Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Days 8-9 Texas to Georgia

Day 8: Texas to Mississippi

So I left from Texas. It was hot.
And the storms? Because I was driving again, they also started back up. -_-;

The land started morphing, it got kind of awesome. Texas has such a wide variety of geography - I saw only just a little bit of it, I tried to capture all that I thought was gorgeous:

I'd like to make a color scheme based around this: Texan Travels or something lame like that I'd probably call it. The first color schemes I created were in 1995; I used to use crayons to blend gradients and I distinctly remember "Jedi Forest Green" lol laaaame!! but yeah - Texan travels = pretty colors!

Right before entering into Lousiana, you could tell you were about to:

It was in heavy traffic, when I first turned on Steve Martin's autobiography: bumper to bumper construction traffic right before Shreveport (but still in TX). At this moment, as shown here, I saw this occur about 12 times (am not exaggerating) and then it was hilarious. This is why they have pickup trucks Alllll over texas. Stupid trucks.

Some more puffy clouds, almost like the ones from Galesburg:

In Shreveport (after crossing into Louisiana) I didn't have time to look for (and was too hungry to find) gumbo, so I just followed the signs to the catfish restaurant. It was a good idea, and quite possibly the best catfish I ever had. If you're ever in Shreveport... get that catfish. Also, the cheapest gas is by the Walmart, I paid 2.46/gal.

Aaaand the storms followed me through Louisiana - and were the reason I saw almost none of the state... :(

I find it important to note one thing that I couldn't possibly take a picture of - two things, come to think of it.

1) Upon the last third of Louisiana, I definitely saw the moon rise: it was large and orange, and was the perfect "Bayou Moon" - you know, when that picturesque way of clouds parading across the moon's face as it rises through the night sky? You see it in Creature of the Black Lagoon type stories - or Scooby Doo? Yeah. It looked EXACTLY like that. I couldn't really get a picture because I didn't want to stop on the side of the road in a bayou. Talk about dangerous. :(

2) You remember that old lady slug monster from Monsters, Inc.? Yes. I had the human version of her as the night shift at the Super 8 in Vicksburg, MS. She didn't take kindly to me being a respectable young lady, manners and all. I think maybe it's because I'm a Yankee. She even looked like she had one of those painted-on birthmarks, you know, like the French people used to do in the 1700s? Sadly she had no name tag, but I'll remember her as Dolores.

Day 9: Mississippi to Georgia

In the morning, I was kinda tired, and lazily packing while talking to Lago online. I snapped this shot of my car to show you the colors of MS - I found strangely, that it was backwards of how I thought it would be. I thought Louisiana would be the prettiest state of the "Deep South" states, getting uglier the farther east I went - until GA, which I know is pretty. I was wrong, LA was ugly - and Mississippi and Alabama were pretty :D
I must have been one of the last people to leave. In retrospect, I should have left earlier, but I felt weird last night and couldn't sleep well. (kind of like tonight-I feel really jumpy and can't sleep :( I think I miss people from back home)

Hey Ari, remember my rap? This restaurant has the Fish & Fries, too, lawl

So a lot of Mississippi had this type of ivy-growth on the plants that lined Interstate 20. Later, if I have time, I would like to look up the type of plant it is: it seems like a weed/parasitic plant.

Got turned around by mislabeling on the GPS - but it turned me around well. Took a picture of the Jackson I wouldn't have seen if I hadn't accidentally made a wrong exit :)

I stopped in Chunky, MS to get gas. Best town name ever. Well, next to Hideaway, Texas, that is.

This next one is a horrible picture, but I didn't reshoot it: only for the story. This was the most gorgeous Rest stop I'd ever seen - and the man inside of it spoke exactly like Farmer Fran (or whatever his name was) from The Waterboy. I told the guy to have a nice day, and he grumbled something completely unintelligible back to me. I looked strangely at him for a moment and laughed and sort of agreed, and quickly escaped to my car. Hilarity had ensued.

Alabama's hills are so pretty, and look like mountains in the distance :)

I traveled through the National Talladega Forest... cool? Woulda liked to walk in there...

This next one was awful hard to get; sadly Atlanta has had the worst drivers yet in all of the states I've driven through. -_-; oh well. Neat ridge, though.

And so then I got to Bethany's place. It's in a warehouse. It's pretty sweet, there are 11 rooms here. No AC though, I am trying to get tired - it's just not happening (I think I'm scared to fall asleep in a warehouse. I'm such a pansy!!!)

***To the "mommas" out there: It's entirely safe, we're in a gated circuit. The doors are shut and locked. I am safe until tomorrow...when I will venture back out to drive to Athens...***

I might go and sleep in my car, just because it smells like me and I'm pretty durned used to it anyway. I mean, there is full shower action which I will be using tomorrow morning, hopefully not bothering them :o And then in the morning (well, it will be in like 5 hours) I will call Uncle Ed/Aunt Karen and Jonathan - see if either one of them have any time to have lunch or dinner or something. Hugs, pictures - that sort of thing. Uncle Ed is my Dad's brother. (family from both sides!) Hopefully calling on them that day won't be too much of an imposition and/or nuisance. It's been difficult enough to roughly plot out where I'm going since Dad and I aren't going together - it's like, a bunch of things are kinda just thrown in and I've done a right terrible job of getting in touch with the people I was supposed to. -_-;

If you are one of them and reading this, I apologize profusely.

Lesson learned:

Not all Southerners like to give Southern Hospitality.

By the by... videos:

and of course

These are kind of unnecessary, but at the time, they seemed like a good idea.

Until next time...

Days 5-7: Lake Worth and Azel, TX

The reason I initially planned this trip, if you'll recall, was to visit my Grandma Korto.

I got to stay with her and her Shih-Tzu, JP in Lake Worth, TX .

As much as I'd like to blab about what went on in the area of not only Lake Worth, but also Azle, TX as well - it's family oriented. I'd rather speak of that to those who ask about it as opposed to sticking it onto the internet for everyone to look at.

As I blab about the few pictures I'll show, I'll say this: I realized I wish I'd laid more time out for Texas. It was a learning experience in many ways, and I don't necessarily feel "full" yet.

Below is George. This is one of the mini-cows ( info if you wish, regarding the cow breed

...TBC as soon as I get somewhere else that has wifi. I fell asleep again in front of the comp at mississippi. However, everything is uploaded (well, save for all of the D70 pics hahaha)


All righty. In Atlanta with Bethany and Ryan, who are kind enough so as to give me a place to lay my head (and internets to leech off of) this evening/morning. I got in late...

...so here are the rest of 5-7 pics, and explanations along with them.

This was a cool sign. I liked the logo; what can I say?

At the Fort Worth Stockyards, I found a giant Chewbacca PEZ dispenser. I just thought it was cool so I took a picture... shots from the Stockyards, in addition to other shots that are with the D70... (I keep saying that. This blogging is more work than I thought that it would be)

This guy was hilarious... funny thing about the heat: it makes you kinda slow. If I had thought to do it, I would have totally had "my fortune read" by this guy, instead I just laughed and snapped a picture:

Lol: this was only funny because I'd already "met" Will Rogers at his hometown in Claremont, OK

After we went to the stockyards, my Aunt and Uncle took us to Joe T. Garcia's a well-known local restaurant, which had some of the best food I'd had in quite some time: along with beautiful gardens. My cousin was right: all restaurants should be that cool. Here's a shot of one of the fountains there:

These last couple shots are officially from the final day there, but whatever. Here is a shot of Grandma's dog, JP (stands for Jackpot)He really didn't like me taking photos of him. JP is pretty neat. He "talks" to grandma - I've only seen that in Boxers and Huskies, but he can say "I love you," better than any dog I've seen on you tube. Sadly, I couldn't get him to do it on my camera, so you're going to just have to take my word for it.

This next shot is cool. This is me and Grandma Korto, AKA Nana. She's the reason I decided to leave on this trip in the first place. The rest of the trip kinda feels just like bland, boring driving and money blowing now. I'm sad. I miss her already.

At any rate, Texas was beautiful, but horribly hot. Thankfully I'm in Atlanta, which, while LESS hot, is also MORE humid. From Texas, The Azle Kortokraxes gifted a Cactus to me, well-a few of them - and they are super special. In addition to being from their land, they have shells that used to belong to my Great Aunt Marge (who passed on about five years ago) - as well as three awesome fossils that they had found on their land as well. I'm toting the cactus in the seat behind me all the way back home to Illinois: Cacti are great, apparently I have to water it about once every 3 weeks (if it doesn't rain)...I'm excited to take care of it, as a wonderful memento of my time there.

So... Texas was great. I hope to be able to visit again fairly soon. I don't want to wait another 9 years.

On to the next, as Grant and Jason would say.

Videos from Past Days

I'm going to pseudo spam link to the videos I didn't get to put up earlier.

There are more to come.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Days 3 and 4: On the Open Road, Illinois to Texas!

Day 3: Illinois to Missouri.

Driving is one of those things that makes you think. Later on (Day 5) Uncle Kurt called it "Windshield Time" - it's time where you get a lot of not talking to anyone else, thinking yourself, and basically being responsible for yourself.

I feel as if just this part of the trip has made me a bigger person. Perhaps these pictures can sufficiently express that, maybe even along with the video .

++as a side note, the video will be included at a shortly later date: my guess is, somewhere in Georgia++

So I left North Henderson a little later than I had expected. I have learned that it's better to leave earlier in the morning to travel... but for that it's good to have had a good night's sleep, which I haven't seemed to be getting GREAT sleep or anything... but I'm getting ahead of myself.

I wanted to be able to show you all as much of what I am seeing as I can. For that reason, I'm snapping quick shots (I'm not even looking through the viewfinder or anything, it's just set on auto) and I guarantee you, I'm being as safe as possible doing that. I'm sure that there is some law somewhere that tells you not to, but on the same hand, it's really not much different to me than drinking soda on the road. I just wanted to point that out before someone got all "Momma" on me telling me I shouldn't be taking pictures while driving. I KNOW I probably SHOULDN'T be, but I'm doing it as safely as possible. Thank you for any concern!

From North Henderson, IL, I took a few flies with me in the car. I think they finally left by the time I was going somewhere through Oklahoma. (which was a day later, btw)

Illinois is a funny state... it's only pretty in the places I never hear of.

I think I've been to Peoria twice in my life. This time I drove through it. The coolest thing of note was this building...

And who could forget my Sarah Connor face?

This is probably what I look like 60% of the time: those sunglasses are amazing, but they do horrible things to my peripheral vision: if the traffic ends up being 3 lanes, I don't like using them at all. Strange, that. Would that I could find a decent pair of sunglasses that both look cool AND are good for my vision...

I may have forgotten to mention that minus the time that we stopped over at the airport before we got to Florida four years ago, the last time I was in Missouri was when I was about six years old, maybe seven at most. Grandpa Fisher drove me out to see my Dad when Dad still lived in Columbia. Yeah that means it's been 19 years since I last drove on these streets... and I certainly wasn't behind the wheel...

Here's St. Louis...

You will note that the picture also has a billboard. the billboard, I noticed later while looking through my shots... is a Steak n Shake billboard. I can't even get away from the diabolical company when I drive 1,000 miles away.

The trees and hills are much taller in Missouri. Dad put it as "it's like driving into Oz."

I am inclined to agree with him.

...Save for the fact that Oz was never quite this humid and hot.

Which isn't so bad, I suppose. I haven't been in heat for a good, long while. It really only got worse, though.

Malcolm, you asked for a picture of my car: a full picture. Here ya go.

He's usually not this dirty, but Thomas Jefferson is running the long haul right now :)

There was a wonderfully hazy sunset that evening - accompanied by a large front.

The front, sadly, led to just a slight amount of heat lightning, and no water to cool us off (trumpet sad sound).

I stayed that night--as you know--in Joplin, MO. Again, a video will be added here as soon as I'm able to get it onto the internets... It was a scarier town than I remember hearing about... and apparently more than Dad remembers as well.

Day 4: Missouri to Texas.

It was nearly mid-day when I passed through Oklahoma. I had forgotten (which is sad) about the Trail of Tears, and that I would be driving through a fair amount of Indian country. While cool, is still sad. Oklahoma felt very lonesome, even through its large city.

Much of the highway area looked like this:

And after paying four dollars for the toll there... I decided that I would drive the rest of the Oklahoma drive on non-toll roads. I'm not sure how much time or gas I wasted... but the rest of the country I drove through was sure pretty looking...

I had to stop for gas. The first city that came up? Claremont. It's Will Rogers' hometown!!

I had to actually ask Dad if I was remembering Will Rogers correctly: as a cowboy, a singer, and a movie star. Dad said he was all of the above, and a pretty cool dude. I wish I could have stayed longer to learn a little more about him, but... thus is the way of the roadtrip.

Speaking of ways of roadtrips: I had entered finally, into an area that was kind of weird. For instance, buildings started becoming... stranger. An example?

This Curves building is obviously a church. A beautiful little one, by the looks of it. But if you're going to purchase an old church for your business... wouldn't you take the cross down? It's misrepresentation, I feel. I thought I was approaching the town's first church or something... nope, just a women's workout center.

I took this next shot just for my sister, Sarah:

Here you go, dude. The birthplace of Hanson. the skyline of Tulsa, OK. Tulsa looked really broken down... at least the parts I drove through. Again, I wished I could have gotten out and seen some of the local area... but I had to book it!

I had forgotten to mention this: Oklahoma reminds me in quite a few ways of Illinois: 1) they have a lot of grassland, a few more trees, and "watering holes" ... and actually, just as much construction. Missouri's roads were a welcome respite from having driven down the whole length of IL - but Oklahoma? It was driving through Illinois all over again, but prettier countryside and hotter... much, much, hotter.

It began to look like a Western.

When I veered off and took the "non-toll" route, I drove through some pretty cool areas... that had buildings that looked kind of like this:

Sure enough, though, after the 20mile an hour tinytown, you would drive into the 65 mile an hour cowboy country :)

I think that this is the first Land Oil Rig I ever did pass by (cool!)

I then crossed into Texas.
Which, let me tell you, has better roads--but I'm convinced the drivers are worse than in Chicago.
No, really. They don't know how to drive on an Interstate. How frustrating.
They have the prettiest skies though :)

Wait, oh that's why the skies were pretty: they were going to open up on us?

Worst wasn't over yet...

Honestly, I'm surprised I actually made it to Grandma's. There was a time period in there where it was raining so hard I couldn't read the signs. It was at this point that I was extremely grateful for the lending of the Tom-Tom to me... because while I personally couldn't read the signs, the Tom-Tom still knew where I was and could direct me. It was some rough driving, that last two hours, but I got here!!

And with a rainbow at the end, to boot!

So here I am in a little ol' area called Lake Worth, right outside of Fort Worth... I'm staying with my Awesome Grandma Kortokrax (my Mom's Mom) and her hilarious Shih-Tzu, JP.

More to come!

Day 2: North Henderson, IL // Amy, Steve & the Gang

To all who have been actively watching, my utmost apologies and of course, heartfelt appreciation for taking the time to look even though I haven't been around.

The second day in North Henderson was comprised of visits to other places (Alexis, IL where I got gas for 2.51/gal) (the house/farm Steve's grandfather used to live on) as well as hilarity and goofiness from Amy and I...

One of the things we stated betwixt the two of us, was that it was great to be back in the company of someone who knew what the heck we were talking about. I get sick of re-explaining things to day-to-day people. Amy always knows - sometimes we just make faces and understand what we're saying. I think that's one of the qualifiers regarding if someone is your best friend or not :)

Without any further adieu... some pics!
So first off in the day (after lunch, where we grilled out, and Amy and Steve showed me that baked beans on a hot dog are amazing) we got to another farm :D This farm had work horses, 2 silly dogs, some sheep, and metalworking tools/stuff.

Here's Amy on a cool swing that Steve's grandfather made!

Remember those two silly dogs? I don't have a picture of Bart, but he totally looks like Sandy from Annie :) Murdock, however, looked like a mobile mop, and was awesome. I think he's a Cairn Terrier? Ha! He was stalking me around the farm... in a fun and playful way.

Amy told me to pick out a horseshoe for good luck: I must have very good luck, because we forgot to take them in, and she picked one out and I picked one out, and they're in my car hehehe (I will show you pictures of the forge and anvil when I get those posted - they were taken with the D-70, so they will be uploaded when I have a snidge more time and different internets... it's difficult to find time to post when I'm hanging with family I haven't seen for almost 10 years)

However, we ended up going back to the farm I was staying with them at... and got to play with some of the animals. Everyone was in a good mood, despite the heat.

The alpacas were actually coming up to me! ...Almost TOO close to get a picture, haha.

Amy explained that the kittens are in a stage where they are learning how to play fight :) It made for some hilarious pictures.

But the kittens and alpacas and pony (it was very difficult for me to get a good shot of April Buttercup, I'll try and find one between the two cameras) were not the only friends to spend the day with on the farm :)

Have you been introduced yet to Charlie?

I also call him: Charles-in-Charge, Sir Charles, or Big Dude.

Charlie is part-lab, part-great dane... and all AWESOME. He even poses for the camera!

Later that night, Amy was kind enough to let me post the FIRST North Henderson post... I find that it's ultimately a lot easier to do it at the end of the day THAT day before I go to sleep... and I've also recently found that doesn't always happen the way you want it to, haha.

So we hung out in the house for a bit, Amy made some iced Americanos for us (Amy decidedly makes the best coffee evar.) And she tried painting a cover for my sketch journal (which, for those of you who heard me say that and cared about it... which probably amounts to M@, ((haha)) No, I've not sketched yet - I SWEAR it's going to happen!!! hehe) but she didn't like the first version, and then she worked on the second version. Neither one of these did Amy like. She ended up stating "These paints just really suck," and I was like :( and then we laughed.

I was thrilled (though I think I found this out the night before, but I could be wrong) to find that Amy and Steve both like the Lapsang Souchong - or Russian Caravan tea. Those of you who have had my presence accompanied by my "tea library" will remember it as the "campfire tea". I left them with a fair amount of it because everyone else who has tried it has hated it :( Tea needs love, just like peoples! I also left Amy with a tea I made for her that has: mugwort, pennyroyal, chamomile, peppermint, and hibiscus in it. I will likely need to re-calculate the percentages, but I think the flavors work well together. I made it 'specially for Amy and called it "The Brew of the Western Oracle" - kept a bit with myself so I remember what I put in there :) I miss having someone around who likes tea as much as I do. hehehe

After the attempted painting, we went back to the trailer and were "cleaning stuff up" before Steve got back (we were gonna have steak! yay!) aaand... well, we decided on doing an art project together earlier the day before (at Blick) however, didn't have a whole lot of time... SO we painted our hands and made handprints, two each and then cut it in half so that we each got a handprint of the other AND our own print... and we're going to do an art trade with it, so we're going to work with the handprints and return them to eachother (I am so excited, I haven't done an art trade in forevers.. and definitely never one like this hehehe).

After a tasty dinner, we were all kind of bushed - we hung out for a wee bit attempting to get Phantom Moon and/or the American Gods audiobook onto my computer (but with no avail) ... it was put onto my flash drive... but I think I left my flash drive there, lol (oh noes!) because it isn't my flash drive, it's Reid's. Dangit! Well, I'll figure it all out.

I was very sad to leave, I loved hanging with all the animals, (I still want to take Cat Stevens, Jr. home, even if he is a bit of a spitfire...) and the obvious: hanging with my best friend :) I miss you, Amy, and it was fun, I have to come back soon, if you guys will allow it, haha.

Lesson learned for Day 2:

True friendship is one of the strongest bonds someone can have.
I'll catch you all momentarily, when I talk about Days 3 and 4...