Family & Friends in California!

Hello, California! We received a warm welcome from Brian’s sister, Christy and her husband, Steve at their home in Concord, CA. No, this had nothing to do with the fact that we’d just brought them all their beloved possessions. We hadn’t seen them in quite some time and they had someone very special to introduce to us…our favorite niece, Molly!

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We spent our first afternoon together unloading the Penske truck, washing down furniture and linens, and remodeling Christy and Steve’s house with all the furniture from the east coast. In between we watched Molly sleep, held Molly, watched Christy or Steve hold Molly, watched Molly sleep, and had a long lazy lunch. All moved in, just some final accessories will be added to the new nest.

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Then it was off to the Black Diamond Brewery’s Tasting Room with the guys to refuel and refresh while Christy napped and Kathy took a turn watching Molly sleep. Molly really is a fabulous sleeper! At eight-days old, I’d say she’s got this life business figured! Black Diamond Brewery had flavorful beers, including a coconut beer that brought my senses right back to the Caribbean.

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After so much traveling, it was great to just relax…

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While we were in town, we couldn’t have been luckier because also in the area were some of our East Coast friends. We couldn’t have planned such circumstances if we’d tried! Christy offered to share her house with more friends and Kathy, our party planning extraordinaire, helped us to prepare an afternoon BBQ. We were reunited with long-time friends, Jon, Sarah, & Cailin and their friends too, Matt, Kelly, & Lucy. Jon and Sarah had moved to the West Coast just before we’d moved aboard Rode Trip. It was almost surreal being in the same location once again, and it was great catching up because everyone has been so busy with exciting happenings! Also in town were our very good friends, Paul and Emily. Recently, Paul had visited Rode Trip and we could hardly believe we were now kicking back together in California! Good times…

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The Loneliest Road in America

This was the last day of our Cross-Country Road Trip and we’d chosen to drive U.S. Route-50 through Nevada; The Loneliest Road in America. 20140708-154945.jpg

This route was originated by the Pony Express, evident along the way by several ‘Pony Express Stations’ now converted into rest areas, campgrounds, and hiking trails. In the 1980’s, Life Magazine dubbed U.S. Route-50 “The Loneliest Road in America.” Life’s article gave travelers a negative impression of the “empty” road. Nevada spun this into a positive marketing campaign and the Commission on Tourism developed Highway 50 Survival Guides and Kits made available at gas stations, hotels, and restaurants along the route. We were intrigued prior to knowing this history and wished we’d had more time to explore Nevada. There are several towns along the route, friendly people, history, wildlife, and great outdoors to explore.

The Loneliest Road stretched for miles and miles…and miles and miles! On the outskirts we spotted roads leading far into the hills (not suitable for a Penske truck). This seemed like a place where cruisers could spend weeks, months even just getting to know the locals and stepping off the beaten track. The scenery was dramatic too. When we entered Nevada, green valleys sprawled along the roadsides.

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Farther along Nevada became more desert-like, and soon white salt flats sprawled along the roadsides. We’d even past by a sand dune that looked like it had just been plopped down out of the sky!

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We stopped at the Cold Springs Station and were the only diners that afternoon. Loneliest Road… We had a lovely chat with our waitress, who was also very familiar with road trips and shared stories from her own cross-country travels. She and her husband are working at the Cold Springs Station to once again add cash to their travel kitty. She and her husband are also avid hunters, and she shared success stories with us as we admired the local decor. The cook made me the most delicious BLT humanly possible to create. Then while Brian and I delved into our BLT and burger, the cook regaled us by recapping his favorite sci-fi movies, summarizing his book-in-progress, and sharing totally unheard of conspiracy theories. Loneliest Road…

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Brian and I pushed through the remainder of our drive all the way to Concord, CA. We’d had enough of the Penske truck and did not want to chance another hotel (so far both were fabulously clean and friendly). It was time to make this delivery and see our family!

Moviestar Sighting in Moab, Utah

We’d taken the advice of our good friend and Admin, Mark S., who has hundreds of miles worth of cross-country traveling experience and we drove south on UT-128 into Moab, Utah. The drive was fascinating! Brian and I “Oohed,” and “Aahed,” the entire drive as we wove along the Colorado River through a red-walled canyon.20140708-153046.jpg20140708-153058.jpg20140708-153110.jpg

Moab is located at the southern end of the Arches National Park and is a popular tourist destination, particularly for avid mountain bikers. We were worried that our early evening arrival during the summer season might make finding a hotel difficult. We were in luck! At the locally owned and operated Adventure Inn we received a very cozy, very clean room for the night. There was plenty of parking space for the Penske truck amidst several jeeps, pick-ups, and trailers. We settled quickly into our room and then walked into downtown Moab.

A quaint town, Moab offered several touristy shops featuring work of local artisans as well as the “big name guys” such as Life is Good and Red Dirt Shirts. We were en-route to Moab Brewing; unfortunately for us the brewery was closed that night due to a power outage. Instead, we selected a delicious Mexican restaurant and then stopped by the grocery store on the walk back where we selected Polygamy Porter for dessert. Polygamy Porter was tasty, why stop at just one…hey, when in Utah!

The highlight of the night was running into Mater (the tow truck from Disney/Pixar Cars). I could hardly believe it!! This was my first, real-life encounter with a movie star! And he’s ANIMATED! What are the odds!?20140708-153453.jpg