I was very fortunate enough to have my mom fly down to Houston, help me finish up packing, load up my car, and drive up to Connecticut with me. I am very lucky that she could help me do all of this. It would have definitely been one boring drive all alone. Even more fortunately, we are still talking, smiling, and laughing after spending 6 days non-stop with each other. Impressive I know.
I wanted to share my journey and some tips I learned on my way back up to the North (for any of those transplants who plan to leave Houston like me – or any other city).
First off, since I quit my job I am relocating myself. All expenses paid by Carley herself. Lots of cost-benefit analysises happened so I could determine the cheapest way to transport my stuff and myself home. I sold my furniture which made things a lot easier. The rest of my large items, I shipped through Fed-ex. I got quotes and did lots of driving all over Houston to Grey Hound Freight, UPS, USPS, and Fed-ex and found out the Fed-ex has the lowest shipping rate for larger items. I received all 6 boxes in the 3 day time period all in good condition. I would definitely recommend this. The most expensive items were shipping my bike, which was $160 and my trunk that I couldn’t part from that was over $200 (including the cardboard box). All in all, I spent under $1,000 for this move. This was a win for me because all the movers I talked to cost $2,000 at a MINIMUM. I fit the rest of my stuff in my tiny Volkswagen Golf. It’s a miracle my mom, myself, and all my stuff fit – even with room to see out of my rear view mirror!
Now for the more exciting portion of my trip – the road trip! Because I hate driving at night, I decided that we would split up the “26 hour” drive over four days. Therefore an average of about 6+ hours a day would keep us on track.
Since I’m a big procrastinator, I obviously didn’t have everything packed and ready for a 7am departure, as I originally planned in my head. We got the car packed and ready by mid morning, mailed the last box at Fed-ex and got some La Guadalupana tacos for breakfast. At around 12:30pm my mom and I started our journey to the North! Four and a half hours later we stopped in Baton Rouge for our late lunch/early dinner. My friend recommended eating at Chime’s located close to LSU’s campus. My mom and I didn’t do our research and it turned out that area was bumping. LSU had a football game at 6:30pm versus Southern Mississippi so we got stuck in traffic of drunk college kids and alumni tailgating for the game. Whoops! (Lesson learned – if driving into a big college town, check if there is a football game there before heading to restaurants near there). It was pretty cool to see it all, seeing as I have never been to a big school football tailgate. The thing that wasn’t cool, was that I was starving and wanted food ASAP. We ended up going to Parrain’s for dinner and had some delicious Cajun food. I would definitely recommend this restaurant to other Baton Rouge visitors. My mom and I shared seafood gumbo, grilled oysters (loaded with cheese), and crawfish etouffee. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. We were in food coma for the rest of the drive through Louisiana, Mississippi, and up through Alabama.
After a lovely continental breakfast (great coffee, no bacon at breakfast – womp womp) at the Quality Inn in Evergreen, AL, we started our route to Atlanta. About three hours later we arrived and had lunch at Fox Brothers BBQ. It was phenom. My mom and I shared the mac & cheese (HIGHLY RECOMMEND), coleslaw, ribs, chicken, and pulled pork. It was all very delicious. I would definitely try the brisket next time. Queue food coma numero dos. So full.
We left Atlanta and made our way to Asheville, North Carolina. My friend said we should definitely check it out. It was described to me as a “redneck hipster city” and as the “LA of the East”. Sadly, we got there after 5pm on a Sunday so we missed out on the cute shops, breweries (Sierra Nevada), and hiking trails. We still made the most of it and walked around the Asheville Arboretum and then ate dinner at Mela Indian Restaurant. We walked by it and it was packed, which is always a sure sign that the restaurant has good food! We shared the Saag Paneer and it was very flavorful. My mom said it was one of the best she’s had. We decided to keep driving on because all the shops were closed and made our way to Bristol, VA.
After another bacon-less continental breakfast we started our journey up to Frederick, Maryland to visit family. It was another beautiful drive with the leaves turning colors and not a cloud in the sky. We decided we couldn’t pass up this beautiful day and stopped in Natural Rock, Virginia to go on a little hike/sight seeing excursion. We almost turned around once getting to the tourist center, but I’m definitely glad we paid the $6 and walked down to see the rock. It was a very incredible natural formation with a river/stream running through it.
We walked on the trail and on the trail they had a Native American (Monacan) village that was very interesting. We learned about how Native Americans had to lose their culture and identities and became part of the “black population”. They could not say they were “Native American”. They were not white, so they were considered black. It’s crazy what people will do to others that are not “the same” as them. We walked around for a little more and then continued our drive up to Maryland. We had a great evening with my mom’s cousins and ate delicious homemade lasagna. Another good meal in the books.
The last and final day of driving. No continental breakfast for my mom and I. Starbucks stop it was! We made our way to our next destination which is Bethlehem, PA – home of Lehigh University (the college I went to). I was so happy to be there this time of the year. It’s just so unbelievably pretty there.
No trip to Lehigh is complete without stopping at the Goosey Gander, aka The Goosemen (apparently?). I got my usual shallow shots sandwich from their secret menu – roast beef, turkey, Swiss cheese, coleslaw, Russian dressing, and then whole wheat bread (in lieu of rye). It is always spot on.
From here we drove to Westchester, New York to visit my grandma for a little bit and then the last leg of our trip to CT. WOO. At about 6pm we made it back to CT. What a long yet delicious journey home. The trip was very manageable over the 4 days. In hindsight, we could have done it easily in 3 days but we were happy we got to make all the stops we did. I did learn that being a truck driver is not in my future. I still hate driving long distances, even where there is good food at the end of the tunnel. To end the trip, my dad had dinner ready for us when we got there. Success.