Almost All the Pre-Trip Shit is FINALLY DONE

I thought I’d share with y’all what we’ve been doing for the last couple of months to get ready for this.

-Find an apartment in Boston: We hired a realtor because Boston is crazy and you need one to survive, Rebecca flew up in April with her dad to research places to live, and we eventually signed a lease on a one-bedroom in Cambridge that is worth more than some entire buildings.

-Move Out: We found a new tenant, replaced the blinds, hired an apartment-cleaner (who is coming tonight), flea-bombed the house, canceled/transferred the utilities, and cancelled the composting service.

Board Cats: This one was a bear. Short of giving them away or grinding them into sausage, we had to do something with our three cats (Oatmeal, Jax, and Quinoa). After calling about 30 cat-boarding places in Massachusetts, New York and Connecticut–whose lowest price for three cats and three months was $2,250–our new tenant agreed to watch them for the summer in exchange for a month’s rent.

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Store Stuff: Rebecca’s father, who is a certified card-carrying saint, drove 1,500 miles from Boston to New Orleans in his pickup truck, hitched a U-Haul trailer to it, helped us load (and oversaw the packing of) most of our apartment, and drove it back to Philadelphia where Rebecca’s cousins unloaded and stored it for the price of pizza and cocktails.

-Get Rid of Stuff: Everything we didn’t move and didn’t plan to pack, we got rid of. Scarves, shirts, shoes, a toaster, books, blenders, chairs, bags, formal shirts, dresses, miscellany of all kinds, owl-shaped hot pads, thousands of glassware (or what seemed like it), a couch, tables, bookcases, a TV, a bedside table, several dressers… We sold as much as we could and donated the rest to charity.

-Trip Stuff: Figured out our route, made a budget, lined up friends and family with whom to stay along the route, bought a tent and other camping equipment for those times where we’ll be camping in national parks (that’s a thing), bought a National Parks Pass, enrolled in health insurance, closed a bank account, bought MORE camping equipment… this won’t be done until we’re in Boston.

And that’s all, besides the two graduate school applications, two frantic GRE studying and test-taking periods, and the frankly ridiculous amount of help we received from friends and family, in small ways and large. I just found a list of things we needed to do that I wrote back in April, huge, time-consuming tasks like the ones above, and every single well is now crossed off. Once we scrub the floor and clean out the apartment tomorrow morning, and move our backpacks into the car, we’ll be done.

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The Next Ten Thousand Miles

Good God, it’s been forever since I did this. 

If you don’t know me already, my name’s Andy, I used to blog at Tisdel’s Tirades, and now I’m here. Why am I writing here? Because my girlfriend (Rebecca) and I are taking a road trip that’ll last from June 1st through the middle of August, and I wanted a fresh new place to write about the things we do and see. (Because no one’s ever made a travel blog before.)

Where are we going? Well, here:

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I wanted to live in the West after I left New Orleans. I figured that since I’d lived in the Midwest (Milwaukee, Cleveland, Wooster), the East Coast (New York, Washington D.C.), and the South (New Orleans + brief stints in MS, AL, and GA), the next logical step was to live somewhere West–somewhere with “Mountains, Gandalf!”. I figured it’d be either Denver or Portland, and then when I learned that Portland would eventually fall into the sea,  I thought okay, Denver it is. Then life happened; I decided to go to graduate school, applied, was accepted into Brandeis University, and went oh, OK, I guess Boston is next

So I thought, if I can’t live in the West, I might as well see it while I can. 

West through Houston and San Antonio and Lyndon Johnson’s Hill Country, looping through Austin, then seven hundred miles due northwest to Albuquerque and Santa Fe. West again, past Meteor Crater to the Grand Canyon, through Phoenix, and down I-10 through Joshua Tree to L.A. North through California’s national parks, through Sequoia and Sierra and Stanislaus and Kings Canyon and Yosemite, all the way to Modesto; zig northwest to Reno, northeast to Lassen Peak, and back on I-5 through Oregon and Washington, all the way over the border to Vancouver. Then southeast for 900 miles to Yellowstone National Park, cutting through parks and forests and badlands and mountains and prairie, and on through Wyoming to Denver.

From then on, it’s the homestretch. We’ll cover Kansas and Missouri and all of Illinois, up to my family in Milwaukee and northern Wisconsin, then swing around the Great Lakes; Illinois, Indiana, Ohio (Cleveland), and on to Philadelphia. From there, all that remains is to get our belongings out of storage and drive the last, paltry 300 miles to Boston. 

I’m going to try to write something every day. Not necessarily on here, but something. Everything I write about The Trip will go here, and most of the pictures I take should find their way here eventually. I’m not used to actually writing about myself on the Internet–I’m much more used to ranting about politics or football or something else that doesn’t require the writer to be involved, so this is my first foray into the kind of blogging that most ordinary Internet people do. (Because it’s me, I’ll also post whatever else I happen to write in this forum.)

Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoy what I post here.