We packed up our wee little house on Harper Street and sent our stuff to CA. We still had a couple days of work left, but things were winding down. The day way hot and muggy, and packing is never fun. We slept on the floor of the living room for the next couple nights, trying out our new sleeping pads and preparing for the adventure that was our drive across the country. We were both so ready to leave, so tired of Philadelphia, and so excited for the new prospects that new jobs and a new state would bring us. On Saturday, June 30, we packed the remaining parts of our lives up and we headed off in the direction of Gettysburg, PA. We camped our first night in York, PA at a cute little spot. It was lovely, green and finally cooled down enough that night for us to sleep. Our car was packed to the gills, but as time wore on, we came to get much better at packing, unpacking, setting up camp, cooking over a little stove, and relaxing. Do you know how hard it is for two scientists to relax sometimes?
It took a while for the "Philly" to wear off us. I had just left an incredibly stressful job where I was literally collecting data up until the last day of work. I had a paper I wanted to get published with my former boss, and he wasn't being cooperative in the least (still isn't...). Alex had just defended, but his boss was asking for impossible things from him. And we completely went off the grid. After quite possibly the hottest day on record in Gettysburg, we pulled into Timonium, MD to visit Uncle Rob and Aunt Eileen. It was lovely to get to hang out with family (I had met them at our wedding, but I hadn't had the chance to really get to know them at all). It was great to see Baltimore through Rob's eyes, and to chat with Eileen about her family and her life before Rob (this is the 2nd marriage for both of them). From there, we never looked back. We spent the 4th of July in Western MA with Aunt Catherine and Uncle J.R. We headed up to Montreal, and came back down to the US across the St. Lawrence River. We visited Scottsville and Cousin Richard. We saw Buffalo, NY and Niagara Falls. We got stuck in a rainstorm in Ohio. We visited the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, MI and we spent a night in Chicago, where Alex got the absolute worst haircut of his life. We saw Aunt Carol and Aunt Carla in Wisconsin and had a beer in the lake at UW Madison. We crossed the Mississippi, and spent a night in Sioux Falls, SD. We planned two nights in the Badlands, but 80 mile an hour winds and insane weather forced us to change our minds. A night in the Black Hills reset our minds. We got to see the atrocity that is Mt. Rushmore, and the odd tribute to Crazy Horse. We crossed into WY and rejoiced at the sight of the actual Rocky Mountains. We spent some time at Devil's Tower and headed to Yellowstone. We had to stop for a night in some hotel since it had been several days since showers and laundry. Headed into Yellowstone for some amazing camping and great times. Grand Tetons came next and I had had about enough of camping by that time. It was great to pull into Salt Lake City and see friends and civilization again. A few days later, we set off for Co Springs, where we saw my in-laws and got to spend time with everyone. We found out that Moue had become feral in the time we were gone. Poor Moo. About a week later, we were on the road to Oxnard and headed to new jobs and a new spot. We got to Stanford Sept 1, and have been here ever since.
It both seems like a dream and also seems like yesterday we were in Philly. There are so many things I miss. The architecture. The city. Living in a city. I miss the seasons, and, oddly, some of the weather. I never thought I would miss thunderstorms and torrential downpours, but the lack of them in Northern CA has made me nostalgic. I miss the green, the shade of a great tree. I miss the bread and the food. I miss the gruffness of the people. I miss the sports. I miss the lifelong friends I made there - most are no longer there. I miss the dance studio and their Friday night dance parties. I miss the bar scene - a good bar with good beer and good food within walking distance. I miss our odd little neighborhood and our house with a tiny backyard.
I do kinda wish we had a big trip planned for this summer. I wish I could have every summer off to just play around with Alex and tour the country (or maybe another country...). But, alas, we don't. So, this summer I will just wax nostalgic for our time in Philly. And the BEST trip across the country ever. Can't wait to do it again!