Friday, April 26, 2013

On The Road Again

I drove from Pennsylvania down to Northern Virginia for business/pleasure. It was a beautiful drive, because the Red Bud trees were in full bloom along the highway. The Red Bud

 is one of my favorite harbingers of Spring. The tree has vibrant magenta pink blossoms. In some mountainous areas in the Eastern U.S. the green twigs are used for seasoning wild game in cooking and is nicknamed the "spice wood tree."My friend Christine has a beautiful specimen of the tree growing in her lush garden pictured here.

One of my favorite places to dine for breakfast is Anita's New Mexican Style Restaurant in Herndon, VA. The green  chili on my breakfast burrito was mild in comparison to what we had recently eaten in Santa Fe. But nowhere in New Mexico can one find a restaurant with a beautiful pink Dogwood tree behind the parking lot!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

"Birthday Thanks - and My Motto"

A heartfelt thanks to all my family and friends for their Birthday wishes today. Several of you wished me well in my new life year, and I could not help but make a parallel to a young fruit tree we planted last Fall at our farm.

When we drove to the farm for the first time after our trip to Santa Fe, we noticed that only a few trees were beginning to leaf. Yesterday, I noticed for that one of the little
fruit trees had blossomed overnight! It reminded me of my motto that I have had since post college days. New life experiences, challenges or surroundings? "Bloom Where You Are Planted"

Thursday, April 4, 2013

"End of the Trail"

We arrived home safely in PA after another 7 hour day of driving. In the end, we traveled nearly 4,000  miles round trip in our 2001 Volvo sedan (we are going for the "Million Mile Club") across eleven states. Thanks to all you readers of my posts (over 800 of you).

Instead of traveling in a car, the next step will be navigating spaces of change. This will involve cleaning out spaces in two homes, designing spaces in our new desert dream home, and keeping spaces in our hearts for friends old and new.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

"Bandits, Caves, and Highway Digging"

A sure sign of Spring - miles and miles of highway construction to lengthen an already 7 hour drive. Of course, lots of stops along the way for doggie walks with the Beagles at highway rest areas.  At one rest stop in Missouri, I met a woman walking her three small dogs. She was on her way from her home near St. Louis to meet her sister in Pittsburgh. Both women were separated as children, and she was driving to PA to be reunited with her sibling after 44 years.

We passed by two noteworthy historical sites. One was the Maramec Caves in Missouri. The caverns were reported to be the hideout for the notorious bandit Jesse James, who died on this day (April 3rd) in 1882. The other site in Illinois is the Cahokia Mounds. Preserved at this site are the remains of the most sophisticated prehistoric native civilization north of Mexico. Pictured is the Monk's Mound courtesy of Wikipedia.

Another long day tomorrow. Port Royal, PA or Bust!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

"The Sixty Six Parallel"

Our journey today took us from Oklahoma City to Rolla, Missouri. The I 44 East runs parallel to the historic Route 66. We were amused by the Billboards along the 66, beckoning us to leave the road and shop, eat or sleep. Here are some of the more interesting ads we saw along the highway: Walnut bowls, knives, fireworks, candy, fudge and chocolates, pottery, cheese, Zippo lighters, army surplus, picture frames, wine, chicks (at the Cackle Hatchery), 50 cent chicken wings (!), and Humble House motel rooms at $19.95 a night, not by the hour.

Speaking of hotel rooms, we have to put in a plug here for the Drury Hotel chain. We can't say enough about their friendly hospitality which includes free "Happy Hour" drinks (of the alcoholic kind) and free food like hot dogs, mac and cheese, baked potato, chicken and salad. Best of all, Drury is pet friendly and the rates are low. Did I mention the free hot breakfast too?

Monday, April 1, 2013

"Day One - Oklahoma City"

Oklahoma City was the destination for day one of our trip back to PA. The most memorable part of the drive was the 2 hours we spent on the 104 in Southeast NM. For two hours in early morning, we were the only car on the road. We marveled at the vistas like the one pictured below - mesas and large cattle ranches as far as the eye could see.

We passed hundreds and hundreds of those elegant, giant windmills in the flat fields. We saw the long circular irrigators that make those large crop circles that one sees from the air when flying over the Southwest.

Billboards were amusing, like the one that had a picture of Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz. It read, "Visit liberal Kansas".  There was also a billboard advertising a restaurant where one could eat a 72 oz steak FREE. That is like nine 8oz steaks! What they don't tell you is that you must eat the whole steak, including fat and gristle, before it is a free meal.

There was a line of old Volkswagen Beetles  painted with graffiti buried halfway into the ground. And who could not notice the white cross as tall as an 8 story building against dark storm clouds.

Only in America...Love it!