A wise man once told me that the main difference between an ordeal and an adventure is your attitude.
When the Lady Shawnon told me she would be doing her clinical year at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital at Cornell University, I was really proud of her. When she said she'd need help moving all of her stuff there, that's when I got even more excited.
As it turns out, for me, this is what an adventure looks like:
That's the route we took to get her, her car, and most of her stuff installed in upstate New York.
If you'd like to see photos from the trip and all of the fun along the way, read on...
Since she's been away on a tiny island for most of the past two and a half years, every visit home includes a trek to visit her family in Southern California. This time we ended up staying with her aunt and what turned out to be a large number of small guests:
They said whatever you do, don't get them wet...
You're also not supposed to feed them after midnight:
It turns out that one of her other relatives breeds Pomeranians and happened to be visiting at the same time. So I got to get all kinds of puppy time:
It seemed like every time you turned a corner there'd be some other little dog peering out at you from under, behind, or inside something:
They were everywhere:
The next day we continued the trek further into Southern California and visited Disneyland:
This was probably the least crowded I've ever seen this place. We entered the park on board the monorail. That's where I spotted this sign:
Since there were no children to supervise, I did my best to observe the other instructions that were posted:
Bright and early the next afternoon, we set out on the open road and left all of civilization behind us:
We even started to leave vowels behind:
Crossing into the desert, the moon came up pretty early in the afternoon:
And right around sunset we passed the Ivanpah Solar Power Facility, the world's largest solar thermal power plant:
Shortly after that, we left California and entered the wilds of Nevada:
It was terrifying:
Somewhere in the middle of what passes for night in this wretched hive of scum and villainy, we drove through Las Vegas:
Shortly after that we nicked the top corner of Arizona before crossing over into Utah. A little ways into the state, we decided it was time to find a place to sleep and ended up in a motel in the charming hamlet of Beaver, Utah.
I saw no beavers there.
The next morning we set out bright and early and got to see some amazing scenery:
Especially notable was this giant boob-shaped mountain:
Because I'm a child.
One of the things that really amazed me was the significant shortage of road kill. There were very few dead critters on the road. I was almost ready to believe that there had been some sort of mass extinction or migration, but we still spotted this guy at a rest stop:
Shawnon wouldn't let me keep it.
Shortly after that stop, she started experimenting with the creative filters built into the camera:
Clearly boredom had set in:
That's about the same time we crossed into Colorado. It was also terrifying:
Actually, it looked quite a bit like Utah at first:
As we gained elevation, the clouds began to thicken. Shawnon dozed off in the passenger seat and I zoned out let my thoughts wander. Sometime later she woke up and the conversation got a bit silly:
HER: What's wrong with that truck?
ME: What truck?
HER: The one with all of the smoke or whatever that is coming out from the back of it?
ME: That one?
It turns out that we've been so drought-ridden for so long in Northern California that my sleepy girlfriend didn't recognize the effects of a rain-soaked road anymore.
I tried to resist the urge to make fun of her.
Still, the scenery was fascinating:
That night we stayed over with our friends Liz and Scott. They're both pretty talented costumers and tend to be a fixture at all of the conventions across the country. So after a great dinner out, we spent much of the rest of the night hanging out with Scott in the garage and playing with all of their toys:
This is what Shawnon looks like when she's judging me:
Liz ended up missing breakfast with us the next day, but here's Shawnon and I with Scott right before we hit the road:
Eastbound once more, I was treated to this great bit of literacy:
In fact, I kept finding samples of these kind of shenanigans all over the place:
Not long after that, we were entering Nebraska. Terrified:
I didn't take any photos of Nebraska. I spent all of my time in the passenger seat with my camera at the ready, waiting for something interesting to pass within view so I could snap photos.
What I saw was corn.
Somewhere in the middle of the state it was my turn to drive. We stopped at a gas station surrounded by corn and switched places.
A little while after that I was stopped by a state trooper who had been hiding behind some corn. She issued me a speeding ticket.
After a brief reminder to slow down, I headed off past more corn.
Just when we thought we'd seen all the corn we could ever see, we crossed over into Iowa. Where there was more corn:
Here's some random road signs:
We spent the night in Iowa at the home of Aeric the Canadian, Shawnon's old roommate from Ross. He ended up taking us on a tour of the University of Iowa campus:
It's very pretty:
The next morning we were in no real rush to get back to driving. Instead, we spent much of the day playing board games with Aeric and his dog Odin:
That night we ventured into Illinois. Both of them:
Somewhere in the great pile of concrete spaghetti that counts as Interstate highways after Chicago, I ended up missing a turn and took us on a brief late-night detour into Michigan. I'm sure it was very nice, but it was pretty much just dark while we were there.
I persevered, found our way back to our track, and drove on through the night (and Indiana) until we finally stopped in Holiday City, Ohio.
There was next to nothing to see in Ohio.
Sometime that morning, the long hours on the road started making Shawnong grumpy, so I stopped and got her a latte and a pony:
Then we drove into Pennsylvania:
There's a lot of corn in Pennsylvania too, but it was somehow more interesting:
That night we caught up with my friend Sean and his wife Jen. Sean is another talented maker and we ended up trading stories and ideas until the wee hours of the morning. Here's the four of us in his studio:
While we gabbed, Shawnon got a chance to try everything on:
I think the ODST magnum looked pretty good on her:
The next morning we headed north through more corn:
Early that afternoon we'd arrived safely in Ithaca, New York:
It was a reasonably uneventful road trip and I'm looking forward to doing something similar (only backwards) sometime next year when she's all done at Cornell. I'm still not quite sure which route we'll take, but rest assured that there's more to come.