February 17, 2014

My Cross Country Road Trip 2014

The day my cousin Polina asked me to go on a road trip across the entire country, I didn't think much of it. Of course I said yes (saying no to a trip for me is like saying no to free money) but I never actually thought it would happen. And I didn't know that it would be one of the funnest trips of my life. Who knew that driving across the good ol' USA would bring so much laughter, adventure, chaos, and bonding. Small warning, this will be a super long post as this was a super long trip.

Our Trip Itinerary

Philadelphia, PA / Roanoke, VA / Nashville, TN / New Orleans, LA / Austin, TX / El Paso, TX / Phoenix, AZ / San Diego, CA / Long Beach, CA / Los Angeles, CA / San Francisco, CA

We started our 4,000 mile journey in Roanoke, VA. You might be thinking where the F is Roanoke and why did you go there? We were originally supposed to go to Charlotte, NC but decided that because stopping in Roanoke would save us 2 hours of driving that it was the best thing to do. I guess I should mention that Polina was doing ALL of the driving so it was a no brainer.

We took the scenic route to VA passing through the blue ridge mountains.

The first day of driving and 425 miles later we were still fresh as a daisy. It honestly didn't seem that bad! We checked into our hotel and set out to find a place to eat. And that's where all the trouble began. We learned the hard way that the city of Roanoke is a total ghost town at night. We drove through blocks and blocks of city streets and didn't see a single living person or car. WTF. We pulled into a parking lot to park our car and you guessed it... no parking attendant. They had called out for the night...at 7pm. We drove to a second parking lot and same thing. Just a sign that read call this number if you want to park here. No one answered the phone. I'm guessing they took off for the night too. After much frustration, we decided to just park anywhere or we were going to starve to death. After walking and taking a few wrong turns we FINALLY found the chicken and waffle place that had amazing reviews on Yelp and found this on the door...

What the hell does "Until" mean?? It was 7pm and this place was closed because apparently from Thursday through Sunday they close at "Until". Until they feel like it? Or until they get so damn lazy they feel like going home? What does "Until mean??? I've never seen such a thing in Philadelphia. Practically the entire city was closed at 7pm and it was Super Bowl Sunday. How are business closing on such a busy day? Nothing makes sense in Roanoke. They go by their own rules. Fortunately we were able to find a cute little bar-b-q joint that tried to sell me mini Corona's instead of my requested Bacardi Diet but it's ok, I still liked them for the food.

On the way to our next city, Nashville, TN, I learned how to pump gas. Yes it may seemed a little delayed to pump gas for the first time at 26 but I know at least one other person that has never pumped gas before so HAH!

Polina is a brand new driver but honestly did an amazing job. How many new drivers have the guts to drive across the entire country averaging around 6-9 hours of driving per day?

And if it seems like we are wearing the exact same thing in all of our car pics...it's because we are. And no shame in it either. This is definitely a situation in which comfort comes before beauty. And I don't say that often.

Getting into Nashville, although bitter cold, was a relief. It was the first time we could relax a bit, put some makeup on and go out for some fun.  BTW I did Polina's eyebrows in the photo below. I shaped them and filled them in. She hated it but I totally think it works with her face. Thoughts?

In Nashville, we ended up at the famous Tootsie's Orchid Lounge which according to Polina was her favorite night of the trip. It was totally laid back and fun with awesome live music all night. I took a photo with one of my favorite singers of the night.

Who later helped me carve my name into the table.

The next day, mile 988, we headed to New Orleans where we new trouble was going to ensue. How do you go to New Orleans and not get into trouble? Unless you're very boring and lame of course.

We started off innocently enough with dinner at Sinner's and Saints on Bourbon St which was just a couple blocks from our hotel. Polina had some delicious jambalaya and I had shrimp and grits. Which btw grits are my new favorite food. Not the nasty, flavorless kind you eat at the diner but the creamy, cheese infused deliciousness you get at a restaurant. I've had them fried too which is a whole other level of awesomeness. I digress.

After dinner I told Polina she absolutely must try a hurricane. I vaguely remember polishing off a hurricane with my husband several years ago and the rest of our Bourbon St adventure was a blur. Yes they're that strong.

With hurricane in hand, we set off to find the perfect bar out of the hundreds on Bourbon St. The minute we walked into the perfect bar, an ACTUAL hurricane began outside. And any girl who owns a Louis Vuitton knows that rain will trap you in a building for hours if you don't have an umbrella. Luckily I'm smarter than I look. After we were done drinking, I asked the bartender for a trash bag, wrapped my LV in the bag, tied my sweater over my head like a turban and we were ready to find our next bar. Polina walked a few feet behind me from embarrassment. I might have looked like a homeless lady with a trashbag but my LV was safe and dry!

Our next stop was Rick's Cabaret where I am embarrassed to say that I totally got ripped off by a stripper. And she wasn't even that great of a conversationalist! I like my strippers to be smart. Is that too much to ask for these days? You can't get ahead in life with just your looks hunny!

The rest of the night after Rick's was a total blur. I vaguely remember tipping and taking a photo with this guy because according to Polina bass players never get enough love.

Then I remember being the absolute last people roaming around Bourbon St around 5/5:30am. And then the next thing I remember is waking up to crawfish, egg white omelet and beignets. Not bad, not bad.

Mile 2,113, on our way to Austin, TX, we began to lose steam and sitting in the car for hours really started to take it's toll on us. We were in the same clothes, no makeup, living on crappy snack food, achy and pretty sure smelly although Polina wouldn't admit it. I think she was just trying to be nice though. I'll tell you this, you reallllllly gotta love someone to spend 8 hours a day in the car with them. And you reallllllly have to learn how to compromise. There are so many things to fight about such as which music to listen to, what temperature it should be, which direction to take, where to stop, who pays for gas, who's the best cousin. Haha just joking. Almost everyone we knew thought a fight was inevitable but I'm happy to say we did not fight once.

Driving through the Texas desert was like driving through a scary time warp. You don't see anything but sand for days. And when you finally do find a place to fill your car up it looks like this....

There wasn't an actual screen or card slot on the gas pump so we had to go inside the dead animal head filled store to talk to the cashier. He said we could fill her up and pay him later. Who does that?? What's stopping us from filling up and driving away? Those southerners sure are trustworthy people. That or completely off their rockers. Texas Chainsaw Massacre anyone?

At mile 2,686 I finally had enough of desert driving and convinced Polina to pull over at a truck stop for a few photos. WEEE.

We made a pit stop in Houston to have a steak dinner with an old friend from high school at Taste Of Texas. So apparently steak and food in general is really cheap in Texas. I thought it would be the other way around. So after gorging ourselves we had another 2 hour drive to Austin. And we had already been on the road for 7 hours straight. I kid you not, Polina and I both started hallucinating on the road. It was very dark and I could see a man standing on the side of the road. As we got closer the man turned into a billboard WTF. Then I noticed after an hour of driving on the highway and absolutely no other cars on the road, we were suddenly following some tail lights. It took me a good 5 minutes to realize that there was noone in front of us and the lights were actually lights far in the distance. Then we somehow managed to pass the Colorado River bridge 4 times while driving on a straight road. It was all very strange to be honest. Definitely the worst day of driving yet.

The next day mile 2,545, was El Paso, TX. Pretty much the only thing that happened in El Paso was that we got pulled over YAY!

It was Polina's first time getting pulled over so her hands were shaking. Apparently our headlight was out (which we later found out it wasn't). We got a warning and got questioned for having a dragon sticker on our bumper. I'm guessing there is some kind of dragon gang they wanted to make sure we weren't a part of.

Good night El Paso. We only liked you slightly better than Texas :(

Next stop... Phoenix AZ. I only took a couple photos in Phoenix because it was basically a party night. W Hotel Bar, Maya Nightclub, bottles, tables, beautiful people, exotic cars, dancing...and pizza. Nothing interesting to tell here...I swear :)

Mile 3,344, we were on our way from Phoenix to San Diego, CA and passed by these gorgeous boulder mountains driving 4,000 feet above seal level. Lots of ear popping!

Living in the city is truly like living in a bubble. We are always thinking how overcrowded the world is. But after driving across the country you come to realize how empty our country actually is. Yes we have condensed areas of people but most of our country in untouched and beautiful.

When we arrived at the W Hotel in San Diego I asked the front desk lady if we were able to get upgraded to a suite. She said "Oh you will be very happy Mrs. Abramson. You were upgraded to the best room in the hotel. We NEVER upgrade anyone to this room.". Turns out my husband had called in beforehand and talked to the lady for a bit until he convinced her into letting us stay in this $3,000 per night room. And thank the lord because after roughing it for days, we needed this.

When we walked into our 6 room, presidential suite, we were floored. Our room didn't even have a number. It just had this on the door....

Let me give you a quick tour. Please enter our spacious living room and dining room...

Walk through the hallway and you are in our enormous bedroom with a bed that fits 20 or so. The window behind the bed has gorgeous views of the San Diego skyline.

Our bed faces a large flat screen TV. Notice my perfected Wheel of Fortune pose.

Walk though our bedroom and you will find yourself in the master bathroom with skyline views.

Walk back through the living room and into our office equipped with a creepy naked butt over the work space. I'm not sure if it's a male or female butt, or how one could ever get any work done with that thing right above their head. But it's there, so watcha gonna do?

As soon as Polina finished running laps around the room, she finally settled down in one of the many window nooks to Facebook how cool our room was. I mean who wouldn't??

Again, our night in San Diego was filled with way too much drinking and cocky a**hole guys trying to buy us drinks. That is until we got back to our presidential suite. That's when the real fun began. We decided that it was an absolute must that we use the jacuzzi in our master bathroom. While attempting to turn it on, we realized the jacuzzi had no faucets. Ummmm, where the hell is the water supposed to come from?? I pressed a hidden button and like magic, a stream of water starting pouring into the bathtub.....from the ceiling! I'm sorry maybe I'm impressed by little things but when have you ever seen water come from a hole in the ceiling into your jacuzzi?? Hmmm?

We took a short bubble bath while watching TV. I was literally passing out from exhaustion so shortly after we decided to order food.

Who knew two tiny girls could each so much. We ended up ordering $80.00 worth of fattening deliciousness. As the room services lady entered our room and saw two young girls laying in bed in white bath robes with bath bubbles all over the entire floor, I was pretty sure she was thinking we were lesbian lovers on a secret fling. But who cares? We now had scallop sliders, pizza and chicken fingers!

Hah I just realized you can see our reflection in the mirror in the photo above. We are such posers. And we definitely do look like lesbian lovers.

The next morning was bitter sweet. We were excited for Long Beach but so very sad to leave the luxury that we were in.

Bye room and creepy office!!!

Before driving to LA we made a quick pit stop in Long Beach to have lunch on the beach with a friend.

Then on the way to LA I got pretty darn bored so I started a selfie taking marathon. It lasted about half an hour. Poor Polina had to witness the whole thing.

We finally arrived around 5 pm to another beautiful suite. My baby really spoils me sometimes!

I've been to LA before an definitely wanted to take Polina to something very touristy. The entire city is one big tourist trap. To my surprise she had never been to a wax museum so I just had to take her to Madame Tussauds. She was a bit creeped out by all of the life sized figured but we had a blast posing with our favorites.

The next day, at exactly mile 3,948 we arrived in San Francisco!! Polina's final destination and new home.

It was so incredibly sad to know that our journey had come to an end. I kept thinking I can't believe we did this. I can't believe we drove across the entire country. I can't believe we still love each other after doing so. And most of all, I can't believe it's over. I so did not want it to be over. I had gotten used to being co-pilot to my cousin on this wonderful adventure. We had met so many awesome people, seen old friends, visited places we would never had seen otherwise. Knowing that I will most likely never do this again was the worst part of all. Everything just seemed to fall into place to make this trip happen. We are young and we can still afford to waste some time. As we grow older, have families, get busier, I doubt life would provide us with the time to do something so spontaneous and awesome. But I'm thankful I had the opportunity and I will never ever forget our cross country road trip in 2014.

And to those who are planning to take a road trip across the country, just remember....You will see lots of cows. More cows than you will ever want to see or smell. The sheer amount of cows will give you nightmares. COWS.


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