Category Archives: snow

Victory… and the end of a Great American Road Trip

When I set out from Washington, DC, I was unsure of where I would stay in New Mexico, mainly because I was worried about how my car (and let’s be honest, my driving skills) would do in its mountainous curves amid potential snow flurries.

Storm Trooper Regrets Decision

I had a Plan A, which was to proceed to Taos for two nights and enjoy the break from driving for a day.

And I had a Plan B, which was to stay the first night in Albuquerque on I-40, not attempting the 2 hours uphill in the dark, and if it was snowing, forgo Taos altogether and head south; if not, visit Taos for one night and then be on my merry way.

How did I decide? How did I sate that crazy monster inside that loves to hem and haw and put off making decisions that might invite regret?

I asked two natives their opinion on the day of my drive, and after both confirmed a safe route, that was enough. I pronounced it enough.

The predicted storm of 2 days later? Wouldn’t be that bad. And if it were, well, then I’d be delayed. It’s happened before and the sky didn’t fall.

So, it was a victory for me! Decision made! In less than the time it usually takes me to get to the root of the question!

World Cup Cafe in Taos NM

Following this victory, I enjoyed the atmosphere, the snow, the laid-back small-town feel of Taos.

Last Leg

The last leg of the trip involved a straight shot from Taos to San Diego, CA, where I’d be staying with a friend and basically home-free. I went from Taos, NM to Flagstaff, AZ, then from Flagstaff to San Diego, CA.

Nowhere on the trip did I experience more visible changes in my environment than in this space of time. I woke up in Taos and had to brush off the powdered-sugar snow from my car and wait for the sun to rise above the storm clouds. I drove down through Santa Fe, Albuquerque, Indian City, and arrived in Flagstaff tired enough to fall asleep Before. Eight. O’clock. With no dinner.

Mountain driving! Man, I tell ya.

Waking up in Flagstaff was similar, except instead of powdered-sugar snow, my car had frost like spiderwebs all over it. Thankfully I was parked in the sun’s rays and it thawed pretty quickly. Then I went south through Phoenix (winning a prize for Fastest-Growing-City-to-‘Out-Ugly’-Los-Angeles-in-Sprawl), and west on I-8, which, if you’ve never been on it, IS the Middle of Nowhere.

I left the snow behind, saw the red cliffs in all their glory, passed a forest of tough old cactii, contemplated the low desert, entered sand dune territory, and saw an exit market “Mexico: Next Left.” I could literally see the Border Wall, which was for some reason exhilarating.

I was at sea level, then climbed back up 4,000 feet of elevation to pass into California, cruising back down on what seemed like a cloud: the weather had changed. The arrow now pointed to ‘Perfect.’

The ten days were an adventure, but the last leg seemed like a finale, with even a cymbal-clashing finish. It all seemed to end so quickly, as I felt the California sun again and headed to my sister’s.

That was it? I felt like saying, even though the trip had been full of twists and turns and decisions and mayhem and awesomeness.

Next Leg

Today the trip goes from Stateside to Asia Edition.

Updating as I road-tripped was a little frantic, so I will be hanging this sign while I am off in Seoul and Beijing. I look forward to bringing back tales of delicacies and derring-do!

Closed for Vacation 

Images via Techneur and Designs by Mimi & Lola

Vermont and The Road Trip: Part Two

So there I was, halfway to Vermont.
 I began to see many landscapes like this one above, composed of single barns, silos, and happy cows.
The weather was accommodating, with only a slip of sprinkles and general overcastness making it easy to leave the windows cracked.
 Then I arrived at Smuggler’s Notch (what a name) to find Sue and Nigel, all ready to go with gorgeous snacks (a small meal!) and ideas for outings to see waterfalls before the sun went down. Don’t mind if I do! :-)
 As you can see, it was really hard on the eyes.
 We even saw fresh evidence of beavers! This fallen tree was neatly chewed through, a few feet away from a serious beaver dam (difficult to get a good shot though– you’ll have to go visit).
 We finished with seeing a covered bridge. Why does New England have (so many) covered bridges? Sue and Nigel expected me to know since it was Americana, but I come from the complete opposite coast, where such things were quite rare: Strike 1 from me. So we asked the waiter at our restaurant that first night, who, while quite entertaining, turned out to be from New Jersey. Strike 2 from Vaughn.
But don’t think we were completely without contribution ladies and gentlemen– I gave it a college try. My theory was triangulated from the facts: the large amounts of snow, the timeframe these bridges were built (before steel was commonplace) and the remoteness of the location. It was probable that a sloped roof was necessary to slough off the snow so that it didn’t weigh down and destroy the wooden bridge, making the way impassable all season.
Vaughn seemed to support my theory.
 Again, hard on the eyes, waking up in the Green Mountain State.
 This after the sun warmed itself up and got out of bed.
And this is one of those shots I made Nigel pull over for– Sue told me to do it!

It was just the perfect time for fall foliage/ leaf-peeping/ whatever you want to call it, and I am so glad I was able to make the time to visit such grand friends and experience such beautiful vistas!

Near Jeffersonville (I think), the eminently competent driving team stopped at this ‘Old Mill’ so I could snap another couple photos. What caught my eye was the river flow- so full!- after a night’s steady pounding of rain. You know, just enough to make cozying up with a good book inside a resort just the thing.
The Mill was also the site of a museum on a local celebrity: Wilson A. ‘Snowflake’ Bentley who proved that no two snowflakes were alike under the microscope. I didn’t go in, but Sue and Nigel had been fascinated when they saw the exhibit. I was more interested in the interesting effect of the cross-hatched wooden outer wall- never seen anything like it!

Finally, there was a foodie find here, ladies and gentlemen, that I hope none of you miss if you are ever in the neighborhood (meaning Vermont). It is an unassuming, prepossessing place called The Family Table. We all indulged in appetizers, which meant that unfortunately 2/3 of my entree was toted home in a take-home container. But hold the phone, Irene, what was the appetizer?

“Fried calamari tossed with hot peppers and black olives, garlic, lemon, basil, white wine with a side of marinara” 
I haven’t tried making it at home yet (still experimenting with those Scottish delicacies), and I must say calamari is pretty intimidating, but… it’s definitely earned its place on The List. It had that combination of spice and sourness, crisp and crunch, that rendered one incapable of stopping shoveling it into one’s mouth.
Next up: Day Trip to Montreal.

Snow: The Day After

Some more pictures, from when snow had been “plowed.” Usually, this would indicate a positive change in affairs, but occasionally it made it more difficult for walkers…

Exhibit A: walking on the sidewalk is fine and all, but what happens when you want to cross the street? Or heaven forbid, jaywalk?

Yes, the snowstorm included wind…

…and it plus the weight of the snow and ice unfortunately splintered a LOT of tree branches around the city.

HA ha…

View from my office window, of St. Matthew’s Cathedral under snow. Foreground: my Victoire des Samothraces statue :)

Try getting up those stairs!

Lots of people had fun during the storm over the weekend, when they could get out a baking sheet and sled down museum stairs at night *ahem* but this one was on a Wednesday, and it was the third in a series, so the snowball fun had sort of died down.