So after re-reading my last post, which seemed to have been a lifetime ago I've made some moves- as one would expect or hope to expect in the given amount of time of 1 half of a year (or more). After spending an amazing Christmas and New Years with friends and family I love to death, Ms. Uhm and I disembarked on our journey cross country as previously aforementioned. In our packed up rental, two times upgraded, for free (thank you nice man at Hertz), we were off. First stop- the US capitol, which was a first for me, and obviously my foreign travel partner as well. Frigid as it was, amazing nonetheless. After a few days in oddly enough, a Korean populated hostel, we continued our journey down the coast eventually arriving in North Carolina to take in the sights and sun, but mainly to visit a long lost and very missed college friend. Brianne and her roommate Erin were wonderful hosts in their cute little town and we were sad to leave them behind as we continued our journey. A very interesting and culturally shocking trip through South Carolina, a flea market, more outlets and many hay barrels later we arrive in Savannah! In a Paula Deen, Homemade Candy and Ghost Tour, Voodoo Bricks, Hanging Tree frenzy... did you know there are no open container laws in Savannah?! Beautiful City. And on and on down, down down, to Palm Beach, South Beach, Miami, Key West SUNNY FLORIDA. Meeting up with a fellow English Teaching expat home from Korea on vaca, nothing beat taking a break from driving and sitting in the passenger seat of a convertible Mustang over the stretch of ocean and islands leading to the Southernmost point- THANK YOU ANDY! After spending time exploring the island on bikes, dodging the rain, eating the most delicious key lime pie everrrr and a few sleepless nights camping on Key West, we head back up the panhandle leaving Andy in Miami to continue his vacation with his fam. We drive through the beautiful and ominous everglades to arrive in Sarasota, reuniting with Diane who had been back in the states for a few weeks at this point and visiting her lovely parents enjoying their winters in FL. We spend the night and meet a childhood friend of my mother's for coffee and stories in the am. Getting a quick breakfast before continuing on, Diane decides (with coaxing) to aboard ship!! Within 15 mins she is packed and we are on our way! Yay for spontaneity!! And we drive, and drive, and drive, and caffinate, and drive. I fall asleep in the backseat and wake up in M-i-s-s-i-s-s-i-p-p-i. After getting some rest we continue on to our next destination... Na'rrleans Louisianna. After slowing down wide eyed through the narrow streets we settle on a cute little hotel in the french quarters, complete with courtyard, pool and complimentary breakfast and newspaper served to your room at the time you request via index card choices left on your doorhandle. Perfect. All I have to say is, food, food, alcohol, mess, mechanical bull, awesome music, dance party, more food, alcohol, a long dirt road, deliverance, trailers, my first ever speeding ticket, and the bayou. New Orleans, I will be back. On to TEXAS! The lone star state is really, really BIG. Like, everything is unnecessarily large, the roads are too wide, the overpasses and underpasses make for an insane confusion, Jane (the GPS) doesn't know up from down, the oil rigs and the grocery stores... but the nature.is.beautiful! "Texas, who knew!?" -Diane
We camp on lake Travis just outside of Austin. The winding road to get there was well worth the amazing views and aside from the creepy ex-hippie, liberal landowner who came out to chat us up the second we whipped out the bikinis, it's a paradise. Midweek and nobody is around. We build a campfire, make s'mores (a first for Insun), cook spicy ramen and veggies on our portable stove and eat Texas shaped chips. The Texas BBQ is amazing, I could eat it everyday, but the bar scene in Austin is more hipster and trendy and college-student-like than I expected, you win some you lose some. And we are off to Arizona! Just have to drive through the hill country (real unnerving, think; The Hills Have Eyes), stop in El Paso, debate crossing the boarder, get stopped at a checkpoint leaving New Mexico, freak out a little, drive for many unnecessary hours before finding an affordable place to sleep, end up in the ghetto without knowing it, and pass out. After a much needed good nights sleep we wake to meet my, married in cousin's, and now my own, Aunt Trish :) It is she who informs me to "get the hell out of there" when I tell her where we are. We meet for a beautiful day at the Botanical Gardens, a delicious lunch and shopping before heading up to Sedona. Thank You Aunt Trish! On our not as treacherous as anticipated drive up the weather dramatically changes from dessert climate to snowy mountain tops. Amazing. Somewhat creepy and Shining-esq, the groupon hotel we bunk in for two nights inspires a trip to the local redbox for some scurry movie renting. That was fun. Sedona's red rock mountains are beautiful and breathtaking, even causing that vertigo, dizzy feeling you get while looking at something huge and amazing... it's called something, Diane? We hike, eat fried pickles and check out Montezuma's castle before trekking even further north to the Grandest of Canyons. Let me tell you, it's fucking GRAND. Unreal. And if you go there, stay at the Best Western just outside the park, it's affordable, old western themed and has a hot tub and good food- it's unlike any other Best Western, just saying. And thennnn, to Vegas Baby. It was too dark to see the Hoover Dam, but who really cares about the Hoover Dam anyway? It's driving through the dark, dark nothing nomansland dessert and happening upon a GIANT land of flashing lights is what you want to see! If you drive to Vegas, make sure it's at night. And Vegas is, all that you think it is, right Insun? Diane loved it the most I think though, couldn't pull her away from those slots! ;) Oh and Hash House, go there. After Vegas madness we head back, back to Cali, Cali- well, to Cali. First stop is, interestingly enough, a catholic university dorm room ha. A friend of Diane's from back in East Hampton attends school there and was nice enough to let us crash, albeit a little too old to party with the students. Next we head to beautiful La Jolla, check out the seals at Seal Beach, listen to a crazy activist cream her head off, and then to Encinitas, a cute beach town, to meet my cousin Lindsey for some food and a drankkk! All's well that ends well and it's time to head on back to New Yawk, straight.through.the.middle. and whattaya know? We have to go through Vegas again!! Only stopped to allow just enough time for me to lose the rest of my money and Insun to down some 'free' bloody mary's (at night). Then we drive, and drive, and drive, sleeping in the car in Utah, waking to two busses full of Korean tourists infiltrating the gas station we parked at- what is with Koreans in large groups!? And WHY are they in UTAH! Of all places, Insun wonders this too so, it's not just me. Colorado is gorgeous and mountainous, Nebraska smells like poop and I am followed and harrassed by a young state trooper who is SO bored he has nothing better to do, Iowa and Illinois have the coolest windmills all throughout.If I eat Arby's one more time I'm going to vomit. We stop at Diane's Aunt and Uncles home in Indiana for the night, not realizing the time change and arriving much later than expected, they are super nice and take us to breakfast in the am. Pennsylvania is useless and goes on forever, a short run through dirty Jers and we are arriving in Manhattan in the middle of the night when the song New York comes on and we can see the city skyline. Jane is beyond confused since NYC streets are constantly being worked on and moved around, of all the US cities I have driven in during this trip I am confident in saying NY is the worst and I will never drive there again, Metro North thankyouverymuch. Our 2am ETA turns to 4am, but we make it. Safe and sound, exhausted and dirty.
It was the time of my life with my amazing friends who are more like family. I miss the 5 weeks spent on the road, they went by so quickly. Let's do it again, we still have the top 1/2 to see! I've created an album that only begins to capture some of the moments... here.