June 9, 2006

DC Road Trip

Time for a Garage Sale!.jpg
3 days, 3 hours after departure time: Let's have a garage sale!

MySpace Couple.jpg
The MySpace couple, in our "top 8" garage-sale visitors.

Ghis sells her integrity for $20.jpg
Ghis sells her integrity for $20.

The Fire Dept Stops By.jpg
The fire department purchases an end table.

Carpet Cleaning.jpg
3 days, 4 hours past departure time: Carpet-cleaning.

Ghis's room - noon.jpg
5 days, 2 hours after departure time: Ghis's room

Ghis finds Egyptian key chains.jpg
5 days, 3 hours after departure time: Ghis finds her Egyptian key rings!

Packing coconut juice.jpg
Packing: Coconut juice, most important.

Van to Storage.jpg
5 days, 6 hours after departure time: May and Laila take van to storage.

Another Argument Breaks out over lunch.jpg
Another "discussion" breaks out over lunch.

Last three.jpg

Set to go.jpg
Really leaving...

Yes, Ghis knows how to drive.jpg
Yes, Ghis knows how to drive!

May waves.jpg

I35 South.jpg

When the air started to smell great.jpg
When the air started to smell great.

Boy, does she know how to drive.jpg
Boy, does she know how to drive!

Kansas City.jpg
Kansas City

Laila knows how to sleep.jpg
Laila knows how to sleep.

June 8, 2006

DC Road Trip 2

Continuing with days 2-3 of the trip, May 23-24th:

Kansas roll.jpg
Breakfast at restaurant in Ottawa, Kansas. Cinnamon roll comes in a bowl!

Ghis waffle.jpg
Ghis thinks of many things she would like with breakfast, including whipped cream on her waffle...

Kansas waitress.jpg
The waitress finds Ghis delightful, and although they have no bananas, she lets us know that, as it's Tuesday, they can be had across the street for 19 cents a pound.

Bananas, KS.jpg
Hence, bananas.

Kansas sky.jpg


Following two photos: Ghis and Laila practice self-portraiture in case they ever want to start muhSPACE pages:
Ghis muhspace.jpg

Laila muhspace.jpg

god bless usa.jpg
Lunch stop: Sooner Corner Restaurant, Perry Oklahoma

welcome to texas.jpg

Ice cream scoops by the pound!

Ghis braums.jpg
Two dollars!

braums decor.jpg
Braum's decor.

proud home.jpg
Those Texans can sure be proud...

This town is home to the best-ever death metal band.

dallas freeways.jpg

at Zelikas.jpg
We arrive at Zelika's

plano mall.jpg
Shopping at the mall in Plano, TX

allen pool.jpg
Finally on vacation...

June 7, 2006

DC Road Trip 3

Road trip days 4-7: Ghis stays in Allen with Zelika, and Laila heads down to visit Brian in Austin

swimming hole.jpg
Swimming (and getting bitten by fish) after hiking down The Hill of Life on the Barton Creek Greenbelt.

myst flower.jpg
A mysterious flower for Amy to identify. Amy?
(It is a native clematis. I think they are called leather flowers. You were pretty lucky to see one, they are not very common. Was it by the river? Posted by: Amy McIntire | June 1, 2006 12:50 AM)

enfield rd.jpg

Whataburger for blog.jpg
Ok, so David Foster Wallace must have spent some time in Austin...

TVs in the HEB.jpg
Something we don't have in Minnesota: TVs in the H.E.B.

Barton 1.jpg

Barton 2.jpg
Cooling off at Barton Springs after a bike ride.

kerbey lane cafe.jpg
Getting takeout at Kerbey Lane Cafe and heading over to...

grand champeen.jpg
The Hole in the Wall to see Grand Champeen. (Sorry you aren't seeing much of them.)

Peugeot and Kona.jpg
Peugeot and Kona

yellow bike birthday.jpg
Austin's Yellow Bike Project celebrates its birthday...

gallery lombardi.jpg
... at Gallery Lombardi...

black start pub.jpg
...with beer provided by the Black Star Pub.

light up yer bike.jpg
Light up yer bike-trailer.

HEB freezer.jpg
Late-night HEBbing for frozen fruit treats.

Anarchist soccer.jpg
Those Austinites start the tykes on anarchist soccer awful young.

Jim Jim's.jpg
Eating mucho water ice at Jim-Jim's.

June 6, 2006

DC Road Trip 4

New Orleans...

The French Quarter
old quarter street.jpg

old quarter st 3.jpg


Pink house with bikes.jpg

Laila finds heaven...

Waiting for a "Tigers Blood" Sno-Ball at the Royal Street Grocery
me with sno ball.jpg

royal st grocery sno balls.jpg

Trees on Napoleon


Canal Street:
canal street.jpg

Ninth Ward:
more signs.jpg

sign post.jpg

collapsed house.jpg




marked house.jpg


not for sale car.jpg

But people in some neighborhoods seem to have been able to rebuild...
fixed house.jpg


DC Road Trip 5 (detour)

So heading east out of New Orleans towards Montgomery, Alabama, everything is fine through St. Louis Bay, Mississippi...

St. Louis Bay, Missi.jpg

Until Laila happens to glance at the map...

Florida map.jpg

... and notices how close we are to Florida, a state neither of us had ever been to. Not just Florida, but Seaside Florida. For those unfamiliar, Seaside is the Mecca of the urban design movement called New Urbanism, which I'm slightly obssessed with. (It is also the setting of the movie The Truman Show, which can be read as a critique of New Urbanism.)

So after a nice lunch in Freeport....

Florida meal.jpg

... we finally see ocean.

Ghis excited Florida.jpg

Just Gulf.jpg

We arrive in Seaside about an hour before sunset.

Seaside St. 2.jpg

Seaside St. 1.jpg

Seaside bikes.jpg

Seaside house.jpg

Seaside cute house.jpg

New Urbanism attempts to sell folks "community" in the layout of their streets and front porches. The idea is good. The attempt at suburban reform is good. But I have yet to see a place where it has worked. People do talk to their neighbors more, they do get around by bicycles and walking, but the claims to reduced commutes/dependence on automobiles and increased diversity are unfounded. Much of the "community" created is due to advertising which brings in people who are looking for exactly that and open to it. Not a bad thing, but it can't all be attributed to design. Reliance on autos is not reduced because the people who can afford to live in these trendy towns have high-level jobs in real cities, and the people who work the few service jobs in the town can't afford to live there, so must commute in. Hence, no diversity.

It was actually quite freaky to be there. You really got that Truman Show feel from the town. Everyone was perfect. They all had 2 children, aged about 5 and 8, who all looked exactly the same, blond, tan, freckled, same haircut, mothers wearing sandals and brand-new pastel summerwear. Ghislaine was so freaked out and uncomfortable that she refused to spend a penny there, so we didn't.

People were actually using the "commons" in the center of town, kids playing together and such...
Seaside Green.jpg

But when we attempted to hit the beach...
Seaside Beach Pagoda.jpg

....a sign informed us that due to the "fragile beach ecosystem" and risk of erosion, beach access was restricted to "Seaside residents and their guests". Being ever law-abiding, we left immediately:
Seaside bathing.jpg

At least we were allowed to shop!
Seaside store.jpg

After a convenience-store salvaged dinner on the beach, consisting mostly of Everything But The... ice cream, we headed to our first and last camping experience of the trip, in Grayson Beach.
Grayson Beach.jpg

Settling in for the night, we discovered that algae is actually good for the hair:
Ghis with Seaside hair.jpg

Laila with Seaside hair.jpg

But the environment wasn't ammenable to sleeping. Unbearably hot, and mosquito-ridden, Ghislaine's first camping experience was less than enticing.
Tent at Grayson.jpg

(Stay tuned for the final road trip installment coming when I have the time!)

June 5, 2006

DC Road Trip Finale

June 1st, we start the long trek north. Ghis spots signs for "Boiled Peanuts" and must have some.
Honey and peanuts.jpg

In fact, she must have five pounds! Unfortunately, they were overboiled and about 5 were eaten in toto. This was the supreme disappointment of the trip.

We pull into Cottondale, Florida for lunch. People who knew about this trip kept talking about "the deep south". I still don't know what that means, but this might be it.
Cottondale house.jpg

Cottondale sleep shop.jpg

Our lunch spot. Laila embarrassed herself by asking the waitress what a "Mater sandwich" was. ("It's just bread and tomaters, of course!") A man who was born 7 miles away in 1934 introduced himself to Ghislaine and asked Laila a riddle. It was packed. Patrons got up to offer their tables to people coming in even as they were finishing off the last bites. The hamburgers reminded me of my grandma Alice.
Pam's Diner.jpg

Back on the road, Alabama chicken transport.
Chicken truck.jpg

Entering Atlanta:

This is actually all we got to see of Atlanta. Probably it's what most Atlantans spend most of their day seeing.
Atlanta Traffic.jpg

We stayed with Ghis's Tante Meriam in Kennesaw. Here are three kids on the couch, watching great Bollywood movies. The best was Bagbhan.
kids on couch, Kennesaw.jpg

Tante Meriam's family.
Tante Meriam's Family.jpg

The next day, heading through Tennesse, the weather is bad and boredom begins to set in...
Rainy Tennesse.jpg

Rain 2.jpg

It rains so much, that Ghis begins to turn into a fish...
Ghis fish face.jpg

Nonstop driving (except for Blizzards, of course) sees us still on the road and bored, in Virginia now...
81 in dark.jpg

Ghis starts to settle in for the night:
Ghis blanket.jpg

We're dying of boredom and start to use the cell for entertainment...
more bored speed.jpg

After calls to Todd and May get no reply, finally Eleni picks up...
Phone call begins.jpg

And she's out with Todd, and May, and Roy, and Jen, and Terra, and who knows how many other cool kids. Much hyperness and gossip ensues...
phone scream.jpg

But then we're back to motel hunting in the midnight depths of Virginie. Things got really scary when we had a run-in with a white cat (!!!). We finally found a place to stay about 1am.
the depths of Virginie.jpg

The next morning, things are slightly better. The green rolling hills of Virginia...
Virginia country living.jpg

Look closely for three delicate crosses on the hill, surrounded by resting cattle:
Three crosses.jpg

I wanted Ghis to have the Waffle House experience for breakfast.
Waffle house sign.jpg

The first and last time I ever have two hamburgers for breakfast. And check out the excess of butterlike substance on those grits!
Waffle house breakfast.jpg

For Todd... since his photo of the one in Denton didn't turn out:
Wafflehouse juke.jpg

Finally we hit the much-loved Pennslyvania turpike.
entering PA turnpike.jpg

...the road from hell, which looks like this for 6 hours across the state:
PA turnpike.jpg

I manage to get us lost in Gladwyn on the way from the turnpike to my parents' house... for old time's sake. This is what a Main Line "neighborhood" looks like:
Gladwyn neighborhood.jpg

PA house 1.jpg

PA house 2.jpg

I think this is just the house guarding the real house.
PA guardhouse.jpg

My old grocery store!

Finally we arrive at #4 College Lane.
driveways are endings.jpg

And the folks arrive from JFK an hour later.
home with the folks.jpg

Last stay at #4... it'll be housing other professors by the end of summer.