Day Sixty Two – Friday, October 21, 2016


Welcome to our last night on the road, of Our Big Adventure, 2016. Today we covered 343 miles, as we traveled through the states of Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, and into Pennsylvania, making this a four state day, but as we hit Pennsylvania on the way out, our last 3 new states. For those keeping track, our total for the trip is 25 states, and 4 countries – Mexico, Honduras, Jamaica, and the United States. Those are all the numbers I’m going to give you today, because a “by the numbers” blog will, I’m sure, happen next week. Tonight I want to concentrate on this day on the road, and our last night sleeping not in someplace we own!

So, in 62 days on the road, this was just the 3rd day where rain has been a part of just about the whole day. I don’t know about you, but Susie and I are rather flabbergasted with our weather luck! We think back on all the special places we’ve been, all the wonderful views we’ve had, and how less special those views would have been had the weather been against us! So one day at the beginning of our travels in Pennsylvania, one day in Texas when the hammers of Hell fell on us, and, of course, the day we returned to Pennsylvania, were our only total rain days of the last 62! Amazing and let’s face it, it obviously shows that someone upstairs was looking out for us, and wanted to make this trip as special for us as it was!

As we started today in Cookeville, Virginia, Interstate 81 was very busy, and what with showers, and if not showers, ponding on the roadway, was not the nicest morning we have had on the road. We’d had breakfast at the Holiday Inn Express this morning, so our day really just consisted on driving on the Interstate. The crazy drivers continued, and frankly we are amazed at the numbers of people who seem totally oblivious to the weather conditions, and continue to drive like it’s dry and sunny. One truck driver appeared to have paid the price for this kind of behavior, as traffic on the Interstate came to a halt, and we crawled till we passed this accident on the center divider. As I said yesterday, I fear that the folks driving tractor trailers are not the professionals they once were!

As we got into Pennsylvania, we started seeing names we recognized and towns that we’d visited with the kids when they were small. Every fall, right around Billy’s birthday (November 3rd), we’d take a weekend trip down to Amish Country. We probably did it for 12 or more years in a row, staying in places like the Red Caboose Motel, or the Mill Stream Motor Lodge, and riding the Strasburg Railroad every year, and enjoying the “country”. Well, as we were speeding along Interstate 78 this afternoon, what pops up but a place we took the kids back in those days, Roadside America. It’s probably the worlds biggest Lionel train layout, and when we passed that this afternoon, we knew we were almost home!


Speaking about being almost home, you may wonder why we are staying in a Homewood Suites in Allentown, PA tonight, a mere 150 miles from our home on Long Island. Well, there are several answers to that question. #1, we’d looked at the weather, and realized it was going to be rainy into the night, and had no desire to do the drive in that kind of weather. #2, had we pushed right through, we would have hit the New York Metro Area right in the middle of a Friday rush hour, meaning that the optimistic GPS ETA of 6:30, would have probably been closer to 9 PM. #3, we really don’t want the trip to end. The truth is really a combination of all those answers.

So, late this afternoon, after checking in, we had our last Sailor Jerry and Cokes of the trip. Soon, we will go out for our last dinner of the trip (no, we will not go to Cracker Barrel again), tonight I will take my last shower of the trip, we will spend our last night in a king size bed on the trip (oh God…how will we return to our queen size beds!!!), Susie will take her last shower of the trip in the morning, we will have our last “free breakfast” of the trip, and tomorrow we will head off in the Sonata for the last 3-4 hours of our Adventure as we motor our way, on the very last day of Our Big Adventure home!


Before I go today, I want to try and capture some of what we are feeling tonight. We started talking about this trip probably 5 years ago. We started gathering information close to two years ago. Back in March, when we realized that we needed to make reservations for the National Parks NOW, the trip became real. Between then, and when we left on August 21st, we continued to make plans and reservations. Then suddenly it was the first week in August, and we now had to start packing and making decisions of what to take and what not to take. Then there was our last weekend on Long Island, when Krissi joined us and we partied with our friends Pat and Steve for one last time, had to get the car ready and then pack it. Suddenly, it was the day we’d said we were going to leave, Sunday August 21st, 2016! We left Mineola, dropped Krissi off in Astoria, and before we knew it, we were on Interstate 80 in New Jersey heading west to Our Adventure! That was Day 1, and today is Day 62, and to think back on all we’ve seen, the people we’ve met, the great experiences we’ve had, and the memories we will cherish for a lifetime.

Are we sad as I write this tonight at a hotel in Pennsylvania? You bet we are. We have so loved every day, have gotten such a kick out of driving the Sonata, with our New York license plates (OCNJ4US), in places like Las Vegas, or Yellowstone, or on Route 66, or last weekend in Galveston with Kenny and Chris in the back seat! Have so loved telling people what we have come to call, “Our Trip Story”, when they inquire what we are doing in Moab, Utah, or Corpus Christi, Texas, and now that’s all behind us. We are in Pennsylvania, early tomorrow will be in New Jersey, and shortly after noon, we should return to the state of New York, where there will be nothing special about a red Hyundai Sonata with NY license plates! Sad, but welcome back to real life, from a 2 month fantasy ride through these United States!

See you tomorrow, when we will no longer be singing, On The Road Again. We will be singing, Home, Home on the Range, but there won’t be any deer or antelope playing!

PS – Another first today…take out boxes! Never before have we done that on the trip, but they will spend the night in the Homewood Suites fridge, and next week who knows…they may be lunch or a dinner!


Day Thirty Six – Sunday, September 25, 2016


Here we are, day 4 in Texas, and it already feels like home!  Now, if we can only get resident status for tax purposes, we will be in great shape!

We started the morning in Fort Stockton, at the Best Western and our objective for the night was the Homewood Suites in San Antonio.  The day started cloudy and overcast, as we filled the car up with gas, and continued our eastward journey on Interstate 10.  I have to say one thing before going on, about Texas Interstates.  What the hell do they make the surface out of???  My God, they are the noisiest roads we have ever driven on!  The radio is up a notch or two, we have to practically yell at each other to be heard, and it constantly feels like you are driving on road that is being prepped for repaving!  Okay, moving on…. more thing, Bed Heights.  Over the past 35 days, we have slept in dozens of hotels, and sampled lots of King Sized beds.  There seems to be a trend that the bed height is above what we use to consider a standard height bed.  I don’t know if it’s the mattress, the box spring, the frame, or all three, but some of the beds are so tall that you literally could use a step stool to get in.  Last night at the Best Western, the beds were so tall that the only way we could get in was to throw ourselves up and in.  God forbid if you roll out of one of these beds!  Now, we really move on!

The theme of the early part of our trip today on Interstate 10 was ENERGY.  We passed fields with hundreds of electrical generating windmills, oil wells pumping away on the side of the road, and high tension wires, I guess carrying that wind generated electrical energy to the cities.  An interesting mix.

The theme for the rest of the day was rain.  It started as a drizzle, went to a slow steady rain, and then the sky opened and it poured!  The combination of the rough pavement, the trucks (of which there were many), the wind, and the teaming rain just made for a wonderful drive!  In fact, at one point when I was driving, Susie had me get off at an exit in the middle of nowhere, just so we could wait it out a bit.  Our wait was long as the rain didn’t let up, but became heavier before abating a bit. We tried to check the radar, but we were of course in a 1X service area!   It was a lot of fun changing drivers in the downpour.  Shower taken for the day!


Eventually the rain did let up for a bit, and it even almost stopped for a while, but just before we got to San Antonio, up it started again.  This time, it was joined with lightning and thunder!  Oh joy!  When we got to the hotel, and drove into the garage, the young attendant told me that they only did valet, and that it would be $27 a day.  I told him I’d gladly pay twice that, not to have to drive anymore in the rain!!


As I said before, we are in the Homewood Suites on the Riverwalk, and it’s a very nice hotel.  It’s obviously not a new building, and after checking in, I found out that the hotel was built by converting the Historic San Antonio Drug Company Building.  The building is on the National Directory of Historic Places and the conversion was done with great care to preserve the original design of the building, including keeping the original windows.  This is the first time we are staying in a Homewood Suites, and we are very impressed by our king bed suite, and the whole hotel.  We look out on the river, and all the amenities seem to be top shelf!

Speaking of top shelf, after having a stiff drink, we started looking for a place for dinner, and found that the Esquire Tavern was just a block or so away.  The Esquire is billed as the oldest bar on the Riverwalk, having opened in 1933.  The walk only took a couple of minutes, so we made it there getting only slightly wet.  We started our dinner with two Moscow Mules, a drink we were introduced to by our friend Dennis, the bartender at the St. James Restaurant in Mineola.  These came in the traditional copper mug, and were a great way to start off dinner.  Fried pickles, a couple of great burgers, and a couple of more mules, and we were in shape to take on the night!


Tomorrow is forecast to be cloudy with occasional rain.  Let’s hope they’re wrong, as we’d like it to be dry, if not sunny, as we explore San Antonio.  We will be here for 3 nights, so we have 2 full days to explore, and there is lots we want to see!

As they say, Remember the Alamo!

PS…Let’s Go Mets!!!!