Ned and Andy drove Carla's BMW Z4 convertible back to Texas from Burbank. Les and Carla are moving back to TX, and have more cars than they have drivers. All the times in the pictures are TX time.
Safety first, so I buckled Ned into his seatbelt. We pulled out of the parking garage in Burbank at 10:00 pm.
We stopped for dinner at Mc'Donalds. Took FOREVER, would have backed out of the drive through, except another car pulled in behind us. We lost at least 10 minutes there.
We crossed into Arizona at 3:13 am. Stopped for gas and coffee.
We stopped at ASU stadium at 5:30 am. Not a very clear picture, but it was dark, and we could not get any closer.
We stopped at a Starbucks right after taking this picture. This would be the first (of several) quad venti mochas today.
Stopped at a Cracker Barrel just before sunup. They make a pretty good egg, cheese and bacon sandwich. Got some more coffee and OJ.
By 8:06, we were at the University of Arizona. Finally, the sun is up.
We entered the "Land of Enchantment" at 10:17 am.
Stopped in a little gas station, bought some coffee, filled up the tank. Had a moment of panic when neither of the gift cards Carla gave us worked. Bought gas out of our own money. Figured, if the cards don't work, we have enough gas money to make it to about Fort Stockton. Not good.
Passed the highest point along our journey, the continental divide. I poured out my cold coffee here. The first half, I poured on the west side. That coffee is slowly making it's way toward the Pacific Ocean. The second, I poured on the east side. THAT coffee is slowly making it's way towards the Gulf of Mexico. Or, that's the theory, at least.
And, finally, Texas. 12:39 pm. Here's just how big TX is. We were half way home. We had driven through part of CA , all of AZ and NM, and were only halfway home.
We stopped at the UTEP stadium at 1:06 pm. Took a little while to find, since it was not on the original iteneray.
Then, another quad venti mocha and we hit the road.
I did not get a picture of it, but we pulled into my driveway at 9:50 pm. Twenty one hours, fifty minutes after we left the hotel. That may not be a record, but it was for me. And Ned got to see a lot of the country.
We were in Burbank, California last week, and this is Ned's favorite coffee shop. Romancing the Bean. That's Sandra on the left, and Kerry, the owner, on the right. And Ned in the middle. Kerry owns the place, and it is just a wonderful coffee shop. There is a Starbucks and a Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf just down the street, but this one is SO MUCH BETTER!!! Stop in and say hi, and tell them Ned the Knome sent you.
Ned recently went on an excursion to the LDS Temple in San Antonio with some local "gnappers". In order to look smart (like Andy), we will post some facts that Ned learned on his trip to the temple. Looks like there are many Temples Ned can visit in the future....any takers? Ned was not allowed to go in the Temple, but he enjoyed the flowers and gorgeous scenery. It was told that Ned fell in the fountain near the Temple, and was rescued by a beautiful girl......are there such things as gnomettes?
Several of our trips, we have asked about getting into the cockpit to get a picture. They have all said no. Something about "security", whatever. I have told them, "we got to go into a nuclear power plant", so our security clearance is probably high enough to get into a cockpit. Still, they have all said no.
Of course, he had to leave the cockpit so they could finish boarding the plane. We moved back to our seats (the cherished exit row).
The flight attendant made me move him, something about the exit row occupant must be able to read and follow the evacuation instructions without causing harm to himself or others. Ned is thinking of filing an age discrimination lawsuit. Or, even better, filing it as a "hate crime", since gnomes are a protected class.
Seems like a long time since the last trip. OH, it's only been 2 weeks. I guess the holidays made it SEEM longer ago.
We got word Monday that we had to travel to Warsaw...WARSAW... on Wednesday. The person we were meeting there said "it's cold here in Warsaw, pack a coat."
Like Ned even owns a coat.
So, we got here, and it was pretty cold. And snowy. And the trip took forever. Cause, you know, you can't fly to Warsaw direct from Austin. We had to first get to Chicago, then deal with the connection. Then, the drive. In the dark, snowy Warsaw countryside. It wasn't until the next day that we could get a picture of the sign coming into town.
Yeah, the sign's in English. Not Warsaw, Poland. Warsaw, Indiana. It's kind of like Warsaw, Poland. Exept that people here don't speak Polish. Well, most of them don't. There's not a lot to say about Warsaw, Indiana. Here's the rest of the sign. I guess this is the biggest thing the town has to offer?
We stopped by the Fort Wayne Air National Guard, thinking we could get a picture of Ned in the cockpit of a fighter jet. I don't know what kind of hours those Air National Guard people keep, but we couldn't even get in. So this will have to do.
We went to a place that makes orthopaedic replacement parts. I guess there are 2 ways to spell that word. Apparantly, a place that makes new body parts is not that different from a place that makes new car parts. Just a little cleaner.
Here's a hip (the kind that Andy's grandmother recently installed):
The welcoming committee at the airport was nice. They gave Ned a cookie.
Check this out. On the left, the cooling tower for a nuclear power plant near Oswego, NY. Contrary to popular belief, that tower is not the reactor smoking. All it is is a big radiator (like in your car), where they pump hot water into to be cooled by the water from Lake Ontario. Ever wonder what it looks like inside the control room of a nuclear power plant? Look at the picture on the right. Each of those little squares represents a fuel rod and it's position inside the reactor.
Single, older, rock-hard body, "elfin type" looking for a good time. Loves to travel. Not fond of small children or animals taller than me (pee target).
General:Cucumber sandwiches, reading blogs, trying not to dent my hat when I go through the security X-ray machine, the SkyMall catalogue, giving the fellows at Immigration and Customs a tickle, beard conditioners, crumpets, Photoshopping my passport picture so I look just a smidge taller.
Music:"The Gnome" by Pink Floyd; those chaps on American Idol; the sound of the captain turning off the fasten seatbelt sign (it's music to my ears!)
Books:On the Road; Around the World in 80 Days; The Complete Idiot's Guide to Travel; the atlas.
Heroes: Magellan; Neil Armstrong; Jacques Cousteau; Anyone who can claim a bushier beard than me (bring it on, Santa!).
Movies:Easy Rider; Endless Summer; Road Trip; The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (oh, you know you loved it, too); A Gnome Named Gnorm; Roaming Romeo.
Television:Dora the Explorer; The Amazing Race; Lost. And I'm rather besotted with "What Not To Wear" (as long as they don't decide that red pointy hats are passé, of course).