I am writing to you from the lovely and amazing Oklahoma. The wind truly does blow sweeping over the plains. And it is very hot during the summertime. Which, in case you were not aware, it presently is.
For those of you who do not follow me, or are otherwise unaware, I recently moved to Oklahoma for graduate school. I will be attending Oklahoma State University and working at the University of Central Oklahoma. I moved to Oklahoma from the beautiful state of California. No, I didn’t surf to school every day. Nor did I live next to a movie star. I don’t know how to swim, and I once met John Lassiter, who’s like a movie star.
So this whole moving process. It’s incredibly daunting. This is probably the biggest move I have ever done in my life. For the first time in about 7 years, everything I own is under one roof. Or behind one door. Whatever. My point is, if something happens to my apartment, I have to completely start over. Which is a daunting thought. I digress.
The first question was “do I take my car or not?” I debated back and forth on this for awhile. If I wasn’t going to take my car, that would allow me to drive a U-Haul across the country. Which I could do anyways and just tow my car. But I didn’t want to. So I finally decided to take my car. My tiny little Civic. Poor thing.
Next thing: packing. How am I going to get the rest of my stuff across the country. After all, my whole life does not fit into a Civic. Unfortunately. Upon the advice of a friend, I decided to ship everything. It only cost $350. Awesome.
Original plan: drive down to SD, visit some friends, have fun times, and continue out to Oklahoma. This plan would have me leaving on Monday, June 13 and arriving around Friday, June 18. But then I found out that the event that was keeping me in California was a week earlier than I thought it was. So I made some calls and changed all my dates around. Mental debate has ensued since then on whether or not I made the right decision.
New plan: drive down to SD, visit friends, have fun times, and continue out to Oklahoma. Basically the same, right? Well in this plan, I left on Thursday, June 9 and arrive on Sunday, June 12.
This plan worked out well, until the end of the day on Thursday, June 9. I stopped to visit Alissa, and got back on the road. No more than 20 minutes later, my check engine light went on. I spent about five minutes debating whether or not I should pull over and look. I know next to nothing about the mechanics of automobiles, so I doubted that looking would be helpful. At the same time it could be dangerous/destroy my car if I don’t pull off. Further – I’ve heard tons of stories about people who’ve had check engine lights turn on and stay on for forever, yet nothing serious is wrong – i.e. Penny in The Big Bang Theory.
I was about half a mile from an exit when I looked in my rear view mirror and saw smoke trailing my car in a rather excessive volume. I was filled with a calm, decisive panic as I pulled into the exit lane. As I came to the stoplight at the end of the exit ramp, my car was completely enveloped in smoke. Because my windows were down, the corners of the smoke passed through my car. I turned right and pulled straight into a gas station parking lot, where I turned off my car, popped the hood and started making calls to everyone I was supposed to see over the following day.
As I opened the hood, a torrent of smoke blew out. My engine was wet. The cap of one of the fluid tanks in the front had completely blown off. The plastic around the edge of the top was melted inwards and everything. When I called AAA, they sent a tow-truck which took me to a car mechanic shop. I covered the stuff in my back of my car, put my key in the drop box, and used my GPS to find a hotel. After I got my bearings as to where I was, I walked to the hotel and checked in for the night.
In the morning (June 10) I walked back to the auto shop. The gentleman behind the counter told me that my radiator had blown and best case scenario, I’d be back on the road by noon. Worst case scenario, my engine was screwed. Praying for the best case scenario, I walked to Jack in the Box and ate breakfast. I returned to the hotel, took a nap and called a taxi to take me back to the auto shop. Lo and behold, I was back on the road (my pocketbook a bit emptier) by close to one in the afternoon! Before I left, he warned me that I’d need new brakes, new tires, and an oil change, all soon after I got to Oklahoma.
I arrived in San Diego, had some fantastic Carne Asada fries with Moses, then drove further down to see Allison! We hung out in the afternoon, then went to Pacific Beach in the evening. It was pretty awesome. This is about when I started to really miss the rest of The Hometacos.
The next morning (Saturday) I got breakfast at a Mexican food place. They had interesting burritos. My burrito was chicken. The entire content of the burrito was just chicken. And I had some of Allison’s carne asada fries. Seriously, I love carne asada fries now. I can’t believe I didn’t know about this magic earlier. Ah well, such is life. After late breakfast/early lunch, I hit the road again.
This stretch of the drive was along the southernmost part of California – literally, I saw the border for part of the drive, and there was even an immigration stop – then I hit Arizona. This is where it actually started to get pretty hot. I don’t usually have my windows up, or the air conditioning on, but I had to. I made it through Arizona well, and stopped around 11pm at some kind of cheap hotel chain place just east of the Arizona-New Mexico border.
After a good nights rest, I got up and hit the road again. The number of miles I had left was daunting, so I set my GPS to major towns that I knew were along the way. My main stops along the way were food and gas. Even those, I tried to make as rare as possible.
Around four thirty or so, I hit Oklahoma, but I think I had already been there for awhile before I realized that I was in-state. Late in the evening – probably close to about 7ish, I arrived in Stillwater. I spent the night at the apartment of a classmate.
Monday, June 13 was my first day in Stillwater. I had to get the electric registered in my name, then I went to sign my lease and pick up my keys. I unpacked my car and turned in the apartment condition form.
The balance of the day was spent exploring Stillwater. I started to invest in food and household essentials – cleaning supplies, etc.
And thus ends the first chapter of my (relatively) far east movement.