Posted by Julie Wiens Posted on 9:55 AM | 2 comments

Moving On

Kyle and I have left Lubbock and moved on to the next stage of our lives: life on the east coast – Massachusetts, to be exact. We made some friends in Lubbock, but it was just not the place for us. A little over a year ago, Kyle interviewed with the Air Force Research Laboratory at Hanscom AFB to study space weather. The job seemed interesting, even though Kyle had little to no experience in space weather. Plus, the job would entail living in the Boston area for a year before relocating to Albuquerque. Why not? After a long delay and a lot of paperwork, Kyle was offered the job. Following a day of intense (and frankly, sloppy) packing by the moving company, our mover arrived on July 15th to take away the bulk of our possessions. We tossed the cats in the car, and our adventure began.

However, it seemed as if Lubbock didn’t want to let us go. We were sitting in our car half way out of the garage when our landlord accidentally started to close the garage door on us. Luckily I had the car started already and was able to get it in gear and out of the garage before the door came crashing down on our car. I think the garage door missed the car by just an inch or two. Traffic and construction were the next hurdles we had to overcome, but eventually we made it out of Lubbock. Following a celebratory kiss, we honored a Neel family tradition of singing On the Road Again by Willie Nelson to begin our trip.

That night we arrived in Elk City, OK where we tried out our first KOA. We rented a kabin, which is a single room with a double bed. Nothing fancy, but we enjoyed the lake nearby during an evening walk. We had hoped to have a fancy celebratory dinner, but there were not many choices in Elk City, so we settled for a tiny shrimp tray and some cheap champagne. It wasn’t exactly what we wanted, but it was still a celebration. The next night we drove to Little Rock, AR and “camped” at another KOA. The site was very pretty and full of the creaking calls of cicadas. While in Little Rock, we had dinner at this great catfish place called Cock of the Walk. The restaurant was nestled among trees, next to a pond, and was well off the beaten path. Not sure if they farmed their own catfish right there in the pond, but the food was great regardless. Our next day brought us to Monterey, TN, which is a cute and laidback little town just east of Nashville. We enjoyed some great BBQ at a tiny shack called Uncle Hoss, and I had my first official taste of sweet tea. After a good night’s sleep in a real bed, we continued on through Tennessee and into Virginia. Beautiful country, and so many trees! We couldn’t help ourselves from taking a slight detour to sample a bit of the Blue Ridge Parkway that runs through that part of the country. We drove only about 30 miles of it within Virginia, and we’d like to go back and drive the rest. It was truly scenic and peaceful. We highly recommend checking out Blue Ridge if you get a chance. It kind of reminded us of the winding roads along the Amalfi Coast of Italy. Anyway, after that detour, we arrived at bit late to our next destination: Anne Hathaway’s Cottage in Staunton, VA. This B&B was the cutest place. It was modeled in the style of an English country cottage, completed with thatched roof and immaculate garden. We were the only people there that night, and our room was adorable. It had it’s own private deck that Frik and Frak fully enjoyed. 

 After a nice home-cooked breakfast prepared by the ex-Brit innkeeper, we voyaged on, passing through the corners of W, Virginia and Pennsylvania before entering New Jersey. To the wealth of trees was now added a wealth of traffic, but it wasn’t too bad. We found our way to Ridgewood, NJ where we stayed with my stepsister Leah and her family. It was a nice night of pizza, Apples to Apples and some catching up. Sadly, we could only stay one night in NJ as we had to arrive at Hanscom Air Force Base (AFB) on the 20th. It was a quick and busy drive from NJ through New York and Connecticut and into Massachusetts. We arrived at the base in the mid-afternoon, and after a little bit of a hold up at the base gate, we checked into some temporary housing and breathed a sigh of relief. Voyage complete. Kyle started work the next day.

Next step: find a more permanent place to live. After a lot of online review and a few in-person visits, we decided to live on base and moved into our townhome on the 25th. We hadn’t originally planned to live on the base, but it turned out to be a pretty sweet deal. The townhome is nice; Kyle can walk to work in 5 minutes, which frees up the car for me and saves him the frustration of commuting (which he hates); we like our neighbors so far; and it’s a very safe neighborhood. Of course, we didn’t have any furniture yet, but the base loans out sleeping pads and kitchen items. Our furniture arrived on the 29th, and we already have most of it unpacked. Hopefully by this next week we will be completely done unpacking so that we can spend our future weekends exploring New England.

If you have ever lived or traveled in New England and have recommendations of things to do and see, please send them our way.



  1. What an adventure! Glad you arrived safely and I look forward to hearing more about your journey, it's very entertaining.

  2. Congrats, guys! I hope you love it!

    Fort Collins is still great. This weekend is New West Fest, so I'm looking forward to seeing some of the bands.