Monday, September 21, 2020


Typical Day Break Departure Sunrise Views

Our final road trip to New Hampshire. Three days up, two and a half days loading the Dodge Truck, her Kia, then departing noon Sunday in hopes of escaping New York by dusk. We did, but a new learning experience entering Pennsylvania that evening. 

Family helped load what we could take and the rest we left for family to keep or take to the dump. Yes, we left a lot behind. But in our desire to downsize, there comes a point where letting go of some of the past has to be done. What we left was stuff. Our new home in Texas does not have room for stuff beyond what we use on a daily basis. Still though, the heart aches a little at history/memories left behind. 

The 2003 Dodge was left to our NH mechanic a week before our arrival with a to do list and freedom to fix, repair and make ready for our return trip to Texas. I have always taken care of the truck mechanically and that has paid off. But there were items in need of repair. 

Our mechanic also replaced brakes on her Kia for the trip back. It too was going to be loaded to its Plimsoll mark. Money well spent on both vehicles.

The truck was loaded to squatting on the overload springs, tire pressures up to 45 lbs, tailgate closed and locked set us heading out of the old driveway. 

Goodbyes said to family and off to Vermont and getting through New York. The pressure of getting through these two states may have all been our minds. But in Vermont the governor has sign posted that if you stay, you must quarantine for two weeks. Beautiful to drive through, always has been, but times and people are different. Steeped deep inside left government mandates and living styles. Yes, a personal opinion!! 

We could feel a pressure force overhead in New York pressing down on the folks living and working there. God forbid we would ever break down in that state. 

Gas tanks filled leaving NH border and nonstop through Vermont and through New York. We had no place to stay in Pennsylvania planned. We hung our nights stay there on a little luck and past travel experiences. 

Darkness set quickly before we found a motel that would suit us. The first one we looked at was filthy for $100 a night. 

My wife and I learned the hard way that early evening, that neither of us can see to drive at night, especially in all the lights of the big city off ramps. We were lucky enough to pull into a large mall parking lot to find a safe place to talk and plan. But bright lights now explode in our vision at night. Typical I am told as we age. WE DO NOT LIKE IT AT ALL!

Thank God for cell phone technology. We found a near by chain motel and the phone navigated us on back roads to the front door. 

The Dodge proved itself, with all the mechanical/maintenance work done, that day. I knew she would get us back to our little home in Texas. I had worried about this for many weeks. 

We back tracked the same route we drove up from Texas. New Hampshire, through the beautiful back roads and hills of Vermont, bounced our way on some of the hard driven and poorly maintained roads of NY to northern Pennsylvania.  The little cabin below was our AirBnB in southern Pennsylvania. 

By far the best of all of the AirBnB's we have stayed in. Only one AirBnB, over the course of our comings and goings from NH in the past 4 months, has been really lousy. Most all very nice, but this one and the owners were the gold standard. Both in the snacks left for breakfast and in the visiting with the owner and her daughter. 

The ladder was for using the bed above in the loft not shown in this photo. Great for anyone young enough to maneuver up and down comfortably. 

We left at day break and completed our trek through West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas and then into Texas. Once in Texas, were were an hour and a half from home. 

Eighteen hundred miles give or take each way. Twelve-hour days driving. The hills and constant turns through West Virginia will not be forgotten and running with the big rigs through Tennessee, Arkansas and Eastern Texas was a great test in high-speed close-proximity driving. The truckers own these roads, highways and by-ways. There is no time to do anything but drive safely, work within their driving patterns. This includes the moving to and from the on/off ramps. 

I have said this before. The truckers in this country are keeping all of us fed and in goods and services. They deserve the highest respect for all they do. 

This country is currently bending over backwards to any first responder. But the truckers of this country outshine them tenfold, 24/7. We got to run with the big rigs for awhile, but could never ever keep their pace. God Bless.

Coming off one of exits, we happened on this restaurant. We drove straight in, parked and more than ready for a good breakfast. Yep, just like in the times of  normal. Excellent food served piping hot and waitresses not afraid to be personable and socialize. Music from the 50's was upbeat. 

At so many other stops we made, the "agenda" far outshined the product and simple purpose of a stop and go eatery. From negotiating our individual food items at Denny's to the tune of a $27 breakfast for two, to a McDonalds that mandated we "leave the building" upon receiving our order. Two chubby middle-aged McDonald's executives were sitting with their computers open and taking market prices. McDonalds would better be served if they did not parade their leadership in public. Not a good optic. Not at all. Most likely way too many hamburgers and fries over the course of their careers. 

This sign was typical of promoting a current political agenda. Friendly but to the point. Many places had signs saying no mask no service. And the mask was only for entry. Once inside, the mask could come off. 

I should not complain. We were at least able to grab a bite, top off the tanks and keep doing miles. But times have changed significantly and I doubt these snap shots of change across the states of America are just the beginning.


This weeks post brought to you by end-of-the-world comfort food homemade biscuits. Soak in gravy, butter and jams at your own risk.

Our move to Texas was to escape New England winters. We waited too long and should have done all of this a year or two ago. The last 6 months would have been a challenge in normal times, but within the political unrest that has increased during this time frame, we feel that we have squeaked in under the wire of ever having been able to make the move.

Roots are set here now. They grow deeper and stronger each day. Like minded people close by and in the neighboring lands.  Folks are close, self-sufficient and welcoming. Hard days work everywhere. Politeness everywhere. Excellent top of the shelf eateries and reasonably priced grocery outlets. Fresh fruits and vegetables the norm.  

YOUMEANDTHEAFTER is officially in Texas now!! 

Stay away from crowds, live life, keep your knees bent and heads up. Learn new skill sets. 

Yep, thanks for the visit this week. 

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