I know I'm slow at this... gah! Get off me already!

Ok, now that I've apologized for taking forever to update me bloggie blog, here's the scoop: From October 1st to October 4th, my dad and I road tripped from Salem, VA to Seattle, WA to move my lovely car, Artex, and as much of my stuff that could fit in him, to my new house. We needed to drive over 2,800 miles in four days. We were going to be stuck in a car for at least 11 hours a day. Add bathroom breaks, meals, gas getting, de-bugging the windshield, and the occasional scenic view, and we were looking at being on the road a lot longer than Mapquest likes to let on.

Not our actual route, but an idea of how far we traveled.
I'm not going to lie. (<-- Overused phrase? Waa, waa, waa.) At first I was a little worried. I definitely wanted my dad to come on this trip with me, but his initial attitude toward how long the trip was, was somewhat discouraging. I was anticipating a trip filled with major grumpiness from the both of us, mixed with a few exhaustion-induced arguments. Dad came home from work one day and said he was going to book hotels for the three nights on the road. He got on Mapquest and mapped out perfectly even driving times for each day and picked three boring cities that happened to fall in between. Talk about lame city. I was hoping we could make it, at least, a little fun, so I noticed that Mt. Rushmore was kind of on our route and I brought it up to him. He thought that could be cool, and then some awesome work friend of his, (let's call him Darryl) told him about this amazing cross country road trip he went on with his son and how much fun it had been. Thank you Darryl for turning on the little light bulb above my dad's head, because he then came home from work with four travel books, a buttload of maps, and a TripTik from AAA. His perspective of the trip had completely changed and we were going to make it fun now! Bonding to the max!

High Five!
After sitting over a kitchen table full of maps, computers, and travel books for days, we finally planned our rockin' road trip. We were limited on time, because we only had four days, but we were going to fit as much in four days as we possibly could. And we did! And it was argument-free. Here's a little rundown of our trip:

Day 1: Salem, VA to St. Louis, MO
States visited: Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, and Missouri

We left my hometown of Salem at 6:00 am, grabbed some Starbucks, and hit the road. We made it to St. Louis that evening, and only got stuck in city traffic for a few minutes. Dad wanted to do it big in St. Louis and I wasn't going to argue with that, so we stayed at the Hyatt, which is right in front of the Arch and down the street from the stadium. We were so bummed when we found out the Redskins were playing the Rams there the NEXT day! If only we had known... Oh well. Anyways, there were a ton of Skins fans walking around, which was pretty sweet. There was also an old people convention in town. We were starving by the time we checked in and ate at a sports bar called Brewhouse. We went there to chill out and watch some games, but ended up ordering the most amazing chicken tenders in the history of chicken tenders! Oh.my.gosh, they ruined all other chicken tenders for me. Hands down, the best I have ever had in my entire chicken-tender-eating life. The bar was really fun, and afterwards we went to check out the Arch and walk around downtown. The late night hobo situation was a little skeezy, so we went back to the hotel.

St. Louis at night
Day 2: St. Louis, MO to Deadwood, SD
States visited: Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, Nebraska, and South Dakota

We got up really early in St. Louis to take some pictures of the Arch in the daylight. We had an unexpected, really fun time! We tried to take all these cool pictures, and Dad actually laid on the ground to take the coolest pictures of me with the Arch. It was hilarious and a lot of fun, and we got attacked by the park sprinklers on the way out. We hit the road again and drove to Deadwood, SD. This was the longest driving day yet. We had 14 hours of just driving time, but I was so excited to go to Deadwood. There was a TV show called Deadwood that was about the actual town, but we had never seen it. I have my grandfather Funderburke's wild west, Cherokee blood in me, and I LOVE the old west and the whole cowboys and Indians era. You can Google "Deadwood", because I'm not about to teach a history lesson here, but it is a really neat place with a lot of history. It has obviously been restored since the 1800s, but the buildings were required to look exactly like the original, so it's pretty legit. Too legit to quit if you ask me. We rolled into Deadwood exhausted after 1:00 am, bypassed the hotel casino, and went straight to bed. I also have to mention that we stopped at some rando Ruby Tuesdays for dinner, and had one of the greatest meals ever! Maybe it was because we were starving and had lived off of potato sticks and peppermint patties all day, but I had the best tilapia, potatoes, and grilled zucchini I have tasted in all my years.

Trying to get a pic that looks like his finger is up that statue's butt.
(Maturity at its finest)
That awesome ground laying shot :)

Day 3: Deadwood, SD to Missoula, MT
States visited: South Dakota, Wyoming, and Montana

We woke up in Deadwood and got super touristy. It is the coolest place! I want to go back for a couple days in the future, because we definitely didn't have enough time there. We learned the history of Deadwood and its famous residents, did a little shopping, and hit the casinos. I happen to be an old lady, and penny slots are my jam. I played $1 in a few different penny slots and lost it all, but then I heard the Cleopatra machine calling my name. I've felt a little bit of a connection with Cleopatra lately. I've been reading a historical novel about her, and she keeps randomly popping up, so I took the existence of a Cleopatra slot machine as a sign. In the grand scheme of gambling, a $20 win isn't a big deal, but in geezer-status penny slots, it's the jackpot! The lights and the alarms were going off the chain! Thank you Cleopatra! I left Deadwood $17 richer. Roadside lunch at McDonald's was on me! After lunch, we hopped in the car and drove all day to Missoula, stopping in Boseman to eat at Buffalo Wild Wings. Missoula wasn't that exciting, and it was really late, so we went to bed when we got there.

Deadwood, SD
Famous saloon where Wild Bill was shot
Cashing out! Big money-moneeey!!

Day 4: Missoula, MT to Seattle, WA :)
States visited: Montana, Idaho, and Washington

We slept in until 8:00, and had a relatively short driving day. When I say short, I mean, like, only eight hours. Haha! Scenery-wise, this was my favorite day to look out the window. I had a feeling Montana would be my favorite state, solely from watching Legends of the Fall (my 2nd favorite movie), and boy was I right! Montana has the most incredible views! I've never seen such a beautiful place, and pictures do it absolutely no justice. Wow. I could totally live out there in the wilderness for a year. I loved it so much! Getting back on track, we drove all day until we finally reached the Emerald City! Hello, Seattle!! We were welcomed by the rain, but were so excited to finally get there. We moved my stuff into my new house, headed to IKEA for dinner and furniture, and then Dad headed to his hotel to crash while I hung out with my new roomies.

Montana sunset
Just beautiful
This is actually in Washington, but how amazing!

Day 5: Seattle livin'

This was my last day with my dad. Before this day, I didn't have a fear or a worry. I was so ready to move, and the concept of being away from the people I love wasn't resonating yet. I woke up with the painful thought in my head that my dad would be leaving in about 24 hours, and it made me extremely nauseous, which I had not expected to happen. We put furniture together for most of the day, and then headed downtown to Pike Place Market to get a little touristy. It was my dad's first time in Seattle, and I wish I'd had more time to show him around, but we'll have plenty of time in the future. After we walked through the market, we went down to the waterfront and ate at Ivars, a Seattle favorite. Dinner was delicious, the view of the water was gorgeous, and I totally cried like a baby. But some sort of a breakdown was inevitable, I guess.

Pike Place
The original Starbucks store (with the original logo)
Dad's name up in lights! (aka: Seattle Art Museum)
Day 6: Bye bye (sad face)

I dropped my dad off at the airport pretty early. It was heart wrenching. I was questioning everything I had wanted for so long, rethinking my decision, and convinced myself that this whole thing was the worst idea ever. Moving across the country seemed so scary to everyone else, but I had never questioned it at all before that day. It was such a sudden, overwhelming feeling. I dropped him off with a river full of tears, drove back to my empty house, cried to some R.E.M, and went back to bed. I couldn't take the emotions and thoughts running through my head, so I slept them off. When I woke up, I was just okay. Not good and not bad. I took advantage of the moment, and I accepted that I was here and there's no turning back now. I couldn't change where I was, but I could choose between wallowing in regret the whole time or taking control and living this decision to the fullest. Either way, I would still be here, so it would be more beneficial to everyone if I made the best of it. I decided to give myself one sad day, and that was it. Thank goodness that momentary freakout didn't last long!

After dinner at Ivars
I have now lived here for over a week, and I am so darn glad I'm here! After the initial "what am I doing?" fiasco, I am so excited that I'm in Seattle and look forward to having a routine and a life here. This city has so much to offer and I know I'm supposed to be here. This is a good place to be young. This is right. This is right now. I may not stay forever, but definitely for a while. And although that day of sheer terror and regret was really scary, I'm glad it happened. It showed me how important my family actually is to me. Obviously, I love my family and they are very important to me, but before I left I thought the distance wouldn't be a big deal. I thought I could just move to the opposite coast and that phone conversations, the internet, and a few holiday trips would be enough. I now know that maybe it's more than that. The availability and the possibility of seeing my family whenever I want, makes a difference when it comes to comfort. I didn't realize that before now, and it's good to know for the far future. But for the meantime, here I am. Let's get ready to rumble!

Bring it, big city!
Um, why is everything I write so freakishly long? Hopefully I have friends that like to read! I'll wait a few days or so to update on my actual life on here. There's nothing too exciting going on yet, but so far it's going really well. I don't have a job at the moment, but I'm working on it. No worries. Mo' money, mo' problems, or so I hear. I'm just really glad I'm here. This is definitely the right thing, and I am supposed to be here. I can't wait to see what life has in store for me in Seattle!

Let's do this!
Oh! And I'm kind of loving pen pals right now. Let me know if you want my address so we can write! Fun times in old lady land :)
*P.S. The first person to come visit me gets a prize!!!
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