A Travellerspoint blog

NY Closing In

I left a few notes in the car that I wanted to mention but sadly the trip is coming to a close and I am currently in Raleigh NC. I got in last night after driving over 3 hours from Myrtle Beach. Yesterday was by far my best beach day. Before heading to the beach I decided to take in a quick round of 18 on the miniature golf course. Even though I was playing with myself I was still very competitive and got upset when I missed shots and happy when I landed my three hole in ones. The course wasn’t crowded but I still suspect some of the people couldn’t help to notice the solo golfer taking it rather seriously.. Myrtle Beach is a short one that is lined with rather large hotels, the beach itself probably only stretches about 100 yards or so. It reminds me a lot of Wildwood, NJ just times 5. The air temp was in the high 80’s and the water was beautiful. I went in a few times throwing my Frisbee and diving through the waves like a fish. My favorite time for the beach is between 3 and 5, usually by than the sun isn’t so intense its less crowded and just a peak time for me to be on the beach and usually by that time I’m waking up from a beach nap. I do my best to entertain myself at the beach but I’ll admit it would be nice to have someone on the other end to catch the Frisbee or play a game of bocce or clam toss. That last dip of the day was the best as the waves had picked up and I was able to body surf a few and dive through the rest. As I stood mid waist deep and looked along the coast as the waves crashed it was another moment where I just stopped and thought to myself what a kick ass trip!.

The ride up to Raleigh was rather uneventful and the direct route was through the back woods of both SC and NC. Usually when I head to the next city I ride on highways or interstates but although you drop down in speed limit quite a bit it’s nice to get off the highways and take in the back roads. One of my notes was driving at night which I’m not a huge fan of. As I’ve mentioned previously I try and be off the roads by 10 or 11. Driving in the light of day is better for a number of reasons but obviously due to safety and scenery. Prior to making my way up to Myrtle Beach I drove out to Hilton Head the day before. It was a very nice area but it seems to be a bit exclusive and not as developed as places like Myrtle Beach and assume it’s a rather pricey trip. If you can’t already tell since hitting the coast in Texas my game plan has been trying to go to a different beach every day. Although I am inland now in Raleigh I will be heading back to the coast tonight to the outer banks to see what all that hype is about.

I only have a about a week left in the trip as I have to be home on the 10th to see the birth of my twin sisters third baby. I think this is number 9 for the family but I must say I’m rather excited about this new member of the family for a number of reasons. So with the trip coming to a close here is what I’m looking at……

Sunday – Outer Banks
Monday – Virginia Beach
Tuesday – Wildwood
Wednesday – AC

And on Thursday Friday morning ish I will be back in NY. I’m sure I will get into more thoughts about wrapping the trip up as I get closer to NY but the visualizing the map always strikes me and the huge distances I have covered. It feels like ages ago when I was sitting there in Butte Montana watching the fireworks or waking up in Yellow Stone going on my next morning hike. The good thing about the trip is I don’t dwell on the past and with every day there is something new. Today the plan is to hit the links although Matt is still sleeping but I guess the best time to hit the course is in the heat of the day! Let me go wake him and tell him we need to jump my car as I left my fridge plugged in last night which killed my battery, oh well. I thought my last blog was a lot better than this one but I did finish video tour of the focus living space so I will try and get that link up today...

Zubie

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Posted by zubie831 08:34 Comments (0)

95 North!

Usually my vacations go rather quick and when it comes to the end it feels like it has just begun but with this trip that doesn’t hold true. I think back to that first night in Pittsburgh and the open road and the miles that await me. It was the first night I had slept in my car and was a bit nervous mostly because I wanted to make sure I was going to be able to live and sleep out of my car for the next 2 months. Sleeping in my car has turned out better than I expected the one night I just spent at friends in Florida I slept better in my car than in their bed. You would think it would be very uncomfortable but I have my routine down to a tee and I usually only wake up once or twice a night. I have to say the worse part of sleeping in the car is getting up the next morning. At the time the morning arrives which for me is usually been around 8:30 the car is a bit warm and the sun is peaking through every crack that isn’t covered up. It takes me a few minutes but let’s be honest I’m not rolling out to go to work instead I’ve been headed on a morning hike through Yellowstone or on to the next state and in this morning case I’ll be on the beach in Jacksonville before 12 crashing in the cool Atlantic Waves.

I have to mention a reoccurring dream I have been having and it’s one that really makes me jump. I have had 3 of them and usually it will start off with me at my desk or last night I was sliding the screen door to the patio to tell everyone I was home back at 66 plum. The thing that catches me off guard about the dream is that I realize that I skip from Mississippi or Florida straight back to NY and realize I’ve missed the last part of my trip. Lucky for me I wasn’t back at my desk in Ossining working on the next job to fill but still in the focus with the East Coast ahead of me. I wonder what the trick is for grade school kids to learn how to spell their state I s I s I p I it’s a big one? The dreams always make me realize to appreciate the time I have left as I have from the beginning because in less than 10 days I will be back in NY thinking that I wish I was back on the road. As I have grown older I always think to myself when your 25 you will wish you were 20 and 30 wish you were 25 but we can’t get years back but only appreciate the ones we have. All we can do is live every day to the fullest and if you want to do something than do it! Life has a way of creeping up on you and before you know it we all be old and just talking rather than doing saying I wish I could have done that or done this. Speaking of which I’ve always wanted to learn kite boarding and being at the ripe age of creeping into mid 30’s I may be past my prime but I’ll get it done.

Throughout my entire trip one thing has always remained constant and that is the responses I get from people after giving them a taste of my trip. Whether it’s a friend, a dealer at the casino or some random cashier in a Wal-Mart the expression on their face and the response is always the same. Usually I’m on the other end of these conversations but this was my chance to tell people where I have been and what I have done and not once have I gotten your crazy or don’t do that. I always try and take some extra time to appreciate the simple things whether it’s the water, a sunset or even the next hand or throw of the dice saying “crazy you’re throwing the dice in Gulfport, Miss or look at that skyline”. I realize this will most likely be one of my biggest trips but hopefully it will just be the beginning to some more trips and experiences in the future. It’s August 1st and it seems like I left 6 months ago and the funny thing is I had to go look to see what day it was. I always remember in summer as young kid not knowing what day it was because I never knew, a Monday was a Thursday and a Friday a Sunday. At that time the only thing I asked especially was if it was a pool day or not.

I think I’ll try and give everyone a glimpse of my life in the car after I get this blog posted as usually that is one of the question’s I get asked the most. It’s funny some stuff I have in my car I haven’t used since I left as others I can’t live without. Still haven’t seen to many NY state license plates and I’m already in Florida but the count is under 10. Only 10 NY state plates! I guess people from NY don’t like to travel and if they do they are flying!. I hit 95 North yesterday outside of Daytona which is a bit of a wake up that the trip is coming to a close. As I was driving on 95 I looked and realized the car next to me was trying to get my attention it was an older guy with Georgia plates and a beat up car but was holding up his Yankee hat. Even though I’m not a huge baseball fan let alone a Yankee fan I gave him a Thumbs up which he got a chuckle out of. I still have 95 and the East Coast to tackle and although it will probably go quick I’ll appreciate every mile look forward to seeing an old friend and hitting a lot more beaches. Well it’s about 10:30 and I think it’s time to head to the beach…..

Zubie

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Posted by zubie831 08:03 Comments (0)

Hitting the South Ya'llll

I dropped off on my blog a bit so I’ll attempt to catch up. I’m sitting Panama City Beach, Florida and it looks like it’s about to pour! I spent the night with one of my mother’s friends from Yonkers and although I have never met them it was really good seeing Buddy and Eileen. So here we go I believe I left off in NM leaving White Sands…

The Inns of Gods / NM – This was a casino I wasn’t planning on stopping at but like most past along the way and then headed in. I was excited that this was going to be a better casino than the last few as it was tucked away on an Indian reservation. I went right to the craps to table and was soon up 160 for the next few hours I bounced around casino going from craps to 21 to roulette and even missed a 30:1 bonus when I hit quads in Texas Holdem Showdown. I was gambling and winning, every time I cashed in I put down some 20’s and soon found myself with another stack to play with. I gambled for almost 3 hours and was about 400 then decided to head to Roswell about an hour away to sleep for the night. I treated myself to sonic along the way and it was a quick ride to Roswell. The town was a bit of a let down for me, I just imagined it being smaller and filled with Alien and UFO figures and stores ect. all over the place. It had a decent amount but not enough to keep me any longer so it was time to make the long drive across Texas.

Texas – I mentioned visiting the stadium in my last blog but should reiterate how flat Texas is, you drive for 40, 50 miles than come across a small town that only takes minutes to drive through than your quickly on to another 40, 50 miles till the next. I eventually left Dallas stadium and met up with my some friends for drinks. Although I have only seen my friend Amber once or twice its always good seeing people I know along the way. After drinks I headed south skipped Austin and by the early afternoon the next day I was through Houston and on the beaches of Galveston. Here comes the thunder! I went to East Beach and was able to drive my car out to the water which was cool and watched the massive freighters leave one by one. The water is a bit murky but very warm and I enjoyed my time diving through the waves. Early that evening the focus got a lift on a public ferry which was a simple trip but an enjoyable one and I believe my first ferry ride.

Louisiana – I had visited New Orleans maybe about 5 years ago which is a trip I will never forget and as the saying goes “it’s not the destination but the journey” and that was quite the journey!. As I drove in I couldn’t help but to notice the number of signs for Lauberge Casino in Lake Charles where I had originally decided to stop. A lot of times you just look at those highway bill boards and not give it much thought but its good advertising and several times on this trip I have made stops because of them. The casino was very nice but as I walked around it was hard for me to get into gambling mode and it didn’t help that minimum on the craps table was 15 which I thought was rather high. I decided to try another casino down the street but with no luck there I came back to Lauberge only to do another quick walk through the casino but still lacked motivation to hit the tables so I called it a night. I did some driving that morning down south through the “swampy area” and caught another shorter ferry that allowed me to stay on a direct route along the coast. The driving was nice and I enjoyed seeing the swampy marsh areas, the gulf to my right and the many houses on stilts. (very humid in florida) I spent that night in Baton Rouge which was good because they had a Hollywood Casino there and I was able to have a few drinks and gamble. I did get slow rolled that night in poker which pissed me off, I called a guys all in with 55 flop came 5j2 but he caught with trip 8’s on the river then only flipped one card and decided to mock me. I usually don’t get into the trash talk but I did let him have some. The following day I spent driving to NO played a bit at Harrahs and walked around Bourbon Street. People make a big deal about Bourbon Street but I honestly don’t get it, sure you can drink on the street but I think it is very run down with filth and questionable characters and guys who basically surround women as they walk. Gambling was up and down in Louisiana and Bourbon Street was a down and NO on a whole ehhhhh.

Gulfport/Biloxi– That morning I woke up in another walmart parking lot but not your normal walmart as this one had a beach across the street. I decided to grab an umbrella and bought some food and beer and then headed to the beach. This area comes and goes with the tides and you literally have to walk out maybe 50, 60 yards just to get waist deep water and the water is very warm probably close to 80. The beach was good but hot and with not much of a relief from the water after a few hours I decided to head into the casino. Gulfport and Biloxi are rather close and the good part about Biloxi is they have 4 major casino’s on the beach Grand Casino (Harrahs), Isle Capri, Hard Rock and the Palace. I spent the night at the Hard Rock first gambling for a bit then went to grab some sushi only to decide to turn back and spend the night at the Hard Rock. The Hard Rock had a good vibe to it and some decent gambling with a good mix of min bets on their tables. I think all and all I went left that night up about 100. I should mention that I don’t play nearly as much roulette as I use to as Craps is my game of choice right now even more than poker. Don’t get me wrong I love poker but just don’t have the time to grind it out at the tables and rather would go with a quick score in Craps. Something also hit me in the last two weeks and with the exception of the Come/Don’t Pass I have a solid understanding of the game and have hit my first hard bet and a few yo’s. I thought these blogs would be a lot shorter but I have to mention this one guy I rolled with. He was from the south making a lot of noise so of course I went over and decided to play as in craps the louder the table is usually the better it is. On a Saturday night the hard rock was crowded wit most players dressed nicely for a night but he was wearing a camo hat, camo shorts, camo crocs and he was also dipping. Soon after I jumped in it was his turn to roll and he grabbed 4 green chips ($25) from his pocket stacked them sloppy on the line and said “ I’m betttttten that” with a strong southern accent....bam 7 he took his winnings and stacked them once again only to hit another 7 and do it one more time. He also kept saying “All I want is a damn cold beer” and at one point the dealer made a joke about asking if he was on the show swamp people. I would have liked to see him stick around a bit longer but his wife left him and he soon knew he had to follow behind but not before winning me two "ace duece bets". I have just enjoyed meeting characters like this along the way it makes my trip a bit more memorable. I enjoyed my time in Biloxi its a good mix for me of the beaches and the casino and all the southern hospitality doesn't hurt either.

Still waiting for the clouds to give way but according to the weather forecast the afternoon was suppose to be worse. I’ll eventually get in the water today and I am hoping to do another random blog with some of my thoughts and also try a do a quick video tour of my living space....

Zubie

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Posted by zubie831 08:59 Comments (0)

How about them Cowboys

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Not a bad view, that is where I’m currently sitting after waking up just outside of Gulfport, Mississippi. Feeling like a little different approach to my blog this morning, so here goes…

Texas – After leaving the White Sands National Monument I wanted to make good time and try and get to Dallas. This was a good plan as I soon realized Texas is extremely flat and outside of the major cities of Dallas, Houston, Austin there isn’t too much to see. Dallas stadium is Arlington and was happy to see it was rather open and you had the ability to park and walk around the stadium. I was never a huge football fan let alone a cowboy fan but we all know things change and after last season it’s hard to miss a game. From the outside the stadium is very impressive and I debated going in on a VIP tour but I decided that when I go in I’ll be going in to watch a game. My emotions got the best of me as soon as I arrived and just couldn’t help to think of my mom, she was such a huge fan and was the reason I was there. As I walked around the stadium thinking of her I was hoping to find my mother’s paver that was donated by the school but I soon learned that it would not be placed until the fall. I was disappointed but happy because I knew I would be back this season to catch my first game. The paver that was donated was such a special gift and a perfect one, I can’t wait to see my mom’s name outside the stadium.

I’ll never forget the day I came home from work and I sat next to her as I did everyday asking her how she was feeling and seeing if she wanted to do some exercises. Unfortunately at that point not much would make her smile like the mom I knew. Although that night as we flipped through the channels we came across ESPN with breaking news that the cowboys had finally fired the coach. Now at the time they were having a terrible season but man she lit up like a Christmas tree after seeing the news and the confirmed press conference. My brother Kevin called and said something like all we have to do is win the next however many games to make the playoffs which gave her the biggest smile on her face and even got a chuckle out of it. She actually was so happy with my brother’s prediction that she made me call him back to hear him say it again and then she made me call my other brother as well to tell him the good news. Through the struggle and the battle with that monster she still found a reason to not just smile but be so happy and that was because of her beloved Dallas Cowboys. I never realized why she was so obsessed with the cowboys growing up and how she even became a fan to begin with. I’ll just always remember her sitting on the couch every Sunday with her glass of wine often covering her ears or going on the stairs as she couldn’t bring herself to watch the next play. Not to mention she also felt she jinxed them if she cooked chicken on game day which is a rule that I now follow after a few “chicken losses” last season. With the years of Aikmen, Irving and Smith she had a lot to celebrate and I just wish at the time I could have been more of a fan rather than routing against them. Although we can’t watch any games together she certainly made me into the cowboy fan I am today and will hopefully be able to celebrate a championship again. I think about her a lot and sometimes it doesn’t even feel like she is really gone, even now as I’m writing this I know she is but it is still hard to grasp at times and it just leaves me with such mixed emotions. I didn’t think I was going to get this deep into this and have done my best to not get too emotional as I’m writing this but that’s not easy but writing helps. I’ll just give it a laugh and smile thinking about how happy it would have made her to see me at cowboy’s stadium and making me the fan I am today. I’ll have to finish the rest of the blog later and go enjoy the beach which was another thing she loved doing. I decided to also make a stop in Pensacola, Florida to visit my mother’s friends Buddy and Eileen and honestly I don’t really know anything about them just that they went to grade school together. I do know how important it was to her to visit them as it was the second thing she mentioned after waking up from surgery. She had such strong mind to beat it and drag my father down to Florida to see them, she kept saying were going to visit Buddy and Eileen right, were going to Florida?. That will probably be a bit harder than the visit to the stadium but I will try and be strong and pull strength from her as I continue to do. How about them Cowboys - Can’t wait for the season to start!!

I’ll update you on the rest of the trip across Texas and a bit of the south but for now I’m going to maybe meditate/exercise and hit the beach….

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Posted by zubie831 09:18 Comments (0)

Canyon and the Sandbox

The Grand Canyon was a big stop on the trip and why shouldn’t it be as it is one of the few land masses visible from space. I rested that night at a Denny’s about 40 miles south of the Grand Canyon with the anticipation of seeing the park in the morning. My first stop upon entering the park was the visitor center, now all national parks have these visitor centers but this time I decided to take in the video on the park. It was a good video and a good start to my day in the park. I always like to learn on how these parks were created and the history behind them. After leaving the visitor center is a quick walk to the rim trail and for most it’s the first view they get of the Canyon. When you see it for the first time you understand the draw of this park. The canyon is just so massive and majestic and again it almost doesn’t seem real as it dominates the landscape. The grand canyon sees millions of visitors a year even though one of the first explorers to visit said it was “an utterly desolate place that will never be seen”. As you walk along the rim you are just taken in by the sheer size of what you are looking at and when you understand the history behind it, it really makes you wonder. The trail where I was walking was once the bottom of a huge ocean lined with limestone but now I was on top looking down. As you look down you see the different colors of the rocks and those layers are millions of years deep so in essence you are looking into a cross cut of the earth.

The trail had a few viewing spots that peaked outwards and also some rock ledges where you were able to walk out and were in disbelief to see people doing it. Of course on my way back I walked out even though at this point we could hear and see thunder in the distance but the land is so flat you can get a better of sense of the pending storm. It’s pretty overwhelming to be on the ledge alone looking out into the canyon and the huge drop just feet away. I knew this was a spot I had to get a good picture and although I have mastered my phones self-timer I figured I could use some help on this one. The pictures I got at that spot were some of the best of the trip. In one of the pictures you have me sitting on a ledge with the backdrop of the canyon and it’s just awesome, I’m already thinking of framing some of these especially that one. The storm eventually caught up to me and after walking around a bit more the cold rain started pouring down. It’s Ironic the last few days including the Canyon it’s been cloudy and of course I come to the desert and it rains but I wasn’t complaining. I waited out the rain in my car had lunch that consisted of two bagels, wheat thins and a cherry pepsi which reminds me I have to stock up a bit. That afternoon I went on one of the more popular hikes in the park which is a trail that is a vertical mile down and unlike most trails you are going down than up. As I passed people making their way back up you could just see the exhaustion pouring out of them. People under estimate these hikes but unlike them I gave myself 75 minutes as my turn back point and realized the further you go down the further you have to go up. The hike was good and the cool part of it is as you go further down you are literally seeing millions of years of the history of the earth. Closer to the bottom is the dark rock which is the oldest and close to 100 million years old. At one point half way up the trail I took a break and just looked out into the Canyon and was thinking of how I could describe it or the what my thoughts were but I didn’t have any. This one was one landscape that left me speechless and my mind was blank. I have never felt so reduced at the time and couldn’t help to wonder if this was created there must be something bigger something else.

I left the Grand Canyon that night and got as far as Phoenix where I stopped for the night. I gambled at two casinos one in Phoenix one in Tucson but with no real luck I was happy to be leaving and heading on to New Mexico. New Mexico is rather flat and unappealing but I did want to stop at White Sands which is a National Monument. I have to say anyone who is planning on doing a trip like this should get the National Park pass which I purchased for 80 because for 1 year it covers all the parks and monuments. White Sand was an interesting place, It is surrounded by a bleak, dry landscape of really nothing and then you have this huge sand box in the middle of it but not just a sand box a pure white one. Like the Canyon this has happened due to water as it was once home to a 1,400 square foot lake. Now the area is covered in a very fine white sand that stretches from dune to dune. I went on this quick mile circle hike and let me tell you if the sun was out I would have had to turn back. When the sun hits the sand it radiates heats and almost blinds you without sun glasses and several times I had to cup my eyes to relieve them. The funny thing is with all this sand you expect there to be water but they only see ten inches of rain a year. You drive around that park and walk over the dunes and can’t help to think that it almost reminds you of snow and its funny because a lot of people “sand ride” the dunes on saucer sleds. The White Sands Park was a good stop and I would recommend it but only for a half day as the heat is raging in that area.

I always tell myself that my blog will be shorter and take less time but it usually takes longer than expected to write and upload all the pictures but I know I will appreciate it in the long run but am relieved when it is finished. Right now I am in Fort Worth, Texas and plan on driving around a bit and hopefully grab some BBQ for lunch. I’ll also make my way to the Dallas Stadium today………

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Posted by zubie831 10:15 Comments (0)

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