A Very Unparked Domain
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The General YMMV Plan

Yes, we do have a plan.

Sort of.

In point of fact, our plan basically is ‘to avoid the weather.’ You’re familiar with storm-chasers? We’re the opposite. (Will heat-fleeing tours catch on? Stay tuned!)

Richmond is hot and steamy in the summer, so we don’t want to be there, then. So after quite a bit of demographic surveys, 50-yr weather profiles, and general research, we’ve settled on a soft target of Albuquerque. On the other hand, neither of us have ever actually been to Albuquerque, so how good it is remains to be seen—although it looks spectacular.

Traveling across the southwest in August is roughly as appealing as remaining in Richmond, so we’ve decided to take the scenic route.

Maine.

Maine looks very welcoming for the summer, so we’re hoping to spend some time up there (or at least, in the New England area, wherever the weather and Internet are good).

In the fall, we will sort of meander from New England across to (eventually) New Mexico via St. Louis, Kansas City, Minnesota, Denver, Boulder, and anywhere else that sounds interesting along the way.

We should get to Albuquerque around November. Possibly this November. After that, it’s Groundhog Day—we stick our heads up, and if we don’t like our shadows, we take a left turn (a left turn at Albuquerque is crucial) and it’s two more weeks of driving. Somewhere.

So yes, we do have a plan.

Sort of.

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6 comments

1 Kate { 07.12.08 at 6:11 pm }

Hi. I’m writing because I saw your name, Shaula, on a comment on Laura’s new site, No Safe Distance.
Are you named for the star? A dear friend of 25 + years bears that name, and until today I’d never seen it anywhere else.
Your plan (and this blog) are very interesting; I’m sure to pop in now & then.
IF, indeed, you do turn left at Albuquerque, look for a little mountain village at the lower end of the Rockies, called Ruidoso, loosely translated as Noisy Water. In November, if we’re lucky, you could be skiing!
Bon Voyage
Kate

2 Shaula { 07.12.08 at 6:38 pm }

Hello, Kate, and welcome!

I think you are the first person to find our site who wasn’t close kin of some kind! I wish I could offer you a prize (and one for Charlie Green, too, for writing the very first comment on our site).

I am indebted to Laura for your arrival. For readers who don’t know her, Laura Young is a personal development coach who maintains a number of upbeat and delightful blogs. You can check out the site Kate mentioned at No Safe Distance, and I am one of the happily married resondents quoted in her survey question about good marriages.

Yes, I am named for the star Shaula (and not the Star Trek Heavy Cruiser USS Shaula, with which I presumably share my namesake). I have never met another “Shaula” in person, although I understand it is a much more common name in the Middle East. (Is that why I always get pulled out of airport lines for extra security?) You are also the first person to guess the origins of the name who wasn’t a sailor or a physicist. (I used to dine out on my name origins in port towns many years ago.)

We are not big skiiers. Neil grew up largely outside of ski country and just never had the chance, although I think he’d like to give it a try. I grew up in the Okanagan Valley, so I don’t have any obvious excuses for my lack of alpine skiing skills, except perhaps that when I was a child my family took up the much less expensive option of cross-country skiing, which I would love to teach Neil. We keep hoping that we’ll find a perfect place to live with mild winters, within a short drive of good cross country ski territory, so we can visit snow when we want to but not have to live with it on a day to day basis!

Thank you for the tip! We will keep our eyes out for Ruidoso and report back.

And I hope we’ll see you here again sometimes. You are always be welcome.

Shaula

3 Neil { 07.12.08 at 7:09 pm }

Kate, welcome to our little corner. Ruidoso looks excellent (and I’ve always seemed to wind up around the corner from Hollywood, in one way or another) we love forests, and it looks like there’s plenty to do. Definitely worth a visit =]

I would love to give skiing a try, and I did grow up largely outside the strap-planks-and-tennis-rackets-to-your-extremities lands. If people were attaching sticks to you, when I was a kid, you had worries inbound. Not to mention flinging you down cliffs. I did actually live in snow country (England) when I was much younger, but that was when I was sled-aged.

4 Liz Peach { 07.13.08 at 7:26 pm }

Howdy from Texas! The blog is too cool, especially since I’d lost touch with you for the last few years.

In general, I have to say that your “plan” is nothing short of brilliant (at least it is for those of you who live fearlessly). On the subject of Albuquerque, however, I feel compelled to weigh in: although it’s been some 35 years since (OMG, did I just say that!?!?!!?) I’ve been to Albuquerque, I distinctly remember dubbing it “the armpit of America”. It was dirty, smelly, ugly and over half of the people in the group I was there with were food poisoned – the serious “stay overnight at the hospital” kind of food poisoning. Subsequently, I have managed to avoid returning to New Mexico except for a couple of unavoidable (but short) drive-throughs.

Oh, ok – Carlsbad Caverns were awesome – but let’s imagine for a moment the number of people who must have tromped through there over the last 35 (whimper) years. There may be no stalagmites left in there at all.

I hope that either a) Albuquerque has improved significantly, or b) you find a nicer place that meets your criteria. Either way, you better make sure your path leads you through Texas again – specifically MY neck of the woods!!! (read: please, please, please come visit!)

5 Shaula { 07.13.08 at 9:51 pm }

Hi, Liz! It is so great to hear from you!

I can see why you’re avoiding Albuquerque: what an experience!

That’s why Neil keeps saying Albuquerque is a “soft target:” we’re really going to have to get there and try it out ourselves before we know if it’s a good fit.

I have to say, one of the best parts of the trip and definitely of this website so far is that we’ve been getting great advice and really great travel stories from people.

It takes a village to plan a road trip!

I don’t think we’ll hit Texas on this particular trip, but then again, we’re hoping to stay on the road for as long as we enjoy it, so you never know. Plus, one of our biggest motivation for the move is to build a life where we an do a lot more travel. Hopefully all of that means we’ll see you sooner rather than later.

6 Neil { 07.13.08 at 10:48 pm }

Liz, what can I say—when it comes to plans that involve no actual planning, nobody outdoes us!

Albuquerque sounds good, compared to stage food.

I’d like to see Carlsbad, sometime, but having been a fan of Adventure (the first computer adventure game) for more than…a few years, the cavern I would make a pilgrimage to would be Bedquilt Cave, KY.

What Shaula may or may not have cottoned on to (shhhh!), is that I see Albuquerque as another beginning, rather than an end of traveling. Albuquerque (which is a virtual endpoint, a moving target) should provide us somewhere to settle into—then leave from. As long as we can work, I see no reason to ever stop moving around. My longer-range ideal goes along the lines of ‘north in the summer, south in the winter.’

So keep Texas warm in the winter, and we’ll do what we can to visit. =]

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