(The writing of this journal is a little erratic. Some is written in past tense and some in future tense depending when I found time to write. Some posts will be in future AND past tense from when I went back and wrote more to that day...just, try to keep up)
May 29, 2006, Day 1 -
Today is the day that we start our journey around the United States. When I say "we" I mean Dave Ford and I. We really don't have much of a plan except to make it back safely a couple months from now. The only dates that we have on the calendar to make sure we hit just right is July 8 and July 24. On July 8, Ford has to fly home for a wedding from Chicago...By looking at a map, we figured we'd be in Chicago on July 8 so he went ahead and bought a ticket that day (I hope we actually make it to Chicago then). On July 24, I have to fly home for Dad's election, he just announced that he is running for the 5th district in the US Congress. With those two dates in mind, it's time to leave.
For our trip, we are borrowing Mom's Pontiac Montana. It's a 2004 and she just got it a little over a year ago, when we return in a couple of months we will have put more miles on it than she has. :) Anywho, we took out all the seats in the back out of the van and put them in the garage to give us more room. We put down a futon in the back and put a down comforter on top of the futon. After that we put a fitted queen-sized sheet over. It is so comfortable!
With the entire back of the van open for luggage, we each brought one big duffel bag and a pillow. We are putting all of this on one side of the van and the person who isn't driving will be able to lie down on the other half of the futon (at least that's the plan for now).
I just bought a video camera a week ago for this trip. So pumped!
Armed with little more than a Rand McNally map, some Raman noodles and a couple cans of tuna, we hopped in the car headed to a gas station to fill-up the tank, set the odometer to "0" and air up the tires. We got an oil change yesterday so we should be good for another week or so.
Some problems...tire gauge is not working, gas pump declined Ford's credit card and we just found out that the cigarette lighter for ipod and a/c "plug-ins" in the front isn't working either...ugh.
We filled-up paying in cash, put air in the tires without a gauge and ended up buying an extension cord and converters to reach to the cigarette lighter in the back of the van.
Our first stop - New Orleans!
We decided our trip should head out to the east coast first and a first day stop in New Orleans sounds perfect. Neither one of us have been there and we found a place to stay through Ford's Dad's friend (whom neither of us have met).
After 10.5 hours of driving (stopping at a Dallas Walmart for van supplies) we arrived in New Orleans. We are so excited to be doing this we can hardly stand it. After meeting up with "our contact" we found out that the house we'll be in is normally a rent house just a few blocks from the French Quarter. It's a two story house with a pool and hot tub. We walked around Bourbon Street with eyes wide open...I'll just say it...we were pretty scared and a little naive about what we were getting ourselves into on this trip. We didn't stay on Bourbon Street too long and quickly decided to find something to eat a couple streets over.
After that, back to the house, hop in the pool and much needed sleep for the next day's long drive to Orlando.