Archive for May, 2009

The Drive: Day Four

Saturday, May 30th, 2009

What a night… We could only find one hotel around Youngstown, Oh that allowed pets last night, and we were too tired to drive any further (it was 1 AM local time).  The room smelled like mildew and smoke and was very damp.  It also had not really been cleaned, but we were way too tired to care.  The cats didn’t seem to mind at all so we just decided to get as much sleep as possible.  Morning came too quickly and we got our stuff together and got back on the road.  

Pennsylvania was a great drive with not too much traffic, but quite a few construction zones.  We were happy to see forests and wetlands again.  Knowing that we were so close to our destination made the drive less daunting today.  We arrived at my parents house around 7 and started unpacking our things.  We also introduced our cats to my parents cat and dog, and that’s a story for another day…  Although we have a few hours more to get to Falmouth tomorrow, we’re officially done with the road trip.  It was easier than I thought it would be, and the cats handled it much better than I had expected.

Distance Traveled Today: 506.0 miles

Travel Time Today: 9:35 (avg 52.8 mph)

Driving Time Today: 8:37 (avg 58.7 mph)

Total Distance Traveled: 2687.9 miles*

Total Travel Time: 51:04 (avg 52.5 mph)

Total Driving Time: 44:04 (avg 60.9 mph)


Event Distance Time (PDT) Note
Start (Austintown, OH) 2181.9 6:33  
Fuel 2182.6 6:35 to 6:49 Tacoma 13.041 gal (20.0 MPG), RSX gal
Welcome to PA 2196.7 7:05  
Rest Stop 2281.6 8:24 to 8:30  
Lunch 2483.7 11:36 to 12:08  
Fuel 2532.3 12:59 to 13:05 Tacoma 16.776 gal (20.8 MPG), RSX gal
Welcome to Connecticut 2596.9 14:10  
End 2687.9 16:08 We’re done(ish)

*This includes 5.6 miles that was not included in driving time calculations.

The Drive: Day Three

Saturday, May 30th, 2009

On a long and lonesome highway, east of Omaha…  That pretty much sums up the day.  The road was definitely long, although it was nice to check off nearly four states in one day.  The lonesome part is mostly true, except for the stretch from Joilet, Il to Gary, In.  

The cats seem to be settling in to the travel routine.  At the hotel, Baboi found that he could squeeze into the space between the headboard and the wall.  It took a little coaxing to get him out of there so we could hit the road, but then things went pretty smoothly.  He even got brave enough to come out of his carrier.  He came up front to visit me quite a few times and spent some time sleeping on my lap.  Noche continued to roam around and watch the countryside pass by out the side window.  

Tina is helping pass the time by singing all her favorite songs to me on the walkie-talkie.  Overall, time is passing more quickly than I anticipated,  thanks to the singing, good music, and the company of cats.  There was even some talk of driving through the night but after 15 hours, we decided that was a bad idea.  It took us a little time to find a hotel that would let us have the cats and it turned out to be not so nice, but a bed is a bed.

Only 520 miles to the next stop…

Distance Traveled Today: 843.6 miles

Travel Time Today: 15:19 (avg 55.1 mph)

Driving Time Today: 13:42 (avg 61.6 mph)

Total Distance Traveled: 2181.9 miles*

Total Travel Time: 41:29 (avg 52.6 mph)

Total Driving Time: 35:27 (avg 61.4 mph)


Event Distance Time (PDT) Note
Start (Omaha, NE) 1338.6 6:46  
Ice Stop 1339.2 6:50 to 6:59  
Welcome to Iowa 1345.7 7:09  
Rest Stop 1461.2 8:52 to 8:59  
Fuel (Iowa City, IA) 1582.3 10:46 to 10:58 Tacoma 16.791 gal (17.8 MPG), RSX gal
Welcome to Illinois 1637.7 11:50  
Lunch Stop 1694.4 12:46 to 13:13  
Bad Traffic 1763.9 14:19  
End Bad Traffic 1767.4 14:32  
Welcome to Indiana 1803.8 15:10  
Fuel and Dinner 1921.8 5:01 to 5:43 Tacoma 17.259 gal (19.7 MPG), RSX gal
Welcome to Ohio 1952.1 18:10  
End Austintown, OH 2181.9 22:05 zzzzzzzz

*This includes 5.6 miles that was not included in driving time calculations.

The Drive: Day Two

Thursday, May 28th, 2009

Well, today was little less eventful, as far as the cats are concerned. We got a bit of a late start; we left Grand Junction, CO around 9:00am local time – but that’s 8:00am Vegas time, in all fairness. We only had one minor cat issue, which involved me watching as Jesse swerved off the road and into the breakdown lane, jamming hard on his brakes and coming to a sliding stop. I did the best I could to pull over behind him without rear-ending him. I ran to the passenger door to see what was wrong (all this on a major highway, by the way). Apparently Baboi was making those ominous, dry-heaving noises that usually foreshadow a very bad event. Fasle alarm, though.

As soon as Jesse got back on the road, he let the boys out of their carriers, and Noche climbed in the carrier with Baboi (who is leary about getting out while the car is moving). After a bit of shuffling back and forth (it seems Baboi was not keen on sharing at first), they ended up cuddling and sleeping for the rest of the trip. We are a little worried about how WE are supposed to get some sleep tonight since they’ve been out cold all day. This does not bode well for us!

Anyhow, the remainder of Colorado was absolutely beautiful. Lush green moutains mixed in with snow-capped ones as far as the eye could see. It even snowed a bit while we were driving. It was neat (pictures to come – I know, I know, we keep saying that and not putting any up! We are tired, dangit!). After Denver, **INTERRUPTION** As I’m writing this nice post about how the cat world was uneventful today, Noche just began his “I’m-going to-yak-all-over-the-place yowl,” and then he did. 🙁 Hotel’s going to love that! Sigh. Must have been reverse motion sickness?

Anyway, after Denver, we started the scenic trip through Nebraska (all sarcasm intended). Nothing could compete with Utah and Colorado! It’s pretty and green here though…but tremendously FLAT. There was some excitement, however. A man with a huge rainbow parachute almost landed on us (while we were driving down Interstate 80)! He ended up in the field next to the highway. The cool part was that he was sitting in the shell of a go-cart  with a huge fan tilted toward the chute. Hmm…if only I had quick access to my camera for that one!

Now we are nestled in a hotel in Omaha, local time 11:54pm. 🙁 Tired.

Distance Traveled Today: 756.0 miles*

Travel Time Today: 12:53 (avg 58.5 mph)

Driving Time Today: 11:22 (avg 66.3 mph)

Total Distance Traveled: 1338.6 miles**

Total Travel Time: 26:10 (avg 50.9 mph)

Total Driving Time: 21:45 (avg 61.3 mph)

Event Distance Time (PDT) Note
Start (Grand Junction, CO) 582.6 8:00
Fuel (Grand Junction, CO) 582.7 8:01 to 8:09 Tacoma 15.813 gal (18.9 MPG), RSX gal
cat incident #2 591.8 8:19 to 8:24 Baboi threatened to be sick, but recovered
Lonely 619.2 8:49
Rest Stop 689.0 9:55 to 10:00 I-70 Exit 140
cat welfare check/lost contact lens 775.4 11:24 to 11:35 Georgetown, CO
Shopping/Lunch Stop 809.6 12:12 to 12:53 replacing some items in Golden, CO
I-76 816.9 13:02 hit some traffic here
Fuel (Sterling, CO) 937.9 14:44 to 14:56 Tacoma 17.594 gal (20.2 MPG), RSX gal
I-80 995.7 15:43 Hello Nebraska
Fuel (Lincoln, NE) 1283.2 19:41 to 19:50 Tacoma 18.188 gal (19.0 MPG), RSX gal
End (Omaha, NE) 1336.5 20:53
Dinner Run 1338.6

*This includes 2.1 miles to get dinner after reaching the hotel, which was not included in driving time calculations.

**This includes 5.6 miles that was not included in driving time calculations.

The Drive: Day One

Thursday, May 28th, 2009

We got started a little late for day one (which should have been day two, but who’s counting) due to an underestimation of the time needed to finish loading the valuable items into the vehicles and tidy up the condo.  As it turned out, we fit ourselves nicely into the window between morning traffic and the President’s motorcade.

As soon as we had finished our fuel and breakfast stops, I opened the cat carries (Baboi cries less with his carrier open).  Noche immediately began exploring the back seat, then found his way up to the front to lay on my lap for a while.  Things went downhill when he decided to sit on the litter box behind my seat and yowl into my ear.  Back in the carrier for him…

Even though we were running late, we decided to stop by Bryce Canyon National Park.  We left the highway at Cedar City, UT and took a wonderful back-road adventure (pictures coming soon).  We stopped at a scenic overlook in Dixie National Forest for a few snapshots and when I got back into the truck, I noticed it was smelling a lot more like cat food than when I got out.  Poor Baboi had lost his breakfast (and from the looks of it, maybe all of  his meals from the day before too).  I climbed into the back seat and pulled him out.  He had only gotten slightly messy, so I put his leash on, and handed him out to Tina.  She took him back to the tailgate to get him cleaned up while I cleaned out the carrier.

On to Bryce… All I can say is that it’s beautiful and I wish we had more time to explore.  We will definitely be back to see more.  
Bryce Canyon National Park
From there, we made our way back to US 89 and then got on I-70 heading east!  The rest of the drive was amazingly scenic but otherwise uneventful.  We stopped in Green River, UT for a quick dinner and then drove on to Grand Junction, CO, where we stopped for the night.  WARNING:  If you’re staying in Grand Junction, the hotels aren’t in the correct place on Google Maps.  We spent a good half hour driving around looking for the hotel, which turned out was just off the highway…


Total Distance Traveled: 582.6 miles*

Total Travel Time: 13:17 (avg 43.6 mph)

Total Driving Time: 10:23 (avg 54.0 mph)


Event Distance Time (PDT) Note
Start 0 8:25  
Fuel (Las Vegas) 1.2 8:29 to 8:37 Tacoma 2.275 gal, RSX gal
Breakfast 5.5 8:47 to 8:57  
Arizona State Line 94.4 10:29  
Utah State Line 123.9 10:56  
Utah Route 14 178.6 11:42  
Dixie National Forest Overlook 197.0 12:14 to 12:30 cat incident #1
Utah Route 14 Summit 197.6 12:33 9910 feet
Junction Route 89 221.1 13:00  
Arrive Bryce Canyon Visitor Center 257.3 13:45 spent some time looking around the park
Leave Bryce Canyon National Park 260.8 15:28  
Fuel (Panguitch) 283.6 15:59 to 16:04 Tacoma 15.451 gal (18.3 MPG), RSX gal
Junction I-70 342.8 17:08  
Dinner (Green River, UT) 480.0 19:08 to 19:40  
Colorado State Line 546.7 20:35  
Stop 582.6 21:42 Elusive Holiday Inn

*This includes 3.5 miles of the scenic drive at Bryce Canyon, which was not included in driving time calculations.

Pedro and Lionel

Saturday, May 23rd, 2009

Our movers were the bees knees! Unfortunately, there were only two of them (instead of the usual 3 or 4), so the move took all day!!! These guys were hilarious! They had all sorts of stories about moving other people, about their wives, about life in general. Two very happy, jovial guys who made the move much less CRAPPY than it could have been. We were expecting it to be crappy because we were up packing until 3:30am the night before, went to bed, and got up at 6:00am to finish up! THEN, we didn’t eat breakfast because we were expecting them to come early and we wanted to be ready for them. So, the combination of no sleep and low blood sugar could have made someone’s day end very poorly!

Alas, everyone survived and our stuff is en route to New England. We are soon to follow!!

p.s. Total boxes packed: 85! That does not include the copious furniture and other non-boxable items!!

The quest for a mover. . .

Friday, May 22nd, 2009

Turns out that finding a mover 5 days before you want to move isn’t always the best idea. I called two different places to get estimates, and both were happy to oblige. They both showed up on Monday (at about the same time…hello awkward – one was late, the other was early…bad combination). First, there was Chad. He was perfectly on time (but stayed LATE), and was willing to give us a binding estimate (move could cost less, but not more). The only problem was, he was having technical difficulties and had to write the whole thing out by hand! He wrote the total on the back of a business card and promised to send an email later in the day with the official estimate. That email never arrived. Ever.

Then, there was JR, from the second company. He did not want to give us a binding estimate because we were unsure of how long our stuff would need to stay in storage. We played hardball, though, and told him that the OTHER really nice estimator gave us a binding estimate. So he obliged, thankfully. We decided to go with JR, since he actually gave us an estimate (sort of essential to the process), returned phone calls and emails, and was just generally really responsive. Chad, on the other hand, is on THE LIST. In the end, we did not finalize the mover until Thursday morning – a mere two days before M-Day (Moving Day).

Packing weekend

Sunday, May 17th, 2009

We finally got into packing mode this weekend!  I spent Saturday morning rounding up some additional boxes and taking care of some other errands while Tina got started bubble-wrapping our breakables.  I got home around noon and got started packing the infamous guest-bedroom closet.  We wanted to get that emptied so that we could put everything we hope to bring with us in the car or truck in there.  We definitely don’t want to be stuck with more stuff than we can fit.

Boxes packed: 35.

The one thing we are VERY good at:

Friday, May 15th, 2009

As we began preparing for the big move during the past week, one thing became clear.  We are very good at not packing.  We got some boxes from work and Emily brought back the boxes that we had loaned her for her move so I got those organized and pulled out all of the miscellaneous small boxes and packing materials that we’ve been saving for the past few months. We stared at them for a while, and then sat down and watched the season finale of Grey’s.  Boxes packed so far: 3

Procrastination 1, Tina & Jesse 0  🙁

So Here’s the Story. . .

Monday, May 11th, 2009

Jesse and I just got hired as Research Assistants at the Woods Hole Research Center! Let’s back up a few days to see how in the world this happened!

On Thursday (April 30) Jesse called his former boss at the Research Center to see if he would be a reference for him. Things were looking a little shaky with our current positions in Las Vegas, and we were about to begin the slow and arduous task of job hunting in a down economy (so we thought). Josef happily agreed to be a reference, but also coyly mentioned two RA positions he had open. Of course, we were more than interested! The next day, we sent in our applications, and two hours later we each had phone interviews; One week later, we were in Falmouth for face-to-face interviews! This all happened between a two week stint with jury duty and Jesse’s surprise birthday celebration for me, which lasted a whole week (those are two stories for another day. . .we’ll just leave it at that, but suffice it to say that we were hectic and busy already).

The rest is history – they offered us identical positions, and we accepted them! We found out today that we have a June 1st start date; let the race begin! We essentially have two weeks to pack our stuff, arrange movers, find a place to live (we’d like to buy, but we’ll talk about that later), find a temporary safe haven for the cats (our choices are: 1. my parents’ house, where they already have 3 cats and 3 horses, OR 2. Jesse’s parents’ house, where they have a cat-eating black lab – not really, but she thinks they are toys), and drive across the country. No big deal. Woohoo!

To summarize: within the span of 12 days, we applied for jobs, had two interviews (one of which involved a cross-country trek), were made offers, accepted those offers, gave our notices at work, and subsequently had panic attacks.

So, welcome to our adventure.