Tag Archives: Road trip

Day 16, Part 1: Struggs

24 May

ROAD TRIP

Ugh. Waking up in Savannah after a very fun night out on the town was difficult. I think I will go as far as to say…it was a struggle or “struggs” as we warmly called it. Sadly, we didn’t have time to indulge our headaches and exhaustion because we had to pack up, check out and head to Middleton Place in South Carolina for a scheduled horse-drawn carriage tour! I was certainly spending a lot of time with horses lately.

We packed up our room (which happened to look like a clothing bomb had gone off in it and only added to our “struggs”)

Before

After

Would you want to pack up this room with a hangover? I think not.

By the time we were actually packed up, in the car and ready to go I was ready for bed again. But onward we went! But, not before I wrote on Rachel’s twitter page “struggs” to which she replied “super-struggs” and we both smiled.

A few hours later Rachel received this email from her uncle…I have NEVER enjoyed an email more. I’m dying to meet this guy!!

Hi Rach,

Just checked @katemcclafferty for the latest LA-ladies’-chinese-fire-drill-teaser but found, instead, Kate’s cryptic “72”.  Hmmm…. to 365Til30.  Oh no!  You eighty-sixed D.C. and Delaware?!  I have followed youz guys with Twitter and blogs several times per day for the past week.  I sipped morning coffee while TCB, and all the while kept an eye out for the day’s first Tweet.  Where are they now and what are they doing?    Now I understand why “soap” addicts swoon when a character is written out; I am not ready for “over”.  
Only after I’d browsed the hilarious photos in, and digested the text of, “72” did I (finally!) get the meaning of “72”.  Duh!, Michael.

The following might bring smiles, so I hope you see this email very soon, i.e. early in the “72”.  The “strugg” flares sent aloft by Kate and then you left me clueless, very puzzled.  What?  Is that a place?  A thing?  Google Earth shrugged; Wiki shrugged;  Both Google and Bing seemed pretty sure that I was looking for a band.  A Band?  OK.  Maybe.  But no further tweets that morning and none in the afternoon felt …. wrong.  The puzzle continued to percolate in my brain.  I do like puzzles, but puzzles that seem impervious to my attacks niggle me no end.  And so it was, until I happened to mention the pesky “strugg” to a neighbor.  He grinned and said, “So you’re STRUGGling with strugg?”.  Yeah…… Oh… Now I get it.  Puzzle had fallen but there was no joy here, because I then understood that Kate was struggling and Rach was super-struggling but I didn’t know the root problem.  WTF?!  Nothing to do but stake out Twitter; I pitched a bloody teepee on its doorstep.  Finally: “And all is good again”.  That’s not all I wanted to know but it’s what I most wanted to hear.  I can wait for the rest.

God speed, Rach, Kate and Herb.

…….

BEST EMAIL EVER

Day 16, Part 2 Middleton Place up next…

Cumberland Island, GA

22 May

ROAD TRIP

Day 15, Part 1

So after garnering my second speeding ticket and shedding a few tears, we arrived in St. Mary’s, GA late at night, exhausted and a bit crabby (although that may have been just me).  Saint Mary’s was less of a “stop” on our trip and more of a place to rest our heads for the night before catching the ferry the next morning to Cumberland Island. Cumberland Island is Georgia’s largest and southernmost barrier island. The island also has a rich history as it was home to early natives,  missionaries, enslaved Africans and African-Americans and Wealthy Industrialists throughout the years. It’s covered in gorgeous maritime forests, undeveloped beaches, marshes, ruins (of the Dungeness Mansion) and wild horses…yes wild horses! Clearly the whole wild horse thing was a draw for me.

After getting a good nights sleep at our hotel we ate a sad complimentary breakfast (one of the joys of a road trip) and grabbed Subway sandwiches (another joy of road trips) to eat for lunch while on the island. We boarded the Cumberland ferry for a quick 45 minute ride to the island. The ferry also happened to be filled with a massive amount of cute 10 year olds on a school field trip. The were all SO excited to be on a boat headed to an island! Every animal, wave, landmass, tree and fellow boat we passed was more exciting than the next. It was actually rather sweet (I was even daydreaming about doing such activities with my future kids) until one kid yelled down to a smaller boat below- “suck it!” in the loudest voice he could muster. I slumped down in my seat embarrassed to be sitting next to him (in that moment I stopped daydreaming about doing these activities with my future children).

After our lively boat ride, we were officially on Cumberland Island and also officially the only people wearing dresses and flip-flops instead of hiking boots and fanny packs. I was starting to regret my clothing decision as we set off alone into the lush green wooded path of trees on a one mile walk in search of the Dungeness Mansion ruins…oh, and wild horses! Although now I was starting to wonder about the probability of actually seeing one. I mean, usually wild things hate to be contained (welcome to my early 20’s)…that’s why we call them wild, right? As we weeded through the plants, I couldn’t help but read the “animals to watch out for” section of our welcome packet and was surprised to learn that both rattlesnakes and alligators were present on the island. As I continued walking down the lush path I thought, Why am I always reading such things much too late? I must change this moving into my 30th year on earth.

I was just about to start having a panic attack about where I was stepping when we came out on a beautiful, empty beach with cream-colored sand and seashells. It was like being in some foreign film or something. I felt like we were the only people in the world. We climbed down the rocks to stick our toes in the sand and play around for a bit.

(bottom three photos by One Part Gypsy)

Then as we set back down the path towards the ruins, it happened…we turned a corner and voila, we were in a huge open field with a sea of wild horses in front of us!! I almost died. I could not believe what I was seeing. I approached them as quietly as I possibly could, frightened I would startle them and they would flee. But the closer I got to them, the more I realized that they could care less about us. The didn’t even flinch! They just kept eating their grass and swinging their tails. They were so very delicate and sweet. The wild horses against the backdrop of the mansion’s ruins was breathtaking. I honestly felt like I had been dropped in a movie and was suddenly overwhelmed with gratitude for this experience and gratitude for it all.

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For Rachel’s blog click here!

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48

21 May

I woke up this morning to this note from the universe and it could not have been more perfect considering I am 48 days away from turning 30 and my crazy journey is coming to an end.

……

The very best moment in any long journey that makes your dreams come true, Kate, comes not on the day you realize they have, but on the day you realize how little they matter compared to loving the adventure they’ve inspired. 

Don’t ask me why, I just know what I know – 
    The Universe

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Day 13, Part 1: Alabama & F.Scott Fitzgerald

16 May

ROAD TRIP

After saying goodbye to The Smith Bryd House and its thoughtful innkeepers, David and Beth, we packed up the car to explore Montgomery before making the drive to Georgia.

Our first stop was the F.Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald Museum which happens to be located in their old home in Montgomery. This experience was a fascinating look into their love affair as well as a look into F. Scott’s creative world (which for me as a writer was such a treat).

There was so much I didn’t know!

Rachel and I arranged to meet Willie, the gentleman who runs the museum for a guided tour. From all our email correspondences with Willie I imagined him to be an older gentleman but instead he ended up being a young and cute guy with a boyish grin, a southern accent and an easy-going energy. What a seriously cool southern gentleman!

I learned later that Willie and his wife are both writers, which made me immediately feel like we would all be friends if I lived in Alabama and talk about writing over long dinners (please tell me you guys imagine a pretend life sometimes too??). He is also a bit of a Fitzgerald nut. I mean, the man knows everything about F.Scott and Zelda’s life!

My favorite stories were the ones from the early years…

F.Scott was born in Saint Paul, Minnesota to an upper middle class Irish Catholic family- he was bright, ambitious and handsome. He attended St. Paul Academy for school and when he was 13 he published his first piece of writing in the school newspaper. Fitzgerald went on to go to Princeton where he pursued his writing. Sadly, his writing came at the expense of his schoolwork and he was placed on academic probation. In 1917 he dropped out of Princeton to join the army. Afraid that he would die in World War I with never having his literary dreams come true, he quickly wrote a novel called The Romantic Egotist in the weeks before reporting to duty.

He sent it to a publisher and was…rejected, although he was told to submit again in the future because they saw something in his work.

Fitzgerald ended up being assigned to Camp Sheridan outside of Montgomery, Alabama. It was there that he met and fell in love with a beautiful 18-year-old girl named Zelda Sayre at a dance. She was the daughter of an Alabama Supreme Court judge, was considered “blue blood” and way out of his league. But he liked her and didn’t care and instead decided to fill up her dancing card for the night to get her attention. Ballsy huh? I just love that story.

That was the beginning of their wild romance although there were still some road blocks in the way, the major one being “poor boys didn’t marry rich girls” at that time and Zelda and her family expected a lot.

In 1919 the war ended before Fitzgerald was ever deployed and he was discharged. He went straight to New York city hoping he could launch a lucrative career in advertising and prove to Zelda he was worth marrying. But after a short time trying to build his career in NY he returned to his parents house in Saint Paul, Minnesota to rewrite his novel. He couldn’t stay away from his dream. He spent 4 months in their attic working on the book that would become his first hit, This Side Of Paradise.

I just loved this story.

He couldn’t deny his love for Zelda nor could he deny his love of writing.

and he got both.

Shortly after re-writing his book, it was published and he and Zelda were married. This Side Of Paradise went on to become a hit and turned the 24-year-old Fitzgerald into a star.

And the rest is history…

Since the afternoon I spent in F.Scott’s house, you could say that I am having a bit of a love affair with him. He’s such a complicated and inspired soul. Being in his space made me fall in love being a writer all over again.

And then I came across this quote…

“This is part of the beauty of literature. You discover that your longings are universal longings, that you’re not lonely or isolated from anyone. You belong.”

and I thought…isn’t that the truth and in that moment I felt so thankful for this year and 365 til 30 because it has taught me this very lesson…my longings are universal longings and I’m not lonely or isolated from anyone.

so thanks, guys.

(me at the house)

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For Rachel’s blog click here!

365til30: instagram @kate365, twitter, facebook

Day 12, Part 2: Arriving in Montgomery, Alabama

14 May

ROAD TRIP

Day 12, Part 2

Alabama the beautiful, the world of B & B’s and black hole beds

After spending the morning at Graceland we hit the road to drive to our next destination…Alabama!

On our drive from Memphis to Montgomery we had two goals- eat lunch at The Whistle Stop Cafe (restaurant from one of my favorite movies Fried Green Tomatoes) and stop for peaches at Durbin farms, where there are supposed to be amazing peaches.

Sadly, one of these goals did not happen.

We spent hours, (yes hours) driving around Birmingham, Alabama in search of The Whistle Stop Cafe. It was maddening. My only explanation for this is that our iPhone’s have a funny sense of humor because the GPS systems took us on quite a wild goose chase. If I were to try to find the silver lining in the situation I would say at least I got to see Birmingham, but in the moment I was starving, irritated and hot. It’s just so frustrating to be lost in a foreign city!

When we finally found it…it was closed. Hysterical, right?

 After the disappointment of The Whistle Stop Cafe, we decided to just skip lunch and continue on our way to the famous peach stand where Rachel proceeded to get peaches and I got peanut butter ice cream (did I mention that I am eating my way across America?? I can’t seem to be stopped).

This was not the most nutritious meal, but both were lovely and helped turn around our moods. After the peach stand stop, we proceeded to The Smith Byrd House, our adorable new home for the night. When I was researching places to stay in Montgomery, I came across this B&B and knew it was where I wanted to stay. There was something so very sweet about the look of it and its innkeepers, Beth and David. After reaching out to them about possibly staying with them I received a welcoming note back saying they would love to have us and I felt like I already had friends in Montgomery!

I have to be honest about something though- I have never actually stayed at B&B before and I was worried I wasn’t going to like it. The scene from the movie, “Flirting With Disaster”, where Ben Stiller’s character goes on and on about why he hates B&B’s, kept replaying in my head.

….

– Oh I hate B & B’s.

– Why do you hate B&B’s?

– Well, first of all, there’s no privacy and you have to make chitchat…with the boring old lady who runs the place.

– That’s kind of the fun, isn’t it?

– and there’s always the little cat…you have to pretend like you like the cat.

…..

This scene always made me laugh and now it was making me a little worried.

When we  arrived at The Smith Bryd House, it was after dark and we were both in need of a bed. As we got out of the car, Dave, the innkeeper, greeted us warmly with a big smile and offered to help us with our bags…and he seemed totally normal! PHEW. He brought us into the house and the first thing I noticed was it smelled like chocolate chip cookies and cinnamon and spice. I love when a house smells like a bakery. It makes me feel all cozy and warm. He showed us to our room and it was perfect- a big cushy bed, a clawfoot tub and clean towels.  After 11 nights in hotel beds it was so nice to be in a home. I felt cozy and taken care of- like I was staying with family.

After saying our hello’s and chatting for a bit Rachel and I excused ourselves to get some sleep. The bed at the Smith Bryd house was the best bed of the trip… hands down. It was like sleeping in a cloud. A cloud that caused me to over-sleep and almost miss the amazing breakfast they made for us. We were greeted by a gorgeous table (with enviable china on it) and a big breakfast of fruit, eggs and bacon and oh, homemade scones accompanied by lemon curd and clotted cream (Beth’s Specialty).

We spent the morning chatting with them about life, Montgomery and scone recipes while eating our  breakfast. If this is what the world of B&B’s is like than I may be a B&B kinda girl after all…

Thank you Beth and David for making our night in Montgomery so special!!

(bottom three pictures by One Part Gypsy)

Our day in Montgomery up next!!

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Day 11, Part 3: Memphis, Tennessee

10 May

ROAD TRIP

Memphis really comes alive in the dark- the city has an energy like nothing I have ever experienced before.

We decided to head to the famous Beale Street for the evening. Beale Street was a significant location in the city’s history, as well as in the history of blues music. From the 1920s to the 1940s, Louis ArmstrongMuddy WatersAlbert KingMemphis MinnieB. B. KingRufus ThomasRosco Gordon played on Beale Street and helped develop the style known as Memphis Blues. B.B. King was even billed as “the Beale Street Blues Boy”!

We hadn’t even arrived at Beale Street and I already made my first new friend for the evening, our cab driver, Russell. He told us all about his life, family and Memphis, which was quite an accomplishment considering it was a 5 minute car ride. He was born and raised in Memphis and was very intrigued by our road trip. He used to be a truck driver and had been lucky enough to see America from behind the wheel. I was sad when our time together ended because I would have enjoyed chatting with him some more.

When we got out of the cab I was surprised to see a police blockade just before the entrance to Beale Street. Oh no, did something bad happen? We were stopped by the cops, carded  (to make sure we were over 21) and searched for weapons. Interesting start to the night. My second new friend of the evening was a very friendly police officer named Bill and he informed me that 1. he could tell I wasn’t from Memphis. 2. He used to live in New Orleans 3. He’s single/available (good to know) and 4. they have to do this on Beale street on the weekends because people were getting too rowdy, very drunk and oh, yeah SHOT.

Shot?! Well, that sounds very bad.

After making it through security we were officially on the main drag of Beale street and it was filled with people, flashing lights, commotion, restaurants, music, bars and blues clubs- my kinda place. I was most definitely drinking the Memphis kool-aid at this point and I was high on it. Our first stop for the evening was Blue’s City Cafe– their tagline reads “Put some south in your mouth”. HA. Don’t mind if I do. In my everyday life (when I am not traveling the country with my best girlfriend) I don’t usually order ribs for dinner but you can’t go to Memphis (the land of delicious BBQ) and not eat ribs, right? At least that’s what I told myself when I ordered a huge rack with baked beans and coleslaw. Did I mention I am eating my way across America?

I am embarrassed to share how many I ate but I will say that they really were scrumptious!

After dinner we strolled Beale Street where I continued my public speaking tour and stopped to chat with everybody and anybody. So many nice people in Memphis! This may have been when Rachel started to become a tad annoyed with me for wanting to chat with everybody.

As we passed the venue Blues Hall amazing blues music poured out so we ducked in to hear some more (I’m sure Rachel also thought this would keep me quiet for a bit. Wrong!).

Enter in THE MOST amazing man I have ever met- Dr. Feelgood Potts. I mean his name says it all doesn’t it? Not only was he wearing harmonicas strapped to his chest as if they were bullets, he had an incredible voice and a stage presence that did not disappoint.

While perusing the internet for a video of Dr. Feelgood Potts for you, I came across this gem. Not only do you get the pleasure of hearing his music you also get to watch a man in a white baseball cap dance to his music. You’re welcome.

In between sets I chatted with my third and fourth new friends for the evening, a father and son team next to me at the bar. They happened to be traveling across the country as well! Although they were doing it in a huge RV and were very confused how we were doing it in a Jetta.

At this point I did not think Memphis could get any better. I was full with ribs, good music and joy and I didn’t want the night to end. But we had to get some sleep so we would be ready for the amazingness that is Graceland the next day.

We hailed a cab and we were picked up by my fifth new friend for the evening, a cab driver named William. He must have been near seventy and he was wearing a camel colored suit with a little silk hanky tucked in his pocket. Memphis just got better. William asked what we were doing in Memphis. I told him about the road trip and he smiled. He shared that he too traveled the country when he was a young man. He was born and raised in Memphis and he had to get out because it was too hard to be living there as a black man at the time. So he packed his car and set off to explore in search of better things. He ended up back in Memphis and now has a huge family and one great-grandchild (whom he was very proud of). I found his tales heartwarming.

When William dropped us off at The River Inn he wished us luck on our journey and it meant so much.

I merrily climbed into my big, plush and cozy bed at The River Inn (a far cry from the Motel 6 the night before) and went to sleep feeling deliriously happy.

Eat. Drink. Boogie. Repeat

“We’re going to Graceland!!” up next….

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To see Rachel’s blog click here!

365til30: instagram  @kate365, twitterfacebook

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Day 11, Part 2: Tennessee!!!

9 May

ROAD TRIP

Day 11, Part 2

Tennessee, The River Inn, amazing ribs, Beale Street, blues music & a very happy and talkative Kate!

If you can’t tell by the heading of this post I LOVED LOVED LOVED Memphis, Tennessee!

Rachel and I put Memphis on the itinerary because we thought…we can’t travel across the USA without stopping at Graceland, right? I mean, that would offend a lot of people, some may even find it sinful not to visit Elvis’ home!!

 So we put Memphis on the list despite it being inconvenient (we went hundreds of miles out-of-the-way to get there) and I am so happy we did.

Things I loved about Memphis- so much of America’s history took place in the city, the people are so open, generous and kind, The Civil Rights Museum was incredibly moving, the ribs were the best I have ever had, The Mississippi River was breathtakingly gorgeous (especially from our hotel room at The River Inn), the music in the blues clubs made my soul sing, Graceland provided me with some seriously good laughs and Beale Street was such a fun and lively place.

All my excitement over Memphis made me very talkative for the 24 hours we were there. I stopped to chat with everyone- the cab drivers, the cops, random people on the streets, the musicians, the bell boys, really anyone I could get my hands on. I think Rachel was ready to kill me by the end of the night but I just couldn’t help myself- I wanted to know everything I could about Memphis and the people who lived there!

But let’s start at the beginning of my Memphis story, before Rachel wanted to kill me…

The National Civil Rights Museum

It was a dark and drizzly afternoon when we drove into Memphis. We decided to drive straight to The National Civil Rights Museum to make sure we toured it before they closed for the day. It was high on my list of things to do while in the city. When we pulled up I was surprised to learn that the museum is housed in what used to be the Lorraine Motel- which is where MLK was shot and killed in 1968- it was a rather emotional start to the tour.

Being there nearly brought me to tears, not because I was unaware of what happened that fateful day at the Lorraine Motel, but  because it was overwhelmingly sad to stand where it happened, to see room #306 and to see with my own eyes the balcony he stood on that morning.

some pics from the museum…

Day 11, Part 3….my night out in Memphis up next.

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To see Rachel’s blog click here!

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