks of Sedona but nothing compares to the real thing. The landscape is breathtaking. I am staying at a Best Western outside of town and it feels like a resort. he hiking is phenomenal
Today I drove from Sedona to Palm Desert, a 6 hour drive. I felt anxious for the first time on my whole drive. Exits off the highway were few and far between and I worried about running out of gas.
Approaching a gas station marker at an exit in very rural Arizona, I exited the highway and drove awhile to a gas station with a small convenience shop. As cliched as it may sound, the stop was a rest point for a group of grey haired bikers (motorcycles). I went into the convenience shop to get a drink and was asked about my NJ plates and George. Everyone was friendly and I kept thinking: what if they knew I was Jewish? Would they still be so friendly? The woman behind the counter told me a story about a trip she took to southern New Jersey. The bikers gave me time estimates and short cut routes to Palm Desert. Maybe I'm being unreasonable. Maybe I'm a snob. Maybe I was just plain uncomfortable and then, with my tank full, I planned to stay on the highways and freeways until Palm Desert.
Sunset in Palm Desert Open Space Dog Park
I arrived in Pasadena early in the afternoon. As I entered LA, a warning light on my dashboard warning me to see a dealer about the battery cooling system, went on. I am so grateful my car made it cross-country with no glitches or warning lights. I am really really happy this light didn't come on a day earlier while en route from Sedona to Palm Desert. I made an appointment with a Toyota dealer in Pasadena.
I had my first experience with LA traffic on the 10 (not rt 10.) I visited my apartment and then went to spend a few days with Scott and Andie while I wait for my furniture and begin moving in.
Pasadena is very hot. Weird that the restaurants are full of pumpkin spice and autumn colors yet the temperature tomorrow will be over 100°.
After 11 years of not having one, it is so good to have a dishwasher.
SO NOW I'VE BEEN IN PASADENA FOR 2 WEEKS AND HERE'S WHAT I'VE LEARNED:
• ALL ABOUT CALIFORNIA DRIVING LAWS - I PASSED THE TEST AND NOW HAVE A CALIFORNIA LICENSE
• THE STORIES ABOUT LA TRAFFIC ARE TRUE
• GEORGE IS LOVING BEING AN URBAN DOG-SO MUCH TO SMELL AND SNIFF AND LOTS OF DOGS TO GREET
• I PACKED WAY TOO MUCH AND ENDED UP GETTING RID OF MORE STUFF
• PEOPLE ARE VERY. VERY FRIENDLY BUT I NEED TO BUILD A NEW COMMUNITY.