Thank Yous

Well, seeing as it’s after 4am and I can’t sleep, I thought I would finally write a chronicle. 🙂 I’ve been pretty freaking busy and haven’t had much time lately to much, so, this one promises to be pretty freaking long.
Before I begin, I need to give “shout outs” to several people (who, because of recognition and fame) who came to Paul and I’s rescue this week. You see, we finally got approved for our apartment this week. Now, the exciting thing for both of us (well, probably more so me than him) was that we didn’t need a co-signer (something I had feared due to bad credit habits in my tumultuous youth), but the deposit ended up being first months rent NOT just the meager 300 dollars as promised (well including the 300). Several people came to our aid to make sure that we (not I, bad habit to get rid of) got moved in this weekend. So, hugs and kisses and yes my first born child will be named after you guys. 🙂
If you are curious, we are getting “The Penderbrook” and the bedroom to your left is ours while the bedroom to the right is the server room. Paul is excited about the god damned (*g*) space for HDTV and I have become Martha Stewart — ph33r.
On that note, I’m going to start at the beginning and carry you faithful reader up to now as surely a month has past since I’ve written — and I’ve only jotted down notes to keep those of you bugging me for info at bay.
The Drive
total miles: 4011.2
states driven in: CA, AZ, NM, TX, MS, LA, AL, GA, SC, NC, VA
total time driving: 5.5 days
My initial plan was to leave early Friday October 8th in the afternoon, drive to San Diego (and visit Jonathan, ducky, bear and batty and possibly TJ); leave early Saturday and start the drive to Atlanta. Arrive in Atlanta in the whereabouts of Tuesday October 12th, stay until Sunday the 17th and drive to Virginia Beach, VA and move in with Shelly. After driving I would be taking a short break and then driving up to Fairfax, VA to interview at UU Net for the position of LAN/WAN Engineer.
What actually happened was this:
Me, being me, dilly dallied around until the point that I did not leave Oakland until nearly 4pm Friday afternoon. After much consideration and debate with myself, I had decided to NOT drive to San Diego. Since I knew Paul was not flying in until Thursday morning, I did have plenty of time, however, I wanted to have enough time to meet up with Graham, Dan, John (hugme) and other assorted Ufies as we were preparing to descend on to Atlanta. I also had friends who lived in the Atlanta area and wanted to spend time with them as well.
So after finally getting all my shit packed up and on the road — what happens? I got snarled in a traffic jam by the 580/680 exchange, no more than 20 miles out of Oakland. Even though this little drive should have taken me moments, it took me an HOUR to get past 5 miles. Yesh, the traffic was that bad. I finally settled in somewhere past Bakersfield (I knew I was about 75 miles north of LA at that point) for the night. I stopped, as the good doctors had wagged a finger at me for, every couple of hours for a “break” and write in my journal.
Saturday I made the long haul from North of LA to Phoenix, covering nearly 500 miles. I had woken up late, gotten into another traffic snarl around LA and opted to stay at some Days Inn by the Phoenix airport. After finally figuring out the toning sequence for doing calls via calling card (18 seconds here, 10 seconds there) and got the local access number in Phoenix and got online.
Now, I knew, that a lot of people were worried about me doing this drive alone. Hell, I was fooking worried. I mean, anything could have happened, and while there were a ton of people literally sprinkled on my route who could be of help, i was utterly alone. It was a scary and very liberating feeling.
After plotting with Graham and other people on #userfriendly, I had figured the drive from Phoenix to Abilene, TX wouldn’t be that long of a stretch. Wrong. It was nearly 1000 miles and I was stupid to even have attempted it. I ended up driving from Phoenix to outside of El Paso, TX into a crappy little motel in a town called Fort Hancock, TX.
If you can’t find Fort Hancock on the map, trust me, it’s there. The drive from Phoenix to Ft. Hancock was almost 600 miles in it self and the additional drive to Abilene would have put me at another 400+ miles. Now that isn’t so bad, but when you look at the map of Texas and see that there is basically NOTHING between El Paso and Abilene, you’ll see my problem.
Now during all of this, I had Shelly calling me at various times to make sure I was okay. A few weeks prior to me leaving I had gotten the boot from FirstWorld (nee Slip.Net) and suffered a stress/panic attack that freaked me out so bad I had gone to the hospital (hence the doctors warnings above (seeing lightbulb appear above your head)). Now driving during the day was fine by me. I was bouncing along, bopping to music. Stopping to write in my journal occasionally, talking to Shelly and plotting my course towards Atlanta. But even though I was feeling carefree — something was eating away at me. Thus, Sunday October 10th, I had another panic attack at the hotel in Fort Hancock Now Fort Hancock is so small, that the nearest hospital is in El Paso (50 miles back west) and we were so close to the Mexican border, that when I picked up and tried to use my cell phone, I got a lot of dialogue in Spanish instead. The people at the hotel were very gracious in calling the EMS that was local — where they checked my vitals and other cool stuff, gave me oxygen from a bag and told me i was fine — just another panic attack.
Logically i knew this — but subconsciously, I was born to worry. After tossing and turning all night and finally being told “yesh, you’re fine. you are going to live.” i saw things in a new light.
I left Fort Hancock with a valuable lesson and plowed my way to Dallas/Fort Worth.
I did the drive in less than nine hours and no one believes me.
You see, when speaking with the caretakers at the hotel in Ft. Hancock and with the check in chyk at the Days Inn in Dallas, no one believed I did the damn trip in that short of time. Everyone told me that the trip would take a minimum of 14 hours and maybe as much as 16.
Well I did it in 8.5, thank you very much.
The wonderful thing about driving through AZ, NM, and TX was that the speed limit is 75 — so, hypothetically speaking, you can do say 80 and the cops won’t blink. Well, there ya go!
I arrived in Dallas excited and even more bouncy. By now it was late monday night and i had completed nearly 2/3rds of my trip. I had, thank ghod, gone through Triple A for trip tik’s and maps and was calculating every step of the way my drive east. I knew what cities I was stopping in, how far it was between gas stops, etc. So, when I mapped out the trip from Dallas to Atlanta, I figured “Oh, about 700 miles. I can do that if I get up early enough.”
Well this is me we are talking about here.
I didn’t roll out of bed until nearly 10 and checked out of the hotel until 11am. Once I got on the road, I knew I would lose an hour for the time changes — and thusly showed up at the Renaissance Waverly Hotel in Atlanta at almost midnight Tuesday October 12th.
The thing is, when you have been driving for so long and you are basically staring at nothing but on coming headlights and shrubbery for nearly 5 days, AND YOU ARE ALONE, you sort of start to hallucinate. And somewhere between Alabama and Georgia (or was it Louisiana and Alabama?) I did just that. I just was so freaking tired of driving and so hungry to meet Paul. I as tired of fast food, tired of sleeping in motels and tired of being alone. I NEEDED HUMAN CONTACT! But my own drive, which sometimes surprises me, kept me going. And I swear to christ i almost kissed the well lighted and well paved ground at the Waverly when I pulled in.
Now, what I’m going to do is talk about AFTER being in Atlanta, cos Atlanta deserves it’s own section. So this is Sunday, October 17th we are up to now.
After dropping Paul off at the airport (and promising not to cry, even though I started shedding tears in the ladies room at the Waverly), my friend Dan and I packed up my Saturn (I really, REALLY need to email them with my story *g* — I wanna be in a commercial!), took the last few remaining shots left in the disposable camera and took off towards Virginia Beach.
Now the drive from Atlanta (or “Hotlanta” as several people have told me) to VB takes about 8-10 hours depending on traffic and weather. We did it in nearly 13. We got caught up in Hurricane Irene (ironic that the hurricane is named after my cunty ex-roommate in California).
We had a blast driving up through GA, SC and stopped to play some Tekken 3 in a small gas station in SC. I kicked Dan’s ass btw — 🙂 I rock at Tekken! We saw signs for “billions and billions” of fireworks and went to stop to check it out, but late Sunday afternoon, in the south, just ain’t kicking it for a couple of city kids like us.
The drive was pretty effortless. I was contemplating on driving Dan up to Syracuse, NY and drop him off — but it was depending how I felt. Dan snored I bopped to music and then we hit Ole’ Virginny.
Now, both MapQuest and Triple A say if you are driving from the south and going to VB, to get off of 85 onto 58 and take it the whole way in.
58 is an in-state “highway” (HAHAHAHAHAHAHA) where you can do no more than 50 at any given time and there is no gas stations or anything open (it felt like) between the turn off and hitting towards the Hamptons Roads area. I am SOOO happy that I got gas before getting there — we would have been fucked. We ran across a 7-11 on the route and Dan and i were both thirsty for a slurpee and dying to take a piss when we find out that it’s FUCKING CLOSED! What 7-11 is closed? BLASPHEMY! Dan, being a guy, pisses alongside the store. I end up holding it in.
Once we started towards the shore, we came across the rain (hahahahah) of the aftermath that is Irene. My driving was reduced to 40ish speed as we crept along the “highway”. When we finally found my new apartment (thanks to Dan’s ereet skills) it was nearly 5am in the morning and we were both soaking wet from running up and down looking for the apartment. The next day, I dropped Dan off at a Greyhound, in which he took that back up to Syracuse.
And save for the little trip up to Fairfax for my interview, I’ve been here ever since. Well, until this Saturday when I move up to Fairfax that is 🙂
Oh, strange thing about VB: I’ve been able to use my cell phone effortlessly across country during my trip. It seems that my cell works EVERYWHERE but in VB. I was able to use it outside of DC and in the general Fairfax area, outside of Richmond (the capital) but once I got to VB, it would switch over and “force” me to pay with either a MC or AMEX for the calls and the charge is 1.95 a fucking minute! And the phone menu to make the fucking call is absurd! god. I can’t wait to move!!
Actually, it’s nearing 6am and I have to be up in three hours. So, I’ll leave this journal here and start in on hotlanta tomorrow. 🙂
I promise.:)
Mrs. R-S.

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