Archive for December 17, 2017

It wasn’t easy, but I made it.

December 17, 2017 Leave a comment

Today is Saturday. I got here Wednesday evening and I’m still feeling the drive up. But let’s break down how I got here, timewise:

~ get to bed around 6 pm on Monday, wake up around 11:30 pm, unable to sleep any more. All final packing and loading into the car is done around 2 am.

~ start the drive at 6:30 am on Tuesday, taking side streets through old places I’ve been around for years, just to see them one last time.

~ get to my work at about 7:30 am, get paid out and try to get back on the road, but keep getting stopped by people saying goodbye.

~ leave around 8 am, go in the opposite direction to ask my union about some stuff.

~ leave the union around 8:30 or so because it takes literally five minutes to handle my business there.

~ pop over to the Dunkin Donuts to fulfill a Lish request, and then I get back on the 10. I think this was shortly after 9 am.

~ 10 to the 57 to the 210, 210 out to the 5 north. This is basically where the grind began.

~ not long after getting on the 5, I needed gas. I think the town I stopped in was Santa Clarita? Santa something. Anyway, it was kind of nice for being out in the middle of nowhere.

~ continue up the 5 until about noon. Stop for a lunch break in Bakersfield and marvel at how laid back the people were at the Jack in the Box. The manager was walking around with a fistful of money in plain sight, and they let me and another guy wait about ten minutes to even order food. The food was JitB so whether that’s a good thing is up to you; I normally like it once in awhile but Tuesday was not one of those days.

~ got back on the 5 at around 1 pm, drove until 3 pm and took a break and stopped for gas. Went into the dirtiest Chevron in the entire world and didn’t want to touch anything. As I took a leak, I noticed that among the graffiti etched into the urinal was the immortal phrase “FART BARF” with stylized and matching lettering. It works on so many levels. Bored kid on vacation? Bored tagger that lives somewhere back in those hills of nothingness that line the 5 on both sides? A yelper’s rough draft of their review of this filthy little hut?

~ as an aside from the timeline, it is worth pointing out that the 5 freeway might be the most patience-testing strip of road ever created. It’s a strange thing because the road itself is in pretty good condition and it’s rarely busy to the point of traffic slowing. But in central California and even bits up north, it’s nothing but farmland on either side. No houses or buildings as far as the eye can see, aside from ones related to agriculture. These farms have to employ people. Where do they come from? It’s a billion miles to anything resembling a neighborhood. Maybe they have underground tunnels and mine carts like Temple of Doom. At any rate, it’s just the most unending stretches of nothing, and at times it feels like you aren’t even going forward, but rather that you’re floating. Like driving a car in that Jamiroquai video, maybe. Whatever the case, it’s a strangely empty and vast stretch of land and it felt depressingly isolated. So none of this was helping to make the ride a pleasant one.

~ back in the car after about a fifteen-minute stop, because it was making me itchy just being there. Made it to Sacramento around 5 pm, stopped at a Wal-Mart. Took the world’s most satisfying leak and then decided that sleep might be a good idea. Managed to nod off around 6, using a jacket as a blanket and a folded towel for a pillow. It worked surprisingly well. I’d set an alarm for 9 pm, but woke up a little before that due to the cold weather. Readjusted myself and bumped the alarm up to 11 pm, but by around 10 I gave up on the idea of going back to sleep and decided to get back on the road.

~ hit the 5 again around 10:15 pm, with the notion of making it to Redding before stopping for gas. Wound up stopping prior to that in a town I don’t recall, and a man was eating a fully unpeeled banana as he pumped his gas in the 25ish-degree weather. It made me think of the Mitch Hedberg frozen banana joke. Got back in the car at… I don’t know what time, actually. It was late and I was tired, though.

~ pushed on towards Redding on a stretch of the 5 that is devoid of anything except darkness. I’d been streaming the audio of my trip but had stopped at this point, which was good because I could feel myself becoming fairly dazed and incoherent. White line fever was starting to be a thing, but I made it to Redding, basically one half of the way, by 1 am. I parked in the parking lot of a Super 8 and was going to sleep in the car.

~ About five minutes later, my brain went, “go get a shower and sleep in a bed, you idiot.” So I parked closer to the building and got a room. It was like $90 but honestly if the lady had said $900, I probably wouldn’t have even noticed. Got into the room after some trouble with the card-key thing, and for a 2.5-star place, it was pretty nice. Big bed, everything was clean, and I couldn’t really complain. Sat in their tub for a little bit, then walked into bed and passed out at around 2 am with the alarm set for 8 am. The idea was that this would put me in Seattle sometime in the late evening/early night; later than I had originally intended, but refreshed enough from sleep that I don’t wreck on the way there.

~ Patchy sleep that had me looking at my phone about every hour to confirm that I hadn’t overslept, and I finally just got up at 6. Had a shower, checked out, and hit the road at 6:30. 600 miles to go.

~ The bit of the 5 in the area near Mount Shasta is the opposite from the hundreds of miles that preceded it: it’s actually fun to drive with the curvy roads and there are tons of trees and lakes to look at. I stopped at a gas station in… I think it was called Castella. Nice area, and the air was clean and crisp. This was around 7:30 am.

~ Stopped again about an hour later in Yreka CA to take a leak. The man at the Shell station is an angry fellow. So I used their wifi to publish some mixlr segments. Yreka is super cold and looks like some remote part of Alaska or something; the ground is flat with only a few trees and everything is far apart. I guess up there you can just go “these 90000 acres are mine” because no one else is going to want them.

~ 8:52 am, 12/13/17 – I leave California and cross into Oregon. No fanfare aside from a sign that says “Welcome to Oregon.” I wonder how long it will take to cross this state and continue on, expecting to see nothing but dirt roads and guys who look like the Brawny paper towel dude.

~ 9:30 am comes and I don’t know if it was the lack of proper sleep the day before or if just sitting for so long was taking its toll on my body or what, but I needed to stop often to stretch my legs and give the car a break. The car never gave any indicator that there was any trouble, but I didn’t want to push it. Walked around a Target and it sure was a Target.

~ Oregon is also a fairly dull drive, but there was more civilization built around the 5, so at least there was something to look at. There were also some really weird freeway offramps, one of which I took for what felt like two miles before reaching a side street. As such, getting back on the freeway proved difficult and confusing. Who was the villain that designed this system?

~ pulled over around 11:30 am for gas and the idea of someone pumping your gas just feels weird. Like some kind of pretend rich person thing. But the guy topped me off no problem and off I went. By this point I was really starting to get annoyed at the entire situation, though. My body hurt and I wanted to just stretch out somewhere for a few hours, but if I did that, I couldn’t get into town as early as I liked, and even though I got up earlier than I had planned, it still wasn’t a sure thing that I would be done by the end of the day. Finally, I decided to just keep going and just be annoyed/angry until I got home, then I could deflate 900%.

~ 1:43 pm, I see it:


~ 1:44 pm, I see it:

Red lights for a few miles due to an accident. We’re literally stopped, all three lanes. I see flashing lights on the side of the road. An ambulance? No, a man in a truck, putting down signs that say “WRECK AHEAD” but as we got closer, the wreck was already cleared. Shouldn’t he have been picking up the signs instead of setting them up? What a weird place you are, Oregon.

~ Around 3, I make it to Portland after hours of seeing it becoming closer via mileage signs. I’ve never heard anything bad about the place, but I can confirm that, at least on this day, the traffic was absolutely horrid. At least there were cool bridges to look at everywhere, but where was everyone going? Or not going, as we collectively cosplayed that REM video.

~ There was a billboard proclaiming the world’s classiest truck stop was located at exit 307. I first saw this around exit 125, so hours later, I was eager to see what this was. I was also about to piss my pants. So I hooked off the non-moving 5 freeway and found myself at a 76 station. I’d chosen Chevron stations the whole way up, but 76 was there and so was I, so there we were. The lady noted that the restroom might be out of order. It was. Got my gas and then looked for a place to pee, but doubled back on the road I’d gone down because I could feel myself getting lost. Hopped back on the 5, full of piss and now anger.

~ Crawled on this loop of onramp to return to the 5, and crossed these bridges at 3:45ish, and I was finally in Washington. “You’re almost there” came from multiple places, but that meant *three more hours* of sitting and staying alert when I was already ready to drop. Still, it was nice knowing this torturous grind was almost over.

~ Took a side street that had a sign for a Chervon. Went for what felt like ten minutes before realizing there was no goddamn Chevron on this road. Doubled back and found the 5, then found a rest stop and took the most relieving leak in the history of leaks. This was around 4:10 pm.

~ 6:30ish, I see a sign


~ Just before 7 pm, I pull up to Lish’s place. I unload my stuff, then try to find parking but my brain isn’t processing how it works. Lish came down, hopped in, and helped me find a spot. I feel bad about it because I was legitimately crabby with her and I always try not to be, but she got me settled down when I was getting riled up and we found a spot. I’m always quite happy to see her, but even more so on this day because it meant that I was here and this crazy idea of moving is actually happening, none of which would’ve happened without her input and influence. But also it meant that I was OUT OF THE CAR FINALLY. Oh my holy lord was it nice to not drive after all that driving.~fin~

I don’t actually know the total drive time, I want to say it’s somewhere around 18 hours. But that would mean I spent over 18 hours not driving, since I went from 6:30 am until 6:30 pm the next day, and my brain can’t make the math work out right. Though, this trip had something happen which I’m not used to: a complete blank spot in my memory. The point from which I left the rest stop until the end of the trip, is completely gone. I know it happened because I’m here and I know I streamed it out, so I could go back and listen. But it’s just gone. Perhaps that’s the real white line fever, and I just made it here by relying on homing pigeon instincts to guide me to Snake Lady? Tough to say, but I am glad to be here and to be slowly getting used to things.

There will be more “getting used to things” posts later, but writing about this long drive has actually made me sleepy, so I’m going to go do that. bbl









Categories: Misc.