Back in Socal

(Slightly off-center photo above taken proudly by grandson Hudson, using my trusty Fuji mirrorless camera.)

After another marathon three day drive, this time westward, I’m back in Socal. Those driving days are really something – each day has a rhythm that I now understand and can work through. The first three hours are easy. By the end of the second three hours I’m tired and sleepy, and need something to distract me – a phone call, loud(er) music, a great extended NPR story – something. The third 3-4 hours are just an exercise in willpower and staying focused on the goal. It really helps me to have a definite goal/destination/reservation, because otherwise about seven hours in I’d say fuck it, I’m ready to stop. And I would. But my ten hours/day plan worked, I’m happy to say. I’m thankful I only had to do it three days running – each day I was a little more worn out.

I have mixed feelings about this journey. Not either destination, but the drive itself. On one hand hundreds (thousands?) of people do it all the time, aka truckers. So it’s not exactly a monumental human achievement. On the other hand, I’m not young any more and I’m proud that I had the willpower to make the trip. It feels good to have done it, and the journey and the impetus (grandkids) are things I will always remember.

Since returning home, the only notable thing that’s happened is a large leak in our water system. The day after I arrived we noticed water pushing up through the blacktop near the guest house. Not good. After a couple of days of worry and troubleshooting, it looks like that is nothing more than a big root that cracked a two inch PVC irrigation line. It’s getting fixed as I write.

Here are some one-liner thoughts as I mull over memories of the drive west:

  • The simple description of a three-zone country is so accurate. The green zone east of the Mississippi, the Great Plains, and then the western desert. Throw in a mountain or two, and that’s pretty much it.
  • My radar detector was helpful in keeping my anxiety down, but probably not that helpful in actually avoiding tickets. I tended to drive at the speed limit plus 9-10 mph, figuring I wouldn’t get pulled over for that.
  • The BMW’s nav system was super helpful. I now know pretty much all its nuances, and I got a lot of benefit from it both on the open road and in Louisville.
  • T-Mobile’s coverage across the Great Plains is awful. I had long periods with no coverage on a major interstate highway. So much for the “best network”.
  • Costco’s packaged hard boiled, peeled eggs are a great road snack. Same for their dried beef snacks.
  • Who in the hell is Kruangbin? I heard a lot of their music on the road, particularly teamed up with Leon Bridges. I could listen to Texas Sun all day.
  • I also decided I like Tame Impala a lot.
  • The last driving leg into Socal was a real shocker. After 2000 miles of fairly open road, the traffic as I approached Riverside at midday was horrific. Our little part of Socal is peaceful and green, but not far from home – it’s pretty grim. Crowded, hot and desolate.

That’s about it. Happy 4th of July weekend to everyone!


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