Monday, July 18, 2011

Wagons West


Another whirlwind! I wouldn't have it any other way. Marathon road trips should be just that -- marathons, where catching your breath is optional. It has been so amazing to be out on the American highways once again, seeing the terrain of this beautiful land unfold in every direction.

I was quite relieved when there were no Shuttle launch delays, since it felt like limbo to think, "Well, I'll just stay in Florida until the Shuttle launches." Especially when hotel rooms were so hard to come by! But I also have some wonderful friends in many areas of Florida who were willing to host me, whether I darkened their doorsteps for days or weeks! So thank you Bruce, Janet, and Kathy! And Chris, for that epic post-launch party! You were all way more fun than La Quinta ;)

Roadtrip map
You don't want to know what gasoline cost...

I rested in Florida for a couple days after all the crazy Tweetup activities, then headed back across the south to Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, where I finally visited the NASA Stennis center for the first time. I'll hopefully create that photo album for tomorrow's blog post.

Then it was on to Houston for a few days... work never stops! (In the sense that someone might pay you to walk around Disney parks and call it... "work".) Spent a few days in Austin with my good friends near my old house, then met up with my roadmate Jeff -- and that's when we set the breakneck pace!

Birth Home of President Lyndon Johnson

After a quick stop in Johnson City, Texas to see the giant ranch of the man that space center in Houston is named after, we tore across the prairies, hoping to get Jeff home in time for a product launch his company had accelerated date-wise.

Lots of miles to cover and not much time to do it! We had intended to go to Albuquerque, but instead took a shortcut through the beautiful Gila and Apache National Forests to reach Highway 40. From that stretch, our major detour was to to the Grand Canyon. I have been there many times, though Jeff had never laid eyes on its majesty, so that is always definitely a stop worth making, even when you are in a rush!

Grand Canyon, Arizona
Scary Huge hole in the ground, Northern Arizona

After that, we pulled an all-nighter, my first in many years, back across the California border and down into Los Angeles. Passed through and reached San Diego at about 2:30am, almost in awe that we pulled that off! Now I am just resting a bit and catching up on sleep (or rather, sleep is often catching up to ME).

Tomorrow, it's off to San Francisco to rejoin my hometown friends and family! I'll try not to inflict too many photos on them... but I'm buried in them, now. Fair warning ;)