The Drive That Wouldn’t End
Guest Blogger Eric Jorgensen
Alrighty, so I am officially living in San Francisco and I am only now starting to feel my feet grip the ground. A week ago, I started the drive across the country that wouldn’t end, and then ended with a blur of paperwork, unpacking, meeting new people and the D-M-freaking-V. I could write a pretty terrible novel about my adventure getting here, but let me give you some highlowlights of what was supposed to be a simple, 28-hour drive:
The first part of moving away is typically the worst; the “goodbyes” with friends and family, and once those were through I was ready to depart. My friend Nick volunteered to drive from Lawrence, Kan., to San Francisco with me. Google and Garmin told us it would take 28 hours to land at the front door of the apartment Jojo and ambassadors Courtney and Alyssa helped me find. Weather.com said the weather should be more than friendly for us, which was further excellent news. We aimed for Salt Lake City as a good Day One stopping point, leaving 11 hours for Day Two.
We left at 6 a.m. Central and immediately drove into a gusting headwind… that wouldn’t stop until somewhere around Sacramento. It bounced us on the road like a bowling ball in a bumper-bowling lane. If only there were mountains or trees to block for us.
Listen, the thing about driving on the interstate through Kansas, Eastern Colorado and Wyoming is this: yawn.
Flat isn’t even the word I would use to describe much of this area: desolate. With the wind whipping like it was: terrifying and desolate.
So, it’s about 7 p.m. in Western Wyoming. We are only 130 miles from Salt Lake City and we’re right on time, when from the heavens the clouds open and a blanket of snow barrels down.
It is snowing hard. So hard, they’ve closed I-80 ahead of us. And may I repeat: we are in barren, nothing-going-on Wyoming. Nick and I look at each other with tense nerves. Suddenly, an oasis appears behind the falling snow: Little America, Wyoming.
There is nothing for miles in any direction, so we pull in and book a room ASAP. Nick and I have a heart-to-heart. I tell him this is exactly how 50 percent of horror movies start, and if push comes to shove, I will absolutely eat him for survival.
Fast forward to 4 p.m. the next day. We’ve made it out of Little America, driven 60-80 miles on horrifying snow-packed mountain highways, broken the land speed record on our Garmin (fittingly done on the salt flats of Western Utah), and driven through the strangest snow/sleet/rain for most of Nevada. It’s 4 p.m. in Reno, Nev., and the interstate leading into California has been shut because of snow.
“BLASTED SNOW!” We cursed to Zeus. We came to the realization we were stuck in Reno for the night. But wait… I know someone who lives in Reno. Charlie!
I dial up our Nevada ambassador, and an hour later we’re hanging out with Charlie eating tiramisu. All-in-all, being forced to stay a night in Reno wasn’t bad at all.
The third day of driving was really easy. We made it into the city quickly. However, it only took me two stop lights to have someone flip me off and tell we what they thought of me, but I forgive you, stranger.
My gravest mistake was going to the DMV in my first hour in San Francisco. I thought it was clever to knock out all the registration and ID stuff immediately. My efforts were futile. As I learned, plan on making somewhere between three and infinity trips to the DMV and parking permit office, in no particular order. That reminds me, it took me two days to get my first parking ticket.
I’ll end with this, I have no regrets about my move west despite the drive that had no intentions of ever ending. The city is amazing and my coworkers and local San Francisco ambassadors are awesome. I love that I can run to and from work every day. That’s a gift, even if my run home is two miles of uphills. I look forward to meeting many of you at RUN365 and at Bay-area races in coming weeks!