Saturday, April 11, 2015

Lexington, Virginia: The END

Travel Date: Monday, Dec 22 2014

I got up in the morning early. Tyler had to get up work for work early. Ally and TJ were asleep. I said goodbye to Tyler and hit the road. Great to see and spend time with both of them yesterday.

During the drive back to the home base of Lexington, Virginia I reflected on my entire journey. It was a short 50 minute drive, and I was scanning my memory banks for every special moment and experience: from the time I conceived the thought of my travels, the various experiences,and the amazing people I met, and reunited with in Spain and the US.

And no sooner as I ending my reflection, my exit 188B was here.

I drove immediately to Lex Coffee. It was where I went just before I started my US Road Trip.

All good things must come to an end (at LexCoffee). The traveling is over. My road trip across America is done. Now back to reality and getting a real job. Thank you Ali Baba mobile for keeping me safe.

Fittingly, the first person I saw at LexCoffee was Mike (my adopted dad) who I will be staying with until employment begins and I get back on my feet.

Speaking of feet, back at Mike's home, I started taking pictures of my worn out shoes.

They've kept me safe across the Northern part of France to Spain, from the top of Grand Canyon to the bottom and back, the glaciers of Glacier National Park, and the various hikes across the National Parks, Monuments, cities and places across this beautiful country.

I thought Spain was beautiful, and it is. But until I traveled across the United States, from the East Coast to West Coast and back, I'd didn't realize how beautiful the United States of America really is. What's crazy is that I've only dabbled in sporadic popular places. There is so much more of the National Parks and State Parks to see and appreciate.

I plan to do this trip again ... and with someone special when she walks into my life.

Too many to write down here.

For now I just have extreme gratitude to everyone, and everything that got me here. THANK YOU ALL and thank you Mike and Sharyn for hosting me indefinitely until I get back on my feet. You are great parents!

And I plan to continue to blog about my travels, when I go to interesting and new places.

I hope I have convinced you - my readers - to spend more time traveling and experiencing.

Expenses: $38.66
Coffee: $2.82 (LexCoffee)
Beverages: $23.65 (Southern Inn)
Dinner: $12.19 (Salernos)

Roanoke, Virginia: Day 4 - A reunion with Saints fans and the Bowersocks.

Travel Date: Sunday, Dec 21 2014

It is still football season, and I co-ordinate a meet up with my old Saints fan club at Awful Arthurs in Downtown Roanoke.

My team the New Orleans Saints are playing their rivals (hated rivals) the Atlanta Falcons.

It is annoying that I have to be friendly with Jes who is a Falcon's fan. :-) Just kidding. We cannot take sports too seriously. I meet up with Dave, Wes, and Robyn. We have watched so many games together.

The Falcons won a really really bad game but they won. I say goodbye to Dave and we head out to Jack Browns for a few drinks.

And then I head to visit two of my closest friends: Tyler and his wife Ally. I've known them over the years and practically lived in their home on weekends. They were considering permanently labeling the room I stayed in: Ali's room.

We went to their friends house (Will Boylan) for a Christmas Party. A family picture with TJ (their son).

A fast pace and competitive card game ensues (Dutch Blitz). Someone somewhere has a video of this awesome chaotic game. And it should be played on a round table, or maybe square table. Rectangular tables offer an advantage, and I definitely benefited from that.

I figure out my strategy after watching everyone else.

Will is quite eager to dispose of his cards.

But in the end I win win win. :-) Welcome back to Virginia!!

A great day with friends and 'family.' Now it is bed time and the last leg of my trip tomorrow back to Lexington to finish my trip across the 48 states of the contiguous states.


Yesterday was a great day reuniting with friends. I've been driving on the road for about 6 months visiting friends occasionally. But coming back to Roanoke was filled with a lot of memories and people I've met and known over the years.

Today, it was great to hang out with some Saints fans and watch the Saints-Falcon's game despite the outcome. I was sort of prepared for it, but hopeful that we would win. Sigh! A guy can only dream!!

It was great to hang out with Jes again, and see Dave, Wes and Robyn. Thank you guys for coming out.

And finally spending quality time with two of my closest friends Tyler and Ally, and hanging out with little cutie pie TJ was exciting. They are like family to me. Winning the card game at the Boylans was icing on the cake. We need to play that more often. :-)

I'm feeling a little sad that today is the last night, and tomorrow is the last day where I drive back to Lexington, Virginia.

Expenses: $27.85
Awful Arthers: $22.44
Jack Browns: $5.41

Roanoke, Virginia: Day 2 & 3 - A reunion with friends in Star City

Travel Date: Friday, Dec 19 2014

After leaving Jay and his family, I headed out to meet up with Jason at his home.

Later that evening we headed out to the local New Orleans styled bar The Quarter where I ran into some old friends and made some new ones.

After a Downtown Roanoke bar crawl Jason and I headed back home.


It was great to see Jason, Tammy, and Jess. And it was great to meet John Kong, and Michelle. Feeling at home already.

Expenses: $51.19
Beverages: $6.51 (The Quarter)
Beverages: $33.68 (Billy's)
Dinner: $11.00 (Benny Marzanos)

Friday, April 10, 2015

Blacksburg, Virginia: Day 2 - A Hokie Graduation

Travel Date: Friday, Dec 19 2014

The one benefit of staying in the woods away from relative civilization is witnessing the beautiful sunrises. I was awoken by the emerging sunlight piercing through the window. And this is what I saw.

Jay and I get some coffee.

And then it is time to leave for Jay's graduation at Virginia Tech - Cassell Coliseum.

The Coliseum is quite big.

And empty for now.

They slowly start to come in and take their seats. And I see Jay. He is standing in the front row.

Singing of the National Anthem.

I'm joined by his family.

The ceremony is long, but I get free head massages from willing family members.

It is that time for Jay to walk.

And so he does. Officially graduated!

We head out to Carrabbas in Roanoke.

Everyone is here except for Hetal. She has some things to tend to.

I get some Sangria

And pasta to celebrate Jay's graduation.

After dinner, we all say goodbye and I head out to a friends house.


It was an honor to be there for Jay's graduation. I am very proud of him. He is not your traditional student but with steadfast determination and commitment to finishing his degree, he graduated from Virginia Tech. Never been to a Hokie graduation so that was neat to experience. Lots of people and traffic.

It was also great to see his parents and sisters: Hetal, Kruti and Hena.

Thank you Kruti for generously picking up dinner at Carrabbas. It was fun to hang out with everyone and celebrate Jay's graduation.


Blacksburg, Virginia: Day 1 - A Very Jay Day

Travel Date: Thursday, Dec 18 2014

Got up and said goodbye to James and thanked him for his hospitality. Drove to the Clingman Cafe for some breakfast.

Then hit the road toward Virginia: my current home state.

I haven't seen this sign in a while.

On the drive there I decided to try out the dark choloate bar I bought from French Broad Chocolates.

They don't make it easy to get to the chocolate. But it was delicious - and worth the extra effort.

I drove into Blacksburg, and went to Bull & Bones Brewhaus & Grill.

Sat alone at the empty bar. It was noon-ish.

Ordered some wings and a beer. Wings were above average. Tasty, but not the best I've had. I would still eat there again.

And then met with my buddy Jay who just finished his last exam at Virginia Tech. Tomorrow is his graduation.

I've know him for a while through his sister Hetal, and he had my back once when I wasn't aware of what was going on. I will always owe him for that. And I will never challenge him on consuming long island ice teas.

We go out and grab some Indian food.

Choices, choices, choices.

Not bad, and not great either. Decent portion size for the price.

I say goodbye to Jay and head over to the Panera nearby. And try to get some blogging done before I meet another friend Jay. Too many Jays in Blacksburg.

I met Jay when he came down to Lexington as one of the Field Staff for Organizing for America. He is quite the unique guy. Graduated from Princeton, and an avid hunter and sportsman, who can talk your ear off on guns, and worked for the President Obama's 2012 re-election campaign.

We head out to a local dive bar ...

Called the London Underground.

Grab a beer and caught up a little on each other lives.

And then we head on home. He lives in the middle of nowhere. Everything is dark, and I'm driving up gravel hills, and can feel my car loosing traction on the road.

He has some guests over that he knows from martial arts.

We all sit in the living room, talk about this and that, and then bed time begins to creep in.

Time to call it a night.


Have to thank my friend Mary who recommended the French Broad Chocolate Factory. The dark chocolate bar I devoured didn't stand a chance.

It was great to catch up with Indian Jay. I haven't seen him in a while. And was very proud of him that he finished his last exam and is ready to graduate. But we have relatively been in touch so it didn't feel like a very long time.

I had not seen Princeton Jay in a while as well. And wasn't sure if our paths would cross again. The last time we had seen each other was when he had come to my going away party in Lexington. We shared some great memories together on the Campaign and some fun celebrations after.

Thank you both for making the time to see me, and thank you Princeton Jay for the room and board.

Expenses: $79.75
Breakfast: $8.92 (Clingman Cafe)
Gas: $8.00 (Exxon)
Gas: $23.33 (Exxon)
Lunch: $19.37 (Bull & Bones Brewhouse)
Dinner: $15.36 (Himalayan Curry Cafe)
Dinner: $4.77 (Panera Bread)