Thursday, October 6, 2011

So here we are in California

These are a sight that I will have to get used to seeing :)

I would have posted earlier but Internet connections along the journey were kind of sketchy.  But now we are home and have our cable modem set up, so I can get back into the web flow.

Overall, the trip went well.  It's amazing to see how the country's landscape changes so drastically.  Let's see, that last picture before the palm tree was Mississippi.  Louisiana was bayou, and Texas was rolling flat lands until West Texas, when it became something drastically different:  higher elevations, desolate hills, rocks everywhere, dried up riverbeds, and little to no greenery in sight.

That was the greenest shot.  I was also driving so my picture taking was limited.  But oh boy, was it desolate and rough looking out there!

Towns were few and far between, and the ones that did exist were tiny with people that seemed surprised to see strangers (us).  So whenever we stopped we gassed up and hit the facilities because Lord knew when we'd find the next gas station...and we didn't want to get stuck out in the Texas Badlands because it is an entirely different world.

Then came New Mexico...fewer hills, more flat areas, more color in the landscape.  We weren't there long, just enough for us to get a housewarming gift for ourselves:  cacti.
Dale picked them out, and named them Zero and 100.  Zero is the big round one.  100 is the one with several arms.

Arizona was next.  Arizona had a wide variety of terrain:  flats, fields, hills, mountains, scrub, desert.  Most importantly, Arizona has the ever popular gigantic cacti:

Arizona:  looks like Texas, only with cacti.

Arizona was also home to the nicest motel we stayed in for the entire trip:  the Best Western.  The chain rocks...and they are pet friendly.  They do charge a pet fee but it is worth it.   Arizona was also home to a stretch of I-8 with kamikaze bright yellow butterflies that kept hitting the windshield.  I thought they were leaves or petals at first until we made our next rest stop and I saw that masses of yellow corpses on my grill.  It was the most surreal thing we had experienced on the drive.

I thought I'd see the "real" desert--sand dunes--in New Mexico or Arizona.  Nope, they first appeared as soon as we crossed the California border:
Welcome to California! 

Ironically, it started raining pretty hard while we were in the desert.  Driving through pouring rain in the middle of the desert was the second most surreal thing we experienced on the trip.  The view of the desert was breathtaking though, and I had plenty of chances to slow down and see it with all of the immigration checkpoints that we encountered.  The checkpoints continued a good distance into the state, where the terrain changed to fields, then gentle hills, then rock hills:
This picture doesn't really do it justice.  You should have seen the views on I-8 in between the Imperial/San Diego County border.  I would have taken more pics but I was driving at the time.

Then past this to wind farms on the relatively flatter land:
California wind farm.  These were all through middle Texas too, but in greater numbers.

Then finally we reached the coast and all the palm trees.  We lived in a local motel for four days until we could take possession of the house, which we did yesterday.  Today has been spent shopping for supplies, cleaning, doing laundry, moving some things in, and generally getting settled.  Dale immediately claimed his room:  a lovely cream colored room with west windows and a cat border on the wall.  He's also been roaming the property and playing on the hill leading to the bungalow.  It's so bright and cheerful, I think he will be truly happy here.

He's also truly happy to have more time off before he has to start school, as the schools out here are year-round and they're just about to start their fall break.  I'm kind of pleased too, since that will give me and Dale some quality time together before he has to go to school and I start looking for work.

I didn't get as much knitting done on the trip as I would have liked the end of a long day's drive sleep was the most desired thing on my list.  I think I got a couple more rows done on the Pi Are Square shawl but that's about it.  And here I was wondering if I packed enough knitting projects to keep me busy on the long trip...I guess I overestimated my energy level.

I did get myself some sock yarn in South Carolina:  nothing special, just some Red Heart sock yarn in a beautiful spring green colorway.  We didn't really have the time to seek out any local yarn stores:  we just happened across the A.C. Moore as we were walking to dinner that evening.  Now that I'm settled in California, I plan to see where the local yarn shops are and pay my respects.

Welcome to the start of my life, West Coast edition.  I'm looking forward to this adventure.  Dale is too.


  1. Thanks. I wish I had my digital camera with me because then they would have been even better. But my BlackBerry stepped up to the challenge fairly well, I think.