Return to Neverland

Seeing D again was the best of times and the worst of times. Reunion with someone you love swells the heart, but remembering that he's out of reach gouges said heart all the way down to the toes. Returning to 17th & M, however, was flat-out fun. Moxie was warmly welcomed into the IE sisterhood, and I felt renewed by the contact with old friends.

But this blog is about traveling. Regular entries will resume next week, when Moxie and I hit the road again.


Moxie Takes Chicago

Temperatures rose slightly as we drove through Iowa and Illinois on Friday. But the chill remained, rendering brief a visit to Davenport's charming Credit Island Park. Bodies must adjust to these climes: Whereas I could endure barely 20 minutes outside of the toasty car, others rode motorcycles on a frozen inlet of the Mississippi River! I wish I'd snapped a picture of that. (My fingers were too numb to manage the camera.)

The town of Davenport itself seemed charming, too. I swung through only briefly to grab an egg-salad sandwich at Lagomarcino's, an old-fashioned ice cream parlor, candy store, and diner. But it would have been great to have luxuriated over a rootbeer float. (When WILL restaurants allow dogs inside?!) This seems like it would be a nice place to spend a weekend in warmer weather.

Yesterday Moxie and I paused to enjoy a day of seeing old friends and a new city. We officially LOVE Chicago! Moxie played in the sand along frost-fringed Lake Michigan, then we met AB for an informal walking tour through the city's Lakeview neighborhood, stopping for a great cup of coffee along the way. It turns out that Chicago is quite a "dog town." Even in the unusually chilly weather, dogs and their people filled the streets. And AB may soon join those ranks! She and Moxie hit it off like old buds.

One of the highlights of my trip to Chicago turned out to be the Chicago Diner. AB recommended it enthusiastically, so I popped in for a to-go box while Moxie slept off the day's activities in the car. The whole menu at this place is vegetarian! Needless to say to those who know me well, I was paralyzed re: choosing something to try, so I went with a recommendation from a waitress. She didn't disappoint. The Seitan Caesar Salad was out of this world! I'll have to swing back through Chicago again to try something else there, and to pick up the groovy "Kiss A Vegetarian" t-shirt.

And the day just kept getting better. Generous friends AR and DB invited us to sup at their Libertyville home, where DB whipped up a ratatouille-and-polenta feast with outrageous chocolate cake for dessert. It was so nice to retreat to a home for an evening. We slept well last night, hearts and bellies filled to the brim.

Today's driving was easy, blessedly free of the snowy conditions that opened our trip. We took a walk in Indiana's Pokagon State Park. The wildlife there reminded me of the East... a bluejay crossed our path and the sounds and smells evoked childhood walks in Pennsylvania. Tonight we rest in eastern Ohio, ready to hop onto the PA Turnpike in the morning and arrive at my grandmother's house in Maryland by lunchtime. Once there, I'll scramble to meet a Thursday deadline, then get to work organizing and packing for our next trajectory -- this time toward sunny Florida!

News Flash!

The wireless signal in the hotel we've called "home" Friday and Saturday nights is frustratingly weak and intermittent. We'll hope for better luck from tonight's lodging and plan to post then!



BRRR! The temperatures have been unforgiving across Nebraska and into Iowa today. I was prepared to face dog-walking obstacles like lack of time or scenic places. But, being a cold-weather fan, I never imagined we'd be limited by the temperatures. But so it was. After only a half hour or so in Nebraska's Gallagher Canyon State Recreation Area, my toes were too numb to continue walking. I'm more convinced than ever that Moxie is part winter breed (malamute? samoyed?), though, because she seems wholly unfazed by the arctic chill.
Tomorrow we'll head for the outskirts of Chicago in plenty of time to meet friends there Sunday. I'm thrilled to be making such good time. The sooner we get off the Interstate, the better! Today the Burger King we stopped at was out of veggie burgers and the Subway didn't even stock them. What's a veggie girl to eat, anyway? Tips on road-food would be much appreciated! I can only eat so many Luna/Balance/Clif bars...


Another Reason Not to Watch Television

Moxie and I would still be in Logan had we heeded the sky-is-falling reports about today's driving conditions. True, there were slick spots. But in our trusty (and now filthy) Subaru we covered some 500 miles to blow in to Cheyenne by dinner time.

I realized today that the real trip hasn't started in my heart. I'm too focused on the work to be done in DC to really enjoy the journey just yet. I did focus on appreciating some scenery today, though. The mountains in northeastern Utah seem torn from the pages of a fairy tale. Wyoming's not so remarkable along the Interstate, except for the red-faced hillsides along the western border. But I'd still consider moving here just to get the cool cowboy license plate.


Snow Place Like Utah

I cried happy/sad tears leaving Boise this morning. In spite of the pain that drove me there, it's a town I love all the more now for the friends made during the past few months. I think it's safe to say both Moxie & I look forward to returning.

But onward!

Well, sort of. We may be stalled here in Logan, which might not be a bad thing. Moxie's thrilled about the foot of fresh powder on the ground here. But it looks like Wyoming might be a little more slippery than we'd like tomorrow... We'll keep an eye on conditions and make a decision in the morning.

Logan appears to be a charming town with a classic Old Western Main Street. We surely wouldn't mind exploring it more! But if the roads look clear we'll push off early. I haven't yet decided in which town we'll aim to crash next. Does anyone have suggestions for southeastern Wyoming or southwestern Nebraska? We'd also appreciate suggestions about places to walk/pee/eat along I-80.

Burn, Baby, Burn

While packing, I'd found plenty of mementos that hurt too much to remain in this world. A receipt for a wedding ring (5 mm, 18 karat, size 6.5). A book of checks from a shared account. A button from a bridal show. So we called some friends and gathered 'round the fire pit under a Valentine's full moon. K burned a magazine that revealed she shares her birthday with a celebrity she finds insufferable. M burned a long-expired marriage certificate. Thank you, friends, for such a touching, festive send-off.

Next stop: Logan, Utah


6 Days 'till Takeoff

Moxie & I are gearing up. We've got an Outback, a tent, a few thermoses, a converter so we can charge electronics from the cigarette lighter. I even booked a motel for our first night, which we'll spend in Logan, Utah. We are raring to go.