hungry hearted

serving up a healthy portion of pop culture commentary, random infatuations, and introspective ramblings

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Days 7 & 8: Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut

The delirium was thick and even our impressions of Salad Fingers weren't enough to save us from our exhaustion. It felt like smooth sailing as I drove from Maryland through Delaware and skirted Philadelphia following Interstate 95 until it merged with the Jersey Turnpike. But the traffic around NYC leading towards the George Washington Bridge was horrible as usual. I distracted myself by taking pictures of the snow blanketing the city.

If you couldn't tell from the shitty quality of recently posted pictures, I never was able to fix my digital. It's dead. So, I've been relying on my cell phone camera and my old Pentax. I have no idea how old the film is or how many times it's been exposed to freezing temperatures throughout the trip, so who knows, these blurred cell shots may be the only photos from the trip.

Haggard from the weary road, I ended up staying at Kate's mom's house in Ridgefield last night and delayed my arrival to New Paltz another day. Kate's house is suitably built into a mountain ridge in a valley surrounding a lake. I awoke this morning to a majestic mountainous view and a deer frolicking about outside the kitchen window while I poured my coffee. It was truly the icing on the cake. Real talk. It was beautiful.

Now I'm home in New Paltz. I feel as though I've accomplished something by driving this whole way, but it's probably more like proving something. To whom - I'm not sure. I do feel that I have a keener sense of proximity and geography, but that's not much of an accomplishment. I guess it's more the fun and excitement that comes with traveling on your own terms. I'm no Sal Paradise, but I assure you it's been a wild ride.

when plans fail, blaze new trails

Days 5 & 6: South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, and Maryland

My first impression of Charleston, SC is that it's undeniably picturesque and quaint. It seems very touristy and fairly yuppie, but the silver lining is a funky little beach town vibe. Although borderline pretentious, it was a refreshing blast of civilization after driving endless highways through empty fields interrupted only by standardized shopping centers with chain restaurants, wal-marts and the like.

Walking around in the downtown Market Area, all I could think of was socioeconomic demographics in accordance with geographic schemes. I don't even know how to properly word the terminology, but I'm running on empty, so I trust you get the gist. Watching shoppers mingle and weave their way from shop to shop, I couldn't help but think of all the money being circulated. It's a huge contrast from the desolate Bible belt that we drove through.

All in all, Charleston was a blast and Kate and I slipped into socialite mode as we wined and dined ourselves at some of the cities finest offerings: Pane E Vino, Gaulart and Maliclet Cafe, and Chai's Tapas Lounge. They were all amazing with their own unique pleasures, but Chai's was my favorite with the sampling and then the sake.

We left Charleston later than planned and never made it to NYC as we'd hoped. I guess a fourteen hour drive was a bit ambitious. Even with an additional driver, Katie, we were fried by DC. Instead of hitting the Upper East Side, we stayed at Katie's brother's frat house at the University of Maryland. The massive house felt more like a municipal building. While 37 undergrads usually fill the house, there were only a few stragglers there for our stay. Lucky for us, the boys didn't exemplify the stereotypical frat boy persona. It was more Revenge of The Nerds than Animal House.

Maryland provided our first Magic Hat indulgence. I was actually beyond excited. Magic Hat is of course my favorite beer manufacturer, and being as it's brewed in Burlington ,VT it's not available in the south. It breaks my heart, but I'll be sure to stock up on the trip back to TX. When Kate read her first bottle cap aloud, "when plans fail, blaze new trails," we laughed and all agreed that was definitely the theme of the day. We quickly made ourselves at home in this most unlikely of places. It was by far the most ridiculous scenario of our trip thus far.

When in Rome

Days 3 & 4: Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina

We spent Sunday night in Columbus, MS on an air force base with my friend Tiffany, her husband Chris, and their newborn. It was a fairly quick drive from New Orleans and Kate and I entertained one another with silly songs and horrible puns. Picture it as not so much Thelma and Louise, but more like the Sweeney Sisters. Real talk.

It's interesting to travel through these places and spend a day in the life. We all get so wrapped up in our own day to day, and the exposure is a reminder of the different paths, options, whathaveyou. Expectedly, the air force creates an extremely structured lifestyle. I can totally understand and respect it, but I'm too far removed from that scene to relate. So many normalities are things I've never even thought of. I haven't reached a point in my life where I have a plan that encompasses more than a year span, which I think is suitable being as I have no one depending on me or to be responsible for.

Tiffany wouldn't show me the possible fate of my tattoo, but told me all the horrific details of childbirth no one else has. Real talk. It was really interesting to ask her my dumb questions about pregnancy, childbirth and rearing, and the details of being an air force wife. I think I would become a stir crazy maniac, but it's obviously not my path. Tiffany on the other hand, amazes me with her selflessness.

Monday was a big driving day from Columbus, Mississippi to Charleston, South Carolina. The cultural differences between the two places make a bland sandwich stuffed with Baptist Churches and industrial parks. Real talk. For breakfast we ate at a diner right off base made out of three trailers pushed together, and for dinner a fancy pants Italian restaurant in Charleston.

Some things I've learned

  • Directionals are useless from MS to SC
  • Ask for bottled water at KFC and you'll receive a blank stare
  • Don't tell Kate when you have to pee