Transition Time

My riding shotgun days have come to an end, at least temporarily. For various reasons, I’ve settled back in Indianapolis while my husband continues his journeys on the national highways. It’s been just over a month and so far I’ve missed him, but not so much the tiny living space. I’ve enjoyed sleeping in a bedroom with a bathroom just outside the door. An actual kitchen with counter space, a sink and an oven are also fabulous. And an actual couch to relax on while reading or studying–super fabulous!

Of course, there are downsides. As I mentioned, I don’t get to see my husband very often at this point. I also don’t have as much time for knitting because I have a full time job and will soon be involved in school full time.

One of the most important things I’ve learned in life thus far is that most everything has good points and bad points. We give up something and get something else. We lose something and gain something else in the process. Sometimes those things are more obvious than others. As my husband and I discussed our current changes, the pluses of being stationary were pretty easy to see because I’d spent so much time living in the tiny space he calls home. From my vantage point then, I knew from experience what some of the negatives were going to be when I settled back down, but the positives tended to be easier see.

Making big decisions well has been a lifelong learning experience for me, as it is for many of us. I’ve met a few people who seem to learn their lessons early in life, but most of us seem to repeat some of the same mistakes a few times or make new mistakes in the process of trying to fix previous ones. Unfortunately, my vision tended to be seriously clouded by my previous experiences and hurts when I was in the middle of those early years. I often times couldn’t see the good points in some possible choices because I was so afraid of the bad possibilities I knew could happen.

They say ‘hindsight is 20/20’. At nearly 50 years old, I believe that saying more than ever. There are decisions in my past that now–with my added years of insight–I would make differently. Other decisions still don’t seem so cut and dry as that, but I still wonder if they were the best choices. I’m finding regret is a painful thing to deal with.

My decision to leave my job and ‘regular’ life behind for a time and join my husband on the road was one of the ones I think I did right. We spent a lot of time getting to know each other again after so many years of mostly relating by phone. We watched movies and listened to audio books. He was able to share sights with me that he had tried to describe over the phone when he’d seen them the first time. We discussed some serious things, too, including some of those past decisions each of us had made that had hurt the other unintentionally.

All of this struggle with past mistakes mixed with the time I spent riding shotgun helped me see some possibilities for my future now that my daughter is almost on her own. I did a lot of looking at both positives and negatives of various paths I might take for the next chapter of my life and I settled on getting a job doing what I know–which is cosmetology–while going to school to work toward something I believe will be more rewarding for me in the future–something administrative. Thus, my current job at a hair salon and my current status as a business administration major. Here’s hoping I’m doing it right this time.

Thanks for following me on my journey as an American nomad. Drive safe out there 🙂

New York, New York

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Heading into the city after crossing the GW

Long ago I told my New Jersey native cousin that I wanted to go to New York city. She quickly informed me that I didn’t really. Of course, the New York city I was thinking of visiting included Time Square, the flat iron building, 5th Avenue, Central Park and the Waldorf. Like so many Americans, I had become enamored of the idea that the city was beautiful and had to be experienced by all. 

While I have yet to see any of the aforementioned, famous New York city sites, I believe I have now gained some perspective regarding my cousin’s reaction those years ago. This change has come due to the handful of times I have traveled I95 through New York state thus far.

On the George Washington bridge, the GW

From New Jersey, I95 takes us over the George Washington bridge into New York city. The first time I remember going over the bridge was during rush hour. There are actually two tiers to the bridge with tractor trailers allowed only on the top. In spite of two tiers and 3 lanes in each direction, there were vehicles of every sort packed together and nearly running over each other. The term “rush hour” is definitely misleading in that part of New York!

View of New York city from the GW

Admittedly, I did enjoy the view of the city skyline from atop the bridge. I even saw the tiny figure of Lady Liberty way across the water. 

Once we crossed the bridge, we continued on under several cross over bridges that seemed more like mini tunnels. The pollution from so many people and vehicles was obvious in the air and on the soot covered, concrete walls. 

Many of the buildings were 15 stories or more high and I imagined going home to one of those upper story apartments each day. No, thank you.

Exiting the bridge, entering the city

We did pass a good size park area along the way. I would likely spend a lot of time there if I lived nearby.

Some green space amid the concrete and bricks

Although I found it intriguing to actually see “Queens” on a a directional sign and to know I was truly in “the city that never sleeps”, I’m not sure now if I really want to venture farther into “the Big Apple” seeing as how I’m not much for being in huge crowds or breathing lots of carbon pollutants. I guess I’ll just wait and see what comes next. 

Until next time, friends, drive safely out there 🙂 

A Bit of Maine 

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Waterville, Maine

 dog walking while waiting for trailer to get loaded and going over the bridge from Maine to New Hampshire

Moose still doesn’t seem to me like it should sound the same when speaking of one animal as when speaking of many. I don’t know if that was a decision made by people in Maine or not, but apparently there are enough of them living there to warrant warning signs along the highway. Unfortunately for me and my touristy self, I didn’t get to see a moose while in the state. I didn’t see a lobster either. I wasn’t wholly disappointed with my visit, though. There were plenty of trees, sunshine and blue skies as we traveled the interstate. 

Didn’t get to see a moose, but saw plenty of these signs along the highway

When we headed off the interstate to the receiver, I was treated to the sights of small town life. Small businesses are more plentiful there than franchises and megastores unless you’re in one of the few large cities in the state. 

Overall, I enjoyed my first visit to the state. I think I’d like to visit again before the end of the month of September because I’ve heard the trees look amazing in their autumn colors. But, after investigating a bit about the snowfall amounts in winter, I’m pretty sure I don’t want to be up there after mid October. I’ll just have to wait and see when the company sends us that way again.

Until next time, friends, drive safely 🙂 

Nice Bridge

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I know. This blog title sounds like a weird compliment. But, it’s actually the name of a bridge that spans the Potomac River connecting Maryland and Virginia. Its full name is the Harry W. Nice Memorial bridge in honor of the man who was Governor of Maryland when the bridge was built. 

According to the Maryland Transportation Authority website, the bridge opened in December of 1940 and was originally called the Potomac Bridge. It’s 1.7 miles long, two lanes wide and clears 135 feet at its highest point. That’s like 13 stories high! Shiver.

I’ve gone over the bridge a few times thus far. One of those times we spent several hours in traffic approaching the bridge because of an accident on it. Needless to say, that was incredibly frustrating. 

For anyone who wishes to read more about the bridge, check out the Maryland Transportation Authority website. 

Until next time, friends, drive safely 🙂 

Ports of Entry

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One new experience for me since I started riding shotgun is going to ports of entry. I hadn’t really considered before what it might be like to visit a place that’s essentially an very wet entrance/exit to these United States. 

My first visit took place several years ago at a port near Corpus Christi, Texas. We had to go through a gate, show our photo identification and be escorted to to where we picked up our load and then back to the gate. 

Recently, we had to deliver a load to the port of Savannah, Georgia. Because of some security changes, we had to have a TWIC escort. Basically, that’s a person with a special security identification that allows them to move freely around the port. More specifically, according to http://www.tsa.gov, “The Transportation Worker Identification Credential, also known as TWIC®, is required by the Maritime Transportation Security Act for workers who need access to secure areas of the nation’s maritime facilities and vessels.”

Our TWIC escort met us at the gate and had to physically be with us the entire time we were inside the gate. She even hung out with us while our trailer was unloaded. We were required to wear safety vests, as well. 

A few days ago, we went to the port of Albany, New York. The procedures were basically like the ones in Savannah except that I didn’t have to get out of the truck and our TWIC escort led us to where we needed to go in his security truck.

Apparently truck drivers who frequent ports for their jobs can apply for their own TWIC cards by paying a fee and submitting to a rigorous background check. They also have to meet specific requirements regarding their criminal history and citizenship status.  

I know we can’t guarantee that everyone crossing our borders or working around them is going to intend only good for our citizens, but it’s good to know someone in our government is working on it. 

Until next time, readers, drive safely out there 🙂 

Rest Area #5

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Like all of the New England states I’ve been to, Connecticut has its quaint, historic areas and its old, industrial areas. And, like any place that relies heavily on tourist monies, Connecticut tries to make the former more visible than the latter. 

On a recent trek through the state, we stopped for a bathroom break at the Middletown rest area, which proved to be quaint if not historic. 

There was plenty of greenery along with picnic tables, restrooms and snack machines. 

My favorite feature was the area fenced off for travellers’ four legged friends. I found the fire hydrants and wood rail fence to be a fabulous touch. 

Pet rest area 😀

Thanks for reading and please drive safely 🙂 

Signs, Everywhere the Signs

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One activity I enjoy out here on the highway is reading signs. I read them to find out where we are, of course, but I mostly like to see if they strike me as funny. Today, I have posted photos of some signs I’ve enjoyed recently.

Not really a sign, but I have to wonder about a driver who doesn’t know how he/she is driving

This takes me back to high school and 80s music

I read this and wondered why plants might need a speed limit in this area

This is still my favorite. Apparently they’re really serious about speed limits in Virginia

This sounds like a town for toddlers and kids going through puberty

There have been a few I failed to get photos of as well. One was meant to signal the end of a road. In big letters, it simply said “END”. I saw it and thought maybe it was about more than the road. 

Town names are intriguing, as well. Pennsylvania has towns called Climax and Intercourse which, perhaps, explains some of why so many of our ancestors had 15-20 kids. 

I hope you all got a chuckle or two out of these photos like I did. Perhaps I’ll continue my collection and post more in the future.

Until next time, readers, drive safely 🙂 

Spinning and Spinning

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Part of a tower

Wind turbines are huge. If a manager has an employee who’s developing an overinflated sense of self importance, they need only to take them to a wind farm to remind them of how small they are. 

Wind farms are one of my favorite sights out here on the road. Equally impressive is seeing the pieces of the turbines being hauled from factory to farm.

Rotors

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Welcome sign in Sweetwater, Texas

Tiny bit of a windfarm

The biggest windfarm I’ve seen was in north west Texas. Nolan County has more than 1000 turbines, according to sweetwatertexas.org. Wyoming, New Mexico, Colorado, Indiana, California and Nebraska are a few other states boasting windfarms and many of them are producing a serious amount of electricity. Fortune.com says wind energy is closing the gap on fossil fuels in cost effectiveness. Solar is still behind wind energy. Of course, both solar and wind energy vary in their cost depending on where you are. The way I figure it, the more options we have, the better. 

That’s all for now, friends. Until next time, drive safely 🙂 

West Jefferson, North Carolina

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View from the Library steps

Visiting the North Carolina mountains is always a feast for the eyes. One of my favorite places to go is down town West Jefferson, a little town near where my parents reside. Over the more than a decade that my parents have lived there, the town has grown and changed while still retaining much of its history. Last year they celebrated their centennial birthday.

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One of many murals in the area

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I love this church on Main Street

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fabulous sculpture 

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love the sign that says to keep right…the building is connected to other buildings on both sides, lol

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The Cheese Factory is a big part of Ashe County history

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historical photos put up to celebrate the 100th birthday

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everyone should have cheese vat shaped like a cow, hehehe

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this is the local newspaper…usually about 8 pages long

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Yep, I thought it was a real person, too!

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my favorite place to visit when I’m in town

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Mom and Dad checking out the menu at Bohemia

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some local artists sell their wares in the seating area….potters….

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painters

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it’s a great place for gatherings….formal….

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or relaxed

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It’s going to be awhile before I get to Bohemia again, so I’ll just have to make do with Starbucks and Caribou until then. Unless I can get to Emerson’s or Talia in the North Carolina foothills. I think I have a latte problem, hehehe.

Until next time, readers, drive safely out there 🙂