We got into San Francisco on Friday. I had planned to update the blog throughout our trip, but I didn’t quite take into account that 13 hour days on the road might leave me a bit sleep deprived and exhausted beyond writing capability. Sorry about that! So – I’ll do my best to fill you in on the highlights of our trip.
Day 1: Winston-Salem to Marion, Illinois – I drove my little Honda Civic filled to the brim with our stuff, Biscuit, and Socrates to Nashville, Tennessee to meet up with Pat where he’d been visiting his brother, Cam. Cam came along to help us get the U-Haul auto trailer hooked up to Pat’s truck. After getting the car hooked up, we drove to Marion, Illinois where we spent our first night.
- The best parts of this day included: getting to see Cam; finding an incredibly life-like Dolly Parton cardboard cutout at a rest stop in TN; and the cleanliness of the Holiday Inn Express where we stayed.
- The worst parts of this day included: getting that trailer hitched up (it was so nerve-wracking!) and getting set up in a hotel for the first time with pets which took way more energy than I initially expected.
Day 2: Marion, Illinois to Oakley, Kansas – I drove the truck and trailer set-up for the first time today! At first, it was really nerve-wracking, but after the first 30 minutes or so, I got comfortable. We drove through Missouri and Kansas this day – both of which seemed like really wide states. Kansas was so much prettier than I expected. We drove through the Great Plains which, for some reason, I expected to be a flat, dry land. Instead, it was lush and green with small hills.
- The best parts of this day included: discovering Kansas is such a green and beautiful state; learning how to drive a truck/trailer combo; watching Biscuit snuggle up to Socrates’ cat carrier in the car.
- The worst parts of this day included: the hotel where we stayed in Oakley, KS was across the street from a chicken plant…if you’ve never smelled a chicken plant before, you are one lucky duck; while Kansas was beautiful – it is one long state and I got pretty bored after a while (I actually think I came a bit delirious towards the end…I asked Pat when we were going to be done driving through Texas…whoops!) .
- Most embarrassing moment of the day/trip: I was so excited to cross the Mississippi River. Well into Kansas, I asked Pat if he remembered crossing it because I had never seen us go across. He looked at me like I was a little crazy, and said, “yeah, remember when we went through St. Louis and we went across that big bridge?” And I looked at him – remembering this bridge, and honestly (this is the East Coast girl coming out in me), I thought to myself, “I thought that was the ocean.” Okay, okay, obviously a dumb moment on my part – but it was just more of an automatic response coming from living so near to the beach for most of my life and never having see the Mississippi. Nevertheless, I don’t think Pat will ever let me live that down.
Day 3: Oakley, Kansas to Monticello, Utah – We finally made it through Kansas and on to Colorado. Colorado was so interesting, because you never really drive up a giant incline – it’s very gradual, so before you know it, you’re in Denver and at 5,000 ft. in elevation but it’s like you don’t even remember gaining that ground. Colorado is a very sneaky state! This was probably my favorite day – Colorado and Utah were both so pretty and so different than anything on the East Coast. I especially loved Utah – the whole time I kept telling Pat I felt like I was in a Wild West movie. (I actually told Pat that I felt like I was in the movie True Grit and he so kindly informed me that True Grit was actually filmed in Arkansas – whoops! Ha.)
- The best parts of this day included: driving through the Rocky Mountains and the canyons in Colorado; driving through the desert in Utah and seeing real, live mesas; finding a little cafe in Monticello, UT where I had the most delicious meal of my trip (Southwestern grilled chicken sandwich with avocado and bacon – mmm…); driving into Navajo Nation.
- The worst parts of this day included: getting stuck in a traffic jam in the Rockies; Pat driving for like 6 hours straight and not stopping for me to use the bathroom (aaahh! a test of my bladder…); having to stop at Papa Joe’s gas station in the middle of the desert where they rip you off because it’s the only station for 100 miles (we paid $5.75/gallon – ergh).
Day 4: Monticello, Utah to Barstow, California – We went to the Grand Canyon today! We were debating about going to the North Rim versus the South Rim because we’d heard that the South Rim is so overcrowded. On the downside, the North Rim was about 1.5 hours out of our way. So, we went to the South Rim and it wasn’t actually that crowded at all. We took some sweet pics with Biscuit and drove through the park. We weren’t able to hike around at all since we didn’t want to leave little Socky in the car for more than 20 minutes in the heat, but perhaps we’ll save that for another visit. We finally made it into California on Thursday evening and into our cozy room at the Hampton Inn. Pat went and grabbed dinner for us while I got the pets settled in for our last night in a hotel.
- The best parts of this day included: seeing the Grand Canyon, driving through Utah in the early morning, finally making it to California.
- The worst parts of this day included: driving from Flagstaff, AZ to Barstow, CA – it was desert the entire way which was entertaining for the first 20 minutes…and then just boring.
Day 5: Barstow, CA to San Francisco, CA – We finally made it! We spent the first 7 hours of the day driving through California’s Central Valley. This area is where so much of the food in the US is produced and we saw tractor-trailers full of onions and tomatoes (just piled into a giant container – loose!) for most of the way. I always knew that much of the food in the US was produced in this region, but to see it up close, felt pretty neat. We passed pistachio groves, orange and tangerine groves, a raisin plant, grape vineyards, dairy and cattle farms, berry fields – you name it, we probably passed it. We got into Oakland around 2:30pm where we dropped off the U-Haul trailer and then headed to a friend’s house where we are storing some belongings for the time being. After unloading everything, we pulled out of Oakland around 4:30pm. But our day wasn’t over yet! We drove to Fairfield, CA (about an hour north of the city) to sell Pat’s car. This had been part of our plan all along (we don’t need two cars in SF), but it was still a little sad because Pat loved that truck. Around 8:30pm, we left the car dealership and drove into the city to our apartment. Yippee! Our place was spotless when we arrived and the best part was that I had a welcome package waiting on the doorstep for me from my dear friend, Rachel. We were pretty pumped with adrenaline at this point, and so we stayed up unpacking until about midnight when we finally crashed into bed.
- The best parts of this day included: seeing the tomato trucks on I-5, getting into our apartment, having a welcome gift waiting on the doorstep for me, sleeping in our own bed for the first time in a week.
- The worst parts of this day included: driving in 5:00pm traffic from Oakland to Fairfield (a 37 mile trip took us 1.5 hours), selling Pat’s truck (sadness!), unloading our stuff in Oakland and then again at our apartment (who likes carrying heavy things?).
So, this week, I’m working on getting settled into real life here. Stay posted…