I drove from Portland to Kingman. According to Google Maps, it takes about 20 hours. That is not counting rest stops, food stops, and one night of sleeping. The drive was easier than I thought. It was long. By the end of the trip, I was exhausted and just wanted to get into my new apartment and sleep. I should also mention that this was my first long road trip by myself. The new job and the move came up too soon. The few days before my move was stressful. I wanted to make sure everything lines up and things go smoothly. It wasn’t perfect though. The night before I was packing as much stuff as I could. You should have seen my car. Like the game of Tetris, I was packing boxes inside the car and stuffing them in every nook. My trunk was full, and so was my backseat and under the front seat and the passenger side. I kept my car ready and per the plan, I was to wake up and leave the first thing in the morning.
Day One. January 2nd
On January 2nd, I woke up at 6 am and after a quick repast and coffee, I hit the road. The reason I woke up early was so that I could get through the Oregon-California border by daylight. I was worried about snowy weather conditions. My first stop was Eugene in 3 hours, where I had a fuller brunch of a breakfast sandwich, hasbrown, and more coffee. I’m usually not very hungry first thing in the morning. I also bought a bluetooth headset for my phone. It makes it easier to call. I wish I had those things earlier.
While driving, I took short breaks to go potty, stretch, and so on. I drove in 2-3 hour increments. When I was bored, I would call a friend and chat with them on the phone with my headset. I also had good music to keep me awake. My next longer stop was in Ashland, OR for lunch around 1 pm. This is the town known for their annual Shakespeare Festival. According to my RoadTrippers app, I wanted to get my lunch in a Mexican restaurant called Agave. Instead, I stopped at a cute, posh looking Italian restaurant. The place had an ambiance that looked very relaxing, which is what I needed. I sipped some white wine to unwind and had my favorite— chicken fettucine alfredo. I sat in a table facing outside. The weather looked pretty with sunlight, trees, and a pretty town but it was chilly. The restaurant was mostly empty except for the French couple sitting in the table adjacent to me.
After my meal, I filled up my tank. This would be the last time, I will have a gas station employee fill the gas for me. In Oregon, you don’t pump your own gas. I should also mention that Oregon does not have a sales tax. But Arizona (and California) have sales tax.
Around 2:30 pm, I took off to cross into California. The mountains had snow but fortunately the snow was off the road. I took some pictures from my phone.
I cannot reiterate how thrilled I was to have an easy drive that did not require snow chains or driving in the snow. Instead, I had the pleasure of enjoying a scenic drive. And, here is another picture.
I arrived in Sacramento around 8 pm. I didn’t have plans other than crashing in and having a meal and then sleeping. I visited friends that I haven’t seen for a while. Sacramento is exactly the midpoint of my road trip. The next morning, I repeat my driving schedule.
Day Two. January 3rd
Again, I woke up early in the morning and left around 7 am after a full breakfast. I had about 10 hours of driving left. When I think of Sacramento, I usually expect warm weather but it was actually chilly. There was some ice on my windshield. I planned my trip around traffic. There was some but not too heavy traffic. I definitely noticed that California drivers tend to drive fast. I chose to drive between two cars, so that I don’t get pulled over. I don’t want a speeding ticket out of state. I generally drive safe and haven’t had a ticket for years.
Somewhere in California. Possibly Stockton?
Around noon, I visited In-N-Out Burger. I was craving a bacon cheeseburger and fries. We do not have In-N-Out burgers in Oregon but instead we have Burgerville. Burgerville is found mostly in the Pacific Northwest. Their focus is locally grown ingredients and sustainability. They have the best milkshakes. I will especially miss their Blackberry milkshake and Caramel Apple Milkshake that they usually have in the Fall. If you are in the Pacific Northwest, you do not want to miss Burgerville.
On the way, I snapped another random picture during a rest break. The climate here is definitely drier and warmer. I actually noticed tan marks.
Dinner in Bakersfield
Afterwards, I drove for miles in the seemingly endless road. My next stop was for dinner at Hodel’s Country Buffet in Bakersfield, CA. It was an average buffet place. I was famished by then. An older couple next to me started a conversation and I got to tell them about my new job, moving to Kingman and so on. They knew quite a bit about Arizona and I got to hear their stories. I noticed that mostly older people tend to get away with talking to strangers and usually have lots of stories to tell. I’m generally a friendly person but don’t want to be too obnoxious.
One of the teachers in Kingman has been texting me and checking in on me. It felt really nice to have someone welcoming and willing to help me. I had about 5 more hours.
The rest of the trip
By now, I wanted to just get there to Kingman as soon as possible. I wanted to know that I arrived and wanted to take a shower and rest. After leaving Bakersfield, it was a bunch of small towns in the middle of no where. The rest of the journey looked like this. The more I drove, the more anxious I became about getting there. It’s the “are we there yet” type of feeling.
I arrived in Kingman around 9 pm. It was dark and cold. The teacher who has been contacting me texted me. When I arrived in my apartment, I made an arrangement with the apartment manager to get my keys, so that I have a place to stay and could take care of the paperwork in the morning.
The teacher and her family met me and helped me move. Before that I have a funny story. It’s been about 10 minutes and we were chatting inside because I didn’t want to be out in the cold. When we walked out, we saw two cop cars and cops coming out. They must have been looking for someone. Then, one of the cops asked me which apartment I came out of and asked me if I just moved. I told them the story. I just arrived from Portland about 10 minutes ago. They were nice cops and we chatted for a bit.
They told me, “Your neighbor freaked out and called us telling us that the upstairs apartment was empty. They didn’t see anyone move in during the day . And worried ‘cuz they heard footsteps.”
I just laughed and said, “Oh now I have a good story to tell my friends and family back home.” They cops then left but I saw them go talk to the apartment downstairs.
Later, we just moved in my stuff. Of course, my coworker texts my principal and tells the story. What a welcome to Kingman. At least, I can be assured that if anything happens, I have neighbors watching my back.
I will end by posting a picture of the view from my window, which I took the next day.