January 3, 2011: Driving Day

When midnight rolled around we were on the road in central Ohio.  We were already making very good time.  I was feeling very good and we were putting a lot of asphalt behind us very quickly.  Starting these drives in the evening works far better than you would ever expect it to.  It is amazing that that works but it does, to some degree.

We were still entertaining ourselves at this point listening to our Sirius XM satellite radio.  That really is a good resource for these long trips.

Liesl managed to fall asleep just as we left dad’s place yesterday and slept almost all of the way through the night.  She woke up once in the middle of the night when we stopped at a truck stop but she was only awake for about an hour and managed to get back to sleep and stay that way until the middle of the morning.  Her sleeping soundly through the night is really the biggest benefit of driving when we do.  Her staying on schedule while doing all of this traveling is awesome.  Otherwise it can be so disruptive for her.

Dominica fell asleep somewhere in western Ohio.  It really is no easier for me to drive with her awake than it is for me to drive with her asleep so I just let her sleep.  While she was sleeping, I took the time to listen to the remainder of my book on Samuel Champlain.

Dominica ended up sleeping through all of Indiana and most of Illinois.  She just barely woke up in time to get to see the great Arch in St. Louis as we approached it from the east.  She has never seen any of this whole region of the country although none of it is really unexpected.

Once Dominica was awake I got her to listen to Madeleine L’Engle’s Meet the Austins which is a classic that I first read when I was quite young.  Probably younger than twelve although I have a very poor memory of when it might actually have been.  Sadly many of the books that I loved as a child I am unable to place in time and have no idea when I may have read them which makes it very difficult to have a good idea of when it might be appropriate for Liesl to read which level of books.  As she will be homeschooled it is very important that we keep her on a good track for literature.

Dominica has never read any of the books by Madeleine L’Engle which I find very surprising as she is very much the type of author that Dominica, I believe, would enjoy.  It took a while of listening to the book before I started to remember having read this particular one.  It has probably been twenty two years or more since I last read it.  It is a good book but very sad.  I had forgotten.

Going through Missouri for the first time ever in daylight for me let me get a much better look at the terrain.  I noticed Cuba go by.  Brian and I had done a bit of speaking to someone from there and we had discussed the world’s largest rocking chair that is located there and I could see the billboards for it but did not have time to get off of the highway to investigate.  I had hung out a bit with my friend from Cuba down in Austin in October.  If only there was more time to stop off and visit people on drives like this.

Eventually we were in to Oklahoma.  This is when you start to get really tired.  There is so much Oklahoma to drive through and so little to see.  It was still pretty cold as we entered Oklahoma as well.  It was nineteen degrees when we left New York and rarely topped twenty degrees for most of the drive up until now.  We expect to see the temperature increase significantly as we turn south and head towards the Texas border.

We were surprised to find that up in northeastern Oklahoma we were finding a lot of really beautiful housing developments in the area east of Tulsa.  Great area.  If only there was work here.  I’d not mind living up here.  Gorgeous area.

We made decent time working our way down Oklahoma Route 69 on the eastern border of the state.  I can’t help but wonder if the highways would not be more practical even though they add many more miles.  I think that shooting through both Tulsa and Oklahoma City on Interstates 44 and 35 will be what I try next time.

We made it into Carrollton around five in the evening.  The drive took us twenty three hours inclusive and we gained an hour from the change in timezones that burned us going in the other direction.  The Acadia did great and we are very pleased with it.  Liesl also did very well on the trip and fussed very, very little.  We are very proud of how well she handled the drive.

The Oklahoma Route between Dallas and New York appears to be the clear winner.  It is the easiest drive, most interesting, fastest roads and appears to have the best overall time between places.  Hopefully switching to the highway route will make it even faster yet.  Dominica was pretty happy with it even though it was like pulling teeth to get her to go this way which is surprising because it is not like she needed to drive any amount in either direction on this trip.  I made all three legs (DFW to Utica, Utica to Rochester and Rochester to DFW) all without her getting behind the wheel a single time.

We are very excited to be home.  It is certainly strange coming home to our new house that we barely had a chance to move into before we had left for New York.  We are definitely not used to this being “our house” yet and it is a lot like we are moving in again rather than returning to our existing home.

First order of business was watering the plants.  They have spent a lot of time in a very cold house.  Most of them like to be watered every two days or so.  Going almost two weeks is quite a stretch for them.

Overall everything seems to be fine with the house.  We had our concerns, of course.  Now to get back to normal life.

Today was a work day for me but there is really nothing going on at the office so checking in via BlackBerry tends to do the trick for the most part.  Tomorrow I will be back into the office in person again for the first time in two weeks.

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