Cross Country Road Trip: Day 1

Hi friends. Welcome to the documentation of my 2,770 mile trip across these beautiful United States. I decided to “live-blog” my journey for a few reasons. For those of you who don’t know, I am moving from Upland, CA to Philadelphia, PA for a new job at SEER Interactive (!!!). Since I don’t have a place in Philadelphia yet, I’m driving to my parent’s home in New York in the meantime.

This is the type of experience that is likely to happen no more than once or twice in a lifetime, and not something that every person might get to experience, so I thought I would share the journey with you.

I’m not promising these posts are going to be exciting, because I’ve heard the country is (aside from major cities) very boring and empty. I’ll try to entertain you with my wit and charm when the country fails to do so. Also, I cannot promise that I won’t go positively insane driving 40 hours in a tiny, stuffed-to the brim, Veloster with my mother (no offense, Ma).

Day 1 Game Plan

Pack up the car Tetris-style, ship any left over items, and get on the road.
Goal: Upland, CA to Flagstaff, AZ: 434 miles

Upland, CA to Flagstaff, AZ
Day 1: Upland, CA to Flagstaff, AZ

Goal accomplished, but not without a bit of treacherous driving conditions. I’m not sure if I’m totally naive or ignorant to the goings-on in the rest of the country, but there are some things I learned about Arizona today.

a) It is not a giant desert wasteland. We actually drove through the mountains the whole time, at a headache-inducing 7,000 feet.
b) It actually snows here. This fact was proven just as we were driving through. How kind of you, Arizona.

What I expected Arizona to look like
What Arizona actually looked like














The Daily Questionnaire:

Every day I’ll be answering all of these questions to make this blogging-at-the-end-of-a-long-day thing a little easier.

1) Best part of the day: One of my favorite parts about living in California was being surrounded by beautiful mountains. Today, they were covered in snow for the first time since it all melted off in March. A picturesque send-off for sure. Also, in other mountain-related news, I really enjoyed seeing the juxtaposition of the low altitude desert-y mountains against the snow-capped high altitude peaks once we got closer to the border of Arizona.

Snowy Mountains in Upland California
The mountains got a fresh layer of powder for my send-off

2) Worst: Saying goodbye. Enduring a snow storm. Realizing that I couldn’t recline the seat because there was too much stuff stuffed (ha) in the back. Continuing to read about the tragedy in Connecticut.

3) How many states? 2- California, Arizona

4) How many miles driven? 434 miles

5) Any special/regional food consumed? My last In N Out burger experience. Since when do they have people at In N Out that come around like waiters and waitresses and ask you if they can get you ketchup/clear your tray/open the doors for you? That makes for an awkward fast-food experience and only serves to remind you that you’re not in a REAL restaurant.

6) Most surprising thing I learned/saw today: (see above realizations regarding Arizona’s landscape)

7) Something funny: Saying goodbye to a friend in the UPS store parking lot next to an exploded bag of Arby’s leftovers with stinky ketchup. Ummm… you had to be there.

8) How many stops? 3 – 1 bathroom, 1 gas, 1 food.

Route 66 Mural in Needles, CA
Route 66 mural at the gas station

9) Gas prices in each gas fill up location: Needles, California (on the border of AZ) – $4.39. Yes, you read that correctly.

10) People we talked to other than each other: Employees at In N Out and the hotel receptionist.

11) What we listened to:
John Mulaney: New in Town standup. John Mulaney is a proud Asian American woman and does not appreciate being talked to “like that” by a Blockbuster Video employee.

Joy the Baker podcast (Well Yo-Played): Listening to this podcast makes me just want to call my best friend for an hour once a week, record it, and broadcast it as a podcast.

Keith and the Girl podcast (1698 Off-Mic). Not a fan of KATG because it’s usually comedians on the show, and it makes the funny-ness seem forced and contrived. Much bigger fan of Joy the Baker, as it’s more naturally girlfriendy-silly-talk that also happens to make you laugh. We listened to more KATG but they were dumb so I took a nap.

Adam Corolla’s podcast. But I was sleeping.

Rob Delaney: Live at the Bowery Ballroom standup.

Even more Joy the Baker podcast.

12) How many hours each person drove: Mom- 10:00 – 2:00. Emma 2:15 – 7:00

13) Any animal spottings?: Cows

14) Temperature and location today at 10 am: California, 51º

15) Number of gasses passed: Zero. C’mon guys, we’re two classy ladies. We don’t do that.

I can think of no better way to recover from white-knuckling it halfway through Arizona than with Chinese food and cheap beer. Come back tomorrow for a recap of Day 2?

Also taking playlist recommendations. Any good albums we should listen to tomorrow?

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8 Responses to Cross Country Road Trip: Day 1

  1. Greg says:

    Good read lol. Only suggestions I have for music is Coldplay, Oasis and Ben Howard. Don’t know if that’s your cup of tea, but it soothes me.

  2. Iain says:

    Surely some classic Christmas tunes like Slade, the Pogues and Wizzard are required?

    Go carefully and drive smart. Remember blogging whilst driving can be dangerous, particularly if you’re trying to spell tricky words!

    • Emma Still says:

      Blogging at the end of a long day is also dangerous :) I cannot be held responsible for terrible writing skills and awful jokes told in these posts.

      Thanks for reading, Iain!

  3. Pingback: Cross Country Road Trip: Day 2 | Emma Still

  4. You were somewhere around Barstow, on the edge of the desert, when the gripping reality of your last In N Out experience began to take hold… Those are really good burgers, Walter – STFU, Donny!

    There you have a mashup of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and The Big Lebowski

    I listened to Versus and Lou Barlow quite a bit on my West to East XC move.

  5. Hey Emma,

    I’m just now getting the chance to read your travel chronicles. Congrats on joining the SEER team! Well played! Also, thanks for the podcast recommendations. Always looking for something new to add to my rotation :)

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