My life has literally turned completely around in the last few years. I fully believe in what my blog banner says – dare to dream big. It will happen. It takes its time, and apparently (in my case anyway), those dreams come true BIG time in ways, or at times that you least expect them, but they do happen.
This year has been full of big adventures and big changes, and big dreams that I was sure would never come true, all suddenly unfolding right before my eyes and I can barely believe I am living my own life.
In the last year since I met my boyfriend, I swear sometimes that I’ve been transplanted into someone else’s life, or that I’m just in a dream every day and I definitely do not want to wake up.
Just one month after DragonCon 2017 came time for he and I to take a BIG road trip. Now, mileage wise, it was not as long of a road trip as I took when I went to DragonCon 2016 (that was 2700 miles, this one was 2240 miles), but we jam-packed a week’s worth of sight seeing into about 3 days, so it felt like a lot more! hahah!
Where to begin? This post is going to be about as big as the road trip, so get ready!
We started out our week of epicness with a lot of this:
and a lot of these:
Highways, “welcome to _____” signs, and hotels. Our first destination was to my hometown. Now, if you’ve ever seen “The Office”, you’re going to know exactly what I am talking about and this may look familiar to you.
Yes, I am from that Scranton. So no, it isn’t a made up place. Someone from The Office was surely from Scranton, because there are an awful lot of Scranton-accurate references in the show. And that sign used to actually be on a street not far from my home. After it was used in the opening credits of The Office, it was removed and brought into the Steamtown Mall for display.
Now, I have not personally been to Scranton since 2007. That’s right. It’s been 10 years since I was last home, and also 10 years since I have seen some of my family that lives there. While I got to see my dad & step mom several times in the last decade, it’s been 10 years since I’ve seen my mother, aunt, uncles, step-sisters or brother. So it was very nice to get back home and meet back up with some of my mostly -estranged family that I am definitely (obviously) fairly separated from.
This is a view I took of the… well view… not far from my home both day and night. It’s called Lookout, and it overlooks a good chunk of the Scranton Valley.
My boyfriend took a super cool panorama, which I love.
If there is one thing that Scranton has that most places in the Midwest definitely do not, it’s mountains and beautiful views. Living in the Midwest most definitely dulls your senses as to how beautiful this world actually is. While we do have lovely expanses of farmlands, it’s mostly very flat flat flat here. Scranton, on the other hand, is in a valley between two mountains. The area is referred to as “the endless mountains”, and that they most definitely seem to be.
I took my boyfriend on a grand tour of some of Scranton’s finest hills, and he was quite sure the car’s transmission was going to burn up before we got to the top of some of them. He asked how the heck we managed in the winter, and the truth was, since I grew up there, I just never knew anything different. It just was. We never had trouble getting up the sides of the mountains or dealing with snow. When I moved to Georgia and it snowed there (once) all of 1/2″, I couldn’t believe disaster it was!
It was hard for me to realize that there were places in the world where people didn’t deal with snow and hills.
Now… speaking of driving under crazy or difficult conditions…. Have you ever heard of a little place called “The Big Apple”?
Growing up in Scranton, New York City was just a 2 hour drive away, so I actually have been there quite a bit. I can tell you from personal experience – there is absolutely NO experience quite like trying to drive a car down Broadway street, Times Square. Nope. In fact – just trying to drive anywhere in Midtown Manhattan is insane.
Don’t like your commute to your job? Be grateful you don’t live where it takes you an hour to drive 10 blocks. Because it did. That’s what it took us to navigate just 10 blocks on a Friday morning. Yeeeaaa…..
Well, I do love Manhattan. I really do. I think it’s full of adventures and a very fun place to visit. Would I want to live there (or anywhere within 2 hours of it?) No. Not a chance. Not fun. But I love Manhattan a whooooole lot more than I enjoy Chicago, that’s for sure.
Now, my boyfriend on the other hand did not care much for Manhattan at all. The driving. The crowds. The bustling busy craziness. I don’t think it was quite his cup of tea.
He described it as being like walking through a busy con, just all the time. Ha ! Truth! Shoulder-to-shoulder walking down a sidewalk, lost in huge crowds. Yep. Manhattan is definitely crazy.
However, during our Manhattan fun and games, we were in town for one special event:
We’re both geeks. And this was too geeky for us to pass up! In fact, we had been planning this geek-venture for months, and my boyfriend got a photo taken with Mark Hammill!!!! We had a full-on Star Wars geek fest, and loved every second of it during our jam-packed day of sight seeing.
We attended the comic con with my dad and step-mom, which was super great, too. This kind “of thing” isn’t her cup of tea, but it was nice to get in an extra day with them and do some sightseeing.
Our trip to NYC also included a Ghostbusters inspired tour of town to see some filming locations from the movie, and a couple other places, too.
We visited the World Trade Center Memorial, and saw Freedom Tower. Two towers were replaced with 1, which stands 1,776 feet tall ground to antenna tip, and the memorial itself is an absolutely gorgeous neverending waterfall with every name etched into it.
Our tour of Manhattan also took us to Central Park, Tavern on the Green, the apartment building used as a setting for most of Ghostbusters, the actual Ghostbusters firehouse, which is not very far from the World Trade Center, many subway rides in between everything, and also to the New York Public Library & Columbus Circle, as well as Madison Square Garden, up and down Broadway street a few times, and oh yea… that other big tall building in New York…
It was definitely one heck of a couple days. We spent one day and another half day running around the city, and it was hot and when it’s hot in NYC, subways are even hotter.
Once we recovered from nearly heat -exhaustion, we skipped out of the Big Apple and headed down the road to our next destination:
We were definitely covering all the bases here! From flat corn fields, to mountain vistas, to the concrete jungle, to the ocean. We pretty much covered all the variety of sights there are to cover in America…in about 2 days. LOL!
My boyfriend and I had an idea for eating a fancy 3 Michelen Star dinner in Manhattan while we were there. We would get all dressed up for a super fancy evening and enjoy a meal that cost more than our grocery bill for 2 weeks. Well, while we looked at a variety of restaurants in NYC, we actually found most of the selections pretty gross.
Apparently, if you can afford a $200 meal, it also means you enjoy eating liver pate and sushi. Gross and gross. Ick.
So, we changed our plans and opted for eating some actual normal food (ha!) and instead found a Gordon Ramsay restaurant at Caesar’s Atlantic City. We got dressed up to the 9’s… no make that the 10’s. We looked sharp. I bought a beautiful backless red glittery dress, and he bought a stunning white suit. We looked smashing.
I know, I know… fancy dinner, super dressy formal wear, romantic setting, a fun evening in a casino on the beach with my boyfriend that I love and treasure and has been the greatest man I’ve ever known.
Did the evening go down that road that you’re thinking it probably seemed ripe to go down?
Sadly it did not, but I had suspected anyway that this evening was not going to involve any rings … although I sure had hoped he might still surprise me anyway. But there are great things to come in our future and I can only hope that day is coming!
But our fancy dinner evening did include entirely too much food! I ordered lamb chops, he ordered Ramsay’s Beef Wellington. We also ordered a smattering of sides and appetizers which were all amazing, and we ended up having left overs. It might have cost more than our 2 week grocery bill, but it was mighty fine eating.
I admit, though, I found the beef wellington to be just gross. ick.
Now, while my boyfriend might not have enjoyed Manhattan very much, I can tell you he absolutely loved the Ocean. We put our feet in the water and spent as much time as we could enjoying the sound of the waves and the beauty of the beach.
Next year, we have a trip planned to Nassau, Bahamas. I cannot wait to spend a few days in the sand and sun with him, and I hope the weather will be as amazing as we got during this trip!
After our visit to the beach, we headed onto the start of our journey home, but we still had just one more stop to make!
As if the food in Atlantic City wasn’t enough for us, we drove back home via Philadelphia and had a National Treasure style tour or Philadelphia. We went to see the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, and stopped for a bite to eat- a real Philly Cheesesteak in real Philadelphia.
The Reading Terminal Market in downtown Philly, not far from the Liberty Bell, was also featured briefly in National Treasure. It was great to swing in there and experience the wonder of aisle after aisle of food.
After that, we were finally on our way back home. Really, we spent 3 days running around Manhattan, Atlantic City, and Philadelphia. It was a jam-packed itinerary, but it worked out really well, and despite some hang ups and delays, we still managed to do everything we had intended to do and see everything we meant to so.
While I’m sure a trip to NYC won’t be high up on my boyfriend’s list of things to do again, I know we are both over-anxious to get our passports and go to the Bahamas! That trip is more than a year away, and so many things can and will be happening between now and then, that while it might seem like a long time off, it’s probably going to feel like it flew by.
In a year, I’ll be posting something to the effect of “holy crap, has it been a year already?”
I know the horses were overjoyed to see us return.
Ok maybe not. LOL!
Jesse, I’d like to add (the black mini) has been officially added to our family a few weeks ago. After 6 years of training, driving, and showing him, he is officially mine. That change was made because there are plenty of big changes happening before the year is out.
While no rings were involved in the making of this vacation, I am going to be moving in with my boyfriend at the end of November. For me – this brings forth a whole set of exciting (yet also a little scary) changes of circumstances, and another out-of-state move!
I really never thought I would be moving again. I figured the apartment I moved into 2 years ago was going to be “it” for a long, long time. At least a solid 10 years. I never would have expected that after just 2 years, my life would have changed in the way it has. But oh boy is it going to be amazing!
And of course, for the horses, that also means a move. The four of them will be heading north, as we all relocate. Luke, Chewbacca, Dixie, and Jesse are going to have a change of scenery, and I just hope they adjust well to their new digs and new friends.
Dixie and Jesse are doing to go from a larger group and big paddock to a private paddock and no group. LOL! Meanwhile, Luke and Chewbacca are doing the opposite- going from a private small paddock to a massive large field of grass with a large herd. The new farm sits on about 16 acres, and I think about 10 of those acres is Chewie & Luke’s new field. If they ever decide they don’t want to run up out of the long fields of grass to the gate to see me, I’m probably never going to catch them again. Oh this will be fun. LOL!
Seriously, I hope they adapt well to their new life and new barn and herdmates. Things are going to be interesting soon! I can’t wait to see how they react to the size of these huge grass fields!
And as for me – I am just moving blissfully forward hoping for many great new things, and also just trying to ride the ride one day at a time.