I just finished up a month-long road trip; ~3300 miles, 6 states, 1 WordCamp, 2 national parks, 4 ski resorts, ~150,000 vertical feet of snowboarding, 4 hotels, 3 AirBNBs, 10 miles of hiking, 3 breweries, lots restaurants, lots of bars, and lots of coffee shops.
Driving is therapeutic for me. Similar to being in the shower, it’s time where my mind can wander without the normal interruptions of life. I usually listen to music, but on the drive home I put on a few podcasts. I love music but it feels like escapism whereas podcasts seem a much more mentally stimulating way to pass time. Tim Ferriss’ interview with Penn Jillette made the miles and the hours melt away and I was inspired by the conversation about journaling.
I’ve never written a daily journal before in my life, but I am planning to give it a try. When I was traveling through Asia and Europe, I kept a loose “journal” of quick notes about the places I’d been and the things I’d seen. Memories that I didn’t want to lose to the fog of time. Those notes are something I cherish now and they genuinely help jog my memory and bring me back to those times. I love the idea of being able to read back one week, one year, or one decade ago and get a glimpse into my past and what my thoughts were on that day.
My plan is to publish journals on my blog, but they’re really only intended to be read by me. I won’t be doing extensive proofreading or much effort to make them cohesive or entertaining. If someone happens to stumble upon them, though, I am okay with that.
I woke up in Park City, Utah knowing exactly what was in store for the day. I wanted to get to Tahoe around dinner time to meet with my friend Katie. That was going to be about 8 hours of driving, so I needed to get on the road early. Katie is from Minnesota, but she was visiting Tahoe that week. I skipped my daily ritual of making and drinking a cup of coffee. I quickly packed up all my gear into the car and stopped by Starbucks to get a cup of coffee for the road. Starbucks isn’t my favorite, but it’s always consistent and good enough; you know what you’re going to get.
A few days earlier, I drove into Salt Lake City to see a Murder by Death show. It was dark when I was driving, so I didn’t get to see any of the landscape, but the city and the lights were impressively sprawling when I came out of the mountains. SLC is a city surrounded by beautiful, snow-capped mountains and I was taken back by the scenery when I drove down during the daytime. There was a surprising amount of smog that created a stark contrast between the clear view of the mountains and the haze encompassing the city below. It looked like an inversion system was preventing the smog from rising and locking it in the valley between the peaks.
Utah had a subtle but noticeable conservative and traditional vibe to it. Lots of families. Lots of clean-cut blonde humans. While I enjoyed my time there very much, I couldn’t help feeling out of place. I was excited to leave the state.
I drove past Salt Lake(?) and through what seemed like salt flats for several hours before arriving at the Nevada/Utah state line. While state borders are totally arbitrary, it was like the landscape immediately changed from salty, hazy, mountainous terrain to the dry, high-desert landscape that is synonymous in my mind with Nevada.
I started smoking a bit on my trip and I was tempted throughout the Nevada leg of the journey to pop into a dispensary and see what they had. I didn’t end up stopping until I reached Fernley, NV. My uncle, aunt, cousin, and their extended family lives in Fernley. I’d been there before so it was familiar and easy to navigate. I didn’t realize the route would take me through there otherwise I would have reached out to all of them ahead of time.
I stopped by the casino where my uncle works and, by chance, happened to catch him there. We chatted for a bit. He was quite surprised to see me out of the blue. It was great to see him and, after a quick visit, I got back on the road for Tahoe.
I had a bit of time to kill, so I stopped by Alibi brewery’s new taproom in Incline Village. After a salmon toast and a pint, I picked up some Contradiction cans and started heading to meet Katie. We had another drink and watched a two-man string band play a few songs. One of the guys was playing bass on a pedalboard at his feet while singing and playing the guitar; it was impressive!
I met and chatted with Katie’s friends and left them to enjoy their dinner while I knocked out the last couple of hours of driving. Passing through Auburn is always exciting since I was born there. The drive from Tahoe to Sacramento felt like it went faster than I expected, but the drive from around Davis back to the Bay felt like it was dragging on.
Mom was excited to see me when I got home. The cats took a few minutes to remember who I was, but they started following me through the house as I unloaded the car once they remembered. Jamie got home a few minutes after I got in the door. We chatted and quickly caught up then started heading to bed.
It was nice being able to comfortably walk outside in shorts and a tee-shirt. The day started at 7000 feet of elevation and single-digit temperatures and ended at sea level and a comfortable mid-sixty-degrees. As I started to fall asleep, I started to get excited about waking up and having my regular cup of coffee: fresh-ground Philtered Soul out of the Aeropress and a dash of real cream.