Arrived

I have arrived in Massachusetts. There isn’t much to say after that. The drive up from Maryland was slow due to traffic, but thankfully I have reached my destination. I’ll write more later, but for now I’m going to bed as it is late and I am tired.

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Published in: on 28 August 2006 at 23.57  Leave a Comment  

Life in Maryland

I’ve been thoroughly enjoying my time here in MD. Since arriving I have done some minor shopping at IKEA in preparation for settling into my new home, some babysitting with the wondrous Baby Hallie, good meals with P & G, and several games of Scrabble. I have discovered that I do much better when playing 1:1 with P on the palm pilot than when P, G, and I all play on the “Deluxe Turntable Scrabble.” But nonetheless, I am beginning to enjoy the game.

Today us 4 humans went to Baltimore. I can hardly believe that in all my visits here this was the first time we went into the city, but it was. We walked a short bit of the Inner Harbor and then went to Faidley’s for Crab Cakes which were AMAZING! Afterwards we went to a couple more spots, including sitting on a hill that looked out over not only the harbor but also several beach volleyball courts and a trappeez school.

Upon return the the house I caught the end of the Sun v. Shock game – go CT Sun! After the game we went to the coffee house put on by the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Columbia, One World Coffeehouse. The featured singer/songwriter was Sara Beck, who grew up in the congregation and comes back each year to play at the coffeehouse. Not only is that sweet, but Sara’s music is great – check out her website.

I’m here for 1 more day and then early Monday morning I head to Massachusetts on the last leg of this trip. Once there I may be offline for a while but will update as I can.

Until the next time…

Published in: on 27 August 2006 at 2.57  Leave a Comment  

Made it to Maryland

Yesterday I drove from NC to MD. Despite the rain in NC I made good time to MD. I didn’t even think I was speeding, although the state trooper who stopped me at the NC/VA border thought otherwise. Despite many cars around me weaving in and out of traffic to pass the big rigs, I (with my out of state plates) was the one car pulled over for going 80mph in a 70mph zone. And get this – the fine for speeding 10mph over the speed limit… $15. BUT the “court fees” (whether I go to court or not) is $110. I honestly can’t figure out what could cost $110 in court fees, but there you have it. And of course, they don’t accept credit cards or personal checks – only money orders and bank checks. GRRRR.

I shall not let the speeding ticket wreck my most excellent trip. I shall enjoy my time here in MD as much as I have enjoyed my time in the other several states I’ve visited. This trip has been a good reminder to me that taking time to visit friends and family (when the time is available) is well worth it! Not only is the change of pace good for the soul, but the (re)connections are also feeding me in ways that alone time can’t (and this coming from an extreme introvert). I encourage all who are reading this to try a road trip sometime if life allows for it.

FEAR NOT:

In response to Anne’s comment from the last post – fear not! There will be a spreadsheet posted within a week. I have (of course) been keeping track of driving times, mileage, gas prices, and the efficiency of my car/drive in a spreadsheet but didn’t want to tease readers with incomplete data. It’ll come… just be patient. As to the letter abbreviations – all I can say is this: LYB!

Published in: on 23 August 2006 at 15.27  Leave a Comment  

Back to the Road

Whelp, I’ve enjoyed just about a week in NC. I have made a “home base” with my friends E, M, O, and C (and their other house guest D). We have had great times together just catching up, trading stories, running errands, and taking care of O, C, and D. Friday evening E and I went to Shabbat services, where E served as the Cantor and was GREAT! While religion has not played a significant role in the friendship that E and I share it has played a significant role in both of our lives. This is the first time in our 20-something year long friendship we have ever attended a service together and it was very touching to me to be able to look up to the front of the temple and see her there. Perhaps as touching was that about halfway through the service, E’s mother snuck back to my row and we were able to get a bit teary-eyed looking up towards the front.

While E & M worked during the days I sometimes went to visit with another set of friends, J, R, A, S, O. One of the days involved hanging out at a local playground/water park-type thing where the kids ran around under the sprinklers and J and I had some time to catch up. The next time we got together R made an exquisite dinner and then we hung out catching up some more. R is rebuilding their home and it looks incredible! The fixtures they’ve picked out and the environmental heating/AC system are mind-blowing. It’s a way cool house.

So I’ve enjoyed my time with my friends here in NC and tomorrow morning will head up to MD for a few days with another set of friends. Will update again once I’m back online.

Published in: on 22 August 2006 at 2.08  Comments (1)  

The Best Hidden UU Church

I woke up this morning and left the house excited to go to church. Sadly, I couldn’t find the church. I had printouts of directions from both Google Maps and the church’s website. The 2 sets of directions matched one another, so I shouldn’t have had any difficulty. But even with these 2 sets of directions I couldn’t find the church. I found the road the church is on but not the church. After driving up and down the street for a little while I called the church, but sadly no one answered the phone. I returned to driving in search…

After a good 20 minutes of driving around I gave up and went in search of the highway to return to my friends’ house. Ironically, as I was driving down one of the state roads I saw a sign announcing that the next 2 miles of the road was sponsored by the very church I was looking for. Quite frustrating!

Now, I’m not an expert but it seems to me that if we want to grow Unitarian Universalism (which I very much would like to do!) than our congregations need to make sure of a couple of things. First, large signage announcing where our church buildings are. Secondly, a human being to answer the phones on the days when we have services. I know at times these can seem large and daunting but nonetheless important.

Published in: on 20 August 2006 at 12.30  Leave a Comment  

A Happy Sight

The Dunkin’ Donuts Medium Ice Coffee (cream, no sugar!) pictured above is the first one I’ve had since the last time I was on the east coast many months ago. In case it isn’t obvious, I LOVE Dunkin’ Donuts coffee. I won’t try to explain it or justify it, but I LOVE me my Dunkin’ Donuts. I know that there will be plenty of D&D’s in MA, but this new location in NC will always have a warm spot in my heart. I shall sit back, relax, enjoy my friends’ company, and of course grab a coffee regularly.

Published in: on 18 August 2006 at 1.08  Leave a Comment  

Sad Suspicions

While I was waiting out the rainstorm at the rest stop (on my way to NC) I noticed a beat-up car with its hood up. Along with said car there were 2 adults with 1 sleeping child. The adults kept getting out of the car and walking around to the front of the car (behind the hood). After sleeping on and off for a couple of hours, I noticed that the car was still where it had been before I fell asleep. Being hot and stuffy in my car, I opted to sit on a covered picnic table and try to cool down. As I was sitting I noticed that one of the adults from the car kept walking over to the pay phone and then back to the car.

I wanted to offer help (not that I know a thing about fixing cars) but wasn’t sure if it was a “safe” thing to do. I found myself in an internal debate about whether the people in the broken car were truly in need or just pretending to be in need so they could nab some unsuspecting fool and murder the person. As soon as that thought entered my head I found myself saddened that I would even think such as thought, never mind hold back offering someone help on the sheer chance that they would cause me harm. What type of a world are we creating when people can’t reach out to one another in needs/help for fear of being harmed?

Just as I was hitting the crux of this internal conversation, one of the adults approached my table. My first instinct was to hunch my shoulders and look as tough as I can (I am after all a transgender guy traveling alone) but I forced myself to relax and be as non-defensive as possible. S/he asked if I had a flashlight s/he could borrow in hopes of fixing hir car. Ahhh – now that is something I could help with – of course I had (not one, but 2) flashlights in my car and both were easy to access. So I got up and offered hir one of my flashlights.

After about a 1/2 hour or longer, s/he came back to return the flashlight, still not having fixed hir car. As s/he was returning the flashlight s/he asked where I was headed. I was temped to make something up, but again deciding to not assume the worst, I told hir where I was heading. S/he said that was where they were heading as well. (I will admit here, sadly, that I again began to question safety and intent.) Before I could say anymore s/he began to tell me about relocating to the area and looking for new work. We ended up having a delightful conversation as they waited for a cab to come pick them up.

Now, this is not an illustration to get us to stop considering safety as we travel through life. But perhaps rather than assume the worst from the start we can leave room for the potential of grace. I know that this event and other experiences in recent years have taught me to try to always leave room for grace to enter my life. For when I do, my life is enhanced.

Published in: on 16 August 2006 at 21.52  Comments (1)  

857 miles

I have safely arrived in NC, a mere 857 miles drive from St. Louis. I tried to do it all in 1 day, which technically I did IF you count 1 day as 24 hours and not as a single box in a calendar. I left St. Louis at 07.45 Tuesday morning and arrived in North Carolina at 04.30 Wednesday morning.

Fear not, I didn’t drive that entire time. I had a lovely stop for lunch and coffee in Lexington, KY where I met up with a friend. And then I hit major traffic just north of the WV border thus delaying my trip a solid 2 hours. I’d like to point out that my car is a standard transmission and has NO air conditioning, so it was a LONG 2 hours of sitting and inching something like 2.5 miles in 2 hours.

A few hours further down the road I thought I had hit a slice of paradise. There on the side of the road was a beautiful sign for Dunkin Donuts. I couldn’t believe my eyes but nonetheless turned off at the next exit and followed the signs to… NOT a D&D. The building had the correct architecture and coloring but it was NOT a D&D, rather instead some local donut shop. I was so saddened that I couldn’t bring myself to extricate myself from the car, though more caffeine might have been a good idea.

Once I was through my disappointment’s and back on the road, things were cranking along nicely until about 2 hours north of my destination, when out of nowhere we were hit with torrential downpours. It was about 22.00 and I decided to pull off at the next rest stop and try to wait the rain out. I didn’t last long in the car before falling asleep and slept on and off at 20 minute intervals for the next few hours. I was so tired and nauseous (too much caffeine, salt, and sugar did me in) that I decided to wait until daybreak to continue. Unfortunately my car was too stuffy and after sitting in it and then trying to sit outside in the rain I gave up and continued my drive, pulling into my hosts’ yard at 04.30.

That’s the technical info – now we’re heading out for dinner, so I’ll post some interesting insights on the trip either later tonight or tomorrow.

~ a resting traveler.

Published in: on 16 August 2006 at 21.20  Leave a Comment  

Stats

Just some stats from an exhausted driver…

  • Drive 1: 742 miles
  • Drive 2: 508 miles
  • Drive 3: 56 miles
  • Drive 4: 702 miles
  • Drive 5: 399
  • Drive 6 (scheduled): 821 miles

6 driving days, 8 destinations, many friends.

Top temperature in the car: 115 degrees Fahrenheit (throughout most of Sunday).

Published in: on 15 August 2006 at 4.54  Comments (1)  

Another Day, Another State (or 2)

Today after repacking the car (AK – I have WAY more gratitude for you now!) and saying a final farewell to my host and dear friend, SD I began the long drive from Utah to Colorado by way of Wyoming. Through the mountain peaks and across the plains drove I. The landscape was breath-taking, and I was yet again reminded of the beautiful land through which I am traveling. Hours upon hours of driving with spacious farms on either side of highway I-80 which seems to cut right through the land. I am both saddened for this scar which gouges the land and grateful that it is there for my and others’ travels. This trip would be almost impossible without a road such as I-80. At least, this trip in the time schedule I have set for it would not be possible. But perhaps that is a good argument for slowing life down.

While on the road I made a new friend today. Well, I don’t know if we can truly call one another friend, but we definitely “bonded.” S/he is a fellow traveler, hailing from CT though s/h just spent 4 months in San Jose, CA. We were parked across from one another at a rest stop along I-80 and s/he struck up a friendly conversation. We talked about where we were coming from and where we were going. For the next several hours we played a form of car-leap-frog as one us passed the other and vice versa. It was quite enjoyable and I suspect there were other vehicles along the way wishing to join in.

I’m now in CO and will be here for another night. I landed at my friend ARF’s place today and we went out for a delightful meal and caught up on one another’s lives. Tomorrow I’ll drive the short distance to a nearby city and visit with more friends before hitting the road at the crack of dawn on Sunday to get to Tulsa in time for dinner with friends.

Until the next time…be well!

Published in: on 12 August 2006 at 3.58  Leave a Comment