Road Trippin’

Create Your Own Visited States Map

This interactive map is floating around on the interwebs so I thought I’d give it a whirl. I’ve visited way more states than I thought, though a few of these are ones where I didn’t do much beyond stop to pee, have a snack or get gas, as most of my visits were during road trips with Pops and Momcat. We did several drives to New England when I was growing up, as summers in the DC area were humid and uncomfortable. Imagine living in a sweatsock or plastic bag and that’s what mid-Atlantic summers are like, though the beach areas are really nice.

My travels through the southern part of the U.S. were trips down I-95 to see my grandparents in Florida, and all my midwest travels are due to having family in Michigan. In 2008, I went to New Orleans on vacation: I went to Voodoo Experience, a 3-day concert event at City Park, to see a ton of amazing bands & singers, including Stone Temple Pilots, Nine Inch Nails, R.E.M., Thievery Corporation, Erykah Badu, Joss Stone, Wyclef Jean, etc.; I wandered around the French Quarter; I had a hurricane at Pat O’Briens; I ate beignets and drank coffee at Café du Monde. Great trip.

There’s a good chunk of the southwest I wouldn’t have seen if it hadn’t been for three cross-country drives from Maryland to California with Pops. The first was in the mid ’80s. Pops signed up with a car delivery service and we drove a two-seater Mercedes out to L.A., cutting through the middle of the U.S. I remember watching the speedometer hit 100 a few times in the desert – Pops had a blast driving that car. In 1991, our second cross-country drive took a southern route, and that’s when I first remember seeing the road sign for Galax, Virginia – the setting for my novel in progress (which is close to complete, whoo hoo!). The third cross-country drive was when I moved to California in early 2000, the station wagon loaded down with my computer and clothes.

I also wouldn’t have gotten to see Idaho and Montana if it hadn’t been for a road trip with Pops. Last summer he did what I call Pops’ Poker Tour, driving his car to California and stopping along the way to play Texas Hold ‘Em at various casinos. He spent a few days in CA with me, then we drove to Montana, stopping in Idaho and visiting Yellowstone along the way. Gorgeous drive.

Just looking at the map and thinking about all the places I’ve been gets me all nostalgic for a good road trip. I highly recommend them, especially if you have kids who are old enough to appreciate them. It’s such a fantastic way to learn about the U.S. and how people live in different parts of the country.

Where would you go on a road trip?

The 5-Minute Update

This whole full-time job thing really interferes with my blogging time, I must say. Several people have given me flak for not writing more – you know who you are (cough-T-wizzle-cough).

Until that magic moment when I actually focus on creating more time to blog, here’s a quick rundown of what’s been going on.

1. I am doing well, thanks for asking.
2. New Orleans was a lot of fun. The Voodoo Music Experience was fantastic – R.E.M.’s show was incredible, Stone Temple Pilots and Nine Inch Nails were great, Erykah Badu was awesome. I have now used up all my synonyms for “damn good” in this post.
3. I am now in a carpool that has saved my sanity. Still bussing it from time to time – will probably do so tonight as I got to the office quite early – but it’s not as much anymore.
4. I plan on buying a car by the end of the month.
5. I am still working on my new blog, Mass Transit Tales. I’m hoping to get the core of it posted by the end of this year. If you’d like to submit a story that is inspiring, humorous without being snarky and involves riding the bus/train/subway/trolley, please send it to editors at masstransittales dot com.

And now for a quick shout out:

To all you veterans out there, thanks for all you’ve done for the U.S.A. I hope President-elect Obama does right by you and gets you the medical and financial assistance you need.

To Aunt Gigi, happy birthday! She’s a big lover of Spode Christmas Tree dinnerware (see below), office supplies, party planning and enjoying life. May the next year be full of wonderful blessings for you, Gigi. I’ll see you at Christmas – and this year, I am going to blog about the Spode.

New Orleans Voodoo Experience in October, Anyone?

Last week I found out about the Voodoo Music Experience being held in New Orleans on October 24-26. It caught my eye because three awesome bands are headlining: Stone Temple Pilots, Nine Inch Nails, and…wait for it…I’m sure Beth is shivering with antici-pation…REM.

Now that I am gainfully employed, I am seriously considering attending this show. It’s a three-day event and I have always wanted to go to New Orleans. Granted, this is coming on the tail end of hurricane season, which makes me a little nervous. But screw it…STP reunited on stage?! And REM too? Trent Reznor?! Sounds like a musical hurricane is already happening.

So I call out to you, blog readers, to see who lives down South and might be up for this show. Hell, who wants to go to New Orleans, get drunk, eat beignets at Cafe du Monde, and listen to some great freakin’ bands for 3 days? If Beth can do an East Coast tour with REM, why can’t we do this one? Huh? Who’s with me?