Twice upon a time I decided to conquer the 3000 miles that lie between the two coasts, in my vehicle; both times involved moving to California from New Jersey. The first time getting there wasn’t that memorable, as it was with my dad and luckily he did almost all of the driving. Thanks, dad; sorry for all the fights we had along the way.
As planned out as my trip was between the booking of the hotels and breaking the trip up into pieces and what not, the details of which you can find here, there were a few things that couldn’t be predicted. We’ll just call them minor inconveniences, pleasant surprises and general observations.
- Getting gas has never been more thrilling…
Aside from the state’s name being terribly butchered (no one fucking calls it New Joysey), New Jersey is semi-famous for their fuel related slogan – We Pump Fists, Not Gas. While the fist pumping activity doesn’t particularly apply to me, I have to say that I got pretty spoiled by the full service gas stations in the course of 5 years of not having to do shit but sit in my car and extend my arm through an open window to pay someone else to do all the work. It’s super convenient. Needless to say, my first time back in the game wasn’t extremely successful. The pump’s latch wasn’t working properly; it kept slipping off the locked position forcing me to manually put it back into “fueling” mode every four seconds. Fuck it, so I’m standing there leaning up against my car, force feeding my baby and day dreaming at the same time. Next thing I know, the gas starts spewing out of the hole and almost all over me. Oops. I jumped back, quickly closed the lid and abandoned the scene of the crime. I pumped and dashed. I didn’t even go back to the cashier to get my change from the too much anticipated cash that I gave the guy to fill my tank.
- Charging and Recharging.
Between gassing up my car and giving juice to my constantly dying phone due to extensive PGS and music usage, most importantly I needed to recharge myself. Coffee was my drug of choice. I downed several 24 ouncers a day. I’m talking like ALL day long. I don’t think there was even a water bottle in sight the entire time, which is unfortunate now that I think about it. I mean… Coffee all day and then almost a six pack of beer at the hotel before bed? That can’t be healthy. Don’t worry though; my fueling didn’t consist of just coffee and alcohol. Some good food made it into the mix as well. For example, this one hotel I was staying at was able to cater to two of my desires, both of which were a pleasant surprise. First came out the scrumptious plate of fried mozzarella that was perfectly made; followed by the bartender asking me if I wanted a free shot because someone already paid for it but neglected to drink it. Um, does a bear shit in the woods? Yes please! Then she proceeds to give me a somewhat inquisitive look saying “It’s Jameson and it’s a double”, like I would be all grossed out by it or something. Little did she know about Jameson’s and mine long lasting love affair. I smile, and bringing my arms forward, I demonstrate the “Gimme” motion. She laughs and pours what resembles more of a triple than a double into a glass and stick a straw in it. “Now it looks like you’re drinking apple juice!” she says to me with a wink.
- Unfinished business.
Two weeks prior to leaving, I put up a whole bunch of things to sell on Craigslist. I gave very extensive descriptions and measurement along with deadlines after which the items would no longer be available. Wouldn’t you know it, most of the phone calls and texts happened after those dates. I even redirected people to my dad, letting them know that I am no longer able to answer any questions as I no longer reside at the place that the items are being kept. STILL, the dumb bitches are bothering me. Why is it always the women with a million and one questions? “Will it fit in my Honda Civic?” I don’t fucking know, lady; why don’t you look at the measurements that I’ve so generously provided or would you rather I do a research on the Civic’s interior and measurements, and submit a detailed report to help you with your Craigslist purchase? “Can you send me the link to your post?” That’s what the search button is for. “I can’t find it.” That’s what the filter button is for. “Ugh, fine. I’ll buy it from somebody else then.” Great! Go fucking do exactly that! Go bother them with your nonsense. What do you think, I’m gonna chase after you, screaming and begging “No, please, I’ll send you the link, just please buy my $15 night stand!!!”? Fuck outta here with that shit.
- Rules of the road.
I like rules. They are set in place to keep us safe. Left lane is for passing; drive the speed limit; use your turn signal – all rules I’m very fond of and actively follow. Two things I observed on this trip that agitated me. Number one involves two gigantic trucks. There were a couple of times that I witnessed them driving literally side by side on a two lane highway, for lengthy amounts of time. First of all, Truck, what the fuck are you doing in the left lane? Pass the vehicle on your right and move the fuck over! Second of all, if your tire explodes or something, cause shit happens, then that’s double the danger you’re putting everyone on the road in. Trucks are harder to maneuver and are known to have caused some serious damage in the past. The other thing that aggravated me incidentally also involves a truck. The speed limit is 75mph. I have my cruise control set to about 77 cause clearly I’m a bad-ass. An 18-wheeler drives up behind me, obviously gets annoyed at my “grandma” speed, passes me on my left and ends up in front of me for a few miles. That’s not the problem. You don’t like the speed I’m driving? Please by all means, go ahead in front of me. The problem begins when my speed is still 77 and I approach you from the back and am therefore am either forced to break so as not to land on your ass or speed up and pass you. What happened here exactly? You sped up just to pass me, just to be in front of me, driving slower than the speed that just minutes ago you were so unhappy with? What the fuck? That makes no sense. This didn’t happen just once either; it happened quite a few times.
- Driving can be both exhausting and relaxing.
Most of the driving takes place on a highway with an approximately 75mph speed limit. I drive a 1999 VW Passat and I’m happy to say that it has cruise control. Unfortunately for me and my poor tired shin from all the “pedaling”, I didn’t find out that it has it until day 3. True, driving a car is not like riding a bicycle in a sense of pedaling and how tired your legs get because of it… But believe me, repeating the motion of up and down with your foot for 11 hours will leave a mark. So okay, the first half of the trip was somewhat boring and uncomfortable. Not much to say about Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Indiana or Ohio… But once I left the rainy Oklahoma, the next two days were a breeze filled with cruise control and gorgeous weather. Driving through New Mexico, Texas and Arizona was my absolute favorite – windows down, sun shining, music blasting and nothing before you but an open road underneath a bright blue sky.
Overall the trip was a success. The car didn’t break; nothing was stolen. The hotels were fairly decent and affordable averaging about 65 bucks a night between the three. Although one of the hotels had an urgent care center in the same parking lot, which freaked me out a little bit. Who knows what kind of shit goes down there for that to be a necessity… Another hotel basically forced me to order pizza because nobody else would deliver. I tried using GrubHub to broaden my search options and their website literally told me to move to a better location if I want their services. But yeah, all in all, it was a pretty good trip. Would I do it again? Maybe. Not anytime soon though.