Eastbound Day Four: Cookeville, TN to Charlottesville, VA

What can I say besides I’m tired. That’s about all there is to say at this point.

We routed around road work yesterday which took us up into Missouri and back down through Kentucky. Beautiful countryside. Especially a little town in the southwest mountains of Missouri called Van Buren.

It looks like we’ll cover 467 miles and take about six and a half hours.


Eastbound Day Three: Yukon, OK to Cookeville, TN

I prefer driving West. At least then we’re traveling back in time. Heading east always makes the days feel longer. 😃

Today’s drive will cover 773 miles and clock in at around 12.5 hours.


Eastbound Day Two: Gallup, NM to Yukon, OK

Yesterday was a downright slog. Siri rerouted us and I swear we added two hours to the trip. We pulled into Gallup around 3:20AM local time. We’re both pretty ragged this morning.

The one lovely thing about pushing through to Gallup is Gallup Coffee Company! We’ll definitely be enjoying a cup from them this morning.

Today we should make it to Yukon, Oklahoma. Maps says it’ll take just over nine hours and cover 661 miles.

Family Travel

Eastbound Day One: Visalia, CA to Gallup, NM

Headed back to Charlottesville. It’s been great to be back home but all good things come to an end, right?

Surprise, surprise, I’m bringing our youngest daughter back with me! Yep, Taylor is gonna be near Mom and Dad again. That means the family is together once again. We’re so happy.

Our Bug
Our Bug

For the next four days we’ll be pulling a trailer loaded with her things with us.

Today’s journey should take around 10 hours 30’ish minutes according to Maps and cover 739 miles. That is, of course, a best guesstimate. It’ll most likely take us around 12 hours what with pit stops and all. But the drive is really quite lovely.

Day one - Visalia to Gallup
Day one – Visalia to Gallup

I really do miss California. We are definitely California kids through and through. But now that COVID seems to be headed in the right direction it’s time to explore what the east coast has to offer.

Yosemite 2021 - Half Dome
Yosemite 2021 – Half Dome


When you move away from your hometown you’re going to miss family and friends. It’s inevitable. I also miss my favorite places to eat, drink, and socialize. One of my absolute favorites is Exeter Coffee Company.

Staci and Jason Welch started this Exeter gem in 2017 and I instantly fell in love with it. The coffee is wonderful but the morning crew of misfits is the real reason to visit.

It’s a place built to socialize. No WiFi and working on your laptop is discouraged. It’s all about people and making new friends.

With COVID restrictions easing up it’s been a real pleasure to visit with the old crew. We’re able to sit outside, properly distanced, and enjoy each other’s company. The last couple days I’ve spent a few hours in the morning down there and I’ve loved every minute of it. I told Kim this is what I want to do. Spend my mornings with her, good friends, and good coffee.

If you ever find yourself in Exeter, California, make sure you stop by and see our good friends at ExCoCo and tell ’em Rob sent you. That will cause some confusion as there are three Rob’s that hang out in front of the place. Just say it was the handsome Rob. 😃


Day Four: Kingman, AZ to Visalia, CA

Today is the final leg of our trip across the country. It’s been a lot of fun but I’m tired and ready to be out of the truck for a while.

This morning I found a local coffee joint called The Human Bean. It’s a little walk up and drive thru joint. Perfect setup for a pandemic.

Here’s hoping it hits the spot.



Gallup, New Mexico, is a little town lining what used to be Route-66. It’s nestled a mesa. It’s one long strip of old businesses, many shuttered, some still plugging along.

Last August I spent the night here on my drive from California back home to Charlottesville. I managed to find a little diamond in the rough. A little coffee roaster called Gallup Coffee Company. Their coffee is quite good and I made a mental note, and blog post about it. So I had to stop and pick up a mocha on my way through.

As I drove up the street to the shop I was worried it had been lost to COVID like so many other places. I was pleasantly surprised to see it open with a few customers hanging out inside.

Time to drink my coffee and get back on the road. This little town has captured my heart. I love it.


Albuquerque, New Mexico

I love it here. I can’t get enough of the beautiful red sand and mesas. The sky is blue and it’s a nice 70 degrees with a nice cool breeze.

I’ve pulled over to eat, at a very exotic location; Taco Bell. No, it’s not great, but it’s fine and three tacos fit nicely into the number of calories I allow myself for lunch. It works for me.

I found a shady spot in the adjoining Sam’s Club parking lot and ate. I’m sitting next to a beautiful pine of some kind, at least I think it’s a type of pine?

Fahrni road trip tip. When you stop make it multipurpose. The stops are usually about going pee, gassing up, or eating. When convenient, do all three. I’ll do that this stop, even though I have 3/4 of a tank I’ll still top it off just because. It’s just a thing I do.

Here’s a picture of the tree. Maybe someone can tell me what it is.


Day Three: Amarillo, TX to Kingman, AZ

Believe it or not driving all day is kind of tiring. It’s interesting how I’d forgotten that. It’s still worth it. Our country is beautiful.

Here’s an interesting observation for you. Folks in Oklahoma and Texas aren’t masking. Service workers are but everyone else is running around maskless. It’s going to be a while before I’m comfortable in that environment. I wonder what it’ll be like in New Mexico, Arizona, and California? Guess I’ll find out.

Today’s drive is a short 747 miles and should take around 10.5 hours to complete.

Found a Starbucks this morning. Not missing coffee today!


Welcome to Conway, Arkansas

Well this mornings hope of finding good coffee went out the window. I got to the shop and they were closed. Most likely due to the pandemic. The sign said they hope to come back. I certainly hope they can.

I pulled off here in Conway because it looked like I had a nice choice of food options. I found a Panda Express and I like it so I got some Orange Chicken. Not a good meal but tasty. I knew diet would be kind of challenging on the road. I’m doing OK so far.

Anywho, there’s a Starbucks next door. Figures.

Where I plan to stay in Amarillo tonight has a Starbucks nearby. At least I’ll be able to get a coffee I’m familiar with.

Back on the road. Should arrive in Amarillo around 7PM, I hope.