I initially planned to give you an hour-by-hour, play-by-play account of my trip, but I failed. I did try, however:
Thursday, July 31
9:30am - Leave College Station
11:00am - Arrive in Houston to drop Dad's car off at my little sisters
12:30pm - Still in Houston (brother drama). We probably didn't actually leave until closer to 1pm.
This is as far as I got on the play-by-play of the trip. Let's just say I grew annoyed pretty fast when my dad spent over two hours dealing with my little brother's problems. I'm the type of person who approaches long road trips with one objective: get from point A to point B, very quickly. Our plan to drive 15 hours a day and get to Dover in two days was completely ruined by this unnecessary attention (trust me, it was very unnecessary). To top it off, Dad wanted to stop around 10pm that night. I was still wide awake and could have driven more, but he wanted to relax before bed. Relaxing before bed does not fall into my long-trip objective, but I went along with it.
I did jot down a few things during that first night:
- Dad keeps commenting on my driving, likening it to tailgating, which is not the case. He likes to start off his "lecture" with "You know... I probably wouldn't be following this close...." which then goes on and on and on and on about good driving skills and sudden stops.
- First meal: McDonalds. I ordered a mighty kids cheeseburger meal. Dad comments on my choice: "Why didn't you get the grilled chicken?" Me: "Because I wanted a burger." Dad: "Chicken is better for you." Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. No crap chicken is better, but I wanted a burger! I hardly ever eat burgers and always get grilled chicken. He wouldn't know this, but I was still aggravated by his "lecture" in healthy eating. Food police are generally pretty aggravating.
- Dad's worried about Tri and how he's not drinking. He mentions pulling over at Walgreen's to get a plastic syringe to "force feed" Tri. I told him that wasn't necessary. I know my cat... he was fine. I wasn't going to force feed him water and stress him out even more.
- Dad tells me that another little brother of mine stole and pawned my Xbox. Needless to say... this was upsetting and only increased my irritation, which sadly never dissipated for the rest of the trip.
- At our last hotel stop, somewhere south of Scranton, PA, Tri broke free and made a run for it (or a scoot, it's hard to run on three legs, but he manages very well). I opened the carrier door for him so that he could pee, drink and eat at night, and the moment I did, Dad jerks the tarp off the roof of the car, which frightens my cat. Tri bolted out of the door and to make matters worse, Dad started chasing him, which causes Tri to run even faster (on all three legs) -- he's running toward traffic, btw -- I'm positive that I'll never find him in the dark and that some car will run over him. Luckily, I found Tri hiding under a truck and managed to grab him. This was the most stressful part of my drive.
- I suppose Dad's pretty proud that I'm following my dreams, although he sometimes struggles to express that. I had to learn from my oldest brother. All dad ever says to me is "I hope it works out for you"... I hope so too.
Needless to say, 2.5 days in a car hearing lectures -- regardless of their good intention, and my dad always means well -- left me pretty cranky. But getting here to NH made it all worth it! The place I'm staying in is beautiful, the people are great, and the location is so fantastic. It's been sorta warm, in the high seventies, which I'm not complaining about. Normally I wouldn't mind, but my upstairs room doesn't really have central air, so it's sorta stuffy. My fans are working well though. I may need to go get a big heavy duty fan to keep me cool at night. The family I'm staying with is fantastic; they've really made me feel at home here. The husband (who is 54) even said that I should think of them as extended family and offered to teach me how to drive in the snow (score!). It's nice that they're so friendly and generous with their time. It's slightly awkward still, mostly because I'm not sure what's expected. I don't want them to think that they need to provide anything but this room for me, but it really is like living with my parents in a way. Not the same of course, but similar. They have a little 2-year-old, adopted from Guatemala; she's precious.
Photos: (Top): a shot of the the area where I live. You take an exit just off the little bend in the road (heading toward the right of the picture). The bridge you see connects Dover to Newington, where I'll probably do most of my shopping. At the base of the bridge there is Hilton State Park, which is pretty beautiful. The water is the Piscataqua River. (Middle): My new home! Look at the trees! (Middle Bottom): A picture of Hilton State Park and the Piscataqua River. (Bottom): Old Sullivan Bridge, the old bridge that connects Dover to Newington. You can now walk across it. Click on the image to make it bigger (especially the bridge, it's pretty!)
I'm learning my way around town, which will take a few days. I'm hoping to land a job by the end of the month as well. Anyway, it's definitely going to be an interesting adventure.