This blog is an account of Jacob and Mike's (Skippy) cross-country trip to move Jacob from Chicago, IL to Irvine, CA. We decided we'd document the trip by making a blog post for every hundred miles we drove, in addition to anything else of interest. There is a map that I made with a thumb tack in each place where we wrote a blog post.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Visted States

I wound up visiting 20% of the US states and Mexico on the trip. Of the states I went to, I had only ever been to Massachusetts, Illinois, and Utah before. Everything else was a new experience for me. I made a map at I love these little graphics generators. Aren't they cute?

Monday, June 11, 2007

Working stiff

12:05PM EDT | N42°21'48" W71°9'58"

I've made it back to Boston and I'm sore. Most of my muscles are a little achy and sore and my neck is really not too much better than it was after surfing. I'm not sitting comfortably at my desk, and sighing in relief of being still. Every time I got away I think, it'll be nice to get away from work. It'll be nice to change pace just sort of recoup. This feeling is always double in the opposite direction when I get back. I'm excited to get back to work and believe me, there's a lot of it. Some pretty exciting projects are coming down the pipe line and I've got a lot of code reading to do before I can tackle them. Once I can bend my neck down far enough to look at the monitor.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Sunday afternoon is the new Saturday night

12:15PM EDT N42°21'56" W71°0'37"

So Amy, my wonderful roommate, picked me up from the airport so that I wouldn't have to take the T home; it was very much appreciated since I haven't slept and my neck still hurts a lot. We chatted a bit about my trip as I got home and put my stuff away and then I ran right out the door to catch the show.

The show was really small as a result of being Sunday in the middle of the day, but there was nice little crowd, predominated comprised of members of the earlier acts. As Danny put it, "I guess Sunday afternoon is the new Saturday night." I got a short video of them playing Bile them Cabbage Down, complete with Doug wailing away on his sweet foot-pedal cow bell.

After the show we went out to Dan's brother's place and had a BBQ out on the roof. It was a really neat deck out on the roof of his building. I had to fight the urge to climb out on to a billboard mounted on building, which he said would get him evicted.

I sat around and ate lots of food and listened to funny tales of twelve musicians and artists driving around Mexico in a van covered with bones. All of which you can read about on their blog Danny and Dan played a little bit in the kitchen and since I'm addicted to my new camera, I got another video.

So that's the end of my trip. Back to work tomorrow.

Forty miles from Atlanta, this is nowhere

9:46AM EDT | N33°'38'29" W84°25'39"

So I'm in Atlanta now. I bet you didn't see that coming. Here's the scoop on how I got here: I knew I'd be taking a flight from San Diego back to Boston on this trip, Atlanta is a major airline hub, and I have a friend that lives in Atlanta. So, I figured I'd check for flights that laid over in Atlanta and I called Jess. "I was able to find a five-hour layover, but the catch is, it's at 4:00 AM. Want to come to the airport and hang out?"

As we were driving down i85, lost and looking for food, I made the near fatal mistake of letting it slip that I had rather big family news. You see Jess is a long-time friend of the family and is always excited when there's big dirt. Well this one was pretty major so I figured I'd tell her when she was sitting down. Make that when she was sitting down with out a steering wheel and our lives in her hands. "Oh just tell me" she demanded.
"No no, let me just wait 'til we're at breakfast."
"Oh my god did Michele get engaged!" she probed.
"No. I'll tell you when you're not driving." I said, in earnest slightly scared of her driving habits when excited.
"Oh my god who's pregnant?"
"I'll tell you the news soon." I mumbled, cleverly avoiding a confirm or deny of the validity of her question.
"Holy crap, who's pregnant!" she guess, easily able to decipher my evasive language, which, it turns out, was not nearly as clever as I'd lead my readers to believe in the previously line of this narration.
"Lindsay." I said plainly, with no way out.
"Holy shit!" she changed lines. "Lindsay's pregnant!?" she changed back. "Oh my god"
"Yup." I confirmed, knuckles white, clenched to the door handle.

We went on to talk about the family's reaction and my reaction, which has thus far been limited to "Woa." "Really?" "Woa."

We got to breakfast alive and ate at a place call the Huddle House, just down the road from her apartment. And for the first time in my life* I ordered grits, a well known southern delicacy. I have to say it was rather bland.

Later we headed down the road to Jess's apartment and we sat at talked about various things not of interest to the road-trip-blog readership. I attempted to fix her virus-infected computer, got a drink, and then head out to catch my flight.

I got in passed security just barely on time and sauntered slowly down to my what I thought should be my gate. I sat down to relax and notice an unfamiliar town name on the gate sign. "New Orleans? Who the hell wants to go there?" I said to myself and then I got up to inquire with the attendant. She informed me plenty of people did and that I now needed to go to the furthest gate in the airport from the one we were at. With that, I was off tearing through the escalators and moving walkways, yelling to small children to clear the way, and stiff-arm tackling little old ladies. I was doing to make my flight... And just then I looked up and saw it.

I saw the sign. And it opened up my eyes. I saw the sign. No one's going to drag me up to get into the light where I belong. In fact no one's even going to tell me where said light is either. At least not if they use air-port LCD screens running Macromedia Flash.

You see in my mad dash through the airport I was naturally wondering two very important things. Where are airport concourses and what does their info display's code look like if they accidentally cast an identifier to a string when outputting. The answer, of course, is that the concourses are over to the left and _level0.panel4 is the identifier they used to contain data that they accidentally don't display.

Yes, it's true, not even my heart-pounding, I'm-going-to-miss-my-flight adrenaline rush could keep me from taking a minute out of my frantic run to grab a couple quick snap shots of this sign.

I'm now sitting, sweating, and breathing heavily on a plane bound for Boston, the end of my trip. I will be landing 45 minutes before The Can Kickers first Boston show in nearly six months. You may think it's a bad idea to attend such a show considering I haven't slept and my shoulder is in a considerable amount of pain. I might agree with you too, but I'm going. Their good friends, I haven't seen them in a quite a while, and I want to hear about the Mexico tour.

* And the last time.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Bird Vs. Squirrel

9:34AM PDT | N32°56'14" W116°34'36"

We left last night to go camping at the fabulous Cuyamaca Rancho State Park and Casino last night well after the sun had set. When we got there, everyone had gone to sleep so there was no one manning the sign-in desk. Fortunately for us, they allow you to camp and pay when you check out. We set up the tent in the dark which proved to be a little tricky since it was Joe's tent and he'd never seen it put together even in the light.

We fumbled around with it for a while and got it to stand. Right or wrong, it made for a fine place to sleep. We sat and drank and played games and had a lengthy discussion about issues far to unimportant to remember several hours later when I have access to my blog.

In the morning we made oats and watched the birds fly around our camp hoping for some food. This was the kind of place that people camped at often so all of the animals were pretty brave around people, seeing them as their ticket to an easy meal. Afraid of what revenge they might seek if we didn't comply, we broken out the walnuts and the camera. I set up my camera on the large rock near our campsite and put the food out to see if I could get some close-ups of the birds. What I got a battle scene.

Turns out a militant squirrel by the name of Colonel Spotty Fregan, lives underneath said rock and knows full well that a large congregation of excited birds means food is not far away. As soon as I backed away from my offering to the bird community, the birds swooped in and got their fill. But shortly there after, Colonel Spotty Fregan made his way over and cleared them out, taking what remained for himself and that little tummy he was named for. After more iterations of this than you might expect (and certainly more than my edited video indicates) Joe and I got bored and went hiking.

The hike was really pretty; it went up to a rocky peak in the middle of a burned-down wooded area. It's the second time I've been through the site of a large forest fire on this trip and I must say it's pretty stunning. The pictures don't really ever do it justice. Something about the parallax movement of the endless rows of leafless wood is really beautiful. I can't quite put my finger on it.

When we got to the summit we could quite a ways around in all directions. The landscape was a pretty baron forest that we were told was once full of amazing foliage in the autumn, but was now gone due to the fire. We could see a long winding road coming up the hills bellow us that were rather steep. At one point we watched a long traffic jam unfold before us as a sixteen-wheeler tried desperately to break the 30mph mark as it chugged up the hill. I got several pictures as more cars pilled up behind him.

I got a picture of my self up at the summit looking surly. Truth be told I'm quite a bit of pain right now. My shoulder hasn't gotten much better, I haven't been sleeping much, and when I do it's out in the woods on the ground. It's all worth it though. Only two more days to go.

Surfing: "Yata!"

7:34PM PDT | N32°47'54" W117°15'32"

Joe and I went surfing today. It was Joe's first time ever and my first time in about ten years. I was pretty psyched that I actually got up and road a wave in on my first try, but my luck didn't last that long. I ended up getting up on the board maybe about five good times before two hours was up and we decided we were pretty hungry.

After Joe put his wet suit on the right way he was also able to ride a couple of waves in himself. I mean he's no big-time, five-waver like myself, but he had a pretty good run for a guy Boston boy in Pacific waters. It's unfortunate that my camera is not water proof and could not come with us but I did make a short intro clip in case surfing ever becomes my super power and I need it documented.

After surfing, Joe and I went to In 'n Out burger. In 'n Out is like McDonalds only Christian. They have a disproportionately cheery staff and the names of bible verses on the underneath of their cups. I wondered out loud why they didn't just print the verse itself. What good does the name and some numbers do me? Oh well.

While we where there it was totally packed, likely due to the very large JESUS IS LORD bus parked out front and the millions of kids wandering around, each of them just a little too social awkward not to be part of a Christian youth group. We both ordered a burger and a shake and they were divine. This place is definitely where I would purchase all of my hamburgers if I were the one true god.

About a week before I came to San Diego I pulled my shoulder playing baseball. During surfing it happened again it is really hurting at this point. When we got back to Joe's I went in the hot tub to see if that would help. It did, a little. I took a nap while Joe went to work to gear up for my next two days. Tonight we're going camping and then after that I'm taking an over-night flight to end my vacation. Let's hope I make it.

You boys like Mexiiiiicoooooo?!

1:30AM PDT | N32°31'29" W117°1'4"

This morning I went downtown with Joe to get lunch. The he left me there while he went to work and I had a nice long walk. I strolled all around Balboa park, along the water front, across the San Diego River, through several urban parks, and wooded areas. I went to a few stores to look for fun things to bring home for friends. I walked for quite aways, probably about 5-10 miles that day.

I later found myself in a suburban combat zone of highway on ramps, eight-lane roads, shopping malls, and humongous parking lots. It was pretty difficult making my way though there on foot but luckily Joe got out of work shortly after I got there. I recounted my travels to him on the phone as he attempted to retrace my steps. Much to my surprise, as I got to the last thing I remembered, he drove up next to me.

We left for Mexico to go to Tijuana for the night after we got back to his place and I took a lot of photos on the ride down to try out my camera's night-scene option. It accentuates light, as you might expect. It's like over exposing the film if it were not digital. If any of you were wondering what San Diego looks like at night at 80 miles per hour, wonder no more.

After a short 20 minute drive we were at the boarder, right across the river from Tijuana. Tijuana, for those of you who don't know, is Spanish for 'city of bars'. We parked in a parking lot in the US and walked across the boarder. I figured it would be easier getting into Mexico than into the US, but I didn't expect it to be an unmanned turnstile. We just walked right through one of those metal revolving doors that only go one way just like you find in the Boston subways. And with that we were in Mexico.

Immediately after we got there, we were offered taxi cab rides and were told it was too far to walk. One by a guy who knew where "best place" was and one by a guy who knew where "a better place" was. Six more offers followed before we walked through towards the strip. As I walked down the strip I lamented the fact that Jacob was not there with me to see this. If he thought Vegas was open about its sex industry he would have been baffled by Tijuana.

As we walked down the strip we were followed by men outside bars trying to stir up business. We were followed at times for a few blocks and insistently asked to patronize their establishment. "No cover charge.", "We have the prettiest girls, amigo.", and few other things I'll not repeat since children under thirty are reading this blog. One man, not confident enough in his English, just cupped his hands a foot from his chest, smiled, and pointed in side. I began to wonder if any of the women behind the doors we saw were wearing clothing.

We pressed on, bound for Plasa Rio, an area a friend of Joe's pointed us to. Plasa Rio is Spanish for 'plaza of bars without naked women and considerably less pushy bouncers'. Once we got there we found the area lived up to its name. We got a nice meal at a bar and had some drinks. I attempted to use my high-school Spanish skills to get some dark bear to no avail. "Servesa moreno" I said. "Lagar?" the bartender said. Which sounded pretty good but as it turns out Dose Equis Amber Lager is not very dark, or very good. I don't even know if the word moreno can apply to a bear, or if it's just for complexion.

We went bar hopping a little more and came to a really packed bar with loud music and a one-dollar cover. It was pretty fun and the strobe like was a nice touch. Then we saw some pretty bad live music after we were encouraged to check it out and we left before ordering a beer. We decided it was getting pretty late and we planned to get up early the next morning to go surfing so we head out to the road to find a taxi.

Getting processed on the way back was pretty simple as well. There was no line and the attendant asked me for my license. Asked me if I was a US citizen and then where I was born. With that we were on our way and so ended our night in Tijuana.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

We are not as far west as you suppose we are.

Jacob and I were careening downing i15 readying ourselves to enter Nevada when something rather surprising got in our way.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

No meaning yes?!

4:22PM PDT | N32°48'21" W117°13'57"

I've been in San Diego for a little more than a day now staying at Joe and Eliza's apartment on the most indecisively named street in town and it's been a lot of fun.

Yesterday Joe and I went to the the 976 Cafe, a nearby, hip, vegetarian-friendly eating establishment with free wifi and a large Paul Simon collection. I got a really good Soy Chorizo breakfast burrito. Later we went for a stroll on the beach to check out the sights. The beach was nice and breezy and I was still craving cold after being in the desert for a day.

After Joe left for work I rode his bike up and down the coast line look entertainment or logic puzzles written in the sand. I found neither but I did happen upon a lovely little board walk shop which was nice enough to give me some ice cream in exchange for pictures of their favorite presidents. Later I sat on the beach for a few hours intermittently reading my current reading material: Kevin Mitnick's the Art of Deception, X-Men: From the Ashes, and the latest issue of 2600 magazine.

I continued on to Mission Bay Park, an amusement park surrounded by many beach-front homes rented out by families on vacation. I then rode around a body of water which I presumed to be the park's namesake though didn't look much like a bay from where I rode and it gave little to no indication of having any kind of a mission.

This morning, Joe and I went for a hike in Torrey Pines which is a scenic nature preserve by the water. It was different from most places that I've been hiking, coming from the east coast, where all the hiking is in the mountains and under fairly dense tree cover 'til you hit the alpine zone. Here, there was most bushes and sand and rock over which we could see the ocean for most of the time. The view was really nice and I took several pictures.

After a few hours we headed out to get some lunch before Joe had to go to work again. We went to a sushi place down the street which had some really cool rolls with one kind of fish in side and another laid on top. I called it nigiri-maki. Joe's lunch was on fire.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Road Trip Map

I've made a map of the trip and I'm putting each of the blog posts up there so you can see the route, etc. Enjoy.