man, the drive down was something.
it takes a certain person, certain people, to pull off the old just-drive-until-you-get-there thing. apparently, we are those people. what with the tolerance for sitting in the car for that long, the monotony of long road trips, the disparity between the comforts of life and life on a road trip... i won't lie, it's not for everyone.
we'd be going 810 miles point to point. for comparison, Chicago is 790 miles from New York.
google told us it was a 12 hour 40 minute drive. link here. of course, that's just time on the road, it doesn't include stops for gas and food and stuff. I use "50-60 MPH" as a barometer for point-to-point driving with minimal stops over long distances... so by my time-math I was figuring 14-16 hours.
how in the world do you get an 8 month old to be a) strapped into a car seat for 13-16 hours and b) be chill about it?
right, you don't, so... so I guess we better drive through the night and hope he sleeps in? that or spend four days of our vacation driving to and from the destination. no thanks!
we tried to leave for around dinner. but of course first we had to:
> pack stuff for his majesty, pack stuff for us, pack stuff for the dogs
> mow the lawn, do a hundred loads of laundry, do the dishes, take out the trash, sweep and vacuum
> cram all the crap into the car in a way that it will fit and you can find it all later and still reach the baby stuff and the cooler bag and the adult stuff and make sure that the dogs are safe and and and . . . . . . . . .
so we didn't leave around dinner. we left around midnight. not exactly the start we were hoping for. there's nothing quite like knowing that you're going to be in the car for hours and starting off at the end of a long day.
on the other hand, on our first road trip reese and i went 1300 miles in 2 days, the foundation for our relationship in many ways was a road trip. our honeymoon was a road trip. so we both felt confident that we could do it, and elated to be on vacation and spending quality time with each other.
reese took the wheel, pointed us south, and we got rolling. our plan was that she'd drive as long as she could then hand the reins over to me and I'd drive the rest of the way. no big deal, right? woo!
i tried to nap, which was a challenge. there was lots of checking on fee, plus I couldn't recline the seat all the way because of all the crap in the back. it's hard to stay asleep when you get a stray blast of high-beams full in the face, you know? we'd been on the road for about 200 miles, we're south of portland, and reese woke me up to ask me if I'd packed the camera. a, yes I did. b, we're not going back for it if I didn't so why did you wake me up - gaah! at that point i gave up on the idea that I'd get more sleep but I did manage to snooze a bit after that.
after another hundred miles or so reese was contemplating falling asleep while driving and killing us all, which is the metric we use to know when it's time for the other person to take over. we just took the next exit and did the chinese fire drill thing in some parking lot. it always makes me nervous being in small towns in the middle of the night. too many towns are funded by ticketing the travelers, you know?
final tally for reese: almost 300 miles exactly with just 1 stop for gas.
I took over and did great for awhile, right up until that pre-dawn dusky dark lightness thing. do you know what I'm talking about? you know how, just before sunrise, it gets light? what i'm talking about is the half hour or so PRIOR to that pre-dawn light. . . . you know, it's still quite dark, but it's starting to light up.
so anyway, i'm driving and of course there's no street lights, nor many other cars on the road. when I can i use the high-beams but there's oncoming traffic so I can't do too much of that. just. fucking. concentrate. so i was just fucking concentrating which was really straining my eyes which was really amplifying my exhaustion which was really not helping the feeling tired thing.
i pulled into a gas station and picked up a few of those starbucks espresso beverages in a can. i immediately drank 2 of the beverages that supposedly contain two shots each. i say supposedly because they didn't do much for me. still tired, so tired.
of course, at this point reese is beyond tired. she's passed out. except if there was a bump in the road, or if it curved a bit faster than the last curve... then she'd wake up in a panic, thinking that i was killing us all. she'd wake up alarmed and ask are you all right? it got to the point that i'd see a curve coming, take the curve, and say I'm ok, thank you before she could ask.
with dawn, beautiful, beautiful dawn, I'm instantly awake. now it's only a matter of time. how long before Fee wakes up? how cranky will he be? how many hours do we have left to be in this stupid car?
a lot. we had a lot of hours to go.
Fee was good. due to his interrupted sleep the night before he actually slept in quite late, until 9 or 10. his standard crankification upon waking gave us an opportunity to get out and stretch our legs, change his diaper, give him breakfast, etc. the dogs also appreciated being able to eat... that was the longest car ride they've ever had (with us, anyway) and they did admirably - no real issues other than luna's breath-of-doom.
onward! couple hundred miles later we're getting close. everyone had to pee so we hit a rest stop, where we were descended upon by the bums with some made up story about an alternator. here's some money, leave me alone. then they came back, can we have more money. go away! you're creaping us out. so we bailed and took the next exit and did the diaper change at the gas station. the attendant pumps gas for you in oregon, same as in jersey, and that guy was cool, he gave us milk-bones for the mutts.
onward! damn it's hot. open the windows. we were hoping to get to oakland near 9am (HAHAHAHAHA). that was revised to noon then later revised to 2. the thing is, we're going out to the beer garden in SF tonight. it's not debatable, we're meeting like 10 people there or something. so! we gotta bust out butt to get there so we're not holding people up, you know?
so it was I-5 south for 717 miles, then 505 south for 33 miles, 80 west for 47 miles, and 580 east for 9 miles. about 716.5 miles into the trip i asked when our next turn was hey it's right here turn here! whew, made it.
33 miles on 80: no problem. first 40 miles on 580: no problem. I've gotta pee but we've only got 50 miles left to go. hold it! five miles later, with 45 miles to go... we stop. dead stop. I'm thinking that we've run into the famous bay area traffic nightmare. after 5 miles or so of 15 miles per hour we cleared a car accident and were on our way.
40 miles later and we pulled up in front of matt and haydee's. for reese it was the first time she met matt, for me it was the first time i met either of them. not to worry, tho, because they are both awesome.
sooo.... unload the car, setup the dogs, feed the baby, change a diaper, shower*, setup the car seat and stroller in matt & haydee's car, and drive to SF. on to zeitgeist!
but that, my friends, is another story for another time. . .
* I honestly can't remember if I showered. reese told me that I did, but I was so tired that I really have no clue. so, so tired. good thing we went out drinking!