Long ago my family and I made our way from Fresno, CA to Miami, FL. It took us several years and stops along the way; Austin and San Antonio, TX to name a few. Now I had a chance to do the same trip. The only condition was that I had to reach my destination as quickly as possible, San Francisco!
Every time I travel somewhere away from my family and friends (my home), it is never easy. Especially when you don’t know when you’ll be back. After saying ‘until next time’ to Ayyoub, Monika, Chris, Alex, Lulu and my Mum and Dad, I took off with hopes of adventure, seeing Grandma and Pa, IN & Out Burger, and learning new kiting spots. Here I come San Francisco!
Most of my drive threw Florida and Alabama was under rain and storms. The typical weather pattern this time of year for the southeast states. My goal was to reach New Orleans by sunset. But that didn’t happen. The storms made driving difficult. Around 1am did I reach the boarder of Louisiana. In no mood to stop and take pictures I continued on Interstate 10 (US I 10). My first stop was a rest station just before Houston, TX and after 2 hours of sleep I continued my journey.
Everyone knows that Texas is big. But you have know idea! It takes a day to cross it! It’s massive! As you drive threw Texas, you will see the climate and environment change. East Texas is greener, flat and humid. The area reminds me of a mild Miami. I didn’t explore Houston, there was no time. It was 9am in the morning, traffic was building and I was hungry. All I wanted was to make it to San Antonio and eat some Taco Cabana! (The best Tex Mex Ever!)
It didn’t take long to drive to San Antonio. The posted speed limit was 80 mph! (FYI… Texas has the fastest speed limits in America. Check out this article from the NY Times. Setting the standards I guess.) I was so worried about getting a speeding ticket that I held an average speed of 75mph. 80 felt wrong with a car full of gear. Next time I have the need for speed… I will make sure to visit Texas.
After grabbing a steak fajita burrito from Taco Cabana, I continued my journey. I wanted to pass downtown San Antonio to see the Alamo, but there was no time. Next stop was El Paso and Ciudad Juarez (near the Mexican boarder). What a long drive! There were no major cities or towns to pass. Just rocky hills, mesas and desert. Simply the middle of nowhere.
Passing Boarder Patrol check points in Texas and New Mexico, almost running out of gas in the desert and attempting to fly a kite in a parking lot (to stretch my legs), I made it to my last rest stop near Arizona. I wish I could tell you where it was. It was dark and in the middle of no where. I opened my car up and took a 3 hour nap under a sea of stars. There where billions! Such a beautiful sight.
With some more energy (thanks to some AMP Energy Drink) I set off again. It has been two days and now I was reaching California! You can tell you are close when you see solar and wind farms. I didn’t think about it, but the west coast of the US uses a lot of renewable energy. Harvesting the warm desert winds and the sun’s rays to power your towns. Smart… I wonder why Florida doesn’t give it a try… being the sunshine state.
Driving on US 10 this leg of my trip I began to notice some towns/rest stops that were abandoned. Ghost Towns! I forgot about them. There is nothing like the feeling of exploring abandoned buildings. You never know what you will see as you wonder inside. Feels like a zombie apocalypse movie scene! It’s a weakness I have to explore deserted buildings. I stopped by a gas station that was tagged on Foursquare as Radiator Springs a Leak. Had to stretch my legs, two days in a car was starting to get to me.
Taking some shots, I set out again. Next stop… California! Passing the famous Cabazon Dinosaurs, stopping to refill the car with more gas ($4.20!!! FML) and passing more wind farms; my next stop was to see my Grandparents! It’s been over 17 years since I last seen them. I have been meaning to see them for years.
Entering Fresno, I had to make a food stop. The last time I ate was in San Antonio! In-N-Out Burger here I come! I don’t know why, but the burgers from In-N-Out will change your life. Better than Five Guys hands down (except the fries). They must use fresh lettace, tomatos, cheese and onions. In-N-Out has been my favorite ever since I was little. Yummy!
Making to Madera, where my Grandparents live, I was comforted to see that the town hadn’t changed. Everything stayed the same. Just like I remembered. There was no need for a GPS to show me how to get to my Grandparents house. Meeting them again was amazing! I just wish that my family, back in Miami, was able to come with me. Next time. We talked and caught up on many things. lol There was so much to talk about, I almost forgot that I had to be in San Francisco by the day! Grandma realized this and shooed me away.
Back on the road! The drive from Madera to San Francisco went quickly. Everyone in California seems to drive really fast on the highways. The speed limit was 55mph, but the flow of traffic moved at 75! Passing some more wind farms and driving threw huge hills I made my way to San Francisco. As I drew closer, you can feel them temperature drop 15 to 20 degrees! Ouch! I didn’t remember the Pacific being this cold!
Snaking threw Oakland in the sunset, I drove on the Bay Bridge. There it was San Francisco! One of the largest cities on the west coast. A city made out of tall skyscrapers, huge massive bridges and surrounded by mountains on every side. Who knows what adventures will this city bring. I hope that I will have some amazing sessions here. But first I must get a sweater. It’s cold right now!
The total trip was a total of 2,800 miles… 3 days… 5 hours of sleep… and $450 in gas.