Sunday, April 23, 2006

Settling in Virginia: So far, so good! But it's not August yet.

I figured now would be a good time to update my blog, seeing as I just got back from a 16 mile or so bike ride down to Mt. Vernon and back (George Washington's Estate, I only rode until the end of the bike path) and need to chill out a bit. I have settled in Northern Virginia, and now work in Lorton, about a half hour south of the Capital Beltway. I seem to be making a good impression there, and am drawing praise already for my efforts. That is always good to hear for obvious reasons.

Anyway, earlier this month I drove from Denver to Alexandria, VA to relocate for a new job. I won't bore you with excessive details, but a cross country drive is always interesting.

Tuesday, April 5: I don't get out of metro Denver until alomst 4 pm, so I didn't get too far into Kansas before deciding I didn't have the energy to drive 100 miles to the next town with a few hotels. So I stayed in Colby, KS. At least the Super 8 was clean, and gas was only $2.50 or so.

Wendesday, April 6: The longest day of the trip, I decided I was going to try to get all the way to Terre Haute, IN. No particular reason behind picking that destination, just Orbitz showing chear hotels. Larry Bird did go to college there, but I wasn't stopping at the campus just because of that, so I wasn't too disappointed when I only got as far as Effignham, IL.

I'm actually going to talk about Kansas for a paragraph, please don't run to antoher web site. :) I figured if I would get pulled over for speeding anywhere on this trip, it would be Kansas, with it being flat, hot, and dusty. Yup, I got pulled over somewhere near mile 220, I am very lucky that the state trooper only wrote me a warning. He asked me where I was going, when I told him I was driving cross country he was cool about it. Whew! Especially since I have no speeding tickets since 1995. I stopped in Abeline, 20 or so miles east of Salina, to rest for a few minutes and to visit the Dwight Eisenhower library, museum, and boyhood home. More about that in a future entry.

Missouri: Gates BBQ in Independence, a KC Suburb, rocked. But what the hell is the deal with their county roads? M, EE, B, V, randomly selected letters, what a mess. I wish I had gotten to St. Louis a couple hours earlier so I could walk around the Arch and the new Busch Stadium. But I didn't. I can't comment much on Illinois since it was either dark or pouring rain when I was there.

Thursday, April 7: I caught a nasty cold in Indianapolis. 40 degree plus driving rain plus I only had a sweatshirt on = bad decision to stop and wander around a bit. Actually, not a bad decision, Indy has a very cool downtown. You walk under an old warehouse turned into a bridge, and you're in an old-school downtown with lots of cool, tall buildings moxed with some new, chic, offices. The north? side of downtown ends with a traffic circle with a memorial dedicated to Indiana's Civil War particiapnts in the middle. I enjoyed my brief stay in Indy, wish it could have been longer. Drove to Morgantown, West Virginia, which was okay. I wasn't expecting a tunnel through Wheeling, but it didn't look like I missed much but a couple of steep hills on the sides of I-70 and I-470. I-79 from Washington, PA to Morgantown reminded me of a foothills road in Colorado more than an interstate.

Friday, April 7: Only 3-4 hours of driving left, exactly as I intended, so I could arrive in Virginia, get my apartment keys, and unload my car before rush hour. I-68 through Western Maryland was a pleasant surprise, very picturesque, or it would have been if it wasn't pouring rain. I saw more rain on this trip than I'd see in Colorado in eight months. 40 mph speed limit too on an interstate, through Cumberland, and old mill and river town. The only other time I'd seen a speed limit under 50 mph on an interstate was Glenwood Canyon, CO. The rest of thr drive was uneventful.

I've been here a bit more than two weeks, and am happy so far. I live a mile from the Metro system, close enough to walk but not too close that rents skyrocket. My commute to work is 14-15 miles each way, more than I would like, especially with gas prices. However, I am going against the traffic on Route 1 (until the 30,000 or so people are tansferred to Ft. Belvoir) in both the morning and afternoon. Also, I decided that living right near work, in Woodbridge , Dale City, or even Lorton, would really limit my social life (I have one? ;). I'd be too far away from everything I like to do in my spare time, too far away from the city, you name it.

I went hiking at Sugarloaf Mountain in Maryland last Sunday, and really enjoyed getting out in the outdoors to relax and get some exercise. I won't be able to hike as much here as I did in Denver because of travel distance and gas prices, so I appreciate every opportunity to hike even more. But I can still go from time to time. The trade off of less hiking and skiing for a permanent job opportunity, a chance to further build my career with the same company, and be a 90 minute flight away from my family? I'll make that trade and am glad I did, even though Denver was fun. But ask me how glad I am to be here in August when it's 95 degrees and humid for the 41st straight day.

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