There has been no one life experience that compares to my drive from Connecticut to California… In the VW Golf… with my two 100 pound dogs. I did not think it was possible, even for my crazy multi-personality self, to experience quite so many emotions in such a short period of time!
Realistically, it was not a good idea for me to plan on documenting that trip on a daily basis. It was far too hectic between having to stop for a doggy pee break every two hours and scrambling to find safe hotels that allowed my fur children each night. Plus seeing the sights along the way! I crept in and out of different hotels late at night (usually through a back door) with my dogs, who barked at just about everyone lol. It was both the most exhausting and the most exciting thing on earth. I had never left Connecticut without the physical and emotional support of someone else and driving across the country was a huge deal for me. So I will share a few things about it:
1. New Mexico is the scariest place on earth. The vibes were bad, the spontaneous storms were terrifying, I drove through what appeared to be the Manhattan Project, and I am pretty sure I spent more than 90% of my time in that state on the phone with my best friend seeking comfort.
2. I never want to see funnel clouds again. Ever.
3. Route 666 aka “the devils highway” is no joke, just don’t drive it. I witnessed a murder on the side of the road, blood everywhere, and get this- there was no car involved. Holy. Crap.
4. Don’t go to Vegas alone, it is a totally depressing experience. I even stayed at the Bellagio and saw Kobe Bryant. But. I wished desperately to have someone to share it with.
5. The same advice applies to Nevada heading to CA. Just don’t drive it alone. People were following me and asking odd and invasive questions every time I stopped off somewhere. Nevada had similar dark vibes, just like NM.
6. Death Valley is when things started getting shit-your-pants scary. The dogs started snapping and snarling at each other, out of nowhere, and I had no cell service for nearly 4 hours. The roads were similar to the “Heavenly Road to Hana”, but without the beauty or comfort of the jungle. At least that is how I felt at 2 am when I drove through!
7. Yosemite and the Sequoia National Park are probably the most beautiful places I have ever seen on the mainland. When you think of giant redwood trees that you could drive a car through, you’re thinking of Sequoia.
8. The grand canyon was breathtaking…. But it felt super creepy in every town that surrounded it. I even drove through tribal lands that had cameras and gates everywhere- even though the road was a public highway. I felt like I was being watched… think “The Hills Have Eyes” sort of watched.
9. Graceland was not as glamorous as I thought it would be and I had no idea that it was quite inaccessible?
10. I am totally ready to make that road trip again.
The total trip took about 10 days. I went through 9 audio books, some of which I will have to share- because they were awesome. George Orwell’s 1984; Jenny Lawson’s Let’s Pretend This Never Happened; Tina Fey’s Bossypants; Michael Newton’s Destiny of Souls and Journey of Souls. All were phenomenal books and Jenny Lawson was a perfect fit for my drive through Tennessee.
Putting my dogs on a plane was one of the most difficult things I have ever had to do. I was a total wreck and wished for someone to tell me they would just be ok. Well, in all fairness, the baggage claim guy hugged me several times and told me he would escort them to the plane himself. He was really trying hard to comfort me and I was grateful for it.
Arriving in Honolulu was…well…an incredible mixture of relief, comfort, sadness, and grief.
When I walked out of the airport that day, it only conjured up thoughts of how we had spent the last summer in Hawaii and the happiness (and wholeness) that accompanied it. I *knew* with a certainty that it was my home and I bawled upon arrival.