Archive for September 10th, 2010

Start your engine…Day 1

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Melt in your mouth fluffy buttermilk pancakes. Sweet Canadian Maple Syrup. A steaming cup of English Breakfast tea. Pleasant surprise of a WiFi connection, too. I like mornings in Niagara Falls, Canada! But I’m jumping ahead. Let’s turn the clock back 24 hours (ok, maybe 36)…

Let the preparations begin

I can be a procrastinator. Always have been. Love deadlines because I thrive when completing a task in the heat of the moment. And if I don’t have a deadline, it may not get done at all. The thing I most procrastinate about is packing. It is highly unusual for me to pack ahead of time – usually it’s in the wee hours of the morning I’m leaving. Afraid this trip which I’ve been planning for umpteenth months is no different. I know I had a house to prep but I probably should’ve packed SOMETHING earlier. Oh well. At least I had my packing lists and I had made piles of stuff I wanted to bring. And so far I’ve only noticed one thing that I forgot – my USB cord to connect my Tom Tom to my computer for updates. SInce I just updated it, I should be fine. So yes, I was packing until 3 am and then got up at 7 am to finish, shower and pack the car. And I still left by 9!

Mom and Mark came by to see me off (Tina and the girls, Sarah B and Tara all stopped in to say goodbye the night before). The girls helped me do a dry run to see if stuff would fit in my trunk – I had bought a mix of different size plastic containers to supplement my one suitcase and one duffle bag. The theory is to keep most things in the containers and suitcase and simply fill the duffle bag with what I need each night, so I’m only lugging one thing in and out, but always have everything I need available. (Of course, my idea of what I ‘need’ may differ from others. A sampling: books, stationary, journals, lap top, DVDs (including an exercise video at which Mark laughed – snorted really – and said ‘you know it doesn’t just happen by buying it, you actually have to use  it.’ I’ll show him!), first aid kit, clothes and shoes for almost any situation (left my ball gown at home but do have a little black dress), sleeping bag and pillow, etc.) It all had to fit in the trunk because I’ll be picking Helen and Keira and their luggage up in Nashville, then Tina and Kristen the following week. Also figured if I only filled the trunk at first, then I can fill the back seat later with stuff I buy around the country. 🙂

On the road

I was so excited to get on the road. I quickly found that the most difficult thing is going to be recording my thoughts while driving. I was only a few minutes into the drive when I reached for pen and paper and came close to ending the journey before it began! So while the rest of the this blog consists of many those thoughts I messily scribbled while trying to avoid causing a highway pile up, I am stopping today to buy microcassettes for my mini recorder so I can just talk while driving and then transcribe later. Much safer. I also need to figure out how to take pictures from the road – wishful thinking I know – but otherwise I want to stop every two minutes and that’s not exactly safe either!

The first route was 495N to 90 West. Of course I hadn’t even made it to 495 when I made my first stop – Dunkin Donuts for my iced tea. And it was only an hour and a half later that I made my second stop because I was finished with the iced tea! It was perfect timing though because that’s when Nick texted me to say ‘Shaq jerseys are everywhere!’ And that’s the one thing I won’t do while driving – text. So please, if you text me and I don’t get right back to you, assume I’m driving and just call me or wait for me to get back to you.

Then I got a call from Katrina: first house showing booked – yay! Hopefully it will go quick, but not so quick I need to cut the road trip too short…

As I drove the Mass Pike, I tried to appreciate my beautiful, green surroundings, and thought about how gorgeous it’s going to be in just a couple weeks with all the leaves changing color. I love Fall in New England! I also started thinking about how no matter what happenss on this road trip my life will never be the same again. I’ve been going, going, going and I haven’t stopped to think about all the change in my life. My son now lives at school. I’m selling my house. There’s no significant other in my life anymore. I no longer work for National Grid. Luckily before I got to engrossed in those thoughts, I was distracted by the Lee Outlets and had to stop myself from going on a shopping spree before even leaving the state!

Another distraction: the radio. Thank goodness my car came with six months of free Sirius! It was so nice to be able to listen and not search through static stations. Love the variety. I listened to everything from Toby Kieth to Tina Turner, from Billie Holiday to Blind Melon and from Poison to Phantom of the Opera. I was so excited when Smash Mouth’s All Star came on – haven’t heard that in forever. Didn’t turn my ipod on once! (But I do have it ready with all my fav songs and a few audio books.

And yet another distraction: I find it fascinating checking out all the info my car provides me. Instantaneous MPG is cool – within a minute it fluctuated between 27 – 53. It also tells me my average MPG, my average speed, and periodically tells me I have a message. Not sure how to get it or who it’s from, but I’m sure eventually I’ll figure it out.

I’ve been enjoying the company of an australian man incased in my gps. (Thanks to Katie!) ‘Keep right, then let’s get on the freeway.’ It’s a very cool feature of the TomTom that allows you to change the voice. He’s a bit too reserved for me, but it’s better than the typical voice.

Facing my fears

Other things I’ve realized, or already knew but was quickly reminded of:

  • Big trucks intimidate me. I try to stay away from them.
  • I have a love/hate relationship with bridges. I love looking at them, taking pictures of them and even walking over them, but I hate driving over them. Am always afraid I’m going to accidently swerve and go off one!
  • I do not want to get a ticket – have to watch my speed and try to figure out some things like is ‘right on red’ a national thing, or only Massachusetts?
  • Most importantly, I’m a woman traveling alone. I took my self defence course and have my pepper spray, but I also have to be smart and not stay and wander around in skeezy, dark areas by myself. I somewhat did that last night, but don’t plan to make a habit of it. I know I’m not invincable.

Playing tourist

Around 3 pm I got to my first stop: Women’s Right’s National Historical Park in Seneca Falls, NY. It was where the first women’s rights convention was held in 1848. Very interesting, and an appropriate first stop. I wouldn’t be able to make this trip as a single woman if it wasn’t for those women who fought for our rights and equality!

I then visited Seneca Lake State Park. It’s beautiful – pictures of all to be posted soon. Then it was on to Niagara Falls. More about this in the next blog. Must go check out of the hotel before they kick me out…

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