West 2014 | Cross Country Road-trip
Moving from Cincinnati to Los Angeles, I loaded up my car with everything I own and spent 5 days driving 2300 miles across the country.
When the time finally came for me to relocate to the southern California area, I knew there were going to be a few things to consider. First, I did not want to drive with a U-haul from Cincinnati to LA; Second, I would have to take the trip solo, so it would take a few days; and third, I wanted to take a route that was as epic as possible.
DAY 1 (Cincinnati, OH to St. Louis, MO) Distance: 350 miles Time: 5.5 hours
The week I moved I loaded up my car with all the essentials and headed out on Wednesday night. The first night was a bit rough. I left at 10pm and headed for St. Louis to stay with my Aunt. The 5 hour drive was more-a-less familiar territory to me, and although there was a bit of snow and it was freezing cold, I rolled in around 3am and called it a day.
DAY 2 (St Louis, MO to Boulder, CO) Distance: 869 miles Time: 14 hours
The second day was by far the most bland, leaving from St. Louis, I stopped off to see an eye-sculpture, which was…interesting…and then took the afternoon driving to Kansas City. KC was actually a lot cooler than I expected. They have a library with a book-facade, and a great lookout just down the street of a valley. After that I headed out to cross Kansas. Nothing but 400+ miles of desolation.
The real treat came at the Colorado/Kanasas border. With not a single car on the road, and gusting winds blowing snow making visibility super low, it wasn’t a whole lot of fun to drive the stretch, however the moon came out and lit up the entire sky. After about 20mins of this a halo appeared around the moon, spanning a good part of the horizon. It was so breathe-taking I pulled over to get a decent shot of it; I’ve never seen anything like it.
DAY 3 (Boulder, CO to Las Vegas, NV) Distance: 764 miles Time: 14 hours
Getting into Boulder late after 14hrs of driving, I stayed with a good friend and woke up the next day to do it all over again. This time the drive was dramatically different. I-70 through the rockies is probably one of the prettiest drives I’ve ever taken. A lot of snow was being dumped near Vail, but eventually I made it to a stretch that was an elevated highway cut above the Colorado River in the same canyon it flows through, with 200-300ft mountains on either side.
Once out of the Rockies, I tackled the beautiful vast-ness of Utah, unfortunately mostly at night. Another 14hrs later, I got into Vegas. I decided to take a day off and spend time with a good friend who lives there, saw the Copperfield show again and went to Hakkassan; it was a nice rest after driving so much.
DAY 4 (Las Vegas, NV to Santa Monica, CA) Distance: 281 miles Time: 4 hours
The day after I got the last 4hrs out of the way from Las Vegas to Los Angeles. Although I was staying downtown, I thought it was appropriate to end at the beach, so I drove all the way up to the PCH and Santa Monica Pier just in time to catch the sunset.
The trip was really something eye-opening. It is very strange to pack up everything you own and leave what you’ve known very well for many years behind. There’s definitely a sense of freedom and excitement however that comes with that. I very much love to drive, so the 2300+ miles were easy for me, especially with the incredible scenery along the way. I also was very fortunate to not have to pay for hotels by staying with family and friends, and I’m very grateful they offered places to stay so readily!
I could have easily skipped this bit by booking a flight and shipping everything out. But I think that even if you’re not moving, taking a road trip of this size is something everyone should experience at least once. There’s a lot of things you can see on tv and movies, but it never holds a candle to seeing those things in person, and I think that is what life’s all about. Don’t get the abbreviated version, go see it for yourself.