I arrived in San Francisco on a Monday afternoon, a week after I’d left my family and most of my friends back in North Carolina. It was my first cross-country drive, and the first time I’d seen much of anything between the Appalachians and the Sierra Nevada. My friends had been amazed that I would take such a trip completely alone. I responded that I couldn’t have imagined doing it any other way.
I very much regret not keeping a journal nor any real notes on that trip. I’ve forgotten a lot of the specifics, but there are a few things I’ll always remember:
- Having to pull off the freeway just a few minutes after I got on it in Greensboro, because I began sobbing uncontrollably.
- Stopping at the Kinko’s in Nashville to fax my former co-workers at the Kinko’s in Greensboro.
- Not being able to get a room at the Motel 6 in Kansas city and being horrified that I had to spend almost forty dollars to stay at the EconoLodge across the street.
- Also in Kansas City, ditching some boy in a bar who was kind of cute but was giving me the creeps.
- Deciding to spend not one, but two extra days in Denver, just because I liked it so much. I even hooked up my VCR in the motel room.
- Finding a cassette copy of Laurie Anderson’s Big Science in a thrift store outside Denver, and thinking that was a really good sign.
- Driving across the Rockies for the first time, with my car full of stuff, and comparing the experience to The Long, Long Trailer.
- Walking into a bar in Salt Lake City and immediately running into the same boy I’d ditched in Kansas City four nights earlier. And having to ditch him again.
- My last night on the road, in Winnemucca, where I got what would be my last good night’s sleep for several weeks and bought supplies (and a bottle of lotion I’d have for years to come) at my very first Raley’s supermarket.
- Stopping at the Kinko’s in Reno to fax Steve and Todd, my soon-t0-be roommates in San Francisco, neither of whom had answered the phone for the past two days.
- Stopping at the Target in Vallejo to call them again, and being relieved that one of them finally answered the phone this time.
- Finally landing in San Francisco at the Market Street Safeway (I picked my landmarks very carefully even then, thank you) where I called for final directions to my new home.
I was pretty exhausted upon arrival, especially after driving around in circles trying to park in the Civic Center area. So (of course) we went out drinking on Polk Street that night. I didn’t have to start work until Wednesday, so I think we drank a lot.