For the next few weeks, I’ll be observing an anniversary: 10 years since we left San Francisco and moved to Ann Arbor. I’ll repost articles Frank and I wrote at that time for our Ann Arbor blog, aSquared. Bittersweet, very definitely they will be, bittersweet.
‘I’ve been so laid up with carpal tunnel (and thank you Hillary, Michael and Dorothea for your wonderful advice and care, I do appreciate it) that I really dropped the ball on an important milestone for aSquared AirBeagle: Happy Birthday to Us! We’re a year old!
‘Because all of those entries are from my trashed Movable Type installation, I don’t have an archive of them any longer on the server. So I thought I’d do a little retrospective of our cross-country adventures while moving to Ann Arbor. Since I’m now an old fart of 40, I’ve already forgotten the particulars of last August’s continental brouhaha.
‘It appears that I had the first idea to do aSquared around 23-Jul-03:’
‘‘Beginning of the End’
‘‘Sorry for the few-and-far-between updates, folks, but things are a might busy around Le Maison du Beagle. See, we’re moving from San Francisco to Ann Arbor, MI, in just a very few weeks (in just a mere 23 days, in fact), so I’ve been a bit frenzied, flying to Detroit, looking for a new place (we scored a fairly spiffy new townhouse with plenty of outdoors for beagle to roam around in and not far from campus and Michigan Stadium) and packing up the books and DVDs, figuring out all the nagging logistics of a 2,800-mile, cross-country move and wrapping things up here.
‘‘It’s turning out to be possibly a month-long orgy of goodbyes … visiting favorite spots in San Francisco, taking final pictures, saying goodbyes to friends and the doctor and his staff and so on and on, so the ‘blogging is lagging. But I’m going to try to keep up. In fact, in a few days, I’m going to start a side journal, a little log of the beagle’s cross-country adventures, along with some pictures. So stay tuned.
‘—Posted by Steve at 23:33 | 23-Jul-03’’’
‘Oh, those heady days of preparing to push off into the unknown! What a fast year, in some respects, it’s been. Wow.
‘I suppose that aSquared’s official birthday was 1-Aug-03, when I posted the following:
‘‘Answering the Siren Call
‘‘Welcome to the first post in the ‘airbeagle moves to michigan’ ‘blog, your best way to track us as we move across country in the Jeep, from San Francisco to Ann Arbor. Or bust.
‘Here’s the way things work around here. The graphic at top provides a visual way to track us as we move across the country. [Ed. Note: The very first aSquared graphic, no longer available]. The first photo is, obviously, of the Golden Gate Bridge, which will we miss, here in San Francisco, which we won’t. Well, maybe just a tiny little bit. More on that later. The last photo on the right is of the Michigan Union on the campus of the University of Michigan, ground zero in Ann Arbor, where we will toil through two years, two Michigan winters, four semesters of grad school for Frank and lord knows what for me. The photos in the center will be replaced as we’re on the road with photos of spots we pass by on the way.
‘You can read each day’s journal posting, obviously, in this left-hand column and see what day and time it was posted and by whom. In the right column, you can see where we are, how far we’ve driven and an estimate of how far we have to go, plus ways to view previous entries and links to other sites, both internal to airbeagle.com and newspapers in the places we’ll pass through.
‘As the trip itself progresses, I’ll post photos of what we’ve seen that day. Fair warning: most of them will feature Bayley Murphy Beagle in some form or fashion. Just so you know.
‘Sound ambitious? Well, it is. But we’re lookin’ at 3,053 miles of America, folks. It’s a fascinating land and we want to document what we see of it. First, to see if we can document it or if we get bored or tired of it and blow it off towards the end. Second, to keep a record of what will be a strange and wonderful trip.
‘The route itself is pretty much planned thusly (although not set in stone):
‘• Day 1: San Francisco to Yosemite to Bishop, CA—because we want to avoid I-5, Bakersfield, Barstow and Needles at all costs. Been there, done that, didn’t enjoy it.
‘• Day 2: Bishop to Las Vegas—not because we want to gamble or anything, but because there are lots of cheap hotel rooms and everyone should see the epitome of wretched American excess at least once before they die. It’s kinda like Frenchmen in the sixteenth century making the journey to Versailles, then dying happy.
‘• Day 3: Las Vegas to Gallup, NM—yes, you heard me, Gallup, NM, because there might be a pow-wow going on and Gallup is probably as far as we’ll want to go that day.
‘• Day 4: Gallup to Santa Fe—because I can’t pass through my native state, my spiritual homeland without stopping off and showing off the nation’s oldest and highest state capital to Frank. If you just stay on I-40 through New Mexico, well, you’re just sad, that’s all.
‘• Day 5: Santa Fe to Oklahoma City—because it’s 527 miles of absolutely nothingness and we wish to spend as little time as possible in the Texas panhandle. Like Barstow, been there many times, bought many t-shirts, felt as spiritually flattened as the landscape, no thanks.
‘• Day 6: Oklahoma City to Memphis, TN—because Graceland is in Memphis and, as with Vegas, how can you call yourself an American if you haven’t paid homage to the King?
‘• Day 7: Memphis to Nashville—because scoring tickets to something bluegrass-y at the Ryman would be extremely cool,
‘• Day 8: Nashville to Lexington, KY—because bluegrass country is even prettier than bluegrass music.
‘• Day 9: Lexington to Ann Arbor, via Cincinnati and Dayton, OH—because an airplane nut like me can’t be that close to Orville and Wilbur and the Air Force Museum without taking a quick gander.
‘Yes, I know, we could go down here a couple of miles from the apartment and get on I-80 and go all the way to Chicago, then join I-94 on up to AA. It’s shorter, faster … and as boring as Lynne Cheney giving a patriotism lecture to a college professor. Plus you gotta go through Salt Lake City. And, just as with Barstow and the Texas panhandle, well, you get the idea.
‘So there’s the route. One can see a fair piece of road going that way, and a fair piece of America and Americans. El Capitan and Yosemite Falls. Siegfried and Roy. Hoover Dam. Palace of the Governors. The Sangre de Cristos. A giant stainless steel cross and Cadillacs stuck in the earth west of Amarillo. The Oklahoma City National Memorial. The under-construction library of our last democratically elected president. Lisa Marie, Elvis’ DC-8. Georgetown, KY. And at the end of the road, a new life. New adventures. New friends (and a couple of old ones thrown in for good measure).
‘More, ever so much more, later. The packing has just begun and I’m just plumb wore out with it all. Y’all stay tuned. The Mother Road beckons and gets more insistent every day. We’ll heed her siren call.
‘But first, I’ve got to disentangle the beagle from the bubble wrap …’
‘And so it began, a year ago last Sunday.
‘Like I said, from now until 23-Aug, I believe I’ll read last year’s posts into the record, since they don’t exist in the archives, and I’ll start with these other posts from 1-Aug-03:
‘‘Just to get things kicked off, here’s a pic of the packing frenzy beginning, followed by four pics of how worn out it made the beagle.
‘‘There’s nothing more pathetic than a beagle whose couch/throne has been displaced from its regular position. So, he elected to sleep through much of the brouhaha.
‘‘I just know that’s gonna be one mad beagle when he hops in the Jeep on 14-Aug … and hops out on 22-Aug in a whole new state.
‘‘Shhhh. Let’s not tell him.
‘—Posted by Steve at 00:02 | 01-Aug-03’’
Sorry about the confusing nature of this first one from ten years ago; it’s hard to quote quotes and make it coherent. Ongoing will be easier to understand. More retro posts to follow …