Sunday, June 22, 2014

New Jersey to California in many, many instants

So, I sold my house, and I'm moving to California.

The main thing about this switch is that I'm giving up the east coast for the west coast.  I love Philly and New Jersey, and even when I'm not there, I'm within driving distance, but all that is changing.

I've done Orlando to Los Angeles in three 15 hour days.  It's possible, although crossing Texas itself was a 15 hour day.  I don't want to do that again, not really.  I don't really like to fly because you can't pull the plane over to take photos or eat somewhere special.

So, this time, I'm trying to take everything into consideration.

Actually, the closing on my house was the 6th of June, two Fridays ago.  I immediately drove to Manasquan, New Jersey where I rented a motel room for 6 days.  When I arrived on Saturday, the beach was packed.  I couldn't even park.  Sunday, the parking machines weren't accepting cards.  Monday, it stormed like crazy and it drizzled the rest of the week until I left on Friday.

I went to Orlando for Saturday and Sunday.  Sure, it's 1100 miles but that's not a big deal (except for Washington, DC traffic) if you'll never see it again.  I have a family of dear friends there.  They're probably the last people on earth I really want to see.  They were close when times were bad and they helped when I couldn't help myself.

After a really good weekend there, I went back to New Jersey for a couple of days.  I had something in the mail.  Then, I headed out, back to Pennsylvania, and I took a detour to Cumberland, Maryland, thinking that a Madonna of the Trail statue was there.  I was wrong.  It was at Bethesda, near DC, and I wasn't going there for anything.  However, the marker for the origin of the National Road was there.

I've traveled the National Road in all of the states where it exists, both as US Highway 40 and US Highway 66/I-40.  Plus, this gave me a bit of history to pass on to my followers on Instagram, who live along U.S. 40.

I took I-68 from Cumberland into West Virginia, and met I-79 from Western Pennsylvania, and that led me to I-64, which took me all over the place, but finally into Illinois to meet I-57, apparently US Highway 66's successor.

That took me to I-55, and then, I-40 into Arkansas, which is where I am at the moment.  I'm photographing a newly-married couple in Oklahoma City, as a friendly, casual kind of photoshoot.  Hopefully, it will be good and not stressful and demanding.  (It worked relatively fine.)

After Oklahoma City, I just need to set the auto pilot controls and head to California.

It's somewhat amusing that I've had my 2012 VW Golf TDI about 1.5 years and put 32,000+ miles on it already.  It had 5000+ on it when I bought it as a demonstrator.  The computer is telling me that I have about 3000 miles until the next service is due, and I only had the previous one a couple of months ago.

Oh, and if you go 90 mph, you only get about 25 mpg, even though it's diesel-powered.

There are a couple of things on the way.  I'd like to stop at Plaza Cafe in Gallup, New Mexico (it may be 10 hours from Oklahoma City, an easy drive) for a nice breakfast, and there is place with a motel, restaurant, and filling station somewhere in the California desert--Roy's Motel or something like that.  It looks halfway abandoned but it should be interesting to photograph.  Apparently, the people who created Asphalt 8 used the design for something in their Nevada track.

I'm supposed to tell my singer/songwriter friend from Burbank, California when I've returned.  My buddy from San Jose knows that I'm going to be about 50 miles away, but I haven't heard from him lately.  The weird thing is that I don't know how to feel about starting fresh--really fresh.

Obviously, my time zone will change.  Work will change.  Food will change.  I need to have my car windows tinted to avoid the desert sun's effects.  I won't be close enough to San Jose to just pop over there, but it won't be an extreme drive.  Traffic will be heavy but there are trains during the week.  There is an alternative route with a bus to San Francisco that also uses BART trains.

I had to throw/give away a lot of things.  I'll probably be looking for them because something else will depend on them.  I will have done something wrong, and I really won't have time to care.  It will be a new life.

I look forward to the ability to attain and sustain...again.  I look forward to attacking goals and challenges with intellect and efficiency.  Most of all, I look forward to a peaceful life for the first time since I was a small child, for however long or little it will last.

Update 2014.06.27: Well, this is interesting.  I checked Twitter today, and my singer/songwriter friend is in New York City to perform as part of a group on various TV talk shows.  I'm guessing that he has been rather focused on that.  The buddy from the SF Bay Area is likely in the Galapagos Islands at the moment on a photographic adventure.

I made it from Barstow to Lathrop, along state roads 58 and 99, in about 5 hours, which is good, especially since traffic was a bit crazy at times with lane closures and stupidity.

Starting fresh will be interesting.  I'm close to 42,000 miles so I'll need to have my 40,000 service performed soon, even though it's not quite 10,000 miles since the 30,000 mile service, although that was only about 2 months ago.  I must have driven quite a lot.

Traffic in all states is interesting.  I'm always amazed at how many people like to inhabit the passing lane, no matter what.  It's interesting to see how few people use their mirrors.  When I first moved to Philly, the people sponsoring the aid trucks on the highway reminded people to use their mirrors.  I thought that this was ridiculous, but people did not look, which is shocking.  How do you determine where things are, if you're not looking?  (Of course, that reminds me of a co-worker who was parked in the parking garage, next to a post.  She slammed into the post 3 times when leaving work, if I remember correctly, and needed major work on the passenger-side door by the time she had finished.)

Driving along California's state roads is pretty good.  I suppose it all depends on how developed the state is.  Some states even have bad federally-funded roads.  Of course, dealing with mountains and canyons presents all sorts of interesting issues with proper road design and physics.  Good tires help a lot.  I didn't drive Pacheco Pass Highway today, but SR 99 presented some fun.

Update 2014.06.28: It's a pleasure to be able to not travel.  It's not as though I'm not going anywhere, but I'm limiting travel in order to look for houses.  Having a place to live is certainly more important than taking frivolous trips at this point.

Update 2014.06.30: Got some information today.  Even if you can pay a whole year of rent and the deposit, people don't want to rent to you, if you don't have a job.  That seems odd.  You'd think that they would be pleased to not have to think about where the next year's income would be.  Apparently, it is difficult to boot someone out in California, so the realtor's argument was "What do they do when you don't have money for the second year?"  I'm not even sure I would want to rent the same place for two years, regardless of money.  This is definitely a kink in the hose--there is nothing flowing.

I'd also like to say that it has been an amazing opportunity to see so much of the U.S.A., even if much of it was done at 70 mph.  As a child, I had been across the country several times, in a 1960 VW Beetle, imported from Germany to Japan, then taken with us to the U.S.A.  My adoptive dad drove us from San Jose, California to Richmond, Indiana across many different roads, prior to the Interstate Highway System that exists today.   Obviously, we didn't take that Beetle 70 mph, but it made it through the snow when vehicles from Buick and Mercury were on the side of the road, spinning their tires.

I only wish that I had a GoPro or other such camera to record a lot of where I went.  It might have even made an interesting time lapse recording.

I've noticed one thing being here in Northern California, especially with the temperature being quite high, and rather excessive stop-and-go traffic flow, my miles per gallon have often dropped just below 30 around town.  I never had that experience in the past, even in summer.  Then again, it was 106 degrees F today and I've had the air conditioning on almost all the time the car is running.  I don't sit at stop lights all that long, but it seems as though I sit at more stop lights--there is no extended flow.  They are very efficient at moving cars from any direction.

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