Have you been following Oksana and me on Twitter or Facebook? That’s where the bulk of our travel updates have been posted so far. I thought I’d have tons and tons of time to work on the blog while we drove across the country — we even paid for the unlimited data plan on our iPad! — but it turns out you can’t type very well while driving. While sitting in the passenger seat while driv–You know what I mean!
Seriously, though, I expected there would be plenty of time left in the day for blogging, but I didn’t count on how tired we’d both be after putting in a few hours behind the wheel. I was discussing this with someone on the trip (I forget who it was) and they brought up a very good point: It may not be physically taxing, sitting on your butt all day, but driving can be quite mentally taxing. If you put in 6 or 8 hours behind the wheel, that’s 6 or 8 hours of unwavering attention you have to devote to the task. It’s no wonder I don’t have the mental fortitude to sit down and string some words together on a laptop after that.
I’m in a hammock now.
A little bit of catch up, to explain how we got to where we are right now:
Oksana and I departed Juneau on July 1 on a ferry to Skagway,
We drove from Skagway to Seattle, through British Columbia, in a little more than a week,
We visited with many, many friends in Vancouver and Seattle before,
Picking up Oksana’s brother and sister-in-law at SEATAC.
We drove them south down the Oregon and northern California coastline to see the Redwoods,
Spent a day in San Francisco with friends,
Drove to Sequoia National Park to see the General Sherman Tree and then,
Spent some time in Las Vegas… whereupon our plans sort of fell apart.
To give Oksana’s family time to recouperate from all the driving, she stayed with them in Vegas for a week while I drove the Jeep to North Carolina by myself,
They hopped a flight to catch up and we spent a few days on the beach in Nags Head before attending my grandfather’s 90th birthday party,
Then we all piled back into the car and drove down to Orlando for a day at Disney World,
More driving to Key West for two days of diving (and lobster season!), before
Taking Andrey and Natasha to Miami for their flight home,
Oksana and I then drove up Florida again to visit my other grandparents near Tampa,
Before driving all the way back up the east coast, at a slower pace this time, overnighting in NC, then with my aunt outside DC,
To arrive just in time to meet up with my uncle and our Russian friends for a weekend of New York City sightseeing,
Then Oksana and I drove to Niagara Falls (Canadian side) for our 8th wedding anniversary,
On the way back south, we visited more friends and family near DC,
Finally coming to a stop again in Nags Head, North Carolina!
(If you’re interested in seeing some pictures, I’ve created a public Facebook album with quite a few photos from our road trip.)
We still had a plan, at that point, to leave the country around September 1st. The only things we had left to do were finalize our packing (we took advantage of having a Jeep and brought far more stuff with us than we could hope to bring on the backpacking leg of our trip) and figure out whether to store or sell our Jeep. We always planned to do that in Florida.
But, man were we tired of driving! In about six weeks, we’d clocked almost 12,000 miles on the odometer. We decided we needed to unwind for a week with my grandparents at their cottage in Nags Head.
It wasn’t an entirely selfish act. Earlier this year, my grandmother suffered through a bout of pneumonia and a major heart attack. She’s doing well, but needs constant supervision. All summer long, as practically everyone in our family has come for a visit, the cottage has been a bustle of activity with everyone lending a hand with the cooking, cleaning, shopping, etc. But as September approached and everyone went back to work and school, only my grandfather and my aunt remained to hold down the fort.
They were thrilled to hear that Oksana and I were planning to stay another week.
And then, the other day while Oksana and I were playing in the surf, it occurred to me that there really wasn’t any reason we couldn’t stay even longer. The deadlines we have are all self-inflicted. We’re unemployed! As long as we’re not dipping into our savings (and we’re not, while we’re staying at the cottage rent-free), it doesn’t matter if we return to Juneau in September 2011 or October 2011.
I discussed it with Oksana first before bringing the idea to my grandfather. Would it be helpful for us to stay at the beach with them through the month of September? The answer was a resounding “Yes!”
So that’s where we are now. We still plan to leave the country from Florida — on a last minute cruise fare that passes through some Mexican or Belizean port, if possible — but that won’t be until early October now.
And that’s why I hope to have a bit more time to work on the blog.