vaya con pance

newest addtion March 28, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — gogopance @ 6:01 pm

I would like to announce the arrival of the newest kid on the Blacksburg block. Blog fans and readers, I give you, MOW POWER:

GoGoPance = Blogger. Gym Rat. Steamer of Kale. Cyclist. Lawn Mower Owner. Scary.

I tried mowing the lawn once when I was a Teen Pance and the one memory that stands out from the experience is that I could not hear my yellow, waterproof, Sony walkman tunes above the roar of the engine. So naturally I – with unquestionably the mature grace of a teenager – bowed out of the chore. Now, with all the advancements in portable music, the rock ‘n’ roll from my green iPod Shuffle and status-symbol white ear buds was loud ‘n’ clear. Phew.

Yesterday, to avoid the horrifying label of quickly becoming THAT yard, Mow Power, my blaring tunes and I strolled in a counter clockwise direction around the backyard and then rinsed-and-repeated for the front. Et voila:

Straight lawn lines and all, people! I must say, mowing is a hugely satisfying task, with the manual labor accomplishment + instant gratification thing its got going for it. Though, I kept looking up at the porch thinking I’d see a hot, shirtless dude holding an icy pitcher of lemonade out for me. Alas, no dude. Good thing he has all summer to show up… people keep telling me I’ll have to mow AGAIN. Sheesh.


still hangin’ tough March 17, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — gogopance @ 1:41 pm

Being back in town I frequently find myself replaying entire scenes of yesteryear in my noggin. As I mentioned, I’m not only living in the same house I learned to walk in, but I’m also cruising around the entire NRV like I expect it to be new or something. But it’s not. Elements are new, liiiiike me, for example and, like, my car. But other than a few accessories here and there (grey hair and my own health insurance), it’s pretty much status quo.

Last Thursday night I went to see Elton John with bestgoodfriend Mary Jean at the Roanoke Civic Center. Now, Roanoke of yesteryear = a big, maybe-a-little-scary, city. Roanoke of today = notsomuch. However, the two opposites mushed nicely together as I became one with the tidal wave of ticket holders rolling in to see their fave musical idol. Flash back to March 9, 1990. Pance = 14 years old. Scene = Roanoke Civic Center. Musical Idols = New Kids on the Block.

Sure, this time I didn’t bring an “I Heart Elton” sign and Mom wasn’t exactly waiting for me at the McDonald’s across the street to drive me home and I didn’t stand on my chair or scream until fake tears rolled down my cheeks. (In fact, I was slightly annoyed when the people in front of me did stand up. Can’t we all just sit down, relax and enjoy the music?) But the same big-time, big-city, big-name-star buzz was there.

Thank goodness that didn’t change. Because if I had suddenly found myself disenchanted it would have, I dunno, made me feel old. And we can’t have that.

*Author’s Note* Half the fun of digging out old pictures is seeing what I wrote on the back of them. Apparently I didn’t quite know how to label what Joe was doing here so I abandoned the task altogether. Joe on fire? Joe on a riser? Joe on drugs? Joe on… me? (GASP!) I guess the best option was just to leave Joe (and likewise my googly-eyed teenage obsession so I wouldn’t miss it 22 years later) immortally… on.


and then they were home March 12, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — gogopance @ 12:44 am

Trip Stats:

– three new states to check off (Arkansas, Mississippi, Oklahoma)

– six times loading/unloading luggage

– three full meals made on trail mix, grapes and cheese & crackers (1/2 bag of Cadbury mini eggs, gone.)

– one dead hairdryer

– 3110 miles & 60 hours in Big Poppa

– An inability to get into a car, turn on the radio and not immediately lapse into “On the Road Again.” Think “Groundhog Day,” people, it’s how we started every day.


step by step March 11, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — gogopance @ 2:18 am

OK, so I lied. Tonight I am not settling in the warmth and comfort of my OWN bed, as I proclaimed late last night. Midway through the drive today we got a wild hair up our hindquarters and decided to go all the way to Staunton, where DJ Rattle T’s contents will be deposited. This gave us roughly a 13-hour day, losing an hour coming back to EST and, really, another to Daylight Savings. As Mom lovingly noted,

“You’re just losing hours everywhere!”

Yeaaaah, time’s tricky that way… slips right away if you don’t have a good grip.

We stopped in Nashville for a late lunch at The Wild Cow, a hippie vegetarian joint. Big Poppa and Rattle T got brilliantly backed into a snug spot, with very little thanks to my stellar coaching.

“Turn this way. No. That didn’t work. How ‘bout the other way? Hmmmm. Back slowly in. Okay straighten it up. Pull forward. Now turn the wheel this way. Hmmm. OK, how ’bout I just stand here and make sure you don’t hit the car next door?”

The food was a nice change from our week of gorging, but we both left burping that weird flavor of faux meat. So of course we had to eat a few [handfuls of] Cadbury mini eggs to take care of that.

At the very end of our longest leg yet we got a little NKOTB surprise on Sirius radio’s 90s on 9, especially appropriate because on this very date (March 9) 22 years ago, we went to the New Kids concert at the Roanoke Civic Center. Pivotal times all around, I tell ya, pivotal times.


wee wee March 10, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — gogopance @ 2:27 am

Today we left Dallas for a 10+ hour return trip to Memphis, our halfway home base (Thanks Mike & Sara!). Big Poppa, no longer able to handle our growing collection of souvenirs and road wares all by himself, decided to hire a sidekick. This morning, on our way out of the North Texas suburbs, we hooked up with “DJ Rattle T.” So named for his pretty mean street rattle.

We headed Northeast for Paris, Texas – home to a fantastic replica of the Eiffel Tower complete with a tilted cowboy hat on top. That extra tilt assured the record books and maniacal Texans everywhere (“It’s GOT to be bigger here!”), that it was measurably higher than Paris, Tennessee’s Eiffel Tower replica. Priorities.

From Paris we drove up to dip a toe in Oklahoma, thusly crossing it off the “states I’ve been to” list. We took a mini detour into Hugo, once known as “Circus City USA,” to walk around Mt. Olivet Cemetery. Years and years of circus entertainers have, uh, retired in the famous “Showmen’s Rest” quadrant of the cemetery. Their graves are adorned with Big Top etchings and encircled by elephant pedestals.

The rest of trip was uneventful save for a quick stop for lunch in Texarkana. We arrived in Memphis in time for dinner and margaritas at Longhorn Steakhouse and eventually back to the warmth and comfort of cheesecake and the familiar Jack Daniel’s variety show. Tomorrow night we land back in Virginia, where I plan to retire sans elephants in the warmth and comfort of my OWN bed.


in a lone star state of mind March 9, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — gogopance @ 1:27 am

“How to Spend Your One Day in Dallas” by GoGoPance

11:00AM: Leisurely arise and stroll around the super cute town square of McKinney, Texas (near where you happen to be staying, quite a’spell north of downtown Dallas). Remark on its Stars Hollow-like qualities.

12:00PM: Lunch at Spoons Cafe & Bar. Order two different salads to split. Be shocked and overly appreciative when the wait staff takes the time to actually SPLIT the salads into two portions each.

1:00PM: Walk across the square to Landon Winery. Get a little chatty and a little buzzy because you’re drinking extra generous tasting pours. Walk out with an excessive amount of purchases. Be silently glad you are drinking grapes instead of picking at a bottomless bag of them in Big Poppa.

2:30PM: Drive into Dallas to visit The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza – aka, the infamous floor of the Texas School Book Depository that held JFK’s assassinator. Take an audio tour of Kennedy’s life and death. Look out the same row of windows that launched the bullets nearly 50 years ago. Recall your [unnerving] obsession with the whole event circa 1987. Leave with “Hail to the Chief” stuck in your head.

3:35PM: Stand in THE grassy knoll and take a picture from the same angle of Abraham Zapruder’s famous footage.

4:30PM: Lighten the mood a little and swing by Southfork Ranch – aka, THE Dallas. Think only to yourself (because it somehow feels socially unacceptable) how, “Who shot JR?!?” was quite an impressive bookend to “Who shot Kennedy?!?”

7:00PM: Order “thin crust Chicago-style” pizza for dinner, simply because it seems like an odd contradiction in terms.

11:00PM: Retire early with the theme of “Dallas” stuck in your head, prepared for yet another 10’er tomorrow.


austin to dallas March 8, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — gogopance @ 1:28 am

Today’s Birthday Edition post is in honor of travel companion Tracy “Millertime” Miller, who departed our company this morning to return from whence she came, a year older and I’d certainly like to think a little road-wiser, thanks to our journey.

We began the day with the most passionately recommended breakfast tacos this side of the Mississippi River (or at least within the city limits of Austin) at Juan in a Million. Now, I don’t have much to compare them to, but I’ll sure give ’em this… the place sure did look and feel authentic. And the breakfast tacos, for being an average of $2 each, were definitely an affordable event all on their own.

Afterward, in an effort to digest the tortilla-wrapped eggpotatobaconcheese extravaganza, we headed to a hotspot on the “Keep Austin Weird” circuit, a graffiti park (for lack of a better description) not far from downtown. It was tough to keep from breaking into moves from Michael Jackson’s BAD video, but, really, the park screamed way more whimsy than ruin. And the whole thing did present quite the photo opportunity.

Around 5PM we arrived in the metro sprawl known as Dallas, once again crashing with cousins who greeted us with wine, cheese, crackers, a fab home cooked meal and enlightened conversation. I have my own room to stretch out in tonight and Big Poppa has practically a whole driveway to do the same. Sweet dreams, Big Poppa. Rest while you can. Who knows where you’ll be carrying us tomorrow…