What's All This About, Then?
(aka Your Many Questions Indelicately Answered)

(hint #1: scroll down and this won't be as hard to read. You're welcome.)


We go on trips. Road trips. Other trips. But mostly road trips. Sometimes (ideally) long ones. Sometimes not.

Yes, this is the same blog as the one about the Oregon Trail. Yes, it used to have a stagecoach and a dusty feel to it, which went along with the Oregon Trail very nicely. Yes, that was a great trip. That was three years ago. (the blog is still here if you want to read it...it starts here)

So...as we embark on the latest chapter of our roamin' ways, we want to invite you to come along. First, we might get lonely. I mean, we don't really get lonely much, but it's possible. Second, you might miss us. Third, you just might be nosy. And fourth, we are notoriously and and historically bad at sending postcards, circulating photos, keeping up with a scrapbook; as a matter of fact, with documenting our trip in most every way. We figured this might be the 21st century solution. It worked for the last trip, which was (as you know) three years ago (sniff). So we're keeping it going.


We hope you'll pop in, read about where we are, what we're doing, see photos of our adventures, and experience our gypsy hardships (like no room service) vicariously! Most importantly, we hope you'll add your comments and greetings, which we will get when we get to one of our stopping points. Souvenir requests will receive due consideration (Hint #1: Success is highly correlated with tackiness).

For those so inclined (you know who you are), we will also list links to related sites so that you can learn with us as we learn on the road, and maybe visit some of the same sights in the future!

Happy Trails to us all!

Love, Phoebe and Robin


Monday, August 23, 2010

Go East, Young Woman

The trek eastward continues.

And not to be outdone by Sunday, which had a theme song, Monday felt strongly that it, too, deserved a theme song, especially since it asserted that Sunday was supposed to be a day of rest, and exactly where did it get off having a theme song.   Being the sympathetic sorts, we gave in.  Here is Monday's theme song, in all its glory.

video

So, in case you couldn't tell, we headed back into Indiana today.  (No, really!)  And unlike Sunday, we did have a destination this time!  We were headed for Goshen, Indiana (south of Elkhart, not far from South Bend), to visit our friends Wilma and Barb.  But before we got there, we had an important stop to make--a museum that we had spotted and longed for on the way west, but had missed due to our slovenly ways (we arrived just after they closed).  Not this time!  Here we are at (drum roll) the International RV Hall of Fame & Museum!

video


There were two highlights of the museum (for me, that is....Phoebe liked the flat screen TV's in the huge new RVs).  The first was Mae West's 1931 "Housecar".  Apparently, this was one of the "enticements" offered by Paramount to get her off the vaudeville circuit and into movies.  It's a chauffeur driven "lounge" that transported her from her home or hotel to movie locations for a number of years.  Apparently, she had a rocking chair on the "back porch" of the vehicle for fresh air.  Apparently, I use the word apparently too often.

The second highlight had little to do with the museum itself, but was simply the most vivid (and odd) of a series of like experiences during this trip.  When we entered the museum, there was an extraordinarily eager and enthusiastic (and a  bit off center) man at the front desk (it's not a busy museum, I suspect they get pretty enthused about guests).   He greeted us (and tried to escort us through the self-guided museum, but that's another story) as I got out my wallet to pay our admission.  He said "Just the two of you?"  I said "Yes."  And then he regaled us with how wonderful he thought it was when, every once in a while, a grandparent comes to this special place with their grandchild, to share together the wonder of historic RV's, passing down through the generations, blah, blah, blah, you get the idea.  Phoebe and I winked at one another (this is not an infrequent event, especially in the Midwest, where people clearly do not believe in gray hair, nor, I suspect, in having children after 30 or so), and go ahead and let him charge us the steeply discounted rate for "grandparents". And there I was feeling offended about those AARP solicitations that come in the mail!

We enjoyed a wonderful dinner (mmmm....farm fresh corn) courtesy of Wilma and Barb, and took a beautiful walk along the Mill Race at dusk to get homemade ice cream at Chief, which according to one Yelp reviewer, you're not supposed to know about, so shhhh, keep it under your hat.

I am still recovering from our conversation (Barb is a real estate agent) in which it was verified that I could buy the little house that I live in in Lexington for about $60,000 (or less) in Goshen, quite an "artsy fartsy"--Barb's words--community.  Sigh.  Many many thanks to them for putting us up!

Onward to Ohio tomorrow!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Peru

Okay.  Fine.  You win.

Yeah, we're in Peru. 

Illinois.

We are in a La Quinta hotel, though, so we've got that Latin thing going.  And we did head east.  And our hotel is south of the highway (a little).   So that's almost the same thing.  Right?

Several things that were noteworthy about today, though.

First off, last night, at about ten, we left Des Moines, Iowa, the furthest point west of our whole trip.  And this morning, we left Colfax, Iowa, where we stayed last night, and headed east on the first leg of our trip home (not that we don't have many things to do and places to go and things and people to see before we get there a week from today, oh my yes we certainly do).  We are in some shock that the trip is more than half over, particularly as we are accustomed to much longer road trips, but we are confident that we will recover and live to roadtrip again.

Secondly, today was possibly the first day of the trip (today is day 11) that we did not have a particular destination other than "a few hours east".  So we slept late, ate breakfast some miles down the highway (in a restaurant, not on the highway, for those of you who are pickier than the average bear), and hit the road.   With one stop for roaming in an air conditioned shopping mall (it's HOT here) and picking up some Mad Libs for car entertainment (did you know that Copernicus constructed a rudimentary telescope with a fork and two pieces of taco stuck to it, one to each end?  I didn't either!  Amazing stuff!!), we roamed and we rambled and we followed our footsteps, and we wound up in Peru!  We are road trippin' kinda gals.

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, by virtue of this being the first day without a destination, it had  theme song!!  Yay, theme songs!

And so, dear readers-who-have-been-very-patient-with-this-old-broad-who-has-often-been-too-pooped-to-blog-after-these-long-days-of-fun-and-driving-but-is-now-trying-to-catch-up, here is our theme song!  Enjoy, and we'll see you tomorrow!

video

Darned iPhone GPS

I've never claimed that I'm immune to mistakes. 

So there we were, just driving along, heading east for the first time in ten days, and, well, the GPS said to turn right (due south) and so we did.  It did seem like we were driving for a pretty long time, and the scenery didn't quite look right, but hey, we do what the map says.  Lo and behold, look where we wound up.

Yeah.   We're in Peru.

Oops.

I gotta say, Phoebe's really acculturated herself quickly, don't you think?




Friday, August 20, 2010

Why We Do This

This trip is about dreams.  That's our theme.

About three or four days ago, Phoebe commented that this trip was not like the other ones, in that we didn't have a clear theme.  I reminded her that this one was about dreams, and she said she knew that, but that dreams are not really a theme like The Oregon Trail is a theme, or Paleontology and Geology are a theme.  She was, and is, of course, right.   On this trip, we don't have a goal every day of doing something within our theme, something that ties all experiences together. 

Except that we do.

I am still working on explaining that.  To her.  To me.  To you.

Dreams are about listening.  They are about what we think of when we don't know we're thinking.  They are about what we are told--sometimes obliquely, sometimes blatantly--whether we choose it or not.  They are about what we can learn, if we listen to what comes.  At least that's what they are to me.

Last night, we went to see Eat Pray Love at the charming Portage Theater in Portage, Wisconsin (where, by the way, they sell hot mini chocolate chip cookies in paper cups at the snack counter.  Just sayin'.)


It was the first real "grown up" film that Phoebe has been to, and a pretty long one, which in moments equaled boring, but mostly she got it.  Her primary thought after leaving the movie is that she very much wants to go to Italy to eat the food there.  I love it that she holds that as possible, even likely.  I, of course, loved it.   Oh, sure, it had its faults (I'm bugged by the clothes thing for one, but we'll tawk if and when you see it).  I don't care.  I don't care in the same way that I am perplexed by the insistence of so many people, in fact darn near everyone, that Field of Dreams is a baseball movie, and the lasting appeal of the film is due to America's love affair with baseball.   I mean, it's not like I haven't noticed that it's got a strong baseball theme.  But the insistence thing is confusing.  And tiring.  Here are the things I think the movie is about:  Listening to the Voice(s), paying attention, honoring yourself, following your dreams, creating, following a muse, doing what you know is right--what you are pulled inexorably to do--whether it seems crazy or not and whether everyone makes fun of you or not, forgiveness, healing, and okay, sentimentality (I love sentimentality).  Right.  The same things that Eat Pray Love is about.  Right.  The same thing that our road trips are about.  Which pretty much explains why I got teary when I saw the "Welcome to Dyersville" sign this afternoon.

This is a trip of listening.  As they have all been.  Except this one is more open-ended, allowing it to be heavier on the listening and lighter on the "make it fit".  Beautiful.

So let me tell you what happened today.   Let's just call it Convergence.

We were driving through southern Wisconsin and into northeastern Iowa....I'm not quite sure exactly where we were, but I do know it was after the torrential thunderstorm which, blessedly, didn't last too long.  I think it was somewhere around Elgin, but I'm not sure.  The sky had lightened and it was difficult to miss the bright yellow "burma shave" type signs along the side of the road.  Here is what they said:


In the interest of full disclosure, there was a sixth sign that made it clear that these were in fact an advertisement for large corn maze ("maize maze", I love that).  Once again, as ever....I don't care.  Just like I don't care that Field of Dreams is about baseball.    I saw them.  I read them.  I felt blessed, I felt seen, I felt like someone somewhere out there gets this life that we're leading for these two plus weeks, even if it is sometimes deep, infrequently serious, occasionally aimless, and sometimes just downright goofy. 

Yes, it's a sturgeon.  Yes, it has a saddle. 

(above photo taken today in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, which, just so's you know, is pronounced "Prairie doo sheen"....oy, Americans.....which even still sounds kinda cool as a French kinda name until you realize that it means Prairie of the Dogs, or at least it does when the French words are pronounced like, say, they're actually French.  I thought it referred to those little cute(ish) animals that pop their heads up out of the ground, but apparently not.  See how much you can learn on these trips?)

The second point of convergence was just too overwhelming, even for me, and I'm deep into this dream theme, even if no one else can figure out exactly what I mean.  I know what I mean.  I took a few moments tonight to check my facebook stuff, see what folks are up to, claim my sappiness, you know....and I see a notice for the new show on P.O.V. (fabulous show) that is premiering in a few days.

(let us pause for a moment to pay homage to technology, by whose grace I can program my tivo to record the show in my home in Massachusetts even while I roam the dog prairie.  All hail!)

Just in case you don't know about it, the upcoming film (showing on Aug. 24) is called The Edge of Dreaming.  I could barely speak when I heard what it was about, which, best as I can gauge without seeing it yet, seems to be exploring the edge between science and dreams, between clairvoyance and coincidence, between fear and fate.  

There are questions to be answered on this trip.   We're listening. 

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Resurrection

No, not that one. You should know better than that. (don't get your panties in a bunch, it's a word, and as such can actually apply to more than one thing, I'm flexible like that, and yes, I also believe in relativism, but let's not get into that.)

Here's the thing. It's been a little while. Okay, three years. Or so. We're not on the Oregon Trail anymore, and haven't been for a good long while. We don't have any jerky left, and don't intend to buy more. We're both three years older--wiser, I don't know about that part.

We travel when we have a theme. And when we have time. Last year, we didn't go. (insert sobbing sounds) So, natch, nothin' to write. Two years ago, we did go to Paris and Switzerland. We could have blogged about that. That would've been good. But we didn't, because I didn't want to schlep a laptop around Europe. Your loss. It was a good time, we bought art supplies and sketched the Eiffel Tower on my 50th birthday, blah blah blah. Way fun. That's enough of that. Hey, we didn't blog the first trip at all--and that one was a doozie, involving many national parks and dinosaur bones-- so count yourself lucky. Maybe I'll throw in some pics from those trips here and there just to confuse you, you never know.

But here we are. We're back. We're on the road. Again. If you know me well you know that I am doing a massive happy dance at the mere idea, much less the reality of it all.

This year, we (okay, I) got a theme. Way back in May or something. It was obvious, it was easy, it was natural, just like it's supposed to be. But despite having a theme, it seemed that it was not destined to be this summer. Alas. Alack. Dammit. But then it did. All of a sudden (you have no idea). And we're here (bet you want to know where "here" is, don't you? Read on, friends, read on.).

But here's the other thing. It seemed crazy to have the old header up there. The wagon train, the dust, the explanation. So we've got a new look (after I saved the old one in a secret place because, well, I save everything).  Like it?  We do. 

So this year we have a Dream Theme (which is different than a Dream Team, because in that case the word "dream" is modifying the word "team", and in this case it just means that the theme is about Dreams, so it is a word...er, concept...unto itself. Makes sense, right? (I have no idea what I just wrote, hoping you have some idea, maybe you can let me know)  Sometimes it will seem like the theme is right on, sometimes it will seem completely unrelated, but we'll know.  Heck, life can be a dream (sweetheart), which makes darn near everything fit.  Right?  Right!

So....stay tuned. More to come. This is a short one, two and a half weeks (or so). Filled with dreams, dream states, dream metaphors, and much quirkiness.  Because it's us.

Read on.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The Eagle Has Landed

We arrived in the Bay Area today, crossing the Golden Gate on a beautiful and typical summer afternoon. Trust me--it's orange-ish red. Try squinting. As we crossed, Phoebe said "Just imagine...once they finish painting it, they have to start painting it all over again!". Way to retain information, Pheebs.

But before that, we made one stop, at Blackie's Pasture (in Tiburon, Marin County). What's Blackie's Pasture, you say? Oh. You should know about this. Blackie is the subject of an incredibly beautiful and moving picture book, titled "Blackie, the Horse Who Stood Still."
(neither Audrey nor I can read it out loud without crying, Phoebe just really loves the story and looks at us like we're strange) and an important part of the history of the area. Check it out (if you know a kid, buy it for them...it's wonderful). You can read more about it amazon.com, but suffice it to say that Blackie was a real horse who lived in this particular pasture until the ripe old age of 33. He was buried in the same pasture, and a beautiful metal sculpture was erected to honor him. Phoebe has read the book countless times since her grandma gave it to her, and it was a thrill to walk in Blackie's footsteps today.

We have more exciting tales to tell, some through a project we're working on about our trip, some about the possible reincarnation of a very special dog, and some that we don't even know about yet! So keep checking in over the next couple of days, as we wind down to the end of our great adventure. And keep sending us comments...we love to hear from you.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Hippies and Breakfast

Ahhhh.....Home.

(Phoebe yelled out "Beeeep!" , saying "I SO agree!" after I explained what he was doing, and then sat down on a bench and asked me to time five and then ten minutes and she counted the beeps.Then she said she wants to do a test comparison on Mass Ave. Anyone wanna join us?)

But enough about trivial matters like our national leadership (and this was even before we knew about Karl Rove!!). On to more important things.

Help me out here. Explain something to me. So what's the deal with hippies and breakfast? Why do hippie restaurants invariabely have killer good breakfast? And why can't we get great breakfast like that on the east coast (even in Cambridge, frevvinsakes)?? I want some answers and I want 'em NOW. (brings a whole new meaning to "Breakfast of Champions", doesn't it?)

And, let me say "ahhhhh" again. Mendocino. I love Mendocino. I lurve Mendocino.


By all appearances, it even got to Phoebe, the born-in-Manhattan, Red-Sox-loyal kinda girl. Here she is, trippin' out outside the bead store. Must have been the incense.


We spent a couple of great hours on Glass Beach in Fort Bragg, hunting for fabulous beach glass and china fragments (it covers nearly the whole beach there), chatting with kids and adults alike, and soaking in our last moments at the rugged California coast. No photos from there, too busy hunting for treasure. We stayed there until low tide, and headed inland to cut a couple of hours off tomorrow's drive, thereby cutting it in half. For you map fiends, tonight we're sleeping in Cloverdale, California, and by tomorrow afternoon, we will be in San Carlos (south of San Francisco and where I grew up). If it is not shrouded in fog, as is typical in the summer, we will check in tomorrow with a photo of the Golden Gate.

I know I've said it before, but we're grateful to all of you for reading, commenting, joking, and appreciating what we have done here. Many have told us of how they have enjoyed this blog. It's been fun for us, too, but more importantly, it has been a way of taking this long journey without feeling alone. So whatever you did, or even if you're reading for the first time today, thanks for being here.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

R.C.A.F.E.*

Got ya wondering now, didn't I? Well, you have to read (actually, you could just scroll down, but you SHOULD read. It's the right thing to do, and you know it).

(And No, Audrey, it's NOT the name of the great coffee place in Israel, so don't even try.)

It has been called to my attention that we have not let you know that we are now in California. Oh my goodness, what a glaring omission.

We are now in California. (you're welcome)

So, to catch you up...yesterday evening, we had a powerful lesson in Mommy Can Certainly Be Mistaken. After a whole afternoon spent at the beach in Oregon (proving nature is exhausting and time consuming), we headed south, staying along the coast (the Oregon coast is spectacular, add it to your list). We intended to drive a couple of hours and stop in Coos Bay. Well, one thing led to another, and Mommy thought "Just a little further...." and we wound up in the next significant town and then in the next, which was Brookings, Oregon. I was sure that we were miles from the border. And then I looked at our guidebook (it was LATE by this point...after 8:00 p.m.), and it mentioned that there was a hotel that was in Crescent City, CA, "only 25 minutes south of Brookings". 25 MINUTES? WE'RE NEAR CALIFORNIA?? LET'S GO! So we went.

We stayed in Crescent City last night, and headed out this morning, with the goal of getting to Fort Bragg tonight. ANOTHER powerful lesson (this one even more so...we're on a roll) in Mommy Sometimes Doesn't Have a Clue What She's Talking About. Same concept, different day. I thought Fort Bragg was close (sorta like thinking the border of California was far), but it wasn't (and I mean wasn't). Even later tonight than last. Oh, well. We're here.

But rewind for a moment...before leaving Crescent City, we decided to make a stop at (drum roll) OCEAN WORLD!! The appeal was primarily the opportunity to pet sharks, which sold Phoebe immediately. Ben, if you're reading this, it's time to fall down now--Phoebe did actually pet a shark. She was sure you wouldn't believe her, so here's a photo.


The shark didn't bite, it didn't even feel weird, even though we learned that shark skin is made up of millions of tiny little teeth, which is why its skin was (and sometimes still is) used as sandpaper. HOWEVER...when we moved on in the exhibit, the strangest thing happened. I hestitate to tell you, but you have the right to know. Maybe the best way to explain is to ask if you've seen that Woody Allen movie "Zelig". You know, it was kinda funny, but it was kind of heartbreaking at the same time? Well....well....maybe it's just better that you see it with your own eyes....brace yourself...


And since Ocean World wasn't enough for us, we made our next faithful stop at "The Trees of Mystery!" (aka California Redwoods--hey, those old growth redwoods have to be good for making money somehow), home of Paul Bunyan and Babe! (okay, stepping down off my cynic's soapbox now)

(just for size reference, here's Phoebe on his shoe:)
This attraction features an aerial tram that goes up up up through the canopy of huge redwoods to a little observation deck on the mountain top and then down down down again. But! And I say again, But! For the intrepid among us, there is a second option--you can hike down, instead of taking the tram. The sign by the trail says "For Advanced Hikers Only", with multiple accompanying warnings about the trail and it advises hikers to "check with the attendant" before you do it. So we checked. And then we went, "advanced hikers" that we are. It was the best part of the day. Here's a photo of Phoebe on the trail, and us at the bottom, just before we returned our hiking sticks that we picked up at the top.


We talked and talked and made a list of things to research (tallest tree in the world, oldest tree in the world, and lots more info about the history of tree-sitters in California.."they were SO brave!", Phoebe said. Right on. (and in this case, I don't even care if that expression dates me)

And just one more photo for those of you who, for whatever reason, have not had the good fortune to see the California redwoods "up close and personal". Phoebe, with a representative of the largest trees in the world. Gorgeous.


*Oh. Rampant Commercialism And Flagrant Exploitation