Sunday, October 23, 2011

What the fuck am I doing in Maine!?

Seriously people, I just drove four days, got very little to no sleep, had to eat in Gary, Indiana and now I'm in Maine? And the dog is wondering the apartment whimpering for some reason, even though just an hour ago she loved the place? And there is not a single good cup of coffee in all of New England? I have no idea whether I just made a huge mistake or a great decision. Maybe I just need to let the fatigue wear off and the dog settle down but I think I'm safe in saying that I'm a little over my head here. Well, it's a fact now and there is nothing to do but weather out the storm and see if the house is still standing. Or, if somehow, the storm replaced it with a better, more successful, more happy house.

Some highlights of the trip include:
  • Greg realizing that we left the Trivial Pursuit cards, that we were going to use to keep ourselves focused during the more boring states, at home only blocks away from the house saving us a lot of tedium. However, I didn't remember that I forgot my jacket in the garage until Nebraska.
  • Deeth Starr Ranch. It's a real place in Nevada.
  • Speaking of Nevada, Wendover, Nevada is one of the oddest places I have ever seen. There is a casino there that's rear is exactly on the border with Utah.
  • Speaking of Utah, I missed it all because it was either too dark or I was asleep. Missed all of Pennsylvania, New York, and most of Massachusetts the same way.
  • At one point I was in very real danger of falling asleep at the wheel so I pulled into a rest stop. Hastur has a tendency to get excited whenever we stop because she figures she's gotta get out and explore so she immediately began whimpering and pacing. As I was trying to calm her down someone casually walked past the car sending her into a violent bark tantrum. We finally calmed her down and slept there about an hour, but she remained in a stiff, seated position the entire time. When I woke up she finally got that walk she wanted. It was below freezing out but all my clothes were packed deep in the back of my trunk and I couldn't get out anything warmer so I ran her around the rest stop while completely frozen. This became something of a tradition by the end of the trip.
  • Almost ran out of gas about a bazillion times. You know what turns out to be worthless on road trips? Chevron accounts. We didn't see a single one after Salt Lake. The one in Salt Lake was a bit of a happening as well. I was running out of gas so used my phone too find the nearest Chevron. It gave me directions to one that was 22 miles away, a bit of a stretch but I felt I had just enough gas to make it. As I was putting my phone back where it had been cradled I saw a sign that said "Next Exit / Chevron".
  • Best 24 hours of driving ever? I started the day in Iowa at 9 am Central, made it to Maine at 8 am Eastern the next morning. During that time I personally drove in the states of Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine.
  • I don't know why but my GPS seemed to have me circling around Cleveland. Look, I know there are some interesting things in Cleveland like the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame and... I don't know, maybe Drew Carey statue somewhere, but I don't think my GPS was justified in having me take freeway after freeway within urban area.
  • The other thing that my GPS did was take us away from the Chicago. I thought we'd be driving through Chicago. Guess not. We didn't even drive close enough to any of the lakes to see them even though we were around Chicago, Gary, Toledo, Cleveland, and Eerie, all of which are port cities. Also, I thought I'd be going through Buffalo, didn't even come close.
  • After Greg drove himself to the Boston airport I got to drive back through the city back towards my destination. I gotta say, I love you Boston, but fuck you, Boston! Who designed that city? I made about a hundred underground corkscrews that went over bridges which I then crossed going the other direction only to find myself underground again. Plus, every single person was going like 75 in a 45 zone. I think that's what they mean when they say that New England drivers are the worst. They aren't, Sacramento drivers are, but New England drivers always seem to be speeding.
  • I really, really hate Indiana. There were a lot of places that I wasn't too fond of, but Indiana I absolutely hated. First, they love gigantic sound barrier walls around their freeways despite the fact that there is nothing behind them. The walls are so big you can't tell what services are on the other side of them so if you need gas * shrug *. Second, Gary was the shittiest place I've ever been, and I've been to some very shitty places before. Then, to top it off, their toll system is absolutely awful. They give you a ticket when you get onto the throughway (aka 80) and then charge you based on the exit you take. It's a fine idea in theory but in practice it faces two problems; 1) No one wants to get off the freeway so businesses off the freeway don't get any customers at all, and 2) They massively limit the number of exits so say you missed your exit and need to get off the freeway and backtrack (and this is sort of number three here), first you have to wait probably close to 30 miles for another exit, then you have to pay the exit toll, then you have to pick up a new ticket, drive back to the exit you wanted, and pay the exit toll. Wisconsin had a similar system but for some reason, even though the state is about twice as wide as Indiana, it was far less to cross it. New York and Massachusetts also had systems like that but they didn't run the full freeway. Toll roads are lousy enough without Indiana screwing everything up.
  • I simply cannot sleep in the car. No matter how hard I tried or how tired I was, I could not sleep in the car... Until I was driving. It's weird how you can be concentrating on something so hard like not driving off the road and start to drift off, but the minute you try to legitimately sleep in your seat you just can't do it. The morning where I was really worried I would fall asleep so stopped at a rest stop even though I had only seconds before been falling sleep with a stiff back and hands on the wheel, I couldn't really sleep at all when I tried. A similar thing happened to me once I got to Maine. I felt myself starting to doze off so pulled off to go get some Tim Horton's coffee and immediately upon leaving the freeway I was wide awake.
  • Tim Horton's actually makes decent coffee.
  • I don't know if I'm a better driver now, a more patient person, or whether it was the difference in cars, but when I attempted to drive to New Mexico with my friend Jason at 19 I couldn't drive six hours without getting tired of it. This trip, at one point, I drove 13 hours and only stopped because I wanted to try and get some sleep even though I easily could have driven two or three more hours.
  • I learned that my dog can vomit very quietly and with little aroma.
I have to admit, I'm in a bit of a panic here, and have been since I had to drive back through Boston by myself. I don't feel unprepared, I just feel way beyond my comfort zone. I mean, the entire "Mexican" section of the local grocery store is just taco shells and Taco Bell salsa, and they have no cage free eggs! And the worst part is, no one seems to realize that there is something wrong with that. What's a California boy in Maine to do?


  1. I have a theory about Hell. I think lost souls in Hell are forced to drive through Boston for all of eternity.

    It will get better! Glad your road trip is over. Just remember, mail order internet stuff is your friend. You can order ethnic food, whatever you need.

    Good luck! Hope your dog is feeling better, too. :^)

  2. Ack! Don't scare me like this!

  3. Haha. Love the blog man. I hate Indiana too. Lots of cops.

  4. Well, There is probably someone nearby that sells eggs from home. Wished you had stopped here or if you needed information on where to get coffee I could have told you. And if the store is a Hannaford they can order anything the other Hannafords can, you just need to ask for it.
    But i get you don't know me or whatever-- I have lived here a while and can tell you two things 1. We are a bit away but you are always welcome. 2. I can help you with Maine stuff.

    Machias is pretty rural so I would ask around for farms with eggs and such.
    I know your mom gave you my info so buck up. We would love to have you down for Thanksgiving but a professor will probably invite you.

    Oh yeah, our governor is nuts and doesn't believe in global warming. By the end of March you may not either.