And We are Off! (Part 2)

February 17th, 2024, we hit the road to South Bend, Indiana.  We were half excited about the adventure and wondered, “What in the heck are we doing!”  Honestly, we had no idea what to expect, but we were fully committed to taking the adventure one day at a time.  We decided to take our time and not travel more than 6-7 hours in a day.   We were not in any hurry other than to arrive in South Bend by Friday in time for the Notre Dame Lacrosse game vs. Georgetown.   My brother and niece attended the Georgetown game, unfortunately, it was Notre Dame’s only loss of the entire season, so they were asked to watch the remaining games on TV!

The time leading up to our departure was a blur!  In addition to preparing for the road trip, we also spent the last five months preparing to sell our home of 20 years.  Joy and I decided that we were going to sell our house in Carmel Valley while we were traveling.  We loved that house, but it was time to move on.  The neighborhood was great for raising our children and remained a family-friendly neighborhood full of young families – which we were no longer!  We spent the better part of three months making the house ready for sale.  We replaced the carpets, painted the interior, replaced the kitchen countertops, added a fresh backsplash, replaced the grass, and added mulch to the slope.  The house looked great!  With all the improvements we made to the house, we were able to sell it very quickly.  We had multiple offers and were in contract by the time we finished our first weekend in South Bend. 

In addition to the house preparation, we took part in what we affectionately called “The Purge!”   Every Sunday night we made sure to fill our trash bin with “stuff” before we took it to the curb.  One of my favorite times during this period was when we rented a full-size trash bin!  It is hard to explain, but it was just liberating and freeing to rid ourselves of all this junk.  I was running around from room to room looking for things to throw out.  I think Rocco (our dog) even got scared that he might be next!  Joy and I have created a “one in, one out rule.”  If we buy anything non-perishable, one item needs to be thrown out!  I would not say we were perfect, but we got rid of so much useless stuff, it was liberating.   As a sign of how useless “stuff” is, I think we made a total of $150 on all the furniture we tried to sell.  We even consigned our couch, ottoman, and tray table for a grand sum of $9.60!   Stuff is useless! 

We put the Jeep in drive, and we were off! 

The final picture of our Carmel Valley house. The Outdoor Room will be missed dearly!

Sonoita, Arizona

Our first stop was in a small town in Arizona called Sonoita.  It reminded me a little bit of Julian, the town that we just left in California.  It was a small town, with one stop light, and a Main Street.  We stayed in the Sonoita Inn which was quite interesting as there were ties to the famous racehorse Secretariat.  The space was originally planned as the retirement home for Secretariat, but he never quite made it there.  The lobby is filled with memorabilia from the Triple Crown-winning horse.  

The area has several wineries and we enjoyed stretching our legs and enjoying a few sips of the local wine.  We had a stunning sunset, and we were then off to our next stop.

Most amazing sunset on our first night of the trip. We found a winery and enjoyed the afternoon.

Santa Fe, New Mexico

Santa Fe was one of my favorite stops for the entire trip.  We enjoyed it so much; we are traveling there again in October!  Santa Fe architecture is quite interesting as most of the buildings and homes are Pueblo style and look like they are made from adobe.  The town is nestled up against the mountains and just has a great overall vibe.  They are known for their chili peppers, and we drove through a town called Hatch which has the chili peppers hanging from just about every storefront as you drive through the town.  Just about all the food from breakfast to beer has a hint of this chili in them and is absolutely delicious.

Santa Fe, NM was one of our favorite stops.

Amarillo, TX, and Fort Smith, AR

From Santa Fe, we drove into “nothingness” for two days.  We were on the famous Route 66 (Interstate 40) for quite a bit.  Not much to see, but Joy is the premier search wing-woman, and we found a few landmarks worth stopping for.  Not much to see or say about these locations, but we had some fun regardless.

Amarillo Texas. Cadillac Ranch where people spray paint these cars. The Big Texan was "very Texas." They also had a food-eating competition stage in the middle of the restaurant.

Memphis, TN

Memphis was the first larger city we traveled through during our trek to South Bend.  We developed an affinity for these small (by big city standards) cities as they have plenty of charm, great food, and very few of the downsides associated with the big city (i.e. Traffic and crowds).  

We stayed almost directly across the street from the Lorraine Motel where MLK was assassinated.  Being at the site of such a history-changing event was quite emotional. We also walked down to Beale Street which has all kinds of bars and restaurants.  It reminded us of a much more mellow (yet fun) version of Broadway in Nashville, TN.

Memphis, TN. Lorraine Motel and Beale Street.

 Louisville, KY

Louisville, KY was our last stop before we arrived at our new “home.”  Another small city that enjoyed.  First, it is pronounced Lou-Ville.  There is no “e” that many out-of-towners like to use.  Second, this is the home of Bourbon – period!   Two things we learned quickly during our short stay.   We had a great Mediterranean dinner right next door to a Bourbon tasting room that was truly special.  Having Memphis and Louisville back to back was quite fun and gave us a final taste of “city life” before we arrived in South Bend.

Lou-Ville, KY. Home of Bourbon and Louisville Slugger. Great town!
1717 Rockne Drive. Our home for the next three months. The first night greeted us with a light dusting of snow.

3 thoughts on “And We are Off! (Part 2)”

  1. Thank you for sharing your wonderful experience and thoughts, of your travel adventures.
    I enjoy reading it!

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