This is part 4 of a lil blog series I'm writing about my 2020. Here are the previous posts:
- 2020: COVID drain, my NG life after Grounds Patrol
- 2020: The Newgrounds Podcast was born (and looked nothing like it does now)
- 2020: The Summer Block Party changed everything
Courtney and I left LA and drove across the USA (again)
Courtney and I never really loved Los Angeles. We’d packed everything into our cars and moved there two years ago, mostly because we like working in entertainment, we wanted to move somewhere, and we felt like there would be lots of opportunities there. (Not gonna go too deep on the reasons we were in LA, just because this is a 2020 recap, not a my-whole-life recap, lol.) Our time there was cool in some ways and lame in others. I found my cool escape room design job early on and stuck with it, but she had to bounce around a lot, and meanwhile our living situation was stuffy, the part of town we lived in was kinda sad, and we didn’t have many friends.
Would things have gotten better if we’d stayed longer? Probably. They say you have to stay in LA for five years before you’re truly settled and “at home”. We definitely would’ve made more friends, there would have been more jobs, and we would’ve been able to get a bigger apartment eventually. But in 2020, by the time COVID had us both laid off and running out of money, it didn’t take much convincing to get us to leave.
So, as I mentioned before, at the same time the Block Party was happening I was also working on getting basically everything in our apartment either packed, sold, given away or trashed. It helped that our place was super small and furnished with cheap particle-board furniture that was worth approximately $0.00 after being used. We got a uBox to ship a lot of stuff, and we put into our cars everything we’d need for the next few months as we stayed with my parents for a while.
On August 31, we said our final goodbye to our landlord, emptied out the last few bits of our apartment, and started driving!
We got lucky that our cat wasn’t one of those cats that freaks out and throws up whenever they’re in a car. I heard so many stories leading up to the trip from people who tried to drive with their cat once and the cat either a) screamed the whole way, b) had diarrhea the whole way, or c) died. What the fuck, cats??
Gimme did just fine though. We drugged her with vet-approved kitty Dramamine at first, but it turned out she didn’t need it. She would sit in her carrier for a little bit but spent most of the ride under the front passenger seat. We leashed her to the back so she couldn’t get up front and walk between the driver’s legs. (Luckily she only did that once, and I was driving slowly on a little private road at the time, so we were able to learn the lesson the easy way.)
Hotels were tricky. We had to take her up to the room while also carrying our suitcases, sometimes pushing her carrier around on a luggage cart. Then we had to ease her out so she didn’t freak out at the new location too hard, then we had to convince her somehow to eat and drink and use her little portable litter box. I don’t think she did much of any of that, but we did our best.
We wanted to stop at the Grand Canyon on our way, since we didn’t know the next time we’d be able to drive over and see it. It was beautiful. Guess what? We couldn’t leave Gimme in the car the whole time, so Courtney wore the carrier on her back and we straight up took our cat to see the Grand Canyon.
Overall, we did the trip in five days. From Los Angeles to Flagstaff, Phoenix, El Paso, San Antonio, New Orleans, and finally to my parents in Florida. We could’ve done it much faster, but there were a few things we wanted to see, and we also didn’t want to put too many hours between stops with Gimme in the car. It was a good ride.
Random other stuff:
- The book American Gods by Neil Gaiman is great, but listened to as an audiobook during a road trip through America makes it double great. Which makes sense, since it’s a book about a supernatural road trip through America.
- While having our cat in the car turned out to be fine, it doesn’t make for a super relaxing trip. The whole thing, from planning stops to driving to finding hotels to checking into the hotels, becomes focused on making sure the cat is okay. Sorry Gimme, you’re a high-maintenance road trip buddy.
- Arby’s is the best road trip fast food, and Sonic is the worst. Fight me.
- There’s a Southwestern gas station chain called Buc-ees that is THE HOLY GRAIL, WILLY WONKA WONDERLAND of gas stations. Each one is like 100 pumps and has a store the size of a Wal-Mart, I’m not exaggerating. They have everything from fresh food and homemade candy to furniture, local art, and an entire branded clothing line. Courtney and I walked out of there with barbecue sandwiches, saltwater taffy, a bag of Beaver Nuggets, two bathing suits and a fanny pack.
The rest of my IRL 2020 was okay. Stayed with my parents, looked for jobs remotely, did my best to stay safe from COVID in Florida where nobody really cares. I feel like we've all had some version of that. But yeah, I’m glad we got to break up the year with a big ol road trip.
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