Since I last updated, so many things have changed. The best news is that on the same day, Kyle and I were both offered jobs. And not just any jobs, but jobs that we really wanted and find interesting and challenging and are excited to start at. This definitely hasn’t been the case with some of the jobs we’ve held over the last few years, so it just feels like the universe is finally showering us with rainbows.
Since we’ll be based back in DC again, we needed to get ourselves, our car and our stuff back to the east coast from Los Angeles – which of course meant it was road trip time! This was our third cross-country road trip, and we’ve now done all of the major routes (northern, middle and southern). When we first left Los Angeles, we didn’t have an exact timeline planned out; all we knew was that most of the jobs we had applied or interviewed for were on the east coast, and that we should start making our way back this direction in case we needed to be back sooner rather than later. So we packed up the Yaris, installed a hitch and bike rack for our bikes, and we were off!
We had originally planned on spending our first night in Flagstaff, AZ, but when we got there we decided to keep driving all the way through to Albuquerque, NM. It was a long driving day, but totally worth it because we got to spend a full day exploring the area around Albuquerque and Santa Fe. We drove up the Turquoise Trail, which is a scenic byway with lots of small towns along the way. The towns are mostly full of artists, so we had lots of places to stop and poke around on our drive.
After a miserable night of camping (the sunset brought strong gusty winds, and we ended up having to move our hammocks in the dark to avoid the possibility of being crushed under falling branches, and then the wind was so loud that neither one of us could sleep) we packed up early and were on the road in time to see a beautiful sunrise over the high desert.
After New Mexico, we had a choice to make – a shorter and faster route through the center of the country, or a dip south that would be longer but full of really cool places to see? After a stop at Cadillac Ranch, we decided to conquer the long drive all the way to Austin, Texas. The northern part of Texas was much greener and hillier than I expected it to be. It is also full of nearly abandoned towns that look like abandoned movie sets from the 1930’s. Almost all of them had a Sonic, an antique store, a church, a bait/hunting store…and not a whole lot else.
We woke up in Austin to incredible news – we were both employed!! After spending the morning rushing around to finish paperwork for Kyle’s security clearance, we went out to get some barbecue to celebrate. We got to catch up with a friend of mine from college who was there for work, and then spent the afternoon wandering around downtown Austin.
The next leg of the trip was my absolute favorite part – I finally got to go to New Orleans!! This city has been on my list forever, and I completely fell in love with it. The weather was beautiful, the architecture is gorgeous, and there was music and life at every turn. We went antique shopping and got some cool stuff for our new apartment on Magazine St., rode our bikes through Audubon Park and neighborhoods full of incredible pre-civil war mansions, took a voodoo tour in the French Quarter, ate beignets at Cafe du Monde, and listened to blues and jazz on Frenchmen St. There’s still so much more I want to do there, and I can’t wait to go back again.
Our next stop was another city I’ve been wanting to visit for a long time – Savannah, Georgia. Through the power of the internet, we were offered a place to stay from someone we had never met. Ted was supposed to join the next group of PCVs in Macedonia, but won’t be heading out with the Peace Corps until next year, and lives just outside of Savannah. It was great to get to meet him and his sweet dog Molly, and he gave us a great tour of the historic district. We took a drive out to Tybee Island and had THE BEST hash browns and pecan waffles I’ve ever tasted for breakfast, and dipped our toes in the Atlantic. Luckily for us, we happened to be in the city on the one day out of the year when the Savannah Philharmonic plays a free concert in Forsythe Park, so we pulled out our camp chairs and had a few drinks while listening to the music. It was the perfect last night of our trip.
Now that we’re back in DC, we’re working to get settled before we start work. We are starting from nothing, and you really forget how much stuff you need on a daily basis. I think we’re almost at the end of our crazy spending spree, but I’m happy to say that after only a few days we have all of the big furniture we’ll need (a real mattress! a couch!) and now it’s just a matter of decorating and putting things away. I’m so, so excited to start our next chapter.