Day 3 After Dark

Today was an amazing day. It was just how I pictured driving across the country. The sun overhead, the road cutting through undulating hills of Middle America, and no destination. Well, one destination.

I started by driving through St. Louis. Bojangles took me right by the arch, so I decided to go check it out on foot. I put the travel tripod from Mom and Dad to good use. This picture shows how far I can run in 10 seconds.

Then I drove through all of Missouri, and all of Kansas, and into Colorado. I-70 likes Jesus and hates Abortions. Kansas offers an incentive program for striking a highway worker. Sort of reminiscent of the childhood game of assigning points to various objects. "200 points for the biker." "500 points if you leave their shoes in the road." I wasn't able to read the signs fast enough, so I'm not sure what the reward was. And unfortunately I never saw any workers out there, so I didn't get to cash in. But it sure looked like a lot of money!

I found the Patriots game on an AM station, and every time the station I was listening to faded out of range, I was able to find another broadcast. I used the POI finder on Bojangles to look up things with the word "sports" in them, in Denver, hoping to find a sports bar where I could watch the last quarter and a half (can I say that?) of the game. It plotted a place that looked promising, but I never did find it. Instead I wandered into an Applebee's and sat down at the bar with my laptop to watch the game. Dork much?

After a few calls, I found a place west of Denver that had a room. I booked it over the phone, and then booked it to the inn.

Yesterday, Kentucky wowed me with it's 70 mph speed limit. Today, Colorado upped the ante to 75mph, at 7,000 ft, around curving, mountainous roads. At this rate I just hope I can handle whatever Las Vegas throws into the pot.

I've driven a car for like 10 years now. I have never felt more afraid of my own driving abilities than I-70 west of Denver. Holy shit. The views were gorgeous, even in the dark, in my peripheral, as I concentrated on not dying. I wished someone else where there - not to take pictures of the breathtaking views, but to sit there and be amazed for the both of us. He could sit there with mouth agape, just stammering so I could get on with the driving.

And of course, like every 27 year old red blooded american male, I entered into a contract at or very near birth. This contract lays out certain lifelong responsibilities I must fulfill, including driving at least 5 miles per hour over the posted speed limit at all times. It's a duty that I've performed diligently all my life. Maybe Colorado men get a different contract, or an addendum.

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Tomorrow: skiing/snowboarding at Breckenridge.

Day 3

Stopping for lunch at a Taco Bell in the middle of Nowheresville, Kansas. There's a Best Western across the street with free wifi :)

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I drove through Sonic Alley at around 11, but it was way too early for lunch. Now there aren't any in sight! I wonder if I'm west of them all already.

The plan was to push through to Denver tonight, in time to see the Patriots game at 8. That's 8 PM, EST, by the way. That's a shame because I'm on track to hit Denver around 8 local time. I think the new plan is to find the pats game on the radio, keep on driving, and head to some ski resort - or nearby - to stay the night. In the morning I can go skiing, maybe stay one more night, and then drive off to the Grand Canyon or something.

Don't worry, I'm wearing the pants with wings on their seat.


Day 2


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I was worried about hitting snow, so I had planned on going south, south, south before going west. Well screw being scared of the weather, I'm not driving along the mexican border just to go north again for sightseeing. Since I want to hit Colorado anyways, I'm just going to cut across the middle of the country on 64 / 70. It's about 870 miles from here to Denver. For comparison, I drove 830 today. That's two full tanks of gas.

I'm not really sure what I'm doing in CO, but I'd like to go snowboarding, and I'd like to see the Grand Canyon. I'll probably stay somewhere just outside Denver tomorrow night, and then hit up a mountain the next morning.

I stayed at my trail buddy Steiner's house last night. Despite sleeping in a light-sealed room in the basement, my internal clock managed to jolt me out of bed at 8am. I think that marked the first time I ever woke up before Steiner :) I guess I just couldn't wait to get on the road west!

Brian Regan on Comedy Central right now. It's a different routine than the one I listened to on the iPod on the way. Between that, Lewis Black, Rent, interviews with Al Jean and Julie K on Fresh Air, and 6 CDs from my collection circa 2003, I had plenty to listen to as I drove.

It rained through the Shenendoahs, but by the time I hit the flats it was dry, and it was late enough that there was very little traffic. Kentucky's 70mph speed limit rocks.

I wish my car's heater / vent had a setting lower than 'off'.

Onward and westward!


Day 1

My car is soooo full...

[How full is it?]

...that I couldn't fit my last pillow in it.
...that I had to wear cargo pants to have enough places to put everything.
...that I can barely move inside.

OK that last one isn't all that funny, but it's true!

After some NYC traffic and GPS shenanigans, I got where I was going. It was about 10 hours of driving today. I'm was going to fiddle with the GPS unit tonight, but the cable is in the car which is oh so far away from this bed!

I'm at Steiner's place in VA right now (address withheld to protect from stalkers!)

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I think I'll go to Nashville tomorrow.


Pictures to Prove it

With uncharacteristic foresight, (and characteristic gall) my Christmas list this year had only one request:
"Anything, as long as it fits in my wallet."

I'm only taking a car load of stuff with me to San Diego. Anything that doesn't fit gets given to roommates, goodwill, or the sanitation department. My family understood, but I still felt like kind of a spoilsport.

Well, they sure showed me. My sister accounts for probably ten of these gift cards. All the fast food cards are from her. My parents and grandparents filled in the rest with sensible cards for housewares to get me settled once I arrive in SD. And I certainly don't want to look a gift card in the mouth, but I'm thinking that gas card might just get me out of New England!

Of course, all of these gift cards don't exactly meet the only criteria I specified, but I won't complain too much about that.

I also got a nifty GPS device for the trip. Anyone who's driven with me recently - especially in Boston - knows I can't find my way around for shit. That is, unless Brian is in the car. He's a pretty good navigator. He sits in front and tells me where to turn. And while he doesn't hang from a suction cup on the windshield, and he doesn't sound like a 30-something woman from Long Island, he still reminds me of my new GPS unit. That's why, in his honor, I'm naming the GPS Bojangles. And god forbid I figure out how to hack a new voice onto it.

Back in 2001, my Grandmother "Grammy" gave me two disposable cameras as I was leaving for Basic Training. I took them with me, but got little use out of them there.

They got stashed in a box when I moved to Secondary Training at Goodfellow AFB, TX. I found them again when I moved to Korea (I think those pictures are on the other roll that's not finished yet),

then when I moved to Georgia I discovered them hiding in a moving box,

and again when I moved to Dover. Every time I found the cameras, I took a photo of myself and my surroundings, and then stashed the camera back in the box. It turned into a sort of time capsule for The Future.

Well a few days ago, The Future arrived. I found the cameras, and snapped the last pictures on one of them. I rushed to CVS to get them developed. Who knows what treasures they held! Well, now you know.

I don't think disposable cameras will cut it anymore though. So I ran by Best Buy today and picked up a digital camera for the trip. Hopefully I'll snap some decent stuff to post! I'm almost all packed. The goal is to leave by noon tomorrow. Wish me luck!


Give me one Good Reason

Yes, I'm moving to San Diego. No, I don't have a Good Reason.

Some people don't realize this, but there exist only three Good Reasons for moving: girl, job, and family. These reasons are good. They are at once understood. They do not cause one's sanity to be questioned. The Good Reasons represent universally recognized and acceptable situations, beliefs, and emotions.

Here is an incomplete list of Bad Reasons to move: sunny weather, beaches, change for change's sake, and inquisitiveness. Citing any Bad Reason is cause for funny looks, doubt, and/or pity.

The truth is I'm young, adaptable, free-spirited, and have lived on the east coast for most of my life. There's more out there for me than Boston has to offer. There's more out there for me than San Diego has to offer, for that matter. This isn't about finding a new place to live, it's about feeling alive in a new place. I'm awesome at new places. I explore the surroundings and myself. I challenge myself. Out of my comfort zone and with no safety net, I thrive. I feel like the person that I want to be.

I'm pretty bad about going after things I want during the doldrums of everyday routine. I compensate for that by identifying BIG things that I want and committing to their acquisition. I want badly to live on the water, under the sun, on the sand. Aside from losing touch with friends, there's no reason I shouldn't go.

Different friends have had different reactions. From "That's awesome, go for it. Fortune favors the bold. Do you need help packing? Why aren't you gone yet?" to "That is a huge mistake. You need to stop running. We won't be friends anymore if you leave. Please stay." I do appreciate the people who have spoken their minds about it either way. It's not so bad having friends that disagree with you.

I kinda liked this one too: "We're only ever an inch apart. It just depends on which map you use."