navigating with a GPS

Special thanks to Joe & Tina Chen for the use of their incredibly smart Garmin Nuvi GPS navigation equipment! We put it through its paces today driving around Creedmoor and Raleigh, giving audible and visual cues with ample time to switch lanes. Very cool hi-tech gadget! Thank you Joe!!! (tho’ we’re using it on loan, it may very well be quite addicting)

GPS on loan from

Putting it to the real test at lunch time, we looked for a BBQ place. We found one a few miles further down the direction we were headed, and we started salivating for authentic Carolina BBQ. We pull up to the plaza along Leesville and Strickland, and looked for the Bar and Grill. Turns out it was a Mongolian BBQ place! Gasp – there are other kinds of BBQ in this ‘hood. We opted out, and settled for Back Yard Burgers.

burger run for lunch

trip down memory lane

We’re staying in Raleigh for an extra night, courtesy of the Meaders. They cooked us an authentic country breakfast this morning, with real biscuits that don’t fall apart and butter baked in (no extra butter needed), sausage, fresh eggs with brighter rounder yellower yolks, and grilled sausage.

perfect homemade biscuits perfectly fresh eggs from the farm

Absolutely delicious! Jeremiah rated the breakfast a “15” (on a scale of 10)! This video gives you a glimpse of the cooking action.

Steve Knight got a screen-capture of our drive to Raleigh yesterday afternoon:

driving to Raleigh

I tried recording it using the server, but my mobile Internet wasn’t recording-friendly. Right now, we are at a local Starbucks right across the street from Meredith Village Apartments where we lived from 1995-1997, right after a stop by Rex Hospital where Jeremiah was born. We’re broadcasting live right now a beginning to end of Rachelle making the Collage of the Day.

some broadcasting from the open road

30 minutes before we meetup with old Raleigh friends from almost a decade ago. Most are married with kids now, so there’ll probably be lots of family talk over dinner at Jason’s Deli. [update: Yvonne shot 5 great photos at Jason’s]

Jason's Deli for dinner dinner with old friends and families

I managed to finally get a decent mobile Internet connection during the drive between Greensboro and Raleigh, so we lifestreamed and broadcasted for about an hour of our driving, switching between a view of the road and a view of the vehicle from time to time. From time to time, I got an “The server is full please stand by while I attempt to reconnect” error message. We had as many as 6 viewers simultaneously, so it wasn’t like we brought the servers to their knees. So, what this means is we probably can’t broadcast with a predictable schedule, and maybe less broadcasting than we’d hope, b/c mobile Internet coverage isn’t pervasive enough along our route.

southbound on I-81

Just before 8:30am, we left Winchester, fueled up at Sheetz for $2.79 per gallon, and hopped onto Interstate 81 South. First destination will be Blacksburg for lunch and a Virginia Tech campus visit.

Was going to turn on the live video lifestreaming early, but the technicians are performing scheduled server upgrades. So I’ve got the webcam recording a time-lapse video of what it looks like to drive south along the Shenandoah Valley. [tech note: I’m using a mobile broadband card for Internet connectivity on the T-mobile Total Internet network, and it looks like connectivity is decent so far.]

Sorry, folks, may not be able to run live video every day on the cross country drive. During the 11:00am portion, best we got was an intermittent signal and that won’t cut it for lifestreaming. Plan B is to record some videos and shoot photos that I’ll upload via Wifi in the evenings.

pit stop in small town Winchester

We’ve been here in Winchester, Virginia since Saturday evening for a pit stop — a visit with my parents in my home town, where I (DJ) went to middle school and high school (Handley class of 1984). While there’s been rave about slow food, this is slow life. A good reprieve and recharge before we hit the road tomorrow morning headin’ south. A video entry just before lunch to dry-run our lifestreaming (recorded live video):

Last night, made reservations for our forthcoming jaunt at the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park. Not the easiest place to find lodging nearby, but rumored to be much more scenic than then overcrowded South Rim. Here’s what I found for places to stay near the North Rim:

Tomorrow (Tues 6/19) we’ll leave by breakfast time, get to Blacksburg for lunch, with a respectful visit to the Virginia Tech campus (DJ’s a 1988 VT graduate). And then reach Raleigh for dinner with old friends, including Joe & Tina Chen and Jon & Yvonne Meader, supposedly at family-friendly Jason’s Deli at Brier Creek.

packed to go

Yesterday we took a family excursion with 2 of Jeremiah’s childhood friends to Six Flags America for one wet & fun farewell — they spent most of the day at the water park part. They’ve known each other since they were 3 year old when they went to the same day care.

Jeremiah and friends

This morning we packed our final bags and boxes, cleaned up the house, and we loaded up our Xterra for the start of our road trip adventure! It all miraculously fit into the Xterra, with the extra space courtesy of the soft carrier case strapped on top. This video gives you a quick glimpse at how much of our worldly possession was crammed into our family vehicle.

fill er up with lunch first before we hit the road We’re scheduled for dinner in Winchester, Virginia, tonight, and stay over tomorrow for Father’s Day with my Dad (DJ’s). My parents have been proprietors of Tourist City Motel, a small boutique motel inside of Winchester city limits, located conveniently off of I-81 and US-50/Rt-522 at 214 Millwood Avenue, Winchester, VA 22601 (phone 540-662-9011). As my Dad says, it’s “a nice place for nice people.” Mention you saw the motel mentioned here when you check-in — it’ll bring a smile to my Dad’s face.

And from there, we’ll take the extra breathing room to plot out some more detail on our travel route with ETAs (estimated time of arrivals). We anticipate meeting many people along the way– perhaps even you, if you’re reading from Winchester, Blacksburg, Raleigh, Charlotte, Atlanta, Memphis, Little Rock, Dallas, Amarillo, Santa Fe, Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, or Orange County. Add a comment, would enjoy meetin’ up over coffee or a meal!

moving without a moving truck

We’ve been packing like mad. I didn’t think it’d be too interesting to talk about our packing play by play. Besides, to blog about our packing would have taken away time from packing. The most interesting part of the packing for this move is that we are moving without a moving truck! We’ve sold off our furniture and 2nd car, we’ve donated lots of stuff, trashed lots of stuff, and are down to a few more boxes needing final consolidating and downsizing, so all our worldly possessions can fit into a Nissan Xterra for the cross country drive beginning tomorrow. (Well, we did have to ship a dozen boxes ahead of us; is that cheating?)

We do think it can be more interesting to read about our driving cross country play by play (sorta), and we’re working on getting some equipment so we can lifestream (broadcast) our drive. Soon as that arrives, we’re expecting it today, we’ll announce how we’ll do all of that.

We do want to thank all the great supporters who’ve chipped in to defray our moving costs! Thank you!! We were pleasantly surprised to see our goal exceeded so quickly! Not only do we have more than a handful of online contributors, we’ve also received a handful of offline gifts from people in person, and a gas gift card from an enthusiastic Californian looking forward to our relocation.

Moving from DC to OC

We are moving from the metro Washington DC area to Orange County, California, this June (2007)! You can follow along here at this blog / website. We hope to post videos, audios, photos, and journal blog entries here to tell our stories and adventures. We invite you to ride along with us, and make this a fun and interactive time. Plus, we’re looking for sponsors so we can provide more live updates, instead of just occasional updates:

Here’s the sponsorship opportunities for you to pass along to a connection you might have, in order of priority:

  1. cell phone with internet plan to blog, to send photos and to post video – to share this ultimate road warrior experience, I’d like to make blog posts while going 65 mph, upload photos and videos right from the phone, even host chat hours via IM
  2. overnight stay at 3+ star hotels – candid reviews posted for free, but raving positive reviews + photos + links can be had for a comp stay
  3. meals at restaurants – candid reviews posted for free, but raving positive reviews + photos + links can be posted for meals on-the-house
  4. car-wrap advertising on a 2006 Nissan Xterra – yes, we’ll drive cross-country with your full-car ad
  5. bonus: GPS navigation equipment — for driving directions and more, we’ll talk it up as we use it all the way across the country

We’ll be taking the southern route through the following cities: Washington DC, Blacksburg, Raleigh, Charlotte, Atlanta, Memphis, Dallas, Santa Fe, Las Vegas, and end at Huntington Beach. We anticipate the leisurely drive to take at least 14 days. All sponsorship terms negotiable. Small detours from main route are negotiable. Sponsors get appropriate links and prominent exposure. I reserve the right to select the sponsors (or refuse). Contact me to begin the negotiations now!

The adventure begins on June 16th!