Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Moving - Almost Home

Almost to my new home. As I neared the boarder of Pennsylvania and New Jersey the mountains change a bit. Rather than riding this rollercoaster of a hill, the roads are carved into the sides of these monstrously sized mountains. It is absolutely beautiful.

driving into the mountains

I am not sure if it is a combination of temperatures, river moisture or elevation, or all of the above, but as you can see here, there is a cloudy mist floating right at the top of the edge of the mountain that holds the road we were on. This is a fairly amazing view in real life (pictures just can’t quite capture it.)

clouds or mist at the top of the mountains

We are heading into the Lehigh Valley here which is where the road carves directly through the mountain and at this point it is most appropriate to play the Billy Joel song Allenton, since Allentown, PA, is just down the road (which we drove through.)
A short time later we arrived. We met up with my cousins wife, Lisa, in a town called Quakertown, where she lead us through a canopy of beautiful tree laden roads. From here we were soon across the Delaware River and pretty much into Frenchtown (my new home.)

Lehigh Valley Tunnel: nearly there

I am amassing photos of Frenchtown and some of the surrounding community, but for now I will show you a few photos from day two in the apartment. Day one in the apartment was impossible. We arrive late in the day, and exhausted, we took naps. After that my cousin and his wife and child wanted to go have dinner at a local restaurant and then we headed over to the new apartment to unload the truck. This became a fiasco.

over packed apartment: too much stuff!

I should mention that I rented the apartment have never visited it. Lisa visited it for me and took a metric ton of pictures and based on those amazing photos I rented the place. What you do not get from the photos is the fact that the apartment is I the loft of a three story building made of very tall stairs. After two waves of generous friends assisting in the move (even after it had started to rain) into the apartment, my new place was packed like a storage unit. There we not a single ounce of floor space to be found. I began to get worried that I would have to start holding yard sales in my apartment to pear it all down.

my overcrowded livingroom

the office area upstairs

Eventually it all fit, but here are the photos of a slightly more sorted apartment on day two and the view out of one window in the apartment. In the coming days I will show some photos of the apartment from the outside to put it in perspective and then show how the apartment looks today. I can honestly say that I am loving every minute of it (except the small cold I am fighting off at the moment.)

a writers nook downstairs

The view out the window by the front door: into the downtown of Frenchtown

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Moving - Across the Country (or at least across half of it)

Driving out of Illinois had it’s own little twist.

Just outside of Chicago not long after the town of Gary, Indiana you will find a crisscrossing of highways. There amidst road construction 80, 90 and 94 cross each other is subtle and significant ways. I figured this out at around 9:00am when suddenly while the roads were lined with distracting trees changing colors all around me a sign telling me that I should feel welcomed to Michigan hinted to me that I was not on highway 80.

We (me and my father, who was riding along) stopped off at the “welcome” center where they had small maps that outlined exactly how I missed the connection and how to backtrack. Amazing how money is invested in these little maps to give to unexpected visitors, but not on better road signage.

Back on the road we proceeded through Indiana and Ohio. By early Indiana we were ready for some breakfast, but wanting to “make time” we grabbed food to go and hit the road again.

By mid Indiana I had been awake for about 30 hours with a 2 hour nap (I am calling the sleep on Wednesday night a nap at this point, because I was completely exhausted!) A few more hours of napping and I was ready for the road again (my father drove for a number of hours to accommodate.)

Ohio in the fall is beautiful but surprisingly wide (you might not realize that by looking at a map.)

By the time we hit the edge of Pennsylvania on Thursday evening, we were both ready to call it a day. Here is the thing about Western Pennsylvania. It is hilly.

And it is also very beautiful and when you first cross the boarder, there are a ton of places to stop and catch a nice hotel. Have you ever been out West in the United States? You know how they have those signs telling you that it’s the last stop for automobile fuel in hundreds of miles and if you don’t stop now you will be using the name of the state as a swearword in a few hours? Well, Western Pennsylvania should do the same thing about hotels.

Well on into the dark we drove looking for a hotel and a number of times we talked about turning back, but after an hour of driving it feels like such a waste to do that. At about two hours of driving, you really want to turn back but you know it is a complete waste of gas and time.

Finally, we came to this Oasis of a community where we found a Super 8 motel.

Outside of being a very welcomed hotel experience, I found two things worth mentioning. One, it was around Halloween and so notice the ornamentation on the door picture below. “Stay Out” exclaims the message. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think I would put up holiday messages that invite people to not enter your business. Hello!?

The second interesting thing was the supposed apartment. At first I wasn’t sure if it was an apartment but then I noticed the little garden associated with it. Interesting. It is stuff like this that makes me want to know the back story.

We got up early (before the sun) and hit the road again. I am really glad I drove this, at this point. How often do you get the time to listen to good music and chat with your father about a million things as an adult? Trust me. It doesn’t happen and I am thankful for that opportunity.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Moving - Leaving Wisconsin

Leaving Wisconsin! While these first photos don’t do the packing job justice, the scattered items that are not yet in boxes in these two photos feels reminiscent of the way the back of the truck looked once I closed the door for the big ride. My Wisconsin apartment had (1) a bedroom, (2), two bathrooms, (3) living room, (4) eat-in kitchen, and (5) two walk in closets. Not to mention, I had an indoor parking spot which had a few large items in it and a secured locker in the basement of the apartment. All in all, you could say I had a lot of crap and you would say right!

My Apartment In Wisconsin: Packing
I finished my last day on the job at Air Wisconsin on a Wednesday and that night a bunch of Air Wisconsin and Experimental Aircraft Association folks showed up to help me load up the truck. While I am incredibly appreciative of everyone’s help, I have to give a “shout out” to my homie Ryan who loaded up the heaviest full-sized Rubbermaid boxes (easily a dozen) before anyone else even showed up! Thanks Ryan!

My Apartment In Wisconsin: More Packing
After packing we went over to Boston’s for some excellent pizza and beer(s) for a little chill time. About two hours later the apartment was all clean and I headed for my dad’s place in Neenah (from my apartment in Appleton.) The truck was a 14 foot truck which pulled a flatbed with my jeep on it.

At 3:00AM we got up and hit the road. The goal was to make it through both Milwaukee and Chicago without hitting any impossible morning traffic. Mind you, I just finished my last day on the job on Wednesday, the truck was loaded up on that Wednesday night, and we are now on the road at 3am. Can you say tiring? I had to remind myself a number of times that I was young and able to do this.

Take a look at a few early morning Chicago pictures on the way out of the area. Good bye Chicago,… here we come New York and Phili!

Leaving Wisconsin: Driving East out of Chicago

Leaving Wisconsin: Past Wrigley's Field

Leaving Wisconsin: View of Downtown Chi-town

Leaving Wisconsin: More downtown Chicago

Leaving Wisconsin: Sear's Tower

Leaving Wisconsin: Driving through Chicago

Leaving Wisconsin: Southside of Chicago

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Moving - Introduction

Well, as promised I am finally starting to blog about the move. I had a few interesting suggestions about stopping and taking pictures of myself next to “welcome to” state signs and blogging about certain details, but the fact is that I wanted to make time and pull it off in the least amount of days possible.

First and foremost you have to know the distances involved. America is big and equally so, half of America, Mid West to East is still big. By the map below, it takes about 14 hours to make this trip. Now, imagine pulling a jeep in a loaded truck full of everything you own in your life.

One of my favorite features of the location of my new home will be its proximity to Philadelphia and New York. By the map below you can see that I am about an hour outside of both New York City and Philly, which is very exciting to me. Some of my favorite TV shows and films are/were made in the area, or pretend to be ( CSI-New York, Law and Order, Die Hard 3, You’ve Got Mail, Sixth Sense, The Village, Lady in the Water, the Rocky movies, and the TV show “House.”) Notice just above Trenton on the map below is “Princeton” which is just a few minutes from where I work.

The next blog entry will definitely include stories and photos from the move, pics of my new place and the town I live in, and the amazing drive to work I “endure” every day (incredibly inspirational view and I get to take it in every morning.)