December 1, 2012

1,750 miles later

As I write this it’s been, within a couple hours, exactly one month since Diana and I sold almost everything, packed the rest and drove 1,750 miles to Denver.

The days since have been the longest and shortest of my life. Sitting here now, our three-day drive across the country seems to have happened to a different person, and yet most mornings still I wake expecting the palm trees and flat lines of Florida.

Let me recap the last 30 days a bit. Diana and a friend assembled a yard sale on Oct. 27 and Forrest drove down to help kick us out of town. We sold the shit out of our stuff and faced an almost entirely empty house that weekend.

Here’s a small lesson for anyone faced with moving across the country. Selling everything you own can be a thrill, but work on your timing. Whittling away four days in an empty and suddenly alien house is a poor way to kick off your move.

The late morning of Nov. 1, Diana, Jax and I began our journey. There was no great emotional moment that morning, no sentimentality or sadness. We had been dealing with those since I accepted the new job. That morning we had a job to do.

Day one was Jacksonville to Nashville with Atlanta for lunch. Oh, here’s another small lesson for you cross-country bound. Don’t get a UHaul. Don’t. Our original plan was for me to drive a UHaul full of our worthless crap, towing my car behind and Diana and Jax driving her C30. That would have been three days of discomfort, misery and anxiety. Sell your meaningless junk, freight the rest to your new city and just drive.

There were a number of awesome stories from the road, but I’m saving most for the people I like enough to drink with. Here are a couple for the rest of you.

The back roads from Jacksonville to Atlanta are beautiful, and I-24 from Chattanooga to Nashville is gorgeous, especially at dusk. The Nashville airport area is depressing and unsettling to a road-weary driver. Spent your night elsewhere.

Yes, Paducah is a real place. It’s on the Ohio River along the Kentucky/Illinois border and it’s gorgeous. Buy a pot pie from Kirchoff’s, walk to the river and love everything about that moment.

Visit Kansas City and stay at the Savoy Hotel. It’s rough around the edges and the rooms look like nursing home lobbies, but the hotel was built for newly-rich cattlmen in 1888 and somehow retains that era’s charm. At the least, walk in the lobby and have a drink at the Savoy bar. It’s magical.

Not that you’re still reading, but remember when I said the days since moving have been some of the longest of my life? I was talking about Kansas. Dear God. The first couple hours on I-70 carries a bit of “Gee, this place is flat” wonder, but it’s the only time every that I’ve had to pull over at a rest stop to actually rest. The road is endless and hypnotizing and I even got a, “You ain’t from around here, are you,” from someone at a gas station.

But eventually clouds appeared at the horizon, and as we got closer, those clouds became the Rocky Mountains. And now we’re living in Denver.

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