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20 September 2008

Huntington Beach, CA to Chicago, IL... what a ride!

Alright, here is the long awaited story of what happened as I drove from my home in Huntington Beach to my new one in Chicago. Hopefully I remember all the details.

I woke up early Tuesday morning, 26 August 2008, to hit the road. I hadn't planned on moving until the 1st of Sept because I couldn't be in my new place until then. But, due to needs of the company they asked me to move a week early. So, I went all the way to Michigan instead to see my parents and my youngest brother before he went on his mission. As a result of driving the whole time alone I wasn't able to really take my time with pictures, I just had to point and shoot hoping that I would get what I was seeing.Anyway, when you wake up before dawn, forget the butt-crack of it, you don't really see much except the few cars on the road and whatever your headlights will illuminate. Once the sun started coming up I had already been on the road for about an hour or more and this is what I started seeing.

Beautiful sunrises, and yes my GPS ended up in t
he picture.
Mountains and lots of trucks.
After passing through the desert of California and into Nevada, then through Vegas and up into southern Utah (where I saw an In-N-Out in St. George, I was surprised) I thought I was about to die of boredom. There really was just nothing to look at. At that moment I started driving through the eastern side of southern Utah. The landscape was absolutely incredible. The jagged cliffs, red rocks, and random rocks in the middle of nowhere. I see why people visit Moab, Canyons, Zion, Arches, and everything in between. It may be without vegetation, but that doesn't mean it isn't beautiful.

This is at a rest stop that I made at the top of climbing a lot of hills in my car. I don't remember the name of the valley, but I will never forget it. As I stopped and got out I walked around a bit and took about 5-10 minutes to stretch and breathe in the fresh air. As I went back to my car I saw a green liquid that had spilled out onto the ground, not a good sign. I bent down to see if it was still coming, and oh was it ever. I popped the hood to see what was the matter thinking maybe there was a hole or something in the tank for my coolant/anti-freeze. The fluid stopped gushing and as I looked at the tank it was boiling. I let it sit for a bit until it cooled to see how much was in there and it was still about half full, so I called my dad and asked his opinion. I figured that if I drove with the a/c off and was going mainly downhill I would be ok. My dad thought the thermostat was maybe not working properly and with the load that was in my car, the a/c on, and all the climbing I had worked the little guy a bit too hard. I made it to a gas station, double-checked the fluid level and bought some more to put in the tank. From then on I was good to go... or so I thought.

After passing through Utah I entered southwest Colorado and the landscape got even better.

I've always wanted to see a train as it chugs along the mountain side weaving in and out of tunnels cut right out of the store. I wanted to find a place to stop and take a real picture of this so you could see everything, but there was not a place on such a narrow stretch of highway.

I was able to drive through Vail as well and see the ski resorts without snow. They look so funny all barren and people-less. But in my minds eye I saw snow falling and just a wonderful looking place to be. I asked myself in that moment why it was that I was continuing on to Chicago, can't I just stop and be a ski bum? You know, find some job as a liftie and stay there all winter long and work on the river as a rafting guide in the summer.

I stopped just outside of Denver, well about an hour east of it, because there was nothing in the city as the Democratic National Convention was going on that week. But in the morning I woke up and headed back out. The sad part of it all is that I was now in the boring part of the United States. All I saw was flat land with some treest, fields of corn and little red barns dotting the landscape.

That night I stopped in Chicago because I had to pick up my key the next day since the rental office was going to be closed on the 1st, the day I wanted to move in. There were a few of my co-workers there on an install and so I met up with them and went to dinner and chatted about how things were going as I was to be the rep for the dealership they were taking care of. The next morning I woke up and drove on to Michigan to see part of my family. I explored the area and played with my dog Arthur... I love that little guy!

As a family--well, just dad, mom, James and I--went to the Detroit Temple. It was a great experience as James was soon to be leaving on his mission to Pocatello, ID spanish speaking. It was a wonderful place, with a great spirit and calm and a beautiful site to see.

We spent the rest of the weekend together and I went to church with them. It had been quite a while since I had been to church, not out of not wanting to be there, but out of the sheer fact that with my job I was traveling most Sundays (soon to change).

On Monday, 1 September 2008, I began my trip back to Chicago to officially move into my apartment and get started on my new life. Little did I know the adventure in store.

I was about two and a half hours from home, out in some random town in Michigan when I stopped to get some lunch and gas. As I got back onto the freeway I heard this rattling noise that didn't sound good. I turned down the music, rolled down my window and payed a little closer attention. It seemed to be worse as I pushed on the gas and not there when I took my foot off. I pulled off at the next exit as the rattling seemed to get worse and worse. As I was coming to a stop my car shut down, just turned off and coasted to a stop. I tried turning it back on but the noise gave me an instant sign not to. Upon popping the hood again I saw the coolant boiling over and knew it was not a good thing. I called home and asked my dad what he thought. Over the phone I turned the key again to let him hear the sound my car was making. He advised me to call someone and get it towed. I called up the towing company and they came and picked me and my car up and took me to the nearest mechanic. Being a holiday the mechanic was not open. The tow man said that I could have one come in and look at it but I would have to pay him his hourly rate plus over time, which would be over $100 an hour. I declined that and called home to give them an update. I then called my boss and told him the situation and he said I needed to do what I could to get to Chicago as I had an install to fly to the next day. Whether it be a cab, rental car or whatever, I just needed to get there. The local rental car place doesn't allow you to take the car out of state, so that was a no. A cab would cost an arm and a leg and I wouldn't have anything that I could drive around Chicago. I called my parents back up and they offered to come down to where I was a let me use my dad's truck for as long as needed. I love my parents for that! As a result of their kindness I was able to make it back to Chicago that day and get to my install the next day. Once on the install I called up the mechanic and found out that my car had blown a rod and the engine needed to be replaced... not fun, and not cheap.

In the end it was quite a move, one like I've never experienced before. 3 weeks after my car broke down I was able to get it back from the mechanic and now am enjoying having that again. All in all, I love Chicago and am so happy to be here! I really am looking forward to what the future holds.

1 people had something to say:

Wonderful Whittacres said...

Love the pictures! I'm sorry about your car . . . I had to have Chopper explain to me what that meant and I think I would've freaked out.