Chicago!

So after my cousin had been in Chicago for a decade, it only took me moving to France to get up the motivation to visit her.  I’m kicking myself for being so lazy.  Take my advice and try not to … Continue reading

My Last Week In Missouri

After I dropped Gem off at the airport, I headed up to Karen and Neil’s (Andrew’s parents) house for the night.  Once I arrived, I started sorting through all of the items that I had dropped off a few days … Continue reading

Road Trip! Last Leg :)

At last we had made it to the homestretch of the road trip!  We pulled out of Pops, armed with sodas of course, and headed to Cecilia’s house. I forgot to mention this, but at some point in our road … Continue reading

The Road Trip That Keeps On Going!

We were on our way to Dallas!  On our way, we came across this highway sign and I had to stop and take a picture.  Andrew and I had our first date on January 23rd!  I know…barf…  I guess it’s silly … Continue reading

The Road Trip Begins!

It had seemed like the day to leave on the road trip was so far away and would never come, but it was like I closed my eyes and BOOM it was here!  The day before I left, my neighbor (Don) helped me pack the car.  When I showed him the pile that I wanted to take, I told him that it’s okay if it doesn’t all fit and that I would either get rid of it or ship it.  He takes one look at the pile and says, “I can make it fit.”  And he did!  I was so impressed with his packing skills.  He even made sure my tire pressure was good so that we didn’t have a blow out on the interstate.  I’m going to miss all of our neighbors.  We loved Don & Shiri’s two little boys (Andy & Kyle) a few doors down.  Such sweet boys 🙂

We were looking to depart around one.  I spent the morning finishing up a few loose ends – I had things to recycle and wanted to drop off a few items at the Interpretive Center (the place I volunteered).  When I was at the Interpretive Center I was able to say goodbye to a few more friends that I had volunteered with.

image

Then I headed over to Gemma’s to pick her up!  I showed her the small space that I had made for her (it was a squished ride for the both of us) and we were off! image

Our first stop was Williams, AZ.  We stayed the night at the Best Western and decided to head down to the restaurant in the hotel for dinner since it was already pretty late.  The funniest thing about this stop is that Gem wanted to know if the salsa/soup was spicy.  Three separate people (including the chef and manager) came to our table to make sure that she thought it was spicy enough.  I don’t know I guess maybe you had to be there 🙂

I forgot to mention that as we were driving at night there were a few semi-trucks that had honked at our car.  I told Gem that we probably had a gremlin on our car and that they were probably trying to warn us.  However, as we were filling up gas the next morning I kept trying to figure out why they would be honking at us.  I decided that maybe we should check the tail/break lights.  Sure enough, one of the lights was out.  We decided that we would get it fixed later down the road.

image

After filling up with gas, we set course for the Grand Canyon.  I’m really glad that we decided to make this detour.  We only drove along the South Rim, but it was still really cool to see.  Hopefully I will make it back one day.

image

For one photo we stopped to take, Gem decided that she wanted to do a yoga pose (crow I believe).  She was on top of the rock getting into position when I heard a lady behind me say, “Oh my, she’s going to do a hand stand.  I can’t even watch.”  I called out to Gem, and said “Wait, you’re not doing a hand stand are you?”  She replied no, but the lady still was pretty uncomfortable.

image

At another stop, we decided to venture way off the designated path.  In that spot it felt like we were the only two people in the vastness that is the Grand Canyon.  Pretty cool feeling if you ask me.

image

The next destination was going to be Four Corners Monument.  We made a pit stop in a small town to buy a bulb for my tail light.  The lady at the Best Western in Williams had mentioned that there was a place along the way to the monument that had dinosaur tracks.  We found the location, but decided not to stop.  Maybe I was being silly, but I didn’t feel comfortable leaving all of our possessions in the car to venture out to see the tracks basically in the middle of nowhere.  I do want to check it out if we make it back though.

As time ticked on, we realized that we weren’t going to make it to Four Corners Monument before they closed, so we decided to just head straight to Albuquerque.  As we were heading into town, Gem commented on how there were so many stars!  We decided to pull off on a side road to stop and take a look.  The road we drove down ended up being near a prison.  We realized this because we saw a sign warning that hitchhikers might be escaped inmates.  At the end of the road we pulled over and admired the stars.  On our way back to the main road, I decided that I thought it would be funny to get a picture of that sign warning of hitchhikers.  Gem hopped out and ran over to take a picture of the sign and then we were on our way to find a hotel.  image

As we pulled up to the first hotel to check vacancy and price, Gem started to freak out saying “Wait, what is happening?! OMG!? Something is attacking me!”  Come to find out, she had tracked in a bunch of cockleburs when she took a picture of that sign near the prison.  It took a while to get the car clear of all of those lovely presents 🙂

The next morning, we headed out to find a few locations where they filmed Breaking Bad.  We got to see Walter White’s house and the office of his lawyer (Saul Goodman).  image

As we pulled up to Walter White’s house we encountered others doing exactly the same thing.  The lady that owns the house came out for a bit and told us that she had lived there for many years and one day got a knock on her door about them using her house in the show.

I actually just recently finished the Breaking Bad series.  For some reason I couldn’t get into it after the first few episodes, but once I started watching it for the second time I was hooked!  Great series and I highly recommend it!

The next stop in New Mexico for our road trip adventure was Roswell!  We ate lunch at a Thai restaurant!

image

Then we ventured over to take a tour of the UFO Museum.  image

Being the tourist that I am, I asked the lady at the museum if she had ever experienced anything extraterrestrial.  She replied no, but that she believes the story and all of the facts/info provided in the museum.  It really was a pretty cool little town!  Sorry to report, no aliens though.  Maybe if we come back at night…

After Roswell, we began our journey to San Antonio!  But I will save that story for another post!

Btw, my friend Gemma is also posting about our road trip!!  You can read about it here: Jessica + Gem’s Grand Road Trip Adventure: Hot, Cold, and Super Cool!

My last month in California before the road trip and the big move

There I was, Andrew had taken off for Paris and I still had one more month left.  We had already gotten rid of most of our furniture and only had smaller things left to wrap up.  I still had one more month of work and then I would be departing on my road trip back to Missouri!  But I’m getting a little ahead of myself…

All of our friends that we had made over the past 5 years wanted to hang out before I left and even though I mentioned before that we only had smaller things to wrap up, it still amounted to a lot of time sifting through the piles (plus I was still working at my job and passing on my responsibilities at Newport Bay Conservancy).  I remember telling Andrew how stressed I was trying to see everyone before I left.  His response was “Oh I’m so sorry that everyone wants to hang out with you.” – that really put it in perspective.  I decided that I should be happy and not stress out so much over it.  Plus he had a lot more on his plate than I did on mine.

My first big meet up before I left was with Erica and Gem.  Erica and I had been hiking Crystal Cove for the past year or so (it had kind of became our ritual hike every 3 months).  The hike is 4 miles down to the beach and then 4 miles back up.  That day I decided that I would complete my Landon Plunge in the ocean!  And believe me, it was cold!  So much fun with these girls, going to miss hiking there!

Image

I had also promised my friend, Mary, that I would join her on one more NBC kayak tour (Andrew and I loved kayaking the Back Bay).  If you’ve never been on a kayak tour, I highly suggest you go.  It is a perfect way to spend a Saturday or Sunday morning and it’s not too expensive (check out details here:  http://newportbay.org/education/weekend-kayak-tours/).  Or better yet, look into becoming a volunteer for Newport Bay Conservancy 🙂  It was a perfect day on the water.

Image

After kayaking, we went to Taco Mesa for lunch.  Very good food!  I’m sad that I was just discovering Taco Mesa for the first time that day, because I would have definitely made it a regular occurrence if we were staying in the area.

Image

The following day, my friend Kristin was in town.  So we headed down to the beach for her to complete the Landon Plunge!

Image

It was so nice on the beach that day, too bad she had to head back up north and I had things to do.  And by things to do, I mean meet Gem, Peter, and Erica at Kéan Coffee for Cards Against Humanity!  We were there for over 2 hours and it was so much fun.  One of the mangers for Kéan actually came out and told us how nice it was to see people sitting in a coffee shop playing a game together and not just on their phones or other electronic devices.  We kept asking ourselves why we hadn’t been doing this regularly.  Oh hindsight…

Image

Later that night, Gem and I headed to a hockey game!  Go Ducks!  It was my first game ever, and I don’t really have a team that I root for, so I just went with the home team and they WON!  Gem had gotten tickets from her work and they were box seats, so I’m pretty sure that all other games (as far as seating goes) are ruined for me, but I hope to go again someday.  I really enjoyed it!

Image

That following Wednesday, my fellow NBC volunteers held a going away party for me at Yard House.  Such wonderful people, I enjoyed spending time with them and have learned so much!  Although I must say that I was upset with the waiter because I was the only one who got carded for an alcoholic drink 😉

Image

Then on Friday (4/18) was the going away party from Toa.  Before we headed out to happy hour, my boss Andrea had a surprise presentation/sing-a-long to Aladdin’s “A Whole New World.”  If you know my boss and you know me then this makes perfect sense.  I was really touched by the presentation and will miss working with the team.  I really learned a lot about myself from working there.  For happy hour we headed to Yard House again, because apparently that’s the place to be 🙂  At the restaurant we proceeded to sing “A Whole New World” again, so maybe we had a few too many drinks 😉

Image

My last big adventure would be with Erica and Alex.  They were going to WonderCon and had asked if I wanted to tag along.  I still had so much to do, but I definitely wasn’t going to miss out on this!  They both dressed up as Mandalorians – their costumes looked great!  Everyone wanted a picture with them!  It was fun seeing kids so excited to get their picture taken with them.  It was great walking around seeing all of the different costumes, displays, and merchandise they had at the event.  Sadly, we didn’t listen to any panels that day, but I don’t really feel like I missed out.  Maybe I will partake in that the next time I go.

Image

I did meet up with many others, but if I were to talk about them all I would just begin to bore you 🙂  Now the only thing left to talk about is the ROAD TRIP!  But I will save that for another time 🙂