Let us start with the day I left the state! It started out a little bit hectic, actually. My friend Kerry and I had been planning the road trip for a few months. I would have liked to fly here, but I did need my car to get around the state, so I opted to drive. The other option would have been to ship my car to California, but every shipping company I looked into was going to cost me close to $1,000. Thus came the road trip! After only a few hours of sleep, I woke up quite early (which, if you know anything about me, 5:45am is much too early), and started to get ready, only to find that my mom's GPS was no where to be found! I overlooked such an important detail that I was running around like a chicken with its head cut off trying to figure out what to do. Thankfully, my grandpa was awake (thanks Pop!), and was willing to lend me his GPS. My plan was to get on the road at 7am, but since I definitely planned a good chunk of time to get "ready" (aka brush teeth, pick up Kerry, and get gas-- hey, it's a road trip, not a fashion show), I was only set back by about 15 minutes. We got on the road and I drove. We originally planned to just play it by ear with the driving portion of the trip, which we definitely did. We found out by trial and error that driving for 6 hours straight each so we could hit our 12-hours-a-day goal was NOT a good plan. By the end of the day, we were both exhausted and admitted to getting extremely sleepy during the middle of our shifts. We made it through Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, and stopped in Lincoln, Nebraska. None of these states were at all interesting or even picture worthy. We found a nice little hotel, showered, found a restaurant, ate, and then promptly returned to our room and passed out. Needless to say, I was very crabby.
Day two was much better! Kerry and I both decided that we hate Nebraska very much. Everything smelled like cow poo and the people on the road there were jerks. I'm definitely not sorry that I insisted on going the speed limit during the entire trip. Though we saw probably less than 10 cops, I was very paranoid when Kerry told me that when her friend Lauren drove to Iowa, she came home to a ticket in the mail from a speed camera. I'm definitely not interested in any more tickets (hey, we all start out as bad drivers, don't judge!), so cruise control was always set on the speed limit while I was driving. After I taught Kerry how to use cruise control, she became a fan, too. Point being, people got angry that I was following the law. But let's think about this for a moment. The speed limit for most of the trip was 75mph. It's obvious that if you go 75... You will drive 75 miles in that hour. Is it really worth a ticket to go 80 or 85 just so that you can go 10-15 miles further in that hour? That doesn't seem like much to me. Besides, we made GREAT time even though we drove on the safe side.
P.s. I hated semi trucks before the trip. I despise them now.
Instead of 6 hour shifts, we each drove two shifts with three hours per shift, not including bathroom breaks or stops for gas/food. I tried to take on the harder shifts because I knew Kerry was doing me a huge favor by driving with me, so I would drive first thing in the morning and then in the afternoon, but because of this decision, I got a really gnarly sunburn on my left arm since I drove when the sun was pretty hot and high in the sky. I have dubbed this phenomenon "Traveler's Arm." That being said, there is definitely a 2-3 shade difference between the skin colors on my arms.
Probably the best part of this leg of the journey was that Kerry witnessed a bug fly into the car and started screaming. I thought she was an idiot until the bug came at MY HAIR and I started screaming (all while trying not to crash into the construction barrels). THEN the bug landed on my stomach and what does Kerry do? She starts beating me in the stomach with her Nook until the bug is finally dead and laying on my shirt. THANKS.
I look like Alfalfa!
Prairie Dogs in Wyoming!
Day two got us through the rest of Nebraska, Wyoming, and all of Utah. That night, we stopped in Salt Lake City, Nevada! Kerry and I loved Wyoming. "Big" things scare me (examples: lakes, oceans, the concept of "outer space," ect.) but having taken Geology in my second year of college, I was nothing but in love with the mountains and rock formations in Utah and Nevada, which I originally thought I would be terrified of. We arrived just around sunset in SLC. It was incredible! Again, we found a hotel, a Denny's, a 7-11 (by this time, I definitely needed sunscreen), and finally, sleep.
Miles and miles of sky! So pretty!
On day three, I decided to take one for the team and get us up an hour earlier than usual ("usual" being 7am), so that we could get on the road sooner, which turned out to be a HUGE help. I was really concerned about having to drive through San Francisco during rush hour, which, we discovered, was a very valid concern. Kerry slept while I drove. I was really excited when I found the "meaning" of Salt Lake City. For those who have never been there, it could be obvious, but the best way to understand is to SEE. Miles and miles of "salt flats" left by dehydrated salt lakes. A inch of salt lies on top of the ground where the lakes used to be. When I saw an opportunity to stop at a rest stop where you could walk on the salt flats, I definitely jumped at the chance. I stopped and used my keys to dig salt from the top layer. I put it in a Ziploc bag and I plan to bottle it and ship the tiny bottles to my sisters. They might not understand now, but when they get older, I hope they'll think it's really cool!
The sun rising over the mountains was awesome! I wish the picture was of better quality! That's what you get for purchasing a $20 camera. I could Photoshop this, but I'm way too tired after 3 days of driving to care.
This was the coolest part of Salt Lake City. I got to watch the sun rise on the mountains! Up top, you can see where it is illuminated and the rest is still in shadow!
Kerry was asleep for this part so here I am in what looks like snow but is actually salt! No boots and scarves here!
Note that I don't really talk much about Kerry because while I was driving, she mostly napped and listened to her music on her iPod while I listened to my music via the radio, and vice versa. We did occasionally have conversations, but that was difficult. Kerry is deaf in her left ear, so when she's in the passenger's seat, it's difficult for her to hear me without me first alerting her that I'm about to say something so that she can turn her "good" ear towards me. Similarly, from a couple of really bad ear infections due to the shape of my inner ear, I have lost hearing in my left ear, also. Not much, but enough for it to be much easier for me to turn my head, as well, so that I can hear clearly. Combine that with the need to keep the windows open because my air conditioning doesn't work, and you have a disastrous conversation situation (do you see what I did there??)
FINALLY! There was so much cheering!
I drove for most of the day, which was my own decision. I wanted to be the one to actually arrive in the destination, so it didn't even cross my mind to switch with Kerry after my second three hour shift until after I was already driving, which was fine with me. When we finally hit California, there was a lot of cheering. We drove through Tahoe which was GORGEOUS (which also reminded me very much of driving "Up North" to my grandparents' cabin, which is in Hubbard Lake, MI). The mountains were super cool apart from all of the ear popping that occurred from the elevation shifts! We started getting closer and closer to our destination, which made us both a little giddy. We got stuck in traffic twice, but that traffic was NOTHING compared to the traffic we hit in San Francisco. I called Patrick while in the midst of traffic to inform him that I am never driving anywhere in the area ever again. It is definitely not worth the number of Xanax I would have to take so that I wouldn't be shaky and stressed out at the end. The first bit of traffic was stressful because the GPS suddenly decided to inform me that after staying to the left of the highway to continue on I-80 the entire way, we suddenly needed to get over to the right. So in stand-still traffic, I needed to get over three lanes to the right within the next mile. And let me tell you, these people are aggressive. You actually have to cut people off because they will NOT let you in. So when you see a three foot opportunity to start moving in, you do it.
Almost every other sentence out of my mouth during this part was "NO ME GUSTA," which is a phrase I use in Spanish that means, roughly, "I don't like this!"
Mountain tunnels! Also NO ME GUSTA!
To top off the end of our journey, we had to go over two bridges. I hate bridges. The bridge into San Francisco the WORST. I would have to look it up to be sure, but it was probably a good two or three miles of bridge. When we finally got to the apartment, I was shaking from a combination of nerves, excitement, and hunger. We did a lot of greeting and then groaning, arguing over pizza toppings, and finally, relaxing. I met Jackie for a brief amount of time before she had to head off to work, and Beep the kitty-- BeBe for short-- aka my new best friend! Thankfully I haven't had too many allergy issues with her yet, except for when I pet her and my hands start to itch. I'm hoping that, like before, with my past kitties, I will develop an immunity to her. If not, there's always hand washing! Genetics can not stop me from loving ALL the kitties!
My new best friend! I'm such a cat lady. Beep is 16 years old and very chubby. She's also quite the princess!
I'm writing this from the couch in our living room while Kerry scrolls through all of her social medias, Jackie does whatever Jackie does, and Patrick teaches a class remotely from the computer area. I'm probably going to be exhausted for days, but the up side of life is that because California is three hours behind Michigan, I'm already on a decent sleep schedule. As soon as Patrick goes on break for lunch, he's making us waffle sticks for breakfast. Woo!
As excited as I am to start my new journey here in California, everything is very different, and I definitely miss everyone back home. If I'm important enough to you that you're reading this, I probably miss you terribly. I'm definitely going to try to keep this thing updated as frequently as I can so that you all can share in my adventures!