Retro Post: 10 Years Ago Today, 21-Aug, Part 3

For the next few weeks, we’ll be observing an anniversary: 10 years since we left San Francisco and moved to Ann Arbor. I’ll repost articles Frank and I wrote at that time for our Ann Arbor blog, aSquared. Bittersweet, very definitely they will be, bittersweet.

[It’s aSquared’s First Birthday … we’re celebrating by looking back at events from a year ago … skip these retro posts if you’re not into sentimentality.]

‘Ahhhhh … home at last. A year ago today, we arrived in Ann Arbor. Whatta year, whatta year …

Day Eight

‘Day Eight — Lexington, KY, to Ann Arbor, MI

‘We’re here!! It’s all over. And, as Miss Celie says in The Color Purple, ‘I may be poor … I may even be ugly, but I’m here! Thank God, I’m here!’ [cue swelling emotional music]

‘And as I write this, they’ve declared a tornado warning in Livingston County, the county right to our north, with tornadoes reported to the north and west of Ann Arbor, moving southeast. Frank, therefore, is being welcomed to Michigan with his first encounter with severe thunderstorms and tornadoes. Welcome to the Midwest, Frank!

‘First of all, however, some housekeeping: I was completely remiss in something last night: I neglected to herein congratulate and wish a very, very happy birthday to … Bayley Murphy Beagle, born Aug. 20, 1994, in Kemp, TX, to Laddie Lattie and No-No Emmett. I’m afraid his ninth birthday wasn’t that exciting; he had to sit in the Jeep all day and didn’t even have a cake or any candles. But he did get some pizza crusts as a special treat for his birthday. And this morning, he had a couple of bites of Krispy Kreme and parts of the bread from a sub sandwich.

‘Yeah, yeah, I know that’s the last thing he needed. But it’s his birthday, for cryin’ out loud, and he’s been cooped up in a Jeep for 3,252 miles … so sue me.

‘Anyway, he had a very nice birthday and is ready to begin his tenth year on earth with a whole new place in the world. On Saturday, he’ll be moving into his new townhouse, and probably will be waiting extremely impatiently for the couch (his throne) to be unloaded and put in place.

‘Anyway, happy birthday, Bayley Murphy Beagle. And many, many more may you have.

‘Here’s today’s post:

‘—US 23N, approaching Ann Arbor, MI, 17:00 CDT

‘Well, oh my goodness, we’re almost home. It seems like just yesterday we were starting out and already we’re crossing the Saline River (that’s pronounced suh-LEEN, to you non-Michiganders). We’re also just crossing the Washtenaw County line, and it all means that it’s all almost over. We can’t believe it.

‘What a trip it’s been. I have very mixed feelings at the moment. I’m primarily too tired and road weary at this point, to be perfectly honest, to feel much esle but numbness. It still seems unreal, like it’s just a vacation trip that we’re still on. After all, we have two nights left in a hotel room before our townhouse is ready and the trailer with our stuff is here. But I suppose it will sink in when we unload and I see Bayley’s couch sitting in our new living room.

‘Speaking of the beagle, he was quite alert as we crossed the state line, but is now back to sleeping. He’s very worn out by it all, and the two days in the hotel will do him good. Then a couple of days of chaos as things get unloaded and boxes get unpacked and things get arranged. It looks like we’ll be able to afford to pay someone to unload the truck, which was the biggest thing I was dreading on the whole journey. So it’s all good.

‘I’m very ready to get to the hotel room and rest. Our last few stops have come later at night; by the time you eat dinner and go to bed, it’s late, then you get up late, etc. We’ll be in our room by 18:00 and have the rest of the evening to chill out. I’m very, very, very happy we didn’t elect to spend the night in Nashville, and went on to Lexington. It made the trip much better and being more rested will help out tremendously with the unpacking over the weekend.

‘I guess I’ll sign off now until later this evening. I need to help Frank negotiate the route to the hotel.

‘—Red Roof Inn, Room 106, Ann Arbor, MI, 21:30 CDT

‘We’re here! And so is one big ol’ thunderstorm with tornadoes and everything.

‘For those of you who are Californians, a tornado watch means conditions are favorable for the formation of storms which could spawn tornadoes. A tornado warning means something nasty is on the ground and it’s coming for you. We don’t just gots the former, folks, we gots the latter. And I’m not going to remain online too long while something wicked this way comes.

‘Today’s statistics:

‘We travelled 339 miles from Lexington, KY, to Ann Arbor, MI. Spent $31 on gas, $17.97 on food, and $5.25 on miscellaneous expenses. And that concludes our trip, thank you for flying AirBeagle.

‘Yes, the trip is over. We were on the road 60 hours and 45 minutes over eight days, during which we drove 3,252 miles and used 208.165 gallons of gasoline for an average of 15.622 miles-per-gallon.

‘11 states. 4 state capitals. 3 Best Westerns, 2 LaQuintas, a Red Roof Inn, and, of course, Casa Manor Chez Don-n-Jean. An oil change. And Bayley left … DNA, shall we say … in all 11 states.

‘We saw cars registered in WA, OR, CA, ID, UT, AZ, NM, CO, KS, OK, TX, LA, MS, TN, AL, GA, FL, SC, NC, VA, KY, OH, MI, WI, ND, SD, NE, MN, IA, MD, NJ, NY, MA, ME, CT, VT, PA, WV, IL … and Ontario and British Columbia. We saw 1.5 billion trucks, 6 million RVs/camping trailers and one tricycle motorcycle pulling a trailer.

‘We successfully concluded the trip without being stopped by the polizei and getting any tickets. No injuries, not even any really close calls, once you erase the memory of Tennessee drivers.

‘But we had fantastic fortune: After we went through Yosemite, a tree fell down and crushed a Jeep. After we went through Las Vegas, flash floods swept through town and left feet of mud all over.

‘And then we hit Ann Arbor; we’ll see if our luck holds and the tornadoes skip around us.

‘Now for today’s miscellany:

‘—What, exactly, was the person thinking who named a state park in Kentucky, and I quote, ‘Big Bone Lick State Park’? I am not making this up. Exit 175, Richwood, KY.

‘—There is a water tower in northern Kentucky which states, ‘Florence … Y’all!’ It’s not Florence, KY, it’s Florence, Y’all.

‘—There are many, many Ohio drivers, but they’re still not as bad as Tennessee. Show me a Tennessee driver and I’ll show you the subject of a future roadside memorial featuring flowers, crosses and bottles of bourbon.

‘—Krispy Kreme is oversaturating the market and at risk of becoming a turnoff.

‘—Cincinnati is a pretty city in a beautiful natural setting, but ya don’t wanna drive there or live there.

‘—AM radio offers two things: Screaming fascists haranguing listeners with rightwing agitprop which is stomach-turningly racist and idiotic or oldies radio featuring Karen Carpenter singing ‘Superstar.’

‘—Hotels which don’t tell you upfront, on phone or their websites, that they will charge you a $75 non-refundable pet fee should be spanked. hard.

‘—The most entertaining reading along the way (besides billboards advertising everything from the Ohio Pork Producers Council to North America’s largest stainless steel cross) has been local newspapers. And as a former smalltown local newspaper reporter, I’m entitled to talk about this. Let’s take a look at the Conway (AR) Log Cabin Democrat from Tues. Aug. 19, shall we?

‘—Item 1: ‘A Twin Groves man was found dead … after being run over by a vehicle driven by his cousin’ who saw something in the road as he crested a hill, hit the object after being unable to stop, finally pulled into a driveaway and drove back to find his own cousin lying in the road mortally wounded.

‘—’Police were called to the … home of former Conway attorney … on a domestic call. …. claimed his wife … hit him, knocking out three of his teeth. She said she pushed him after he hit her and that she did not cause his teeth to fall out.’ ‘Two pipes for drug use’ were found and confiscated.

‘And so on. And don’t think I’m picking on Arkansas … this is smalltown journalism everywhere … it’s infinitely more entertaining than the San Francisco Chronicle, let me tell you.

‘Here’s today’s trip statistics:

‘• 12:04 — Leave Lexington, KY — 0 miles | 2913 total
• 13:30 — Ohio State Line/Cincinnati — 81 miles | 2994 total
• 14:15 — Dayton — 141 miles | 3054 total
• 14:45 — Piqua — 162 miles | 3075 total
• 15:32 — Lima — 207 miles | 3120 total
• 16:00 — Findlay — 239 miles | 3152 total
• 16:21 — Bowling Green — 262 miles | 3175 total
• 16:39 — Toledo — 282 miles | 3195 total
• 16:47 — Michigan State Line — 291 miles | 3204 total
• 17:35 — Ann Arbor, MI — 339 miles | 3252 total

‘I’m off to keep an eye on the storms. But don’t go ‘way! Just because the beagle has landed doesn’t mean aSquared is finished. Posts will continue, at least until we’re settled in the house.

‘Besides, don’t you want to tune in tomorrow to see if we got blown away by a tornado or not? Sure ya do! Let’s see … if I remember what to do when a tornado comes. Oh, yes. The Oklahoma Drill. Bathtub, mattress, curl over the beagle and hope for the best. Right.

‘Good night, y’all.

‘—Posted by Steve at 22:03 | 21-Aug-03

‘And here are the photos from Day Eight:


‘« Our Move to Michigan – Day Eight » Lexington, KY, to Ann Arbor, MI’