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Entry date: 6-11-2022 - On the Road Again - Letters to My Friends

Dear Friends,

As you read this, I am on the road with Liam and Teresa heading to Maine. I have to admit that I am very excited about this trip. It is not often that you get to drive across country with your kids and we are surely off on a great adventure.

I will be posting notes from this trip as often as I can. I’m not sure how much or how often at this point as I may be pretty darn exhausted when we get to our destination each night on the way, but I’ll be taking notes (thank you, Siri) and keeping track of the happenings as we go.

To give you an idea of what we are undertaking, the goal for today is to get to Amarillo, Texas. We will be traveling 709 miles from home to get to our motel. My dad and I stayed at the same motel last year, just a little over a year ago. There is a nice green belt behind the hotel where I am hoping, this year, that Bailey will take a dump.

If you are a frequent reader of the blog, you will know about Bailey and her issues with taking a dump on the road. Last year she did not poop on Texas, even if Texas deserves a big dump taken on it right now. Maybe this trip will be the magic moment. I certainly hope so.

There is nothing like driving across country worrying about when a dog will take a dump. It really makes the trip much more pleasant.

I think having her kids with us this time will hopefully put her more at ease. I’m a more nervous about doing the entire drive myself, especially coming off of Covid, but I’m sure it will be fine. If I need a break, I will definitely take it. Bailey likes to stretch her legs and I know the kids will want to use the toilet and such fairly often.

We’re jumping two time zones, so it will be after 6pm when we get to Amarillo. I’m planning on grabbing some pizza or something on the way in so we can eat, and I can go to bed. We have a longer drive tomorrow as we are going to Lincoln, Illinois, which is just east of St. Louis, Missouri.

Tomorrow will be fun for the kids, too, because Missouri has so many roadside attractions. They want to stop at the world’s largest gift shop in Phillipsburg, Missouri. Dad and I saw it on our way to Maine last year but did not stop. I’m guessing it will be a nice place for Bailey not to poop. I think it might be a good place to grab a quick nap.

I have no expectations for what we will find in Lincoln, Illinois on a Sunday night. Hopefully some decent food, clean beds, and a place to conk the hell out. From what I have read, Lincoln is a pretty small place off the famous Route 66. My guess is that there won’t be much open on a Sunday night, so fast food it will most likely be.

When we get on the road on Monday, we will be heading to see family in the Cleveland area. I am very excited about this part of the trip. My last time visiting Cleveland was 1981, so something a bit more than a little time has passed. There is a chance we will visit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, so that could be very cool, too. We’ll see how Miss Dog Dog is doing. If she hasn’t pooped yet, I may skip the HoF and try to find a place where she wants to drop the magic deuce.

I have pretty fond memories of Cleveland, actually. My dad and I drove out in late July of 1981. We heard on the radio as we were driving out of Phoenix that the strike that was happening in baseball was over, and the All-Star game would be played in Cleveland on August 8th while we were there. When we got to Flagstaff, Dad called Uncle Phil and he ended up getting us tickets to see the game.

My memory of the trip out is pretty hazy. I know we stayed in Tucumcari, New Mexico on the first night and I had some of the worst tacos I’ve ever had in my life. I was perplexed about this, too, because I figured the tacos in New Mexico had to be good. I was eleven, so it was just pre-teen logic and not a racial thing, but still. How can you fuck up a taco?

While we were in the Cleveland, we also did Niagara Falls and stayed on the Canadian side of the border. We did the boat tour and cave tour and had a blast. We also went to the Ripley’s Believe It or Not/Guinness Book of World Records place and met the, at the time, world’s tallest woman. She was like 7’7” or something like that. Just before or after meeting her, we went into Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum and that was pretty cool, too.

We also went to Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio and rode some rollercoasters. I was not the rollercoaster daredevil I am today, so I feel bad that my dad probably missed out on riding a few, although I think a couple of cousins went with us so maybe he did. The rest of our time back east was just cruising around the area and visiting family.

I loved Aunt Peg and Uncle Phil’s house. I had never seen anything like it before. It seemed so huge compared to the apartment Dad and I lived in on Butler in Phoenix. Their neighborhood was near Lake Erie in a part of town called Euclid and I thought it was the coolest neighborhood I had ever seen at that point. I remember wanting to move to Cleveland after that.

We visited my great grandmother on the Reardon side, too. She was so into the royal wedding and had all kinds of Chuck and Di stuff all over her apartment, which was in a retirement community in Cleveland. If I remember correctly, it was a high-rise apartment building which was nothing like anything I had seen in Phoenix. I thought it was so cool.

We visited Aunt Betty and Uncle Jack, who were great. Uncle Jack took us all over the Cuyahoga Falls area and to a place called Quaker Square. He also took us to Sea World – Ohio, which was cool. While we were tooling around south of Cleveland, we also went to the NFL Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. As I add up all these things we did, I realize that my dad must have spent a small fortune.

We even hit a football game and the World’s of Fun amusement park on the way back in Kansas City, which I was also very impressed by. What a cool town that seemed to be. We stayed with my dad’s former co-worker, Arte, who know owns the Anaheim Angels. Crazy, huh? Life is weird, sometimes.

I’ve definitely gone over the goal for this blog. Please keep us in your thoughts over the next six days as we travel across the country. I’ll check in when I can with live updates.

See you tomorrow.

This is a terrible picture of the St. Louis Arch. I will do better tomorrow.

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