31 August 2014

summer wrap-up

here are just a few snaps from my last few days in indy. we finished our tuesday night dinners (and completed our goal of trying every recipe in the bread & wine book!) and i got to spend a few sweet evenings at home. 

29 August 2014

san diego, here we come!!

{i thought about splitting this blog into several posts but decided against it so you're going to get a super extra long one all at once! hope you're ready!}

my dear friend alissa has been planning all summer to move cross-country to san diego and i was so looking forward to driving out with her. two weeks ago from today we started out & little did we know the kind of adventures that would await us! enjoy!

the first leg of the trip (or technically second since liss had already driven down from chicago) was from indy to st. louis where we were helping our friends michael & chloe move. we left at midnight on friday and got in sometime around 4 in the morning. chloe, bless her, woke up just enough to let us in to their empty apartment and then we caught a few hours of sleep. their families joined us in the morning and despite the rain, we had them moved in in no time! we all got to spend the the rest of the day together touring chlo's grad school, exploring the city museum & going up in the arch!!
SUNDAY! we woke up to more rain & said our st. louis goodbyes. i was able to meet with my dear friend jess for a quick 30 minutes on our way out of town and then both liss & i soaked up some individual time with Jesus in starbucks. that was a rough morning as we laid our hearts before the Lord, processed through our summers and evaluated these new seasons of life staring us in the face. both of us had needed that for so long and it was incredibly healing to pray, sing & let the tears flow freely. by lunchtime, both the skies & our hearts had cleared considerably and we stopped in kansas city, mo to find a place to eat. liss had heard about a place called cafe gratitude through friends and so we went on a quick search for it. we were pleasantly surprised to discover some really eclectic neighborhoods-- finding we had totally underestimated the city! the atmosphere at cafe gratitude was way more hippy & new age than we first realized but the dish we shared was delicious! we stopped across the street at PT's Coffee to fuel up before taking a short walk to stretch our legs and hit the road again. kansas is just as flat and boring as everyone says it is but we managed to drive a solid 600 miles that day-- something we would soon learn was not to be taken for granted! liss also gave me my first lesson in roadside potty stops-- a much needed skill when rest stops/gas stations are few & far between! haha we finished out our day by watching a crazy long & beautiful sunset, driving as fast as we could away from a funnel cloud and ALMOST running out of gas in oakley before staying the night in colby, kansas!
 MONDAY!  we were up first thing with a morning goal to make it to boulder, co to meet liss's friends brad & libby for coffee. originally we were supposed to stay overnight with them but after realizing how much slower we had to go with the trailer in tow (and how much more often we had to stop for gas), we decided that we we would continue pressing west that afternoon and try to make it to utah. boulder was gorgeous & straight-up REI meets bob marley meets farm-to-table/local everything. it was totally normal to see people around town with their hiking backpacks and duffel bags and whoever owns the subaru dealership is the wealthiest person in town because we counted well over 45 outbacks in the space of an hour. liss and i got a bite to eat at the laughing goat coffee shop and browsed a few stores before meeting brad & libby at boxcar coffee roasters. this shop has definitely earned being no. 1 in the state and it was the perfect place to catch up over drinks! i loved getting to know b + l and hearing all about life they've shared with liss. we finally pulled ourselves away late afternoon and headed back through denver. as soon as we turned west, we hit our first mountain and the car BARELY made it up. like chug-chug-chug barely. so we pulled off and spent an hour evaluating our situation. going through the mountains was obviously not an option and we weren't sure what to do. we talked with the guy at u-haul to discuss transferring to a truck, looked into dropping the trailer & transferring to a POD & even considered renting a pick-up truck to haul the trailer. our last option, we were told, and one we didn't really want to consider, was totally changing our route and heading south through new mexico & arizona. we were told that it had hills but nothing like the mountains and we'd be more likely to make it with the trailer that way. mr. tillman, who knows all things trailers, cars & colorado, just so happened to be in denver at the same time and we called to get his opinion. he also suggested that we try the southern route to see how far we could go. we had been looking forward to hiking & hammocking in utah/bryce canyon so much but we knew there was no way we'd make it there,  so around 6p, we pulled back on the highway and headed south-- away from the mountains. our goal was to make it to new mexico before stopping. around 11, after hauling up to 7000 ft elevation in the dark, the car had had enough and started over heating. so we pulled over in a micky d's parking lot to let it cool and snagged some joy cones. the guy at the counter could tell we were tired & stressed & made us giant cones which lifted our spirits considerably:) once the car cooled, we pressed on a  bit further before calling it a night stopping in raton, nm. 500 miles added to the odometer.

TUESDAY! new mornings and new starts. we were refreshed and ready to see what new mexico had in store for us. we knew we had climbed quite a bit the night before so we filled up the anti-freeze and double checked the car & trailer before heading out. our bucket list for the day included seeing indians & cowboys, spotting- but not getting close to- a rattle snake & buffalo and hopefully passing a dried-out steer skull on the side of the road… you know- all things western:)  we were driving the sante fe trail so we figured that was pretty grand as well:) the high altitude & high winds made for a struggle driving but we made it to santa fe, nm in time for lunch. literally every building there, home & store alike, is built out of the sand stone and though there were many signs pointing to gas stations, stores & restaurants, we couldn't find any of them because they all looked the same! HA! somehow we literally stumbled upon the coolest little coffee shop in town called iconik coffee roasters. we split a delicious omelette & havarti/pear/raspberry jam grilled cheese + salad which was the best food we'd had in a few days! we made another pitstop at the REI in albuquerque before heading west again to flagstaff, az. we passed signs for fry bread (like an elephant ear, we heard) and we super excited to try it but every stand was closed:/ around 6p we stopped in gallop, az at the navajo travel plaza for a gas & water fill-up (our nalgene's were life savers this trip- can't begin to count the number of times we filled them up!). we ran inside to use the restrooms and came back out to pump gas. there was a homeless indian sitting outside who asked for food or $$ so we grabbed some stuff out of the car and i grabbed liss's phone because i wanted a picture with the indian squaw on the building. we quickly shut the doors without thinking and at the same moment looked up at each other realizing what we had just done. we LOCKED THE KEYS IN THE CAR! we had been so good up until this point, taking all the precautions to avoid this moment and yet it still happened! on top of that, the temperature was dropping, our sweatshirts were in the car & all we had was $4 & a phone--oh and the indian was gone. so while we waited for a locksmith to come, we killed time at the travel stop and discovered a u-haul trailer with anne of green gables on it (why didn't we get that one?!). we were so relieved when the locksmith FINALLY arrived after an hour and though he was a bit of a grump, he even had a Jesus plate on the front of his car! we were never more excited to be back on the road, lesson learned, and there was a beautiful rainbow in the sky as we pulled out! it was suuuuuper late when we made it flagstaff and we were awfully exhausted but another 550 miles had been erased between us and san diego! we saw our cowboys & indians and unanimously voted that new mexico has the coolest license plates:)
WEDNESDAY! we were definitely starting to feel the strain that comes from hauling a 2,000lb trailer behind a little car for so many miles but thankfully we only had to drive 250 miles to las vegas! so after giving yolanda an oil check, good long drink of antifreeze & tire/hitch check, we were on our way! it was rather toasty out and yolanda wasn't liking the mountains so much so we had the heat running full blast most of the time with the windows open. lake mead was on our route so we drove up to the overlook to see and it took our breath away! a complete oasis in the desert! we were hoping to see the hoover dam as well but unfortunately, the security check isn't authorized to look through trailers. the guard suggested that we drive down the mountain to the next exit, leave the trailer at the casino and drive back. we said thanks, but no thanks and kept driving. that wasn't even an option in our eyes!
we were awfully hungry so we stopped at this place right off the road in boulder city called chilly jilly's for lunch. we shared an innocent looking bbq sandwich and it was anything but innocent! the hottest bbq we'd ever had! wowza! sarah & greg welcomed us in to vegas with wide open arms and we were SO glad to finally be there! they cooked an amazing dinner for us and drove us around the strip to see the area. i could write an entire separate post on my thoughts about vegas-- but in a nutshell, it's  incredibly difficult to even appreciate the flash & opulence of the strip when you know that it was literally built by sin & brokenness and continues to feed off of that. it makes me sick to know that so many people literally fly in an out of the airport less than a mile from the strip and never see the severe brokenness, poverty & crime that represents most of vegas. g + s just moved there to serve the city and are working with groups of homeless people & women who have been trafficked or spent time in prostitution and seeing the city through their eyes was so humbling.
we so treasured getting to spend time with s + g though and we finished the night with a little parking lot yoga & a drive to see the city lights;)

THURSDAY! sar had a delicious blueberry crisp for us to start the morning and we soaked up our last few minutes together. we went out to say goodbyes & pray over the car as they headed to work but i opened the passenger side door to see hundreds of ants everywhere! and not just ants, FIRE ANTS! we brushed them out as best we could and after praying and saying hurried goodbyes, we spent all morning smashing & spraying fire ants with windex as we drove. oh, and that's not all! we were headed straight through the mojave dessert (right next to death valley) and the car kept overheating again… so we drove THE ENTIRE WAY- 350 miles- from vegas to san diego with the heat blasting and the windows open. lunch was the bright spot in our afternoon:) i had never been to in & out so we found one half-way through the dessert and enjoyed some delicious burgers! traffic between san bernadino & san diego was crazy and we pulled into the u-haul storage parking lot 30 minutes before they closed. little did we know that it turned out to be a super sketchy area and the whole time we were there, people were cruising through the parking lot & a guy was going through all the trash. we asked the u-haul guy if they would stay open long enough for us to unload and he said, "we close at 7 but if you aren't done by then, you can unhook the trailer and leave it over there by the after hours drop". well, we sure as heck had no idea how to unhitch the trailer that had been so jimmy-rigged to hang on for 2,000+ miles so we got busy and had the entire trailer load transferred to a storage unit in 20 minutes flat. PHEW! pulling away WITHOUT A TRAILER never felt so good! {see our ecstatic "WE MADE IT" faces below:)}
we unloaded the rest of the car at the hornbook's & caught up a bit with them and then showered & headed down to the gas lamp district to celebrate. again, we literally stumbled upon this amazing farm-to-table restaurant called seersucker (reminded me a lot of pinewood social in nashville) and shared a few dishes & glasses of wine before going home and right to bed. perfect end to the trip but we were almost to exhausted to fully enjoy it:)

FRIDAY (again)! our body clocks were way out of whack at this point so we were up crazy early. we went to go look at a potential apartment with a potential roommate for liss and then drove up to del mar to see my sweet friend keary and catch up with her. we also got to see the collaborative shop she and her husband are apart of where they sell their goods from grace & salt. from there we hurried over to coronado island, barely found a place to park and ran down to the beach for a hot 5 minutes just to stick our feet in the water & soak in the view. the 15 minute drive from their to the airport was a hard one and we spent it praying over one another before saying quick, tearful goodbyes at the airport. exhausted & yet in almost disbelief that this adventure was over already! what a gift to get to share a solid week of life, challenges & joys together before settling into new cities & communities! cannot wait for future adventures with this dear friend!