Life / Writing

The Milestone

It’s now been about two weeks since we actually returned from what ended up being a two-week road trip. The bags are long unpacked, laundry done, the nagging sense that we need to be somewhere! has long since faded. Our cat has returned to being largely indifferent to our presence, which is as it should be. (My parents and a friend cared for Monty while we were away, and we’d like to thank them again for their help!)

An example of Albuquerque humor.

An example of Albuquerque humor.

All told, we crossed 11 states, racked up over 4,300 miles, burned through 150 gallons of gas, and ate two whole boxes of Clif Bars. We stayed in eight motels and stopped in over 20 cities, six of those being state capitals. We camped twice, which turned out to be more than enough for the both of us. Except for Oklahoma and Texas, we were rained on at least once in every other state we visited. We had pizza five times, Mexican four, burgers three. We had four big breakfasts, three of which were incredible and provided by our lovely host in Los Angeles. Twice during the trip we crossed three different states in one day of driving. We saw the Grand Canyon, Big Sur, Lake Tahoe, and the Great Salt Lake. We crossed the Golden Gate Bridge and partied on the Colorado Street Bridge. We did it all in 16 days.

And while I still see the trip as a great time and an achievement, the decision to turn back after San Francisco is one that will probably haunt me the rest of my days. This was a once-in-a-lifetime thing, the kind of thing that’s supposed to be too big to handle, and we got scared off of that. We missed out on Mount Shasta, Portland, Seattle, Yellowstone National Park, and Mount Rushmore. Instead of having sights to see and things to do even on the way back, we essentially drove straight home. The extraordinary trip was diminished. It’s a good bet that we’ll likely see some of those places later on in our lives…but to have done it all on one trip…sigh.

Good lord, who is that idiot way out there on that...oh wait, that's me...

Good lord, who is that idiot way out there on that…oh wait, that’s me…

Naturally, I’m still proud of what we accomplished. We had fun, even when it was difficult. We did and saw a lot. Especially in San Francisco. We tore San Francisco UP. I think that was the highlight for me, scrambling around the Bay Area, catching this bus or that BART, essentially in motion for 12 hours. The cool weather, the fog, the people. I look forward to my next visit. I expect to see Los Angeles a few more times. And I’d like to see more of Santa Barbara if I got the chance.

For now? I think I’ll stay put awhile. But I’ve got a different kind of journey ahead of me. After six years in the grocery business, I quit my job just a couple days before the road trip. It made sense for a lot of reasons, but they all boiled down to: It was time to move on. And hopefully up. I’m working on building up my freelance design business, House Ryokuro.  (And will probably have to find a steadier paycheck in the meantime.) But for the time being, it feels nice to have the time and mental space to start being creative again.

This is good for Rhoades to Madness, too. You’ll be seeing a lot more of my ugly mug now. This is my 200th post here, and maybe, just maybe we’ll see 200 more.

Just not right now. I’m going to see Guardians of the Galaxy.

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