Okay, so I promise nightly updates, but after driving 10 or 12 hours a day, and through four time zones in four days… it couldn’t happen. On top of that Wayfair sent ALL of my furniture to North Carolina instead of my house in LA. After three calls and redirects it is supposed to arrive Monday or Tuesday. They also gave me a refund of $160 and when the old items arrive I can sell them or give them away. Because of all of that I have had a mattress and everything I own sprayed out round it. It has given me mild anxiety, and I did not even open my laptop until two weeks ago. So, now to get some release and focus I am at a coffee shop in Silverlake to type to you about my completely amazing experience.
To start out on the migraine front… LA has changed my quality of life. I now know how it feels to be a “normal” person and not spending a lot of time inside or in my bed… or at the Emergency Room. Before I was using two boxes of tissues a month. In a week I have only used three tissues. I can breathe well, so I can sleep well. I am not even taking Klonopin in the morning anymore! My entire day is headache free and I am awake all day, and sleeping deeper than I have in ten years without having to get massive amounts of medication at the hospital. OK, cool.
So, the move. I am not exaggerating when I say that it was the most amazing experience in 38 years of my life. It felt better than anytime I graduated from a school or got a new job. I cannot advocate enough how much you should do a cross country trip by yourself if you have the opportunity! It really doesn’t seem like you are in the car for over 40 hours in four days because there always random and notable places to stop. By the way, my pictures are posted on my instagram page by the day I traveled. I left North Carolina later than I planned to because I overpacked my Yaris and had to make space to see outside the back of the car. So, a lot of stuff I wanted to bring like photo albums and some clothes were left, but will eventually be shipped to me. After it was finally arranged (it took almost two hours, I went to breakfast with my mom (my dad is NOT happy that I moved across the country even though my health with be better…). So, I ended up leaving almost four hours later than planned. I will not lie, the first day, a Tuesday was uneventful. I lived in Nashville for a year, and I have lived or traveled all over North Carolina, so it was old territory for the first six hours. My car gets amazing gas milage and to fill up was only around $25 every five-ish hours. Overall the entire trip probably cost me at the most $400 in gas and $120 for three nights of hotels (shout out to Hotels.com). That day I finally pulled over in Memphis in time to order food and watch This Is Us. I’m a sucker for that show. The only complaint that I had about Memphis is the light traffic because it was around rush hour. The hotel (I won’t say the chain’s name) was a non-smoking room, but the stench left over from when it was a smoking room was so strong that the bag of clothes I took for my drive smelled like old cigarettes for my entire trip.
The second day I traveled through Arkansas, which I found to be an ugly state (sorry if you live there). Then through Oklahoma. It was actually very beautiful, very flat, and any random town that I drove through looks like it could have been the inspiration for the movie “Footloose”. I ended my day just outside of Oklahoma about twenty miles into Texas. It was Shamrock, Texas. To my surprise it was actually on Route 66 and home of one of the places that was mentioned on places you must see off of I-40. It was an old gas station/restaurant that was preserved, but not in service. I decided to take a cool picture, then find a place to eat. Since I was in Texas I decided to eat Mexican food. There was one restaurant, and it was in no way authentic. It even had a broken fountain/sculpture (I did not add that picture, but if you want to see it, let me know and I will post it. The food was actually good. Let me describe the town of Shamrock, Texas. The best way to portray the town is that it was similar to a town you would see on “60 Mins” or “Dateline” as one of the cities that has been hit majorly by the opioid crisis. You could tell that the city was once really nice a few decades ago, and a place you should visit, but everything about the time was ironic. I stayed at a local motel, and because the state of the town it was only $40 for the night. The Shamrock Inn was surprisingly VERY nice. The room was better than the one I got at the major chain the night before. They even gave you free drinks in your room, and modern electronics and USB ports provided. The only thing that caused me some worries is that there was not a deadbolt on the door. The city was very safe though, and I slept very well after a night of wine and TV to unwind from my drive. I would recommend staying there as a stopping point for a night, but not a must see place to take the time to get off your route for.
The next day I obviously started off in Texas and was just outside of the place that I actually wanted to see… the Cadillac Ranch. Okay, so, you can see the pictures and they are pretty cool. The only thing that I realized was that Texas apparently gets cold. And it is cold AND windy at 6:30am. Like really cold, below 50 degrees. So, if you want to visit I suggest midday or in the afternoon because I literally ran past the gate, took two pictures and then ran back to my car. Even though I had on a cardigan and shorts, it was not enough. I wished that I could have looked at the details more. If you are not familiar with the Cadillac Ranch it is 6 or so cars sitting on their trunk areas raised in the air with tons of spray paint and tagging. After leaving there I eventually got to where I wanted to stop in Arizona after speeding through New Mexico with a stop for food and an eye break in Albuquerque. The mesas are beautiful! I eventually got to my stopping point in Winslow, AZ which I was SUPER amped to go to! I love The Eagles, and had to stop and take pictures, get post cards for friends (I still haven’t sent them) and my dad a mousepad for his birthday, which is next week (and I still haven’t mailed it). I think that I have officially caught the California chill vibe. LOL. After getting a hotel room I went to bed really early to get up at 4:30am to drive to The Grand Canyon in time for sunrise the next morning.
So, I undershot the time that I should have left to get there exactly at sunrise. If you plan to get there that early be aware that it is not a short drive off of I-40. After exiting I-40 there is one two lane local road that leads to the park. And there is NOTHING to look at or a gas station until you are about a mile from the gate. So, gas up because I didn’t and when I exited the park I had to pay $5 a gallon because my gas light was on, and I would have never made it back to I-40. Also, I learned upon ordering at the McDonald’s next to it that location can set their own prices. My breakfast meal was $16. I almost shit on myself and repeatedly questioned the cashier, “Is that correct?” Then she explained the reason for the cost. Another thing to know before you enter the park to the Grand Canyon is that it costs $35 to enter. So, unless you never plan on going again, or want to camp there or see the museums or hike… now you know. I coughed up the money just so I could get pictures at dawn because I did not make it at sunrise. It was still breathtaking anyway and I got beautiful photos and videos. I highly suggest going for sunrise/dawn. Also, plan on taking a jacket or sweater… even in September. Around the time that I was leaving the park my coolant light continuously flickered on and off so luckily I found a station that added more coolant for free. The final leg of my trip was getting to my new home in LA. It took longer than expected because there were a lot of lane closures, but the traffic was not bad.
The takeaway from my trip. Like I said it was amazing, and I am so glad that I did it alone for many reasons. After the past few years I was ready to be just on my own like I had been for years before I got sick. Another reason is that I was able to because I am not married/dating anyone and I don’t have children. This is in one way a luxury that those who do have both or one of those things would have a different experience. I was able to decide where to go and when to stop. I wasn’t limited or had to conform to a child’s timeline/patience. Also, I never know if I will have the opportunity again. A year from now I could be in a relationship and I may be in a completely different place in my life. If I would have told my 18, 22, or even 30 year old self that I would be doing this and be live in LA… I would have never believed it. I didn’t even know until four months ago that it was not only an option for me or how much I would love it. Until then I was dead set on moving to New York. I was getting so frustrated trying to make it there and at the time I did not know why things were not working out or were so difficult. When my finances unexpectedly changed I had the option to move to LA, and everything was so seamless. Within a weekend I visited for the weekend with my friends, I found a place to live, and then three weeks later… here I am! I have always believed that things happen the way for a reason, and the past few years have definitely tested my patience, but in the end my experience made this life change so much more gratifying. It’s also pretty nice to be able to wear a sundress in October, but I will miss all of my cozy sweaters and jackets. I bought a few tickets to music shows and comedy shows to get out, and see all of the things that only happen here that I have always wanted to see. The only thing that is missing, and I know that it has only been a little over a week, is friends. I plan on volunteering and doing temp work, and applied for a meet up group, so hopefully that will help out. My housemates are great, so that makes it even better.
For now I will listen to more Spotify, drink my third cup of coffee outside in the 72 degree weather from outside of a coffee shop. I’m even considering writing a book about my move! Incase you haven’t figured out this east coast lady has gone full on best coast. I love LA.