Saturday, May 26, 2012

California Dreamin': Day 1 -- Radar Love.

"I've been drivin' all night, my hand's wet on the wheel..."
Where: Vancouver, BC -- Williams, CA.
Total distance traveled: 1,331 km.
Time spent on the road: 15 hours.
Utterly random thoughts (plenty of time to think about random stuff when one is driving solo on the road): California tap water tastes funny.

As I am typing this right now, I am sitting in a motel somewhere in the middle of California after having been driving for 15 hours straight. The driving was surprisingly manageable and easy for me -- I did it solely with a pack of kit-kats, lots of water and the occasional 5-minute break in between. And yes -- no coffee. This could have been a lot worse -- the night before I was hoping to get to bed by 9pm and wake up at 5 to have enough energy for said long drive. However, when 10 rolled around I was still frantically doing last minute packing (ie. "Where is my shaver, shampoo, passport, money, etc. etc.") By the time I made it to bed by 11, I hoped to spend the next 6 hours with some quality sleep, as broken down as follows:

1/2 hour spent on texting farewell messages to friends ("I am going to California... You're not. Bye!")
1/2 hour spent staring blankly into the ceiling.
1 hour spent tossing around the bed.
1/2 hour spent flipping the pillow around, because tossing around the bed didn't have the effect I was hoping for.
And then about 5 hours of actual sleeping.

Last time I did a similar trip like this, I couldn't even sleep at all and as a result, a drive that normally takes people 13 hours took me 15 and a half to drive there. This time though, I departed Vancouver at 6 in the morning and got to the California border by 5pm. With the sun still up, I drove until about 9pm and called it a day.

Driving solo is all kinds of awesome. You can play whatever music you want to play, you can drive as fast as you want (ie. not that fast -- Oregon and Northern California are littered with Highway Patrols officers with funny-looking cowboy hats), and you can just make a mess in the car with kit-kat wrappers and no one will give a damn. Nothing in life is better than being able to roll down all windows and sunroof, going down an Interstate highway while blasting "Highway to Hell" on the stereo.

You can also eat whatever you like (although on the highways usually your choices evolve around fast food) -- in my case though, my hopes of finding a Jack in the Box in Oregon has utterly failed resulting me to go with the most disgusting Baconator at Wendy's I've ever tasted in my life. That fat-dripping beast of a burger stayed in my gut for most of the day. (note to self: when asked what size I would like in an American fast food restaurant, remember that American small = Canadian medium; American medium = Canadian medium x 3).

The weather was all kinds of interesting too. From Washington's overcast to sunny to Oregon's sunny to sheer fog and rain to Northern California's rain to sunny again. The rain certainly helped with some of the splattered bugs on the windshield of my car too.

Overall, the drive on the first day was everything that I imagined -- the true taste of freedom.

At the Siskiyou summit, Oregon, while barely able to see anything on the road.

The following two and a half weeks will have me traveling to most major cities in California -- San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego. I will also be visiting some ghost towns and national parks in the California desert, before making it to Reno, Nevada on the way back to the land of Canadia. With all this free time, I am hoping to get my blogging legs running again... But then, this is not the first time I've said it so...

Next stop: San Francisco, California.

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