Thoughts on life and music.

Roadtrip: Vegas to New Jersey

I'm almost two months overdue on this post... but oh well. When I found out I was hired for the Sarajevo Philharmonic last year, I had already returned to my parents' house in CT for a summer job, and had scheduled a festival in Tennessee. Needless to say, I had no clue where I would be living when I returned from Bosnia at that point, nor did I have time to move everything home from Las Vegas, so into the generous storage space of a friend's house it went. She also kept my car in her garage for the duration of my trip, which was even more amazing!

I finally had some time in late August to get myself back to the desert to collect my things, my car and see the friends I'd left behind.

And now, in November (where did the time go??) I'm finally going to edit and post the pictures I took on the long drive to New Jersey. I had a grand adventure driving over 3,000 miles all by myself, and was able to see Rebecca in Boulder (and go rock climbing!), an old Hartt classmate in Kansas City, and Kent along with my friend Cathryn in Bloomington, IN. I spent about 10 days on the road, and it was a lot more fun than I was anticipating. My car is surprisingly roomy, and I didn't have to leave much behind other than a toaster oven, a coffee maker and a few plastic organizer things that Katie was happy to use in her middle school classroom.

My life being packed in the car


Some things never change... the practice rooms at UNLV.

I left Vegas early in the morning, and had this great idea that I could get to Boulder (764 miles) in one day. That did not happen.

Sunrise leaving Las Vegas

Sunset outside Katie's house

Leaving Las Vegas

In retrospect, I'm glad it didn't work out. I would have driven through the Rocky Mountains and into Boulder in the dark, and wouldn't have gotten to see any of the awesomeness that is the mountain range. As it turned out, I spent so much time stopping to take pictures in Utah that I spent the first night in Parachute, CO. I had actually stayed in the same town a few years earlier when I drove that same car TO Las Vegas, so it was kind of fun to stay in a familiar place.

It takes a grand total of 25 minutes to go from Nevada to Arizona to Utah.

Utah, the land of white people and quirky Mormons.

Last stop for 110 miles. Awesome Mexican food!


The Southwest is one of the most beautiful places on Earth.

Colorful Colorado rainbow

Welcome to Colorado

Now I know why people spend millions to hang out in Aspen and Vail. Even in the summer.



I woke up early to get to Boulder, because Rebecca and I were going to play quartets with two other CU students on Pearl Street, part of the downtown Boulder shopping district. I hadn't done much busking before, but I like getting money for playing horn, so I wasn't going to complain.

Driving to Boulder

King Soopers! Rebecca never stopped talking about how great this place was in Bosnia, so I was very excited to see this truck.

Busking on Pearl Street

Mad cash

All our busking money went straight to the cupcake place that had GF red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting.. YUM.

The next day, we went with a few of Rebecca's roommates to Boulder Canyon to go rock climbing. Becca loves climbing, and went so far as to bring her climbing shoes to Sarajevo... I've never purposely scaled a rock wall in my life. But I had seen enough climbing videos and pictures to get the idea!

Champion climber

Scaling the rock wall like a boss

Daren belaying

Becca and her roommate Liz

Boulder Creek

It was an awesome way to spend Labor Day weekend. I also managed to have breakfast at the infamous Snooze cafe, albeit the downtown Denver location. It was excellent, and I got to have toast! I found a lot of gluten free options in unexpected places.

Snooze Breakfast

Denver is the end point of the Rockies, in Colorado at least, so the next day's driving promised a lot of flat nothing. After the excitement of the mountains and the beautiful vistas everywhere, I'm sorry to say that Kansas wasn't very interesting. The Plains have their own beauty, but the big open sky is only for me when there's a mountain range on the horizon.

Leaving Boulder

I had originally planned to drive to Chicago and Detroit, but I realized it was going to add a lot of time and the route went much further north than I needed to be. So I stuck to the I-70 and struck out for Kansas City. I put up a status on Facebook about stopping in KC, and an old classmate from Hartt messaged me to let me know he was in town! Ted is a doctoral student at UMKC, and apparently there were a few Hartt alums doing graduate work at the university. I met up with Ted for a GF pizza and catch-up. It was great to see him and hear he is doing well and still composing.

Lots of these in Kansas...


Rest stops are unsafe in the Midwest

The next day's driving lead to Bloomington, Indiana, home of the Hoosiers. Kent was a proud IU alum, so I had heard countless stories about the campus.


Welcome to Ohio


Interesting sights in Missouri...

Welcome to Indiana

My good friend Cathryn is doing a performance certificate after spending a year as a Fulbright scholar in Paris, and despite both of us living in Europe at the same time we were never able to coordinate a trip to see each other. I hadn't seen her for almost two years!

Burgers and Beers

Enjoying the IU practice rooms

Wine sampler and delicious snacks


IU has no shortage of harps or harp trucks

IU is an amazing place, I've never seen such a well-funded and beautifully appointed music campus. The new building had five floors of studios and offices, and they have separate buildings full of practice rooms. Considering the huge number of students in the music school I suppose these are necessary "luxuries," but coming from the Hartt School's 60 practice rooms for 500 majors, I was very impressed!

The last two days of the drive brought me through the rest of Indiana, a snippet of West Virginia, Pennsylvania and finally my new home state of New Jersey.

Welcome to West Virginia

This is your warning... you're about to enter New Jersey!

Coming over the Pulaski Skyway


Welcome home! Little India, Jersey City

Waterfront, Jersey City

After a few weeks at home, Aleks and I left for Miami in late October, and are going to be traveling back and forth between JC and Miami until May. We're both playing in the Florida Grand Opera and Palm Beach Symphony this season, and have a cute little apartment in the Design District next to a French bakery. (With GF chocolate cake. YUM)

Upcoming Auditions - November 2013

SUNY Adirondack Horn Day