Saturday, October 4, 2008

The Madcap Recap Begins

OK, first I must apologize for being blog-negligent. After a whirlwind road trip back east, the interesting experience of finding an apartment in New York, and actually getting settled, we're finally ready to lift our nose from the grindstone of finding gainful employment to provide our readers with some kind of trip recap. We promised stats and 'best of' lists. Numbers don't lie, and neither do we. So consider this the first in a couple of posts before we let this blog slide into the annals of internets history.

So how did we arrive at this point, you ask? Well, after our trip up and down the I-5 corridor, we headed back east for real, making our first stop in Pocatello, Idaho: the rough midpoint between Denver and Portland; a meeting place with our friends Phil and Alexis moving their lives in the other direction; a tiny city that no cartographer can imagine, let alone map; and our first opportunity in the U.S. for Dennis to compulsively add to his supply of mini-soaps.

After Pocatello, we spent a few days camping and hiking in Yellowstone National Park. We didn't see any bears, but we ingratiated ourselves with a small, informal group of geyser geeks (or maybe it was 'geyser gazers'?), who gave us the scoop on some cool, off-the-beaten-track geysers.

Next we drove through South Dakota, stopping to hike around the Badlands, and doing a drive-by photo opp of Mt. Rushmore after feeling guilty for paying to get into the Crazy Horse Memorial, which should be renamed, The Vision of One Megalomaniacal White Man and his Greedy Family. A few more hours of boring landscape, interrupted by the Corn Palace and an obsession with South Dakota's free tourist coupon newpaper, and we were in Minnesota. Did you Know...Since 1892, there have been three Corn Palace structures build. The Mitchell founding fathers wanted something to put their town on the map, and there you have it. An average ear of corn has 800 kernels, arranged in 16 rows.

Just south of Minneapolis, we ended up camping in a gorgeous lakeside spot amidst the most mosquitos you can imagine, and waking up in a crazy thunderstorm. Somewhat sleep-deprived, we pushed on to Chicago, which we decided to rename Kimcago, after our friend Kim who not only traveled all the way to Cambodia to visit us, but put us up for a couple of nights, too. We also confirmed the rumors that our friend's little sister Emily opened up her Sweet Cakes Bakery at the site of an old friend's apartment and my quasi- first date with Dennis. Any eerie feelings were quelled with delicious cupcakes.

In more coincidences, we ran into my friend Erica doing a road trip of her own, and did a little stoop-sitting with her one evening. It started to feel like we had really come full circle from almost a year ago when we drove out west to catch our plane to New Zealand and met up with a roadtripping Erica. I'll forever feel like any time I'm driving a distance over 200 miles, I'll end up running into Erica doing the same, and I hope I'm right.

We then got to experience life in a college town and meet a woman named Teapot in Ann Arbor, while hanging with our friend and poet extraordinaire, Sean P. Norton. Summer vacation is a beautiful, beautiful thing. We drove straight from Ann Arbor up to Champlain, NY to visit my family and attend my favorite Fourth of July parade. We also reunited with the cats, who seemed very healthy and content, if a little spoiled, what with their casserole dishes filled with catnip strewn about the house. (Why, Mom, why?)

We moved in temporarily with our friend, Brooklyn resident and painter extraordinaire, Matt, who kindly guided us through the process of looking for an apartment in New York. After meeting dozens of brokers and seeing about 25 apartments, we finally put our money down on one in the Flatbush/ Ditmas Park neighborhood of Brooklyn. While waiting for the place to get repainted and coated in varnish, we went down to DC to hang out with friends.

After having lived in DC for eight years, it was strange being back, but not really being home. Of course, we had to cruise by our old house to see if anything had changed, but it looked exactly the same, down to the same half-dying plants in the back yard and the same patch of peeling paint above the front door. We indulged ourselves with going out to eat at some of our old favorite restaurants, and we got to meet the new-ish babies of our friends Allison and Jean. Before we knew it, it was time to load up our stuff in storage into the back of a U-haul truck and move. And despite it being one of the easiest moves ever (thanks especially to DC folks who came up to Brooklyn to help us move), we still found ourselves missing the days when everything we owned fit into a backpack.


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