Friday, August 8, 2008

You Can Keep Arkansas

Want to know the best way to improve your fuel economy? Fill your car to the roof with boxes laden with personal belongings, stuff a vacuum cleaner and more boxes into roof top storage, add 2 bikes and then drive cross country faster than 60 mph, the recommended speed for maximum fuel economy. Our best average mile per gallon in Boston was 14.7. Now it's 15.2. Go figure.

Allan was interviewed today at a tourist office by a local Memphis reporter. The reporter was doing a story on the effects of gas prices on traveling. He was shocked by our 3,600 mile escapade to Mexico. I think he was expecting us to say we're not driving as far due to the price of gas. It may not be the story he was looking for, but I think our saga's a bit more interesting.

Driving cross country has been an amazing experience. It's something we've dreamed about, but never expected it would actually happen. Traveling gets people out of their comfort zone. If you keep an open mind and are willing to try new foods, meet different people, and learn about offbeat customs, you might actually learn something. You might be propelled to view the world and your life from a different perspective. It was our vacation to Mexico 3 months ago that prompted us to question why we were living in Boston when we hate winter. Why didn't we deserve sunshine 300 days/year?

Today we drove through Tennessee, including Memphis, and all of Arkansas. We had the opportunity to see Graceland, Elvis Presley's home. Since we had the dogs in the car we opted for photos outside rather than a guided tour. It seems like his life was so empty and depressing - he did after all die from a prescription drug overdose. He's buried at his home. It makes you wonder how people who have achieved so much fame and fortune can be so empty and lonely. He died the same year I was born. Allan attended his last show, which was in Augusta, Maine. After the show Elvis took a 2 year hiatus, and then was planning to go back on tour starting in Augusta. Allan had tickets to that show as well, which never happened, due to Elvis' premature demise.

We've crossed 11 states so far (MA, CT, NY, NJ, PA, WV, MD, VA, TN, AR and TX), more than 1600 miles. Every state has been beautiful and interesting except Arkansas. When President Eisenhower created the Federal Interstate Highway Administration to link US highways and improve cross country travel I think he forgot about Arkansas. The highways are in terrible condition and the rest stops leave much to be desired. I'm sure Arkansas has a lot to offer, but we've had trouble finding it. They must hide it well! It's even more noticeable since Tennessee's highways were so beautiful and clean.

I can't believe we're on our way to Mexico! When we came back from our Mexican vacation 3 months ago with a plan to eventually move there, it seemed like the day would never come. Even though I knew the summer would pass quickly, I'm just amazed that we're living our dreams already! Allan and I are sad to leave family and friends behind. It's certainly not easy leaving the ones you love. On the other hand, exploring the US has been amazing. As we head south, the sun's getting hotter and the food spicier. It feels like Mexico already. It's weired to think that Boston's no longer our home. It's hard letting go. Technically we'll still be US citizens. We'll obtain Mexican work visas, but keep our US citizenship. The only benefit to becoming a Mexican citizen that I'm aware of is voting. Giving up our US citizenship would just present too many problems without any real benefit.

We're doing better with directions today. We didn't get lost or go the wrong way. It just goes to prove that if you give someone a GPS and a map they can still get lost if they are really stupid! However, when we see signs that say "Go East" it's hard to make sure we "Go West". It must be Boston calling.

Playa del Carmen Condo and Villa Vacation Rentals

Matt at the home of Allan's childhood idol, Elvis Presley.

Authentic southern barbecue - can't beat it

Allan's new friends - the owner's of Road Side Bar-B-Que. Do you ship to Mexico?

After 8 hours on the road, Allan prepares for Mexico. Can you say siesta?


David said...

But good stuff comes out of Arkansas. Both of my parents were born in Arkansas and I visited Dad's home in Bentonville (where Sam Walton of Walmart fame began his first Walmart store), a farm with cows, pigs, chickens and an outhouse. Popped cans off the top of fence posts with a 22. And in Fayettville, a nice little town with a town square where I bought a lot of Elvis records, went to a little theater where I saw Elvis' and other movies, then went with my older cousin to the Drive In and learned how to drink beer. Northwest Arkansas has The Ozarks and gently rolling topography.Plus I'll bet there are plenty of places where you can still buy classy things like pink flamingos for your front yard. Yes, Arkansas has a special place in my heart so "Lay Off!!" You're just being elite Boston shaman snobs! And please don't skip Oklahoma cause that's REALLY where the great people come from and you'll both get a special aura and extra good luck even if you just pass through a corner of the state. I promise. Love, David.

David said...

By the way, I loved the photo of the Bar B Q staff. That was nice.
Another by the way, I am getting paid aren't I, for adding what up to now are your only comments and making your blog so much more interesting?

islagringo said...

We basically did the same as you 5 years ago. Drove from Minnesota to Cancun. Except we're retired. Enjoying reading about how "green" you still are to Mexico and its' ways. Do you know for sure that you are going to be able to get work visas? Not as easy as you may think. BTW, you cannot get Mexican citizenship until you have lived here 10 years and you NEVER have to give up your US citizenship. As Tim would say, "Carry On!"

P.S. Thank Nancy in Mazatlan. She hyped you today on her blog. You are bound to get an increase in traffic now!