Sunday I was furiously packing and giving away things and saying goodbye to people until 5, had dinner with Rob and then drove to my parent's house in Columbus OH to say farewell to family and neighbors.
Monday morning (yes, I was actually awake in the AM) I took off west on I70. 300 miles later I did the first big refueling, and overfilled the tank, spilling some gas on the ground. This was to be a trend for the rest of the trip. The other thing that stood out was that it was amazingly windy, like hard-to-walk-in-a-straight-line kinda windy.
10 miles later it rained a little, which was the last weather I was to see for a while.
Next, I aparently decided to get the speeding ticket part of the trip over with, since I was pulled over by a Indiana State Trooper just outside Indianapolis. I was going 63 in a 55. Glad I could help him get his quota. I didn't stop for lunch until I was into Illinois. Illinois was otherwise dull.
The next interesting bit was St. Louis, which I got to at just around 5pm. Oops. I nearly rear-ended someone while rubbernecking at the Arch. Chris Nelson had previosly warned me about St. Louis being confusing, and I must say the signs could have been done much better. He gave me the particular advice that "you need to stay in the left lane". I'm not sure at what point that should have applied, but I made it thru the city ok. On the way out of town, the left lane was going 80. Why couldn't Indianapolis have been like this?
Later in Missouri, spilled the gas again when I got my second fill-up. I got over 400 miles on the previous tank. Yay for good mileage. Stayed at Days Inn. It was kinda expensive for how cheesy it was.
Tuesday: breakfast at Mickey D's, mmmmmmmmackbarfpuke. Driving into Tulsa, I saw a huge building with "Tulsa Scottish Rite Masons" emblazoned across the front. I guess those masons have a lot of money.
One odd sign I saw a number of times in Oklahoma was "Do not drive into smoke". Only Oklahoma had these. I guess other states don't have smoke, or else the people in other states are smart enough not to drive into it. Hmmm.
Also in Oklahoma: I heard on the radio "... gun giveaway! Be sure to bring your old gun so you can buy, sell or trade!" Whacky.
As soon as I crossed into Texas, a single tumbleweed rolled across the highway right in front of me.
Dinner at Denny's in Tucumcari, New Mexico. It's fun to say that name... tucumcari tucumcari tucumcari. After that it got real exciting. Starting about 10 miles outside Albequerque, I40 turns into a giant downhill ramp running until the other side of the city. Pretty much everyone was zooming down it goin about 75. Ok, maybe only the left lane was zooming. But I was in the left lane. I've decided I really like Albequerque.
Unfortunately, I was having so much fun that I zoomed all the way thru Albequerque without stopping to get gas. Even more unfortunately, there are no gas stations for like 50 miles after Albequerque, and I didn't realize that my gas guage was on empty until much too late. It was at about this point that I wished I had actually gotten a cellular phone to have along on the trip. So I'm standing on the side of I40, 30 miles outside of Albequerque, at 11pm, trying to get someone to stop. Fun! About the 12th car actually did stop, and the driver's name was Don. He gave me a ride to the nearest bastion of civilization, which was a gas station 20 miles further down the road. From there, I called AAA, and then talked to this guy named Alfred who was working at the gas station. After a while I realized that it was only 11 or so in California, so I called Eric at Catapult and talked to him and Jon for 20 minutes or so. After a while the AAA guy came and took me back to my car and got me going again. Then I had to drive the 20 miles back (well, forward) to the gas station to get more gas, since the AAA guy only gave me a gallon. That was pretty stressful, since I was scared I was gonna run out of gas again before I got to the gas station. AAAAAAA! I made it there fine, tho, and then drove 30 more miles to the next motel.
For the remainder of the trip, I got gas about every 100 miles or so. The clerks kept being surprised that I was only buying about $3 worth of gas.
For lunch on Wednesday, I stopped in Winslow, where they also had a World Cup Soccer pinball game that was much less broken than the one in Skibo'. Also, there weren't many other games around all making noise, so I heard many sound effects that I had never heard before. It was pretty cool. I played pretty well, too, got 3 extra games while paying for 5 (the standard $2 dealy).
At another gas station later that day, I saw one of the customers who had gone thru the gas station that I had waited at for AAA. I didn't really hear anything he said the first time, but the second time I overheard him ask "you gotta wear a motorcycle helmet in this state?" (he was driving a pickup with a motorcycle in the back). At this same gas station, I also managed to spill gas all over my right hand and leg. Mmmmm, the lovely smell of gasoline for the rest of the day.
Alternative Description of Wednesday:
Morning: desert. mmmm, pretty.
Afternoon: mountains. mmmm, pretty.
Evening: desert... AND mountains! too bad about the driving-head-on-into-the-sunset stuff.
The 3-hour stretch Needles to Barstow, driven at night, has to be the most boring place in the universe.
Thursday, I drove on some more interesting, non-interstate roads. In the morning there were more mountains, and it was snowing. coming back down from the mountains was cool, especially passing thru the line where suddenly it wasn't snowing anymore and the ground wasn't white either.
On CA 46, I passed an orange farm that went on for a couple miles. I couldn't really tell how deap the rows were, but I figure there were around 1000 columns, so if each of rows was 200 trees long (which seemed liked, the trees went back as far as I could see), then there were 200,000 orange trees there. There weren't any oranges on the trees when I went past, but if each tree had 100 oranges on it (which is probably low), then the whole orchard would have 20 million oranges. That's a lot of oranges.
Highway 101 was pretty cool too. The surrounding hills were mostly covered in green, but there were a lot of areas especially on the steep parts where the green stuff was all missing and the dirt underneath showed thru. it was a cool visual effect.
When I got to Cupertino, I got out my offer letter and Catapult's address on Stevens Creek, and drove around a little 'til I found the place. I would have had a harder time if I hadn't been here visiting in January. I arrived in plenty of time for the Thursday dinner. Total milage: 2847.
Speaking of Thursday dinner, the food just arrived...