Back in the U.S.A.

Map Week 49

Week 49 of 52

Our Final Road Trip Begins!

If we had a home, you could call this the home stretch! On Wednesday morning we said fond farewells to our Swiss family and boarded a flight in Zurich bound for the U.S. When we arrived at Logan Airport in Boston Wednesday afternoon, our Honda Element was waiting for us courtesy of a friend of a friend who stored it for the past six months… thanks, Kate and Deborah!

So the Road Trip begins, the last phase of our “year of being homeless”! We came to the East Coast last spring via the northern route; we will spend our next few weeks making our way back to the West Coast via the southern route, visiting more family and friends along the way. One great lesson from this past year is that travel is much more rewarding when you can connect with family and friends old and new.

Fred and Brenda Family

Fred, Mark, Brenda, Tessa, and their senior cat

After a good night’s rest and a day of exercise and errands, we gave the Element its first road test with a drive to North Andover, Mass, to see our friends Fred and Brenda. Long-term readers may remember that Fred and Brenda visited us at our Boston apartment last June, and Brenda, who is Dutch by birth, also visited us a few weeks later at our first Amsterdam apartment when she came to visit her family. This time, we were entertained in their charming 150-year-old home by Fred and Brenda along with two of their three children and their 20-year-old cat! Of course, we mostly talked about how we love Amsterdam and hoped we could all spend lots of time together there when they retire.


With Frank and Ann

Wow, Frank and Ann are SO tall!     Just kidding!!!

We left Massachusetts and drove to Westchester County, north of New York City, to spend the night with our friends Ann and Frank (not to be confused with ANNE FRANK…). Ann is one of the three women Sharene travels with each year and one of her closest friends. It was great to see Ann in her own house, something Sharene rarely got to do when we lived over 5000 miles away in Hawaii.

With Mort and Lois

Admiring Mort’s art with Mort and Lois

From Westchester we took the Saw Mill and Henry Hudson Parkways into Upper Manhattan and crossed the George Washington Bridge into New Jersey on a record warm day with sunny blue skies. Yes, we picked the RIGHT year to travel! We were invited to lunch by a friend of Harrison’s late mother, Agatha. Lois worked for Agatha at the St. Paul (Minnesota) Public Library in the 1960s and they became lasting friends. Harrison hadn’t seen Lois in over 40 years so it was a nice reunion. Turns out her husband Mort is an talented artist! Mort grew up near the Atlantic City Boardwalk and many of his paintings depict scenes of that area; we loved seeing his work.


Rick and Satu

Rick and Satu

No, these two are not models, but Sharene’s nephew Rick and his wife Satu, who is from Finland. Rick is a pilot for Jet Blue and they live with their two children just west of Washington, D.C., in Virginia, our last stop for this week. We arrived on this unusually warm Saturday evening and were promptly invited for a glass of wine by their outdoor fireplace. Imagine sitting outside in front of a fireplace under clear skies and a full moon in January on the East Coast!

Life is good and our first few days back have been clear sailing and a wonderful start to our month on American roads. We’re still getting used to the U.S. again after six months in Europe, but right now it feels just fine.

Hope everyone’s first week of 2012 has been a good start as well!

For Week 49, a hui hou!

Sharene and Harrison