Saturday, January 3, 2015

Worst Road Trip Ever

So the day finally came...time to move to LA! It seemed to take so long to come to fruition but then the last days went so fast. I left 822 while they were still packing up, my apartment was cleaned out and I was sleeping on the floor (oh my back!) and I wanted to spend New Years in my new city. I put most of my stuff in storage then threw what I could and my cats in the Jeep and headed for Flagstaff on the 30th. It was smooth sailing so far.

Now. I did check the weather and they were calling for light snow...but when I got up to leave the next morning at 8, there was already 6" on the ground and they were calling for much more. I figured I'd better chance it and try to get to lower elevations and better roads. And I did, but then I went up again to bad roads, down again to ok roads, back up, etc, passing several jack knifed trucks and small cars in ditches. Finally at one point the cars packed together and we came to a complete stop on a mountain side.

Here we sat for about 4 hours. I had no phone signal and had to keep the car on for heat. I had a bottle of water but nothing to eat. Planning for emergencies is apparently not my forte. Occasionally I would get out to stretch and chat with the neighbors, people were having snowball fights and building snow men, trekking to the nearest bush for a little relief. I finally started reading Gone Girl and got through a good portion of it during this trip. The kitties were resigned to their fate in boxes at this point and sensing my unease they barely uttered their discomfort.

Finally around 3 we started moving again. Word from the truckers was that 40 was now closed and they were slowly digging us out. We went another 2 or 3 miles over one of the mountains and stopped again. From this point I could see the cars and tractor trailers winding through the mountains for at least a mile ahead, not moving at all. The snow just kept coming and eventually turned into freezing rain.

At this point I had a phone signal thank goodness and I started texting everyone to let them know I was ok so far. My friend called ahead to Kingman (which was 30+ miles away still at this point) and booked a hotel room at the Ramada, which I was surprised to hear that anything was left by now. I continued to read Gone Girl until the daylight ran out. Another 3 hours later I could see the cars moving ahead, I thought it was a hallucination at first, but we started moving. This progression kept up for a long time going less than 5 mph, which was fine because the roads were pure ice and packed snow. My hands were white from gripping the wheel, my whole body was tight as a drum and my head was pounding. After several hours of this, the exit for Kingman and the sign for the Ramada glowing in the distance was like every Christmas ever there was and ever to be all rolled into one, I wanted off the road and out of the Jeep!

When I got to the hotel, it had been overbooked by all the online ticket sales and there were no rooms. I ended up at a Denny's and Flying J truck stop where I spent the night very uncomfortably in my Jeep with my two confused and nervous furballs. My tailbone still spasms when I recall this night. I wasn't the only one there, many others also pulled up to the safety of the Denny's glow and 24 hour menu. I made friends with Phil who was moving to Dallas from LA to join the navy in order to help pay off his student loans. (Not gonna lie, I considered that once) I managed to fall asleep at one point and missed New Years at midnight, but frankly I could care less what day or year it was at this point.

After a night of basically no sleep, the sun finally came up and I could see the cars and trucks finally passing on the interstate, so I shoved the kitties back in their boxes and got back on the road. It was icy at first and I did some sliding but it quickly cleared up as I went west and soon I was crossing the state line and into snow-free California! (I definitely cheered out loud) Another 5 hours later, 29.5 total being in the jeep nonstop, exhausted and loopy with road fatigue I pulled up to my new apartment in LA.

It's better than I even expected, a nice large place with a generous and cool roommate with her sweet little dog, Noodle! The street and buildings themselves are beautiful and just around the corner are restaurants, shops, Trader Joe's, and I just found an art store today. If you're familiar with LA at all, everyone seems impressed that I can walk to The Grove which I plan to do tomorrow. Today I visited the beach and might go catch sunset tomorrow. I'm itching to create some art already. I'm still a little traumatized over the whole snowstorm thing...definitely one of the worst experiences of my life, but my mom thought I should blog about it. Theraputic perhaps. Definitely a story for every New Years that rolls around. When I go back to get the rest of my stuff in Santa Fe I'll be taking that uhaul truck down to interstate 10 no matter how clear the weather claims it will be in AZ. And I'll pack extra water and food and maybe another book.

Now it's time to start scoping out galleries and job searching. I have an interview for a non-art sales job soon which could be a great experience. I'm pretty open to anything right now, I just want to meet people and learn new things! And get back to painting, of course. :-)

Oh, and the kitties...they're doing just fine now that they have a new cat tree and the worlds largest cat bed (my oversize Lovesac that I've always wanted! Thanks craigslist!).