Here are some musings from my nine-day journey to Boston from Aug. 9-17, 2014.
- Much needed sleep: The stress from the past few weeks of working, sorting, packing and moving eroded my sleep. I clocked in five hours on most nights in late July and early August. During the drive, my body eased back to six hours and later seven. Maybe I can reach that elusive eight hours.
- Friends along the way: I was grateful to see a friendly face after so many hours on the road. Kathleen Brett found a friend to host me during my stay in St. Louis. She helped satisfy my craving for frozen custard by stopping at Ted Drewes late on Aug. 11.
Katie Leone and Daniel Blackwell were amazing hosts in Cincinnati. Katie and I went to a REO Speedwagon and Chicago concert on Aug. 13. One giant hit factory all night. They all pointed out places that I needed to see like the cathedral in St. Louis and Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams in Columbus.
- Google maps app: This was a lifesaver a few times for short-distance destinations when I got lost in Covington, Ky., and Boston. Unfortunately, I found out that the app was a battery hog on my cellphone. It died on me a few times when I needed directions.
- Forty minutes: That was by how much my sisters and I missed each other during our respective road trips. On Tuesday, I was leaving St. Louis heading to Cincinnati. Anna and Liza were heading from Metropolis, Ill., to St. Louis. I had stopped in Mount Vernon, Ill., and realized that they would be coming through there to reach St. Louis. At 11 a.m. I texted them, asking how close they were to Mount Vernon. I waited for 15 minutes without a reply and I pushed on. I received text messages 30 minutes later. But I couldn’t view them because I was driving. By the time I stopped and looked, they had already passed Mount Vernon at 11:40 a.m.
- Good timing: But most of the time, good timing ruled my road trip. Leaving Cincinnati, I was searching for a place for coffee and gas. I ended up being turned around. I found myself in front of a Sprint store. What luck. I needed a new belt clip for my cellphone after it snapped when I was getting ready to leave St. Louis. I got a new clip for free.
- A New York welcome: Bumpy roads, traffic and honking drivers. It didn’t help that I couldn’t see through my rearview mirror because of my stuff in my car.
- Beautiful churches: The farther east I went, the more beautiful the churches. The three most beautiful were the Cathedral-Basilica of St. Louis in St. Louis and Mother of God and St. Mary’s Cathedral-Basilica of the Assumption in Covington, Ky. The craftsmanship, paintings, mosaics and stain glasses were stunning. They told stories in small, intricate and detailed way. I would definitely stop by those churches again.
- Blown relief pitching: Katie, Daniel and I attended the Reds-Red Sox game on Aug. 12. I wanted to practice booing the Red Sox before entering the Heart of Darkness (a.k.a. Red Sox Nation). The Reds would have made my night. But Jonathan Broxton blew the lead by giving up a two-run homer in the eighth inning. My contempt for the Red Sox only grows.
- A toll on the wallet: I grew up with turnpikes in the East Coast. I am always a fan of them if toll roads provide less traffic, nearby amenities and better roads (i.e., Route 123 around Austin). But I loathe them when it feels like extortion ($13??!!! for the Outerbridge crossing to Staten Island and a packed Massachusetts Turnpike).
- Room No. 10: I was assigned this room during my visit to the Oblates during Holy Week and again in June for my psychological exams. God must have decided that I was a good fit for the room because the religious order assigned me the room again to start my postulancy. Working with a fourth of the closet space required some ingenuity. The new bookcase helped. I managed to get all my stuff in. I must be vigilant to keep the room from overflowing with stuff.