One year ago I was driving across country alone with Miss Sasha. We had just left the East Coast on a Saturday with M driving and on Sunday I dropped him off in Kansas City to fly on so he could start work the next day. Sasha and I would continue onwards from Kansas City, Missouri into Hays, Kansas where we stopped for the night. So, that day I ended up driving 4.5 more hours after dropping off M at 2:00 p.m. This would be my first night of staying by myself and having to unload all of the stuff from the car and then reload it the next morning. All went fine and after a quick dinner Sasha and I settled in for the night. We both slept ok and this was her 2nd night of hotel staying on our way across country. We woke up pretty early as we were still on East Coast time and I had (conveniently) forgotten that we would gain another hour that next day as we drove across another time zone.
That Monday's drive would actually be my longest day on my own as we drove 1/3 of the way across Kansas, up through Colorado, cut across the lower corner of Wyoming, and went all the way to Salt Lake City, Utah. It was 850 miles of the 2,975 total and after a stop for lunch in Fort Collins (north of Denver) it was a lot of mountain driving. At least though there wasn't a lot of traffic so I was able to use cruise control a lot which in the mountains actually means that you can let the car do the braking downhill for you and can concentrate on the steering part more. It was a challenging day as I got up early, was alone and Sasha decided that she needed to meyowl for 30 minutes of the drive. Turns out all she needed was petting reassurance that I wasn't going to leave her somewhere that I was still there even if I was now the one doing the driving. This was also the day when I stopped at a random gas station in Wyoming in the middle of nowhere and felt very uncomfortable. A bus had just left so when I walked into the gas station to use the restroom and get some sugary snacks I thought all would be ok. It was ok however the game warden with his gun and all the good ol' boys hanging around in their camo clothes were giving me the creeps. Luckily I was able to take care of business and be on my way pretty quickly. This was also the day I had to decide whether I would take a small detour to head northward in Wyoming to see the Grand Tetons (my favorite mountains). Given my concern about keeping Sasha on the road for longer than necessary and that the moving van would arrive on Thursday it turned out that I didn't have the time to see the Tetons this time. The final challenge of the day was as I was arriving into Salt Lake City where you essentially come down out of the mountains down into the city at rush hour and people do not slow down for twisty, mountainous roads! I did eventually make it to the hotel on the west side of SLC and all was fine. Sasha was able to settle down in her 3rd hotel that night. I was able to rest up for the next day's leg of the journey.
On Tuesday I started out with plans to drive on to Reno, NV to leave the final leg for Wednesday. That morning though I reached out to my cousin to see if he was around that night as he lives about an hour south of Reno. He insisted that I shouldn't stay in Reno but rather should stay with him in his town however with the cat I didn't want her to meyowl and I knew that he had a dog. Instead I ended up at a local hotel in his town which worked out better for all concerned. I was then able to meet up with him, his wife, and one of their kids for dinner that night as it was only 8 hours of driving or 560 miles that day. I felt very accomplished and that I was almost at the end of my journey as by then Sasha and I had traveled 2,700 miles through 14 states since leaving early Saturday morning.
Wednesday was the final day and I only had 216 miles to go to get to our new town in California. However those last 216 miles started from a valley on the western edge of Nevada going over the Sierra Nevada mountains to get to the San Francisco Bay. The Sierra Nevadas are 13-14,000 feet in height and the road was a 2 lane winding, twisting mountain road that then fed into valleys, multi-lane freeways, and finally one big last bridge over the Bay (not the Golden Gate or Bay Bridge). The last 216 miles took 4 hours so I arrived at lunch time, stopped at M's office to pick up the keys to our new place and by early afternoon I was officially here.
It's now been a full year since we got here. And we've already moved once but that's a story for another blog (maybe). I am still finding my way here. It doesn't feel like home yet. M's job has been good for him so far. I've been trying to find my place here. I will keep trying to find my people here. I have found my hair people and my nail people. I've tried a couple gyms here but haven't found my people yet. The weather is almost always perfect here yet there's still complaining (go figure). The hiking is phenomenal and getting outside everyday is a must do. Maybe putting this out there to talk about will help me and others too. One of the people I know out here told me that it took her 3 years to get settled here so maybe I'm only 1/3 of the way there now. We shall see. I will keep trying.