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Back To School Commute

"Traveling is a brutality. It forces you to trust strangers and to lose sight of all that is familiar, comfort of home and friends. Nothing is yours except the essential things - air, sleep, dreams, the sea (and) the sky."—Cesare Pavese, author, poet.

My husband and I have been throwing around the idea of taking a year off, packing up the kids and touring Europe like a bunch of nomadic gypsies. Unfortunately, we have bills to pay. And seeing as how we're not independently wealthy, not having a paycheck for 365 days is not in the cards. So we decided to do the next best thing: load up the SUV, throw caution to the wind and tour the good ol' USA. Destination: Vermont.

As you may remember, our two girls through middle school. Since the youngest is now in sixth grade and the oldest is in eighth, this is the first year they will be at home together. Making this the perfect opportunity to do a little traveling.

We purchase both their educational curriculums from Oak Meadow, a fully accredited school in Brattleboro, Vermont. In addition to the learning material, we also purchase the services of a credentialed instructor. We send in homework to her every two weeks and she, in return, sends us comments, corrections, feedback and of course, grades. We have thoroughly enjoyed this set-up and have grown quite close to Lesley, their teacher. We thought it would be exciting to take a driving vacation to and from Vermont to meet Lesley, while making lots of fun and historical stops along the way.

Unfortunately, since my husband has to work, he will only be able to join us sporadically. Luckily, that leaves lots and lots of quality bonding time for just us girls. The three of us. Together. In a car. For miles. Thousands of them.

Thank goodness for books on tape.

The plan is to camp our way across the US, visiting the few friends we have away from the West Coast. We decided to head east, on the way over hitting Nevada, Utah, Colorado and Kansas. Then it's up to St. Louis, Chicago, Indiana and maybe even Michigan's upper peninsula before making our way to Vermont. Once there? Other than visiting Lesley and the school, I have no idea. I'll keep you posted.

Just like the rest of Alameda's youth, my girls will be heading back to school. Our commute is just a wee bit longer.

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CancerFighter2012 August 31, 2012 at 05:49 PM
Once out on the east coast try to hit Boston, I always thought California had history...American History is in Boston--every where you look (and BONUS the Samuel Adams brewery & the bar from Cheers is there too). Take the subway, it's easy and many cool things are in walking distance. Walk the Freedom Trail, visit the Boston Gardens -- sit on the statues of Mrs Duck & her ducklings from Make Way for Ducklings, see the ships in Boston harbor or go to Cambridge and walk the Harvard campus, tons of things to see. Have a great trip!
Mickey Neill August 31, 2012 at 06:22 PM
Judy, I always enjoy your articles. Can you please investigate and report on two things I've been wondering about. What happened to the sweet man the used to sweep in front of the Alcopulco restrauant, after his unfortunate encounter with the police? Also will the Alcopulco restrauant ever reopen? Thanks.
Mike Martin August 31, 2012 at 09:45 PM
Awesome, sounds like a great trip! Enjoy some of the nicer places to see as you cross the vast West ... like the rockies between SLC and Denver. Be sure to stop a few times there because after you pass Denver, there is nothing but plains until the Mississippi river! Boston is indeed great, and there are many cool things to see on the East Coast in Philly, NYC, Virginia, etc. On the way back you might try a more southern route. The National Civil Rights museum in Memphis is powerful, and seeing how the south still has a lot of segregation is eye opening coming from our tolerant Alameda. And of course Graceland. Then stop several places in New Mexico and Arizona. The four corners area, Mesa Verde, all the Canyons, the petrified forrest, and definitively Slide Rock near Sedona AZ as that is still one of my kids favorite memories. We look forward to updates from the road!
Jennifer McGaffey August 31, 2012 at 10:28 PM
Do any of you bake? I read "going to Vermont" and immediately thought of the King Arthur Flour Baker's Store (cafe/bakery/classes, as well as products and kitchen equipment - http://www.kingarthurflour.com/visit/store.html). If I were going, that's definitely a place I'd visit. And try to schedule it for a class or two, too.

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