Friday, February 29, 2008

Settling In

Now that Andy and I have more or less settled into the new house, I thought I'd share a few pictures. It's not quite as organized as we'd like, but it's getting there. We're planning to repaint, and we still have many pictures to hang. I also have to brag about my homeowner moment when I successfully fixed our running toilet (I gained a mechanical skill point---it rocked!).

Here's one of our gigantic master, which does not get filled up by our new king bed.

We decided to upgrade when we figured out that our queen box spring would not fit up the narrow attic stairs (or down the steep basement stairs either!). We had to get a split mattress and split box spring, but all four of us fit comfortably on the bed!

Andy's pride and joy (other than the
beverage fridge in the basement) is the 'book room,' which also holds most of our cds.

We're not crazy about the strange painted border, but I admit that it is growing on me. However, I draw the line at the matching border on the shades. We need to get new blinds!!

Here are the dining and living rooms.

We were okay (not thrilled) with the color in the living room until Kerns pointed out to Andy that it was the same color as Greensburg High School (thanks a lot Kerns!).

Here's one of the 'bunk bed' room featuring the bunk beds made by my dad. Downside of this guest room: you can't have the fan on if you want to sleep in the top bunk!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Back on the high-speed bus!

We finally have high speed internet again, so there is no excuse for not updating our blog. This post will have to brief, as Dirty and I are about to go check out Butler play Wright State at historic Hinkle Fieldhouse and check out Brad Brownell, the potential next coach of IU basketball. But before I do, I thought I'd post the first of what I'm sure will be several posts about our new house.

It's time for the first and final installment of basement graffiti trivia. Here it goes!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Cat Out of the Bag

As promised, here are a couple photos of Sydney on the car ride up. We let her out of her travel bag, and she hopped in the back seat to cuddle with the dog. I spent far too much time trying to get the perfect picture of our adorable pets!
Both are adjusting well to Indy. Sydney likes all of the new sleeping spots (but is a little hurrumphed at having to litter-box in the basement). Ramona is really enjoying all of the snow, which we keep getting!

Also, just thought I'd post this picture of Sydney all bling'd out, a Dan Spalt original.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Go Hoosiers

We're still battling the dial-up internet and the absurdly cold weather, but I wanted to post a quick comment anyway. In spite of all of the crap going on with Indiana Basketball right now (fire Sampson!) we're still supporting the team and hoping for a win tonight against the revamped and hated Purdue Boilermakers. Before we head downtown to watch the game with some friends, I just wanted to remind everyone that no matter what the record of their basketball team, Purdue stinks.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Hoosiers Again

Elizabeth here. Due to our lack of high speed internet (until Feb. 26th!) and the vast number of unpacked boxes, we've been delinquent in posting (and calling all our Indiana peeps!). We made it here safe and sound on Wednesday evening. Our stuff arrived yesterday, so we are settling in one room at a time. The house is great with a number of interesting quirks that will likely be the subject of future blog posts. Also to come: pictures of the dog and cat cuddling in the car on the way up (awww!).

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


Part of hanging out here in Carrboro at Elizabeth's parents' house is Elizabeth having the fun of going through a bunch of her old stuff. Among other things, she had to go through a box of cds that never made the cut from high school. Being the collector that I am, of course I had to take several albums (Temple of the Dog, Porno for Pyros, etc). And this acquisition ended up being around 80 songs, which put me over 10,000 songs on my ipod. Song number 10,000 was... Pigs on the Wing (Part 2) by Pink Floyd from Animals. Oddly, I haven't actually heard this song as of now, though I will make a point of listening to it, and perhaps even updating this post with comments.

Tomorrow it is off through the Smokey's again and into Indiana by evening!

Monday, February 11, 2008

53 wins / Top 5

UPDATE: I forgot to add our Built to Spill Top 5 in the original post; it's the first listed now! Andy also points out that I was incorrect in my capitalization of song titles (all words should be capitalized), so I apologize to all who were upset by this error!

With impending weather in Indiana, we've decided to stay in NC for one more day. We're planning to head out Wednesday (which was our original plan). Though Andy's getting antsy, I have a cold and am enjoying some downtime.

Last night, we watched the Carolina-Clemson game. For those of you not in the know, Clemson has never beaten Carolina at home. As of yesterday, Carolina had won 52 consecutive games at home against Clemson, dating back to 1926! My dad and I were worried about the game though, since both the starting and backup point guards for Carolina were hurt. Carolina was losing almost the whole game, and it took 2 overtimes, but they extended their streak to 53!

In unrelated news, Andy and I thought we would share our car ride top five lists. To entertain ourselves in the car, we made top five lists for bands when they came up on the ol' pod. We skipped artists with too many songs on the ipod (The Beatles) or too few (Sin Tax) or ones we just didn't feel like doing. Here are the ones we came up with:

Built to Spill
5. You were Right
4. In the Morning
3. Fly Around My Pretty Little Miss
2. Dystopian Dream Girl
1. Big Dipper

The Eels

5. Christmas is going to the dogs
4. Grace Kelly Blues
3. Woman driving / man sleeping
2. Fresh Feeling
1. Mr. E's beautiful blues

5. Careful
4. Barrel of a gun
3. What you wished for
2. Diane
1. Amsterdam

5. Popular mechanics for lovers
4. Landslide baby
3. A good man is easy to kill
2. Emma blowgun's last stand
1. Hey brother

Ryan Adams
5. Let it ride
4. To be young
3. Damn Sam, I love a woman that rains
2. English girls approximately
1. Come pick me up

5. Too drunk to dream
4. Paper Moon
3. Faithless Street
2. Mining Town
1. Avenues

5. Summer Teeth
4. Box full of letters
3. A shot in the arm
2. Jesus, etc.
1. Forget the flowers

The Jayhawks
5. Over my shoulder
4. Save it for a rainy day
3. What led me to this town
2. Blue
1. Crowded in the wings

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Damn Fine Pie

We are still chilling here in North Carolina. Elizabeth's car, after 5,000 miles in one month, is getting a much deserved tune-up. In the mean time, we've been cleansing our body of all the road food by eating lots of tasty homemade meals prepared by Elizabeth's mom. Elizabeth and her mom teamed up for this: a sour cherry pie.
It didn't look like that for long, I assure you. It tasted so good, it could make a grown man cry. Another update will be forthcoming when we figure out what day we'll get to Indy.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

What's so great about the plains, anyway?

Andy here, with another update. It's almost over...we have successfully completed the transcontinental leg of our trip to Indiana. Thursday morning we woke up in Sante Fe, New Mexico, and by Friday night we were in the Paris of the Piedmont, Carrboro, North Carolina. That's just over 1,700 miles in two days of driving. What caused such a hasty decision? Mostly it was that, after a solid week of living out of a different hotel each night, we were ready to stop someplace for a bit. Also, several hours of the view to the right didn't encourage lingering long, either. So there was a moment on Wednesday afternoon as we approached Oklahoma City where we had to make a decision: stop and see the Federal Building Memorial or burn through into Arkansas with hopes of making it to NC the next day. Mike D spoke highly of the Fed Memorial, so we were considering it, but then we spotted a sign for Toby Keith's bar in OKC and that was enough to make us drive on. We refueled on coffee in Midwest City, OK and didn't stop for the night until Forrest City, Arkansas.

The next morning we crossed the Mississippi into Memphis, driving on until we reached Natchez Trace State Park in Tennessee. The plan was to let Ramona chase the ball a little, but they had a lake and no one was around, so we decided to let her swim. As soon as she had been in the water for a couple of minutes two nice men who worked for the parks department came up to us, I assumed to run us out of the park for having a dog off leash / in the lake. Instead they told us that if we needed bathrooms and / or showers, there was a heated bathhouse across the lake. After a little more small talk, they wished us well and were on their way. You can't beat southern hospitality. On the way out of the park (a 45 m.p.h. road winding through forest) our way was temporarily blocked by a riderless horse, trotting down the middle of the road straight for our car. Bear in mind it was 9:30 in the morning on a Friday in February and the park was empty. This horse was definitely not supposed to be here, but I don't think I've ever seen a horse so happy. We briefly thought it was going to go right over the car, but at the last second it got back into its own lane and continued to trot freely in the direction of the heated showers by the lake.

We made it through the Great Smokey Mountains and Asheville, NC by nightfall and arrived at Elizabeth's parents house last night, where we were reunited with Sydney. We will regroup here for a few days before the four of us head to Indy in the middle of next week. More to come later....

Total milage so far: 4,519

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

High Desert

Andy here with another update from the road. I've successfully won my battle with a cold, and I'm going to attribute it to the dry climate of the great Southwest. Tonight we are in Santa Fe, and even though it is dry, it is cold (low tonight of 15)! This morning we awoke to find that Sedona is a whole lot cooler looking in the daylight than it is at night. It's an amazingly beautiful little town, with huge red rocks supplying the backdrop to a surprisingly small mountain / desert community. It is a little weird, though, with it's vortexes and associations with "magic." With a hot tip from our friend Day who spent a few key months in Sedona about a year and a half ago, we had breakfast at the Coffeepot Restaurant: 101 Omletes. The food was good and the atmosphere was the right level of quirky to be enjoyable. It was my first taste of good local food in the Southwest, and I liked it. We then took a a winding road north toward Flagstaff that really showed off some of the beauty of the land. Toward the top of the road there was viewpoint. Ramona was very popular here, as two people insisted on taking a picture of the three of us. Here is the better of the two, from the woman who aptly described Ramona as "huge."

After cruising past the America's largest meteor crater and the petrified forest without even stopping, we made good time and were pulling into Albuquerque around 3:00. I thought the mountains surrounding Albuquerque were some of the coolest mountain views I've ever seen. Elizabeth, however, being from a Smokey Mountains state, said that she wants her mountains covered with trees and with the possibility of a country-music theme park over the next hill.

Elizabeth's former Kisselmate Jay used to live in Santa Fe, so she called in a tip from him. He not only hooked us up with a cool, relatively cheap inn downtown, he also told of a restaurant that has food that is, "fucking awesome." After exploring (and thoroughly enjoying) downtown Santa Fe, we headed to Pasquals for dinner. We both got the same thing, a combo plate with chicken enchiladas with mole, chile rellano, and a chicken tomale. All three items were exceptional, with the mole being the highlight. Elizabeth says she didn't really like mole until she had it in San Diego, and I can understand why. This mole was good enough to make a believer out me. Also, they had the Santa Fe Brewing Company's Pale Ale, which was also very good. If I had to describe the meal with two words, they would be fucking and awesome.

Tomorrow it is on to and through Texas, and with a little luck, through Oklahoma, too.

Total mileage so far: 2,782.9

Grand Vegas

Elizabeth here again with another update on our trip. We started off yesterday (Monday) from Bakersfield headed south. After a few miles on I-5, we saw a sign stating that there was snow on the pass and that California Highway Patrol were escorting cars across. We were surprised but continued on. A couple miles later, another sign, this one stating that the road was closed ahead. We couldn't believe it. We were in Southern California, less than 2 hours from L.A., and we were getting stopped by snow. We sat in traffic for 20 minutes or so, thinking about our prospects for the day, back to Bakersfield with the knowledge that the Buck Owens museum was closed on Mondays. What were we going to do? Then, we started to move. We had to merge over a couple of lanes, and then we just got to go. There was no block, no police escorts, they were just letting us go. Confused but happy, we headed over the snowy, foggy pass and towards L.A.

We decided to skip Joshua Tree. We had been through too many weather related troubles and paranoia had set in. We headed for Barstow and took a quick detour on I-40. For those of you who have never driven west on I-40 in Wilmington, NC, there is a sign stating that Barstow, CA is 2,554 miles away. I've driven past this sign dozens of times and had to know if there was a similar sign in Barstow, the western edge of I-40.

After Barstow, we headed northeast towards Las Vegas. Neither of us had ever been and decided now was the time. We splurged a bit and stayed at the Westin, the bed at which Ramona loved. It was really amusing to walk through a casino with Ramona every time we needed to take her out to pee. We also took her for a walk along the strip. Strangely, we didn't see any other dogs during our walk. Our only gambling involved betting on the Cubs to win the World Series and the Pirates to win the National League (which we realize can't both happen!).

Today, we headed across the Hoover Dam to the Grand Canyon. Though there was snow on the ground, the roads were clear, and we finally made it to a National Park! Though we didn't get to spend as much time as we would have liked (it was pretty damn cold), we had a great time. Tonight, we're staying in Sedona, watching Super Tuesday results (Hillary just won California---glad it's a proportional state). We got here after dark, so we are excited to explore in the morning. After that, we keep heading east!!

Total mileage: 2,367.3

Monday, February 4, 2008


Elizabeth here again with another post about our trip. Yesterday (Saturday) started off nicely but turned into a (mis)adventure. We started the day in the Arcata Community Forest, which is like the nature preserve on steroids. It's over 600 acres of second growth Redwood trees. There are also numerous gigantic stumps of first growth trees. It was raining during our walk, but we hardly noticed as we strolled through this amazing set of woods. I highly recommend a stop if you are in the area.

After leaving rainy Arcata, we made a quick stop in Eureka and then headed east on Highway 299 towards Redding. We made it about 90 miles through rain turning to snow before being stopped by a mustached fellow telling us we could not proceed without chains, which we didn't have (at the time). We headed back to Arcata (in the rain) and continued south on Highway 101. We stopped for the night in Ukiah (after unsuccessful attempts to find lodging that allows dogs in a couple of closer towns). The drive was incredibly rainy and dark but we made it and were happy to sleep in a clean Super 8 room.

Today, we set off for Yosemite National Park. We made it to I-5 (and were happier than we've ever been to see an interstate) and sunshine. In Sacramento, we stopped to view the Capital building and try an In N' Out burger, which we enjoyed. We headed out on Highway 120 towards the park. Partway up, we noticed a sign stating we would need chains to continue, so we stopped in a small town and bought some. We also learned from one of the store's workers (via his girlfriend that worked at the park) that the roads in the park were closed due to high snowfall. So, for the second day in a row, we turned around and retraced our steps. We drove south to Bakersfield to regroup (we happen to be staying right next to Buck Owen's Crystal Palace). After checking the California DOT page, we learned that the road we were planning to take tomorrow (Highway 58) is also closed due to snow...which means we have to get far closer to L.A. than I would like. Who would have thought that traveling in February could be so problematic?

We're still undecided about our next steps. We are either going to head straight for Vegas or stop by Joshua Tree. All we know is that we are heading south!

Mileage so far: 1,543.4
Mileage spent backtracking: ~350

Friday, February 1, 2008

Crossing the border

We have free wireless in our hotel, so I (Elizabeth) thought I'd write a quick post from the road.

Yesterday was quite a day. We closed on our house (Thank you Jessica for signing for us over and over again!). On top of that, the movers came, much to Ramona's confusion. She was locked in a room for 2 hours, and when she came out, the house was empty! A couple hours of later, we hit the road. Leaving Seattle was definitely bittersweet for both of us.

We spent last night in Portland, having one last dinner (at a tasty Thai restaurant with a terrible name) with our friends down there. We took off this morning, after a quick breakfast at one of our favorite Portland brunch spots, Utopia Cafe, heading for the border. After stopping in Oregon for a quick hike, we officially left the Pacific Northwest, crossing into California around 3 pm.

We stopped for the night in Arcata, pressing on a bit more than we expected, after learning that Ramona was not allowed on any trails in either Redwood National or State Parks. I didn't realize how anti-dog California is! Luckily, we found a dog-friendly spot with Redwoods, which we plan on exploring in morning.

Mileage so far: 615.1