Welcome to the west

I’m back online as of this week, after driving across 10 states in a compact car with my husband and two cats. I come to you now from the west, and it’s hot! This week I will get back to my regular schedule of posting writing prompts on Thursdays and regular posts on Mondays.

For the last month, I’ve been packing, unpacking, driving, assembling furniture, and creating spreadsheets of the dimensions of my furniture. I’ve been struggling all day to come up with a good topic for today’s post;  my brain is still in moving mode, uncreative but good at spatial organization. But as with writing prompts, the key to getting back into things is to start. So with this post I’m starting!

Some brief thoughts on the west:

  • Low humidity is nice. Yesterday the high was 102, but I went on a two-hour bike ride from 10-12 and did not evaporate. The humidity is 9% right now.
  • Hooray for southwestern cuisine. Charlottesville was big on the locovore movement, but that’s more about ingredients than combinations. St. Louis has its lovely paste cheese and transcendent toasted ravioli, but these are specific dishes. Here we have words for food that I have to look up: calabacitas, fideos, sopapilla, adovada, posole… Here there is an entirely different kind of food rather than a few different dishes.
  • I’m back in the land of gridded roads! Charlottesville has a handful of through streets. Windy, narrow through streets. For a town of its size, the traffic is insane. If you choose to bike, you can choose between 45 mph rural country highways with no shoulder or bike lanes placed thoughtfully between moving cars and parked cars on said over-crowded urban streets. My bike gathered cobwebs in Charlottesville.
  • Western mountains are neat. Yes, Charlottesville had mountains. Ancient, sanded mountains covered with forests. Here we have big craggy mountains. Mountains that make hikers go missing, mountains of extinct volcanos.
  • Things seem close, but they aren’t, but they kind of are. Charlottesville is 2.5 hours from DC, and 6 hours from NYC. That drive to NYC is 6 hours of eastern aggression hell. Thank goodness for the train. Here, all the cities are 6 hours away at least. But that’s 6 hours of calm, flat road. I’m looking forward to exploring the west.

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