This morning we picked up our car and did all of the paperwork. Took a little longer than we expected, but it all got done and we were off. We were heading from Kansas City (Eastern boarder of Kansas) to Salina (3 hours away to the middle of no where in Kansas), where most of Tiffany’s family is.
Some thoughts from today:
I am rather impressed by Tiffany’s driving skills so far. She managed to not flip the new car over pulling out of the dealership. And she’s still going strong.
I have yet to actually drive the new car.
I thought I was getting better with driving long distances. Then I got to Kansas. We both needed to take a break half way into the drive because of how dreadfully boring it was.
Somehow driving the 3 hours from Kansas City to Salina seems much longer than the rest of the trip so far.
Whoever thought the world was round has never been to Kansas.
Now that we’re in Salina, we going to finally have time to relax since we’ll be staying until after New Years. So I’ll try to post the pics I’ve been taking to give some more details to the posts so far.
At this point, we’re about 450 miles/7 hours away from Denver.
Today was rather eventful for us. Staying in Kansas City for a day, we had plans to visit Tiffany’s brother’s twin babies, go to a few car dealerships, do a happy hour with some of Tiffany’s friends (another one? really??), and go see a KU basketball game at the famous Allen Fieldhouse. Or maybe it’s just famous if you’re from Kansas, or possibly a big college basketball fan — both of which I am not.
We began our day by going to Oklahoma Joe’s, basically the one thing I wanted to do while in Kansas. It’s a bbq place that I heard was apparently the best in the area. A bold claim since Kansas City bbq is a big deal. When you pull up to it, it’s rather unassuming because you’re literally at a gas station. In gas stations, you would have a convenience store of some sort. Here, it’s a bbq restaurant. When we got there, there was a line of about 10 people outside at the door. Once you get inside, you notice the line snakes around the entire inside. Easily a 45 min wait. Long story short, we tried the ribs, pulled pork, beef brisket, baked beans, and potato salad. Most off it was pretty good, but the ribs were easily the best of our choices. I would probably come back and wait on that line for more ribs.
After this we visited the twin babies of Tiffany’s brother. They lived in a a quiet apartment community, the kind where every building looks exactly the same so you drive around and get lost rather easily. The babies were a lot of fun and seemed very happy as usual. They got huge since the last time I saw them in June and were walking around all over the place.
We left the babies and headed to a nearby Subaru dealership because they’re having some year end finance/lease deals and we need a second car since we’re moving from the public transportation mecca of the US. Initially, we were interested in an Imprezza or Legacy, but once we arrived, we took interest in the Outback and Forester because of the higher ride height and more abundant cargo room. Utility is king!
We test drove them both and found the Outback to have a much more luxurious ride, while the Forester’s engine was a bit more peppy due to an updated engine and lower weight. To our surprise, they were both around the same price and the only real difference was that the Forester was somewhat loaded and the Outback was the bare minimum. We ended up choosing the Forester because it felt like it performed better, had very similar cargo room, and really looked a lot better overall than the Outback we were comparing to.
After we decided on the car, it was time to talk numbers. I was a bit apprehensive because I have very little experience haggling at a dealership. Mostly talking to really pushy salesmen at dealerships from NJ. Our salesman at the Subaru dealership was actually a really nice older guy who seemed genuinely upfront about everything so it kind of threw me off my game. Nevertheless, I got them to agree to a price slightly under invoice and throwing in any accessories for dealer cost. I was doing this with Tiffany just sitting next to me with a funny grin on her face and giggling from time to time. Not the most effective buying strategy, but we’re happy with what we got. We told them we really had to leave and agreed to come back the next morning to finalize everything.
From there we hurried over to for a very brief happy hour with a few of Tiffany’s friends that we were really late for due to being at the dealership for so long. After that, we rushed out to the KU basketball game which we managed to get to with about 8-9 minutes left in the first half. First thing I noticed was when we were walking in, we were the only ones doing so. Everyone else was already in their seats and attentively watching the game. The place was not very impressive on the outside, but pretty nice looking on the inside. However, they would to do well to put up some signs to let people know where to go to find their seats. Tiffany once again was no help as she acted like it was her first time at the Fieldhouse. Once we finally got to our seats, it was packed and a sea of people wearing blue.
It was a pretty interesting experience having only gone to a handful of pro games where fans are kind of hit or miss in their enthusiasm. At the Fieldhouse, people were all cheering/boing together at every single play, and it was loud. It was a pretty cool experience. A pretty impressive display of team spirit. Tiffany knew all the cheers and even the weird hand gestures. Though it didn’t seem like anyone else knew the hand gestures other than some senior citizens in the crowd. The game itself wasn’t very competitive as they were playing what seemed to be a low tier high school team from Texas.
After the game, Tiffany said we had to go to this place called, The Wheel, for pizza. It’s a KU tradition, it’s really good, said Tiffany, just different from the pizza I’m used to. I was already scared. Anyway, we get there and you walk inside, it’s on the first floor, but it’s charming decor makes you feel like you’re inside someone’s basement. Then there’s no one at the counter and Tiffany tells me how it’s only one guy making all the pizzas. Just like the great DiFara’s. Riiiiight. Anyway, I get a cheese slice and a hamburger slice it seemed to be a popular choice by the other people there. Then like typical midwest fashion, they give you ranch to dip the pizza with. After having the pizza, the closest thing I can relate it to is the old Domino’s pizza. Just not as good. Needless to say, this is something I’m not going to be itching to try again.
Finally, at the end of the night, we stopped by an “apartment” of Tiffany’s friend that we know from NY. We pull up to an unassuming building, greeted by our friend in his smoking jacket and pretty much entered into Batman’s bachelor pad. Words don’t do it justice, but it was this massive wide open place with this great layout completely furnished to the point that it looked like it came straight out of a magazine. Minds were blown and bottled. Then I found out how much he was paying for such an amazing place — he is officially cheating at life. I almost considered moving to Kansas City instead of Denver. Yikes.
We arrived in Kansas City, KS from Columbus, OH — approximately 650 miles/11 hours of driving. Quite the ambitious day of driving. 1200 miles since leaving Brooklyn on the 26th and only 600 miles left to go until we reach Denver.
Tiffany knows the words to a LOT of songs.
Skyline Chili was a lot better than I expected. I couldn’t really imagine how it would be good, but it kind of just all went together. Tiffany absolutely LOVED the hospitality of the staff. I thought it was a bit odd. I would love a 3-way right about now. That’s what she/he/they/it/etc said. That joke sucks.
The Garmin GPS I got for this trip has started to malfunction. Not thrilled about having to get it exchanged.
We planned to make a stop in Indianapolis, but decided to keep driving after seeing it’s rather depressing skyline from I70.
I almost regret not stopping more. Though I will probably forget about it in about a week.
We also planned on staying the night in St. Louis, but after realizing we would get there by 5:30pm, we decided to only stop for dinner and power through to Kansas City.
For dinner, along with a college friend of Tiffany’s, we got to meet up with a couple of friends from NY, Carolyn and Spencer, in town for Christmas with Carolyn’s family. I’m pretty sure that since announcing our move to Denver, we’ve said goodbye to them more times than any of our other friends. They’re pretty awesome.
We made a stop at Carolyn’s parents’ home to grab some cookies for the road. Got to meet Carolyn’s really nice parents. They really know how to celebrate Christmas.
Tiffany gets easily irritated and impatient with me. Especially when I do things like ask questions (ie - Where is _____?). Perhaps we should have planned this trip for different couple of days in the month.
I am getting better at driving on the interstate. At first, I couldn’t drive for more than 30-45 minutes without getting completely bored and getting really sleepy. I am now a driving machine.
Few things are better than a hot shower after driving all day.
On the downside, we haven’t gotten to do any sight seeing. On the upside, we caught up on driving and will still make it to Kansas in time for the game on Wednesday night and with enough room to make it to Kansas to look at cars so we can still take advantage of end of the year car deals!
Lessons from this evening:
-Pay the extra money for a nicer hotel.
-Take the time to plan good places to eat.
-Bring good music for the drive.
-Bring band aids and travel first aid kit, and include nail clippers!
We made it safely to our first planned destination right around 5:30pm and headed straight for the Double Wide Grill. It was recommended by a friend, but turned out to be not so great. The food ended up looking a lot better than it tasted which was disappointing. On our way out of town, I spotted a place called The Milkshake Factory which is a cool little shop that makes their own chocolate and as you guessed, milkshakes. I ordered a chocolate/piece-o-cake shake and it was pretty good.
We are now on our way to Columbus, OH where we’ll stay for the night. Not sure if we’ll be able to make it tonight, but we want to try the Skyline Chili at some point as that’s the only thing left to do in Ohio now that Lebron has left.
Tiffany would like to add how Rza has been such a good passenger and hasn’t asked for a bathroom break since leaving from NJ around 1pm.
I280W and I78W were/are surprisingly good conditions. We’re able to maintain normal highway speeds and will try to make it to Columbus, OH before we stop for the night.
About an hour after leaving Morristown, there was far less snow accumulated and soon after that it didn’t seem like it snowed at all.
Tiffany has introduced me to a game that’s apparently all the rage in Kansas. It’s called the License Plate Game, and whenever you see a license plate from another state, you write it down.. Yeah, that’s it.
It’s very windy. I can tell because the car is swaying back and forth and Tiffany doesn’t believe that using two hands will help.
We woke up this morning and the sunny blue skies looked promising. I went out to dig the car out after about 30+ inches of snow had fallen the night before. I was greeted by my mom and sister’s boyfriend, Will, who were digging out their cars. Apparently my mom attempted to dig out my car when in fact, my car was a few spots down still covered in snow. So some random person is going to wake up to find their car completely cleaned and dug out. My mom did not find this nearly as amusing as I did.
Soon after, we packed our things and left my sister’s apartment even though Will, Will’s sister over a speaker phone, my mom, and the news all said we should wait for better conditions. We decided we would take our chances because interstates are usually the first to be plowed and we wanted to take advantage of the available sunlight and not be set back another day.
Rza, our cat who is accompanying us on our trip is none too pleased by our decision to move to Denver. We let her out at my sister’s apartment and it took her a little while before she would come out of hiding from under the couch. Then when we had to put her back into her carrier this morning to move her back into the car. she did her best to resist and even hissed at us. Luckily, Tiffany is not shy about man handling her, so the leader of the Wu Tang proved no match.
Many thanks to my mom, sister, and Will for feeding and sheltering us for the night.
The movers came promptly at 9am to take our stuff. Soon after the snow started and within three hours, our apartment was empty, car was packed and we were on the road at noon. Made a quick stop at my parents’ house in North Arlington, NJ to drop off some stuff and continued on towards our first planned stop of Pittsburgh, PA.
Some thoughts while this was all happening:
Wow, our apartment is pretty big.
I think this is the first time I’ve ever left for somewhere and not felt that I had forgotten something.
Never thought I’d say this, but I wish it’d stop snowing.
Tiffany cried within 45 min of leaving.
Still hasn’t hit me yet.
After a little while of some very slow driving, I was starting to fade from lack of sleep so Tiffany offered to take over. I reluctantly agreed and let her drive. I was surprised and honestly a bit worried by how comfortable she was with driving in snow considering I’ve never seen her drive a car since we started dating.
At one point, we made it to a quiet intersection and Tiffany asks me, “Is the light red for us?” I said, “Yes,” and she responds with, “I’m going to go with no,” and then proceeded through the intersection. Complete lawlessness. However, I can’t expect someone who came from a town with literally no traffic lights to understand how they actually work.
We decided to pull off the road soon after that due to terrible road conditions and the inclement weather. Right now, we are in Morristown, NJ, at my sister’s apartment where we will most likely stay for the night. It actually worked out great because my mom is here and I’m getting one last home cooked meal before we leave.
It’s 5:01am. Day of the big move. I’m still awake, but Tiffany is fast asleep. We managed to finish our packing which is great. Boxes everywhere. Around 40 of them all over the apartment. Kind of weird to see what was once your apartment all packed away into various boxes ready to be whisked by movers. Movers who are coming at 9am.
Christmas was pretty nice for me. In this hectic month of goodbye dinners and outings, this was much more laid back. In our last actual day of being around, I got to see my mom and sister getting over being sick, one best friend and some of her really great family during their always fun holiday party, another best friend and his wife covered in dust from renovating their new home. All in all, it was great for me to see them. I actually wish I had more time to see everyone and say my goodbyes. I have to say, I will miss my friends and family. Kind of hard to believe considering the rough oppressive upbringing from the communist regime that is my parents, but it’s true.
Anyway, I need to get to sleep. Still have a few small car maintenance things to take care of in the morning. Then we’re off! First stop: Pittsburgh. Or Cleveland. Though there’s a blizzard warning going on right now, so we may not make it as far as we hope to. Though Tiffany thinks it’s the weather people “hyping it up.” We’ll see.
The blog is alive. For how long, who knows. It’s just barely still Christmas morning and we’re somewhat close to being all packed up. Many thanks to our awesome friend, Judy, for coming over and really helping us get some boxes packed. Without her, we probably would have been packing all night and still not done.
But it’s Christmas and we’re going to take a break and head to NJ and celebrate my friend, Jackie’s sister, Helen’s family. They throw a great little party every year. I hope my white elephant gift goes over well. I am giving a women’s shake weight and an action figure with muscles (so you can look at it for motivation).