Monday, July 14, 2008

Day 45 - Monday, July 14, 2008

Day 45

Jacksonville, Florida to Albany, NY

Touch down. Saw a beautiful sunset and the Capitol when making a stop over in Washington, D.C. And then saw the lights of Wolff Road and Colonie when landing in Albany tonight at 10:30PM.

And that's a wrap on the roadtrip that went for one month and a half -- yup, 45 cross-country days!

I'll be assembling a groovy photos slide show to upload to Facebook soon to highlight some of my 4,000 photos!

In the meantime, if you see the archeologist tomorrow (on Wednesday), she turns into an even older lady, so wish her a happy one!

Jackie Kerouac
RSC Traveling Bear Correspondent

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Days 40, 41, 42, 43 - July 9, 10, 11, 12, 2008

Days 40 - 43

Jax (Jacksonville, Florida)

Basically, been spending beaucoup time with the little human in and out of pools and water parks. I didn't know bears could be so water logged! The archeologist follows us where ever we go, and she's starting to develop what passes for a "tan" on her pale, ghost-like skin. She has a real farmer's tan going -- from the mid-bicep down to the wrist and from the mid-thigh down to the ankle. It's something that would cost you extra special at the tanning booth.

Today is the last official day of dawn to dusk vacation.

Tomorrow, we take a plane from Jax to Albany to get ready for the freshmen orientation at both campuses next week. It will be strange to be at home after so many days on the road. And to not get into a pool for a few hours every afternoon. Oh well, it's been a good run.

Can't wait for next year's summer marathon!

Yours in travel and wander lust.
Jackie The Bear

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Day 39 - Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Day 39

Jacksonville, Florida

We slept late. We were so bone tired. We could have slept all day.

But we didn't have anything to wear, and we had to do 50 lbs of laundry consisting of a lot of sweaty vacation-ware. So in order to get dressed, we had to do some real bottom-of-the-suitcase scraping. As a result, the archaeologist looked so very fetching in her sultry combo of skin-hugging workout leggings, black socks, and gray long-sleeve shirt. It was about 96 degrees and the V-shaped river of sweat on her back was a real compliment to her ensemble.

Then we went to the craft store to get canvases and paint for an afternoon of creativity by the pool. The little human painted several canvases while the archaeologist worked on one southwest desert scene. When everyone got home, we had a gallery showing and art auction. The little human sold several of her canvases.

Also in the afternoon, the oldest human looked at a house that was going into foreclosure. She's thinking of moving to Florida to be closer to her grandchildren. We'll see what happens.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Day 38 - Monday, July 7, 2008

Day 38

Marianna, Florida to Jacksonville, Florida

With just a few hours to drive, we pulled into Jacksonville in the late afternoon.

Jacksonville is where the little human lives and her parents were happy to have her back after more than a month.

We all did a month's worth of catching up, and the little human was very excited to show off her cache of treasures and souvenirs from the trip.

We're going to hang here in Jax for a week, and then the archeologish and I are flying back to Albany and Russell Sage.

I'll try to catch up on things a little and start posting more photos on Facebook.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Day 37 - Sunday, July 6, 2008

Day 37

Natchitoches, Louisiana through Mississippi through Alabama to Marianna, Florida

Granny had a bee in her bonnet and wanted to get back to Jacksonville to see her granddaughter who was about to leave on a trip to Chicago.

We traveled 580 miles in one day, and didn't get off the highway until almost midnight. But along the way we saw a complete rainbow, end to end, after a short rain storm in Alabama, as well as a shooting star, Venus glowing brightly, and the Milky Way. I guess there are some advantages to driving all night!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Day 36 - Saturday, July 5, 2008

Day 36

Shreveport, Louisianna to Natchitoches, Louisianna

We got the little human to the Sci-port Children's Museum by 11AM and she stayed and played until it closed at 6PM. It was a long, fun, playful, educational day, and two adult humans took turns keeping up with the little human (and me).

Along the way, we saw IMAX movies about the Grand Canyon and "Mummies: Secrets of the Pharohs," as well as a short presentation on the Red River. We also took a rest on a bed of nails (!), learning that if your body weight is spread out evenly over the nails it doesn't really hurt.
We also put macroni elbows into different shaped spaces and figured out volume sizes; we watched plasma being created; we designed kites and tested them in vertical wind tunnels; and on and on.

The Sci-port is a great children's museum with two floors full of hands-on, interactive, visual, tactile experiments, toys, and play areas to amuse, entertain, and edify children, adolescents, and adults. The place was packed. And, again, we spent the entire day there.

Not that I'm a boastful bear, but I must say the little human had lots of fun trying different experiments with me and on me -- and occassionally threatened my life. But I just took it in stride -- after all, it was all in the name of science!

Afterwards, we hit I-49 South trying to make it to Alexandria, but we were too tired and only made it to Natchitoches. We got a hotel for the evening and some information about the many local historic sites. We're going to check out the historic downtown tomorrow morning on our way out of town.
P.S. In the synchronicty department: while I was updating my blog tonight in the hotel lobby, the movie "Steel Magnolias" was playing on the lobby TV. That movie was filmed in Natchitoches and there is a "Steel Magnolias" tour listed in the "local attractions" newspaper.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Day 35 - Friday, July 4, 2008

Day 35

Abilene, Texas to Shreveport, Louisianna

Driving, Driving
We got on I-2o East toward Dallas around 12PM. At our first gas/snack/restroom stop the little human bought us all popscicles with her own money. It was very sweet and thoughtful, and at 100 degrees F, it was also a welcome reprive!

We were trying to get to Shreveport by tonight since we promised the little human that she could have a day playing at the Sci-port Children's Museum there (which she loved so much when we passed through Shreveport on the way out).

So most of the day we were in the car driving and listening to our second Tony Hillerman novel on CD. We like trying to figure out who the killer is and sharing our ideas as to why with each other. It's also really fun to hear names of places (churches, cities, towns, highways, etc.) that we've visited or passed by.

In the ironic department:
a billboard outside of Stephenville read:
  • "Need directions?" -- God

The sign was sponsored by a local Baptist church. Right on cue, at our next highway exit (Exit 389 to be precise) the oldest human was driving and went the wrong way on a divided highway and drove straight at the grills of two huge trucks. We all had a squeal and then a nervous laugh, and then not too much later, the little human passed the archeologist a note from the back seat that read:

  • "Really, get directions!"-- God

We all laughed for three exits.

Shreveport, LA

Around 6PM we pulled into Shreveport and made a bee-line to our favorite food stop of all time: the Southern Maid Donuts on Greenwood! Happily, it was after 4PM, so we got the HOT donuts right off the conveyor belt and everyone sucked down two hot glazed donuts like they were air. It was worth the 3,000 mile return trip just to get them again!

Aftwards, we got an over-priced room at a Ramada that had once been quite nice, but was now sliding toward seedy. But since it was a holiday and since Shreveport is packed every weekend anyway with gamblers, we felt lucky to get a hotel room at all that didn't have bugs in it. (Although the box spring in our room looked like it had come from the prop department of a 1950's horror film....)

The oldest human sampled some of the local flavor and entertained herself at the in-house casino, while the little human and her archeologist buddy watched the first Harry Potter film on cable.

If you count the $40 the oldest human lost at the casino, this room was more expensive that our most expensive lodging, the Maswik Lodge at the Grand Canyon!

P.S. The night before we were talking to the hotel clerk about our trip and she kept referring to it as the "Grand Canyons." It made me wonder why it is called Canyon and not Canyons, since there are so many twists and turns in it. It might make more sense to call it the Grand Canyons. But on the other hand, it just kind of sounded like George Bush talking about the "Internets," i.e., someone speaking about something they know nothing about.