Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Final Trip Day(11) and our first full day as Az. residents!

(Bill writes)

We left sunny but cold Albuquerque NM late Thursday morning. This would play into another change of plans “on the fly” later that afternoon. We cruised through the New Mexico Highlands and crossed the continental divide (at almost 7,750 Ft. elevation!). Interstate 40 is one of the better roads to drive in America, and now we’ve driven a major portion of it from Tenn. To Arizona!

We knew we wanted to make Holbrook Az., Our last stop before Cottonwood, by sunset Thursday night. First, lets get out of NM!
Our Gas and lunch stop was “Big Sky” NM., about 90 mins. out from the Az. Border. We grabbed some “lunchables” for both of us, and a fruit cup for me, gassed up “Midnight” and got moving again. At another pitstop just before the border we saw a few classic cars in the roadstop store! (a 1950 Buick Roadster and a ’54 caddy!)

Finally we crossed the Arizona border,..but it was already close to 3pm mtn. time and I knew we would have to bypass the Petrified Forest this time, because it wouldn’t be worth it to just “drive through” for an hour or so. We did stop in the visitor’s center briefly and could see some of the park from the access road, but that was as far as we got, choosing instead to make it in to Holbrook early.

We got to our hotel and checked in and decided to “low key” dinner as there weren’t many choices in Holbrook. We grabbed some BK and called it an early evening.

We were still feeling the effects of “mountain sickness” Friday morning so we took our time checking out and getting back on the road for the final short day of driving. We did Denny’s for breakfast again, and were not disappointed with the friendliness of native Arizonians.

Our table mate across from us was a kindly gentleman who I guessed was in his early to mid 70’s, and owned ranch property in the Holbrook area. He also had a sizable firearm on his right hip under his chaps work shirt jacket and a black duster hat! He told us “cottonwood was an excellent choice to re-locate to, as did our server, who was from Cottonwood but now lived in Holbrook.

She even knew the apt. complex we were going into and it seems everyone we meet since we got here has nothing but good things to say about our development!

So we get on the road, and as we get closer to Flag(staff) we see the Ginormous San Francisco Peaks looming in front of us and we remember how pretty they were the last time we were here 5 ½ years ago. This time they were covered in snow! Annrose tried to get pics from 2 different stops but it just wasn’t working out. We finally said goodbye to I-40 and merged onto I-17 south (runs North-South Between Flagstaff & Phx.) for about 35 or so minutes, and made our final rest stop of the trip just south of Oak Creek, overlooking some of the Sedona Red Rocks.

We were finally HERE! We got to our exit off I-17 and headed northwest for the final 15 minutes on Az. Rt.. 260 (the Cottonwood-Bridgeport hwy.) and made it into town and to our destination just after 3pm.

We just can’t believe the views both from our front door and behind us from the property’s access road! Once we finish unpacking Annrose will post a few pics, but I wanted to get this last “big” entry posted so that you all know were here safely and are getting squared away.

Our “leasing consultant” Mindi made me laugh when we finally met her in person late Friday when she said” I wasn’t sure if you were going to get here today because I didn’t see a blog post last night!” Special thanks to her & Carri in the office for making the move in painless! We will post again with Annrose’s final thoughts and some pics!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Day 10-an extra day in the A(L)BQ….

(Annrose writes)
What a nice day we had today. We lounged around the room this morning, both feeling the strain of the past week. We then went to the Albuquerque Museum of Art & History. It was so quiet, no kids running amuck, no screaming, pushing or shoving. Everyone is so incredibly friendly and welcoming.

We ate at La Hacienda, in old town ABQ, Spanish tile, heavy wood chairs, chile’s hanging...u get the drift. The food was,…well there was so much of it that we took it back to the hotel to finish for dinner....WOW I took a few pics...Bill to post.

We are both starting to feel the effects of being at such a high altitude, here in ABQ., we are 7000 feet above sea level, Bill is having some trouble breathing and my head feels like it wants to explode. The last time I was in Az. I remember having a headache the first few days also, so lets hope we get used to it in time (I hope).

We're just going to relax tonight because tomorrow we are headed to ….(drum roll please).......ARIZONA.....and the first stop will be the Petrified Forrest Nat’l Park. We were able to see some of the park the last time we were in AZ, so we are looking forward to seeing more since we will pass on the way to Cottonwood.

(Bill adds)
The whole town here has so much to do that we scrapped two sets of initial plans (either drive or take the local commuter rail to Santa Fe, or do the Sandia mountain tram). We decided that a much slower paced day was what was needed, to decompress from a week plus on the road and almost two weeks of living out of suitcases since we moved out of our old place on Long Island.

We headed over a few blocks into “Old Town” the original settlement area, which is now all shopping and dining, and three Museums. We choose the Art & History Museum because we could leave the car parked and walk into the historic area to shop and eat. After almost 2 Hrs. in the Museum we headed over to the shops and grabbed a few things, including a certain “Patch’ for someone…Plus Annrose got a new Mug and she picked out a Cap for me.

Now we sat down to eat at 2:30 so where we thought it was lunch turned into a “dinner,” even with some healthy leftover portions. The Guacamole salad was “outstanding”, and I had the Chicken & Beef combo Fajitas and Annrose had her “Chimmi whatever she had” which she already posted her “Food porn” on Facebook…
So we’re relaxing tonight before we head out tomorrow. “Just One More Day and a Wake Up!”


(photos above By Annrose)
(Annrose writes)
Driving though Oklahoma today was nice, not a lot of trucks or cars on the road and nothing but wide open spaces for miles and miles or open fields of cows and horses grazing. It really is beautiful. Every 20-30 miles there's a little community of houses or a house and big barn.

Bill has this habit, every time we pass cows, he moos at them.....every time!!! It is kind of funny after a while, he does a really good cow

We are more than half way to AZ and driving into Texas today, We started to notice how the terrain is starting to change. From the brown dirt to that reddish color and the shape and size of hills and canyons...I took some pics at a Texas roadstop that show just that (Bill to post)....

Tomorrow we drive thru Texas to New Mexico, its going be a lot of driving over 4.5 hours(plus another time change!), but we are staying in Albuquerque for 2 days, then we'll be in ARIZONA and spending some time at the Petrified Forrest in Holbrook...Before we head to our new place in Cottonwood...

(Tuesday Day 8)
We left Texas this morning and headed towards New Mexico...what a great ride, the view of mountains, canyons; huge rocks, boulders in different shades of brown and rust just breath taking and then there are these bushes in all different shapes n sizes scattered all over the terrain, not sure what they're called, will have to find out. It was just a preview
of what is to come.

(Wed. Day 9)

I’m happy to be staying in one place today, no long distance driving. I would like to go up to Santa Fe the drive is about an hour and a half...will see how we feel, there is much to see and do right here in Albuquerque.
I have been saying for a long time that I have to learn Spanish, I think I better hurry up and learn.

(Bill adds)

Well, this is another double sized post since we have not posted since Arkansas! We made Tx. And found the correct hotel this time. We settled in with a Papa John’s Pizza and watched Alabama Win the National College title game. This time the room was a little smaller, and we initially had an issue with the bathroom’s sliding door, but we loved the shower.

Yesterday (Tuesday) we left Texas and headed into New Mexico. When I tell you about the “breathtaking” sight of the Mountains as we headed into NM, and to see the mountains around Santa Fe in the Distance from I-40..

We stopped at the New Mexico welcome center in Glenrio for a bathroom break and a few pics (I will post later today). We also stopped In Tucumcari NM for lunch at DEL’s, which was outstanding. Like Winslow AZ.(mentioned in the song “Take it Easy by the Eagles), Tucumcari is mentioned in a song by LITTLE FEAT (“well I’ve been from Tucson to Tucumcari….”)
We made it to Alb. around 5pm Mtn. time., and being wiped out from over a week on the road, we had planned an extra day here. We also decided to “Order Inn” last night, and I can’t sing the praises of there delivery service enough! We had some nice salads and I had a Chicken Parm. Hero (but not as good as 3 Boys!) and Annrose got cheesy breadsticks with her salad. We were so tired we hit the bed a little after 10pm.

Today we might relax a bit, and possibly sight see some….we’ll keep you all posted….

Drive time:(Monday 255 Miles-4 Hrs & 11 Mins.-Tuesday-285 Miles 4 Hrs. & 26 Mins.)

Monday, January 9, 2012

Day 6-the Waffle house, wrong turns, and Lost Medicine!

(Annrose writes)
Today we had breakfast at the Waffle House in Russellville AR (oh come on they're every where), it took us 5 days before we gave in...

After a wonderful breakfast, we headed out for a leisurely drive to Oklahoma City. We're listening to the Giants game on Sirius/XM and enjoying the views of the countryside when Bill realizes that he had a voice message, he didn't recognize the number. Ignored it, then realized it may be the hotel calling to tell us we left something behind. It was and we did. We had driving over 65 miles we were in the car about an hour, so we made a u turn and headed back... we had to, it was Bills medicine bag. So, in short we were driving about 7 hours today....I am beat,
but, arrived safely had another home cooked meal at the Crackerbarrel.
Tomorrow is Monday already, time flies by at 70-75 miles an hour.

(Bill adds) Yeah, what a dummy I can be sometimes! It’s a good thing we checked the voicemail when I did or else we’d have been in Ok.!

The Waffle House was great as Annrose noted, but the day went down hill from there except for the Giants beating Atlanta, and us meeting some Nice (very) folks working at the Ok. state welcome center. We also wound up at the wrong hotel (don’t ask) and now I have to get on the phone with customer service and sort that out plus a “double” charge for the first night in Virginia. We had wanted to meet up with a friend of my ex-roommate, but that doesn’t look like it’s happening today. Annrose and I are both exhausted, and we got lost getting here (Ok. City) and we are just wiped out. Short post today but I promise more tonight.

Drive time: 7 Hrs (because of going "back" to Get Meds at last hotel) Miles 286(not counting reverse!)

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Day 5-Memphis & Graceland-and the flatlands of Arkansas

(Annrose writes)
We started the day at Graceland in Memphis TN and ended in Russellville, Arkansas. Had lunch with Elvis after he gave me a tour of the mansion. It was so cool to see what was considered excessive or elaborate back in the 70's. Bill wasn't up to walking thru the mansion, so he hung back in the lobby and watched/listened to an artist singing Elvis tunes. We then had a burger in the Rock n Soul, a “very” 50's styled burger joint.

The drive was not bad today, only 3.5 hours of driving.
Wouldn't it be funny if this blog of our road trip turned into one of those stories about how the couple started off all happy and excited and ended with the couple going crazy from living out of their suitcases and not being able to figure out how to use the (Freakin) shower head in every new hotel room?!

Otherwise, the driving isn't so bad.....

(Bill adds)

Graceland was nice to see. We also wanted to do Beale st. & the Gibson Guitar Factory, but my back gave out before we got started from re-loading the Truck! The ”Elvis” inspired Artist (not an impersonator!) was Terry Mike-Jeffery, who has many albums out of both his own stuff and Elvis covers. Just as much s Nashville, Memphis is a Music town, with lots of recording studios and attractions. While Fender does not have a factory like Gibson does, they are other instrument makers have large store presence’s in town. Fender is releasing a “collectors” edition Elvis Model “Amplified” Acoustic Guitar in Feb. ($750) which looks pretty.
(Lots of Pics!)
We also saw the Sirius/XM broadcast booth where the Elvis channel is broadcast from, and briefly met “Doc” Walker while Annrose was in one of the Elvis themed stores browsing.

The Burger was outstanding BTW, but we have Chic-Fil-A for Dinner, and now we know what everyone else in the south is talking about! That had to be the best grilled chicken on a roll I ever had!

The ride was better again today as Annrose pointed out above. mostly "flat" driving once across the Miss. river, except for a delay for road work.

Today we will leave the Ozarks behind and head to Ok. City. I won’t feel so bad about “missing” the Giants on TV because we have Sirius/XM in “Midnight” (the Escape), and I will get my pal Bob Papa’s Play by Play from WFAN. We did watch most of the Lions-Saints Game last night. Annrose is sleeping in a bit this morning since she’s not feeling well.

Drive (Road) time: 4 Hrs & 20 Mins. Miles: 268

Friday, January 6, 2012

Days 3 & 4, Kingsport to Madison(Nashville) Tn, and on to Memphis!

(photo-late Friday afternoon on I-40 coming into Memphis Tn. By Annrose on her "crack berry"

(Annrose writes)
It was another crazy day on the road with the truckers on I-81 & I-40. I was doing 70 miles an hour most of the time unless someone was up my butt.....and I had to drive 85.... Sammy Hagar would love

We made it to our friends house in Madison good to see them and they welcomed us with open arms. We’re looking forward to spending some quality time with Ralph and Reena.

Driving for hours at a time is a lot harder than I thought ...I may find the truckers annoying, but I give them a lot of credit.

Bill adds) It was one of those days for us. Even though we were “driving road time wise” were going an hour less, we lost an hour (backwards) when we crossed into the central time zone. We got to Ralph’s about 4:30 pm central time. As Annrose said, they rolled out the red carpet for us. Later in the evening after dinner we got to Broadcast our show from Ralph’s office.

Drive time: (road miles-282-Time 4:30)

Annrose writes)
Yesterday we arrived at Ralph n Reena's and were welcomed with open arms, good food, good people....thank you LOVAA!

We left Madison, TN (Nashville) around 1:30 and had another beautiful sunset...there are no scenic overlook areas to stop at on I-40, so, I tried getting a shot with my phone...Bill will post (my editor)

Today is Friday day 4, and we arrived in Memphis, TN around 6pm central time! I have lived my whole life on eastern time....and by the time I get to New Mexico I will be in Mountain time.. OMG I am getting so excited....

Tomorrow we are going to Graceland to see everything Elvis and then a quick trip to the Gibson Museum (and Factory)'s going to be a very busy day, I think we have another 4+ hours of driving tomorrow, but we should be arriving in Arkansas past Little Rock early in the evening.
I think I’m gonna vegge for a little while and try to figure out the different channels in this city...

Bill adds)
While Annrose is enjoying Memphis (dish) Tv in the hotel, I will echo her feelings about how good it was to see Ralph & Reena.

Today was a shorter day on the road and that helped Annrose both driving wise and in fighting being “tired”. In trying to stop and eat at an “authentic” place, we stopped at a Hardees inside a truckstop. Wow, that was some burger! Besides the “iHop” In Virgina and the Cracker Barrel” Wed. night in Kingsport, Tn, we also did a Dq yesterday as well. Tomorrow we make a few local stops, and then we’ll head to Arkansas and the Ozarks.

Tomorrow somewhere on the first leg (between Memphis and Little Rock, Ar., we will pass the halfway point distance wise, if not in number of days. We have made great time every day except for the first, and now the actual daily road time decreases each day. Oh! you were all waiting for the "Escape's" Nickname: Midnight.

Drive (road time)-3:28-distance-213 miles.


Sorry we didn't get a Post up last night, we were exhausted and I had to do our show with Ralph. We will def. Catch up tonight from Memphis...We did decide to Name the Escape yesterday, but you will have to wait for the next post....

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Second road day-Va. to Tenn.

Photos(Annrose-Two Photos of Cows Grazing(we saw so many Cows, Horses, and even some Sheep) (Bill-The "Gold Star Veterans Memorial Highway"-I-81 in Va.)
(Annrose writes)
WOW who knew Virginia was so “freakin” big, I was driving all day and we finally got to Kingsport TN at 6:15pm. We are sitting in a Cracker Barrel getting ready to eat some home cooked southern food. I am having southern fried catfish.... love it!

Now, nothing against truckers, but man oh man they think they own the road. I almost got run off the road about a half dozen times. The speed limit on I81 is 70 miles an hour...yes 70 miles an hour, how much faster do you really need to go? Half the time I had to get up to 85/90 Mph. to pass the trucks. It was a little stress-full, but like Bill keeps telling me, we're moving to Arizona and it' s all good.

Happy to be in Tenn. I’ve never been here before and judging by the accents, you can tell we are in the south.
Tomorrow the drive should only be about 4 hours until we get to Ralph and Reena's house. Can’t wait!!

The weather was great today about 35 degrees and partly sunny and oh man what a sunset we had for over an hour, purple, pink, orange, so beautiful!!! And we followed a rainbow for over 20 miles, that was cool. I tried taking a few pictures with my phone while I was driving, of course they didn’t come out too good, but I had to try and of course Bill kept saying both hands on the wheel!! …yeah yeah just navigate I got the wheel.....

(Bill adds) I want her to keep both hands on the wheel because I don’t trust everyone else! It was a much better trip today. Sadly we missed Jimmy in Va. because of issues beyond both our control, but we had a very nice “late” breakfast at the iHop across the street from the hotel. Then it was “on the road.” We only made two stops for “Bathroom Breaks” and a few pictures (see top).

I have to give Annrose all the credit in the world for her driving ability because even out of NY there are folks on the road that are just out of their minds. Where we had a few minor issues with last night’s room and the place we stayed the last few days before leaving NY, this room tonight seems to be a bit better, if a bit smaller. Tomorrow we head to Nashville and Ralph & Reena.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Our First Road Day

(Annrose writes)
The first leg of the trip is done and I said goodbye to a lot of good people today, who I will miss very much!! Of course we hit a crap load of traffic in NY – the GW Bridge UGH!!! I look forward to NOT having to deal with that in AZ. Flatlands & Mountains AAHH!!!

There’s some snow here in Winchester, VA, but it doesn’t look too bad. Now that I have an SUV, I don’t think I can go back to a car now.
Tomorrow we head out to Kingsport, TN then we’re on our way to Nashville to see one of Bill’s oldest friends from when they were kids growing up in the projects in the Bronx. So, looking forward to that.

(Bill adds)- We also hit traffic 2 other times aside from the Cross Bronx & the GW Bridge, both on I-78 West in Jersey. Once we got into Penn. It was pretty clear sailing. Annrose is trying to “take” it a bit slower driving, and it’s hard to do when semis’ and bigger SUV’s are driving past you. Some truckers are a bit aggressive. We only made 2 pit stops, once at the Lombardi service area by the Meadowlands and once on 78 in Penn., near the I-81 interchange.

After the second stop the last 2 hrs. went pretty smooth, but just as we hit the VA. line the snow started. We just made it off I-81 and into the hotel parking lot as it got a little heavy. We are now in Winchester Va. Just past the W.VA. line. Sorry no photos yet, today was too hectic for either of us to shoot at all. Tomorrow we drive the rest of Va. and into the Tenn. Mountains.

Time Started: 1:08pm
Miles: 328
Time ended (with stops & traffic) 8:22 pm
Actual drive time: 5hrs. & 49 Mins.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Tech Issues

Just want to let you all know that not all the "widgets" are set up yet....thanks for your understanding.