Cross Country Trip… in a Nutshell

Jenn driving Penske truckSorry to say, we don’t have stories to post of lots of fun adventures from our most recent cross-country trip. To be honest, most of the hours spent on the trip were rather boring: driving a yellow Penske truck, towing a Ford Focus, along 3000+ miles of American highway. However, in the evenings we did stop and see friends on most of the days. Here’s our trip in a nutshell.

cross_country_0017Tuesday, August 15th: Drive east from San Diego, through the desert, to my uncle’s house in Huachuca City AZ (east of Tucson). This drive took about 7 hours. My uncle lives in a fairly undeveloped area, with roads that aren’t very accessible to most vehicles during Monsoon Season, so we had to park our truck-and-trailer in front of the police department. That evening, we had a good visit with my Uncle Dave and his son Sam.

cross_country_0109Wednesday, August 16th: Continue driving east, through Arizona, through all of New Mexico, and across half of Texas. While Dave was driving, I had a couple of phone interviews (in the end, nothing came of them). As we crossed into Texas in El Paso, we hit a severe thunderstorm that flooded the freeway, bringing us into a 5 mph traffic jam through the length of the city. As we exited El Paso, the weather let up, and we kept driving across West Texas to Fort Stockton. This drive was around 10 hours. We don’t know anyone who lives in West Texas, so we stayed at the Econo Lodge. The Hindu family who owns the place was hosting a festival at midnight to celebrate Krishna’s birthday. Either it wasn’t a huge crazy party, or we were just really tired, because the noise didn’t keep us up all night.

cross_country_0120Thursday, August 17th: Continuing across Texas, we leave Fort Stockton and head for Austin. This day we only drove for about 5 hours. In Austin, we had plenty of time to hang out with our friend Hildreth, who took us to a local swimming hole, an awesome BBQ joint called County Line, and then to a Mexican place for a couple of drinks. Austin is a cool town – check it out, if you haven’t been there.

cross_country_0146Friday, August 18th: Leave Austin fairly early to continue to head east, around Houston, through the rest of Texas, and into Louisiana. We drove across the bayous and then caught our first glimpse of Lake Pontchartrain. It wasn’t long before we were stuck in traffic at rush hour in New Orleans. We drove for about 10 hours this day. We hung out with another friend from Georgetown, John and his wife Christy. For dinner we went to a N’awlins establishment called “Ye Olde College Inn”, where we ran into former Georgetown prof and current President of Loyola-New Orleans, Kevin Wildes. Afterwards, John took us down to the French Quarter and Bourbon Street, where we chose from amongst the many daiquiri stands and drank frozen adult beverages while wandering down the street. He also took us on a bit of a driving tour to see some of the Katrina damage; though it was very dark, we got a good sense of how things stood (or didn’t stand) nearly a year after the hurricane.

cross_country_0241Saturday, August 19th: Continue east, out of New Orleans, surveying more and more hurricane damage as we headed out the eastern (i.e., worst-hit) side of the city and across Louisiana to Mississippi. We left the Interstate for about 30 minutes to survey the Gulf Coast in Gulfport and Biloxi, and were struck by the utter damage to this zone: miles and miles of buildings that were just gone. We returned to the interstate, soon entered Alabama, and started heading more northerly. We crossed Alabama into Georgia, and before long we were in Atlanta. This drive took us approximately 8 hours. We stayed at our friend Mark’s apartment, though he wasn’t there.

cross_country_0340Sunday, August 20th: Leave Atlanta and head north, through the rest of Georgia, then South Carolina, North Carolina, and finally into Virginia. We got to Richmond after driving for 7 or 8 hours, and were very happy to see my friend Kristen and her family. We hung out with her and Andy, and their two cute babies.

Monday, August 21st: Our last day of vagabonding! We left Richmond and headed north to Washington DC, which only took a couple of hours. We moved all of our stuff into a storage space in Hyattsville, MD; returned the truck to Penske; then were glad to arrive at Pastor Wong’s house in Northwest Washington DC, where we stayed for a week or so before moving into our apartment in Silver Spring MD. Safe and sound!

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