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I was worried. My whole life was in this car, and that meant I was HEAVY – which would not have been a problem if I was driving something with a motor bigger than a 1.8. But I was here, and so the only way was forward! The road kept going UP. I`d never seen anything like it! As the road went up, the fog started to thicken, the giant pines flanking the road as I downshifted to 3rd to keep my car going. “Welcome to Idaho” the sign read as I crept past it. “Hell yeah. One more state to go” I said out loud to no one in particular. That`s the thing about being alone for so long, you eventually start to break the monotony by talking to yourself. At least, I do.
My jaw dropped to the floor of my car.
In front of me, the fog had cleared. The road curved left up ahead – what was directly in front of me was something I would never forget. The mountain I was on dropped off in front of me into a small valley, and towering massively on the other side of that valley was the biggest mountain I had ever seen. A gargantuan face of rock tinted blue by the light, obscured in parts by thin wispy clouds that slowly got thicker the higher you looked. There was no mistaking it. These were the mountains mantled blue. These were the Rockies. I pulled over at the next available area, to soak it in. The air, crisp and clean this high up was practically humming with energy as I stepped out of my car to survey the beauty around me. Amazing. I could have stayed there for hours, but knowing I had to make it to my new home by days end, I took one last look, a deep breath, got back in my car, and started the decent.
I could not bring myself to take a picture of this place – This was the kind of place a picture wouldn’t ever do justice to.
Practically high from what I`d just experienced, the majority of my day flew by. Northern Idaho was beautiful, tall mountains covered in pines and evergreens, partially enveloped by the fog here and there. An occasional town tucked away in this hidden wonderland. In this moment I was so happy i chose to leave the place I had called home for so many years, and embark on this adventure. After crossing the behemoth that was Montana, I had no issues flying across this tiny piece of Idaho. The massive peaks began to give way to foothills, the fog clearing in favor of a dirty, overcast sky. (My personal favorite) “Welcome to Washington”. I had been waiting to see that sign for days. “Dalek! Galifrey! We`re home, guys. We`re home.”
I wad giddy. I`d just driven almost the entirety of the continental United States. Just me. The feeling was and still is empowering. The foothills I`d been driving through gave way to high desert after crossing through Spokane. Small rolling hills covered in dead grass, the sky was tinted a dirty grey. It was beautiful. The scene remained this way for a number of hours, eventually becoming flat. The sky cleared, and I was starting to grow impatient again. Fortunately zoning out is something I`m actually quite good at. As the hours slipped by, I began to notice there were clouds on the horizon. Not storm clouds, just…giant puffy clouds. From the left to the right as far as I could see. It almost looked like some kind of army getting ready to march.
Getting closer I realized they weren’t clouds at all – they were mountains. “Holy crap” I muttered to myself excitedly. I stopped to stretch my legs at the next rest stop, and let my Tabby, Galifrey hop out of the car to stretch; after feeling the cold, dry wind blasting the area, he hopped right back into the car. The sun was starting to set over the vast expanse, and it was a one of a kind sunset – the kind you always remember when you think about a certain place. The highway took us to the south of the massive wall of mountains, to my relief. To my surprise, the landscape changed AGAIN, this time brown-orange rocky cliff faces were rising up to my left and to my right – this was incredible! So much variety in one day. The cliffs eventually gave way to the Columbia river gorge, with the last remains of the setting sun illuminating the rough rock faces. I made a mental note to come back here at some point – it was very beautiful. Home stretch.
By now it was dark, and I mean DARK. My headlights weren’t nearly bright enough, and at some point it has started to rain. I could vaguely make out the outlines of giant evergreens on either side of the road, and I knew I was driving uphill because my car wouldn’t keep speed. What i didn’t know at the time was that i was driving through the Snoqualmie mountain pass – one of many in the area. The speed limit was sixty. I was pushing 70. The cars around me? 70 was too slow. They whizzed by as I started to descend. The rain mixing with fog, swirling around my like some kind of demon guarding the gates to hell. My wipers were no longer adequate, and with the huge amount of moisture on the road I was hydroplaning every few minutes. “This is not good.” I was thinking to myself. The fact that “Welcome Home” by Coheed and Cambria was blasting on the radio made the whole situation more ironic, and intense. I glanced over at one point to see Galifrey, my tabby, loafed up on top of my luggage, facing forward, passed out. Either this cat is too cat to know what is going on, or he just doesn’t care. What a little bad-ass. As time passed, the traffic grew thicker, more lights appeared, and it looked like I was out of the woods.
I shivered. Lord it was dry. The gas station pump I was leaning on gave a loud “CLUNK” announcing that my car was full. Stowing the nozzle, I did a walk around on my car before the home stretch. With so many miles and so many different environments, my car looked like a disaster. Dusty. Dirty. and covered in streaks of grey brown – the kind you see on airplanes that are due for a wash. Oh well! That was something that could wait until we were home and unloaded. Hopping back into the car, I fed the cats dinner and reassured them. They weren’t very happy, as this had been our longest day yet. I got back on the highway, and called my friend who lived near my new apartment (really it`s an overpriced, fancy dorm room – thanks Seattle). I was beginning to fatigue, bad. I had turned off the GPS, as I had not, and I would not be getting off the freeway until I was practically there.
A short time later, I was out of the woods. The vast expanse of water that is Lake Washington sprawled out in front of me, a lone bridge waiting for me to cross, and behind it? Seattle. For the second time that day, I felt overwhelmed with emotion. Flying across the bridge and into the maw of a tunnel that opened up in the city, I perked up. I was fifteen minutes away from my new home, and some very much much needed sleep. The city lights twinkled around me as if to say, “We`ve been waiting for you. Welcome.” My exit came, and within a minute I was pulling up to my new apartment complex. It took a little bit to find parking, and once I had I called my leasing agent, who was kind enough to remain at work after hours so he could welcome me to my unit. He opened the door and explained to me what was pertinent in the moment, and then departed. The exchange was a blur – I was running out of time before my body shut me down.
My friend, “A” was outside. Excited to see her, and pattered down the stairs and found her walking towards the complex. After a quick embrace, she kindly assisted me in bringing a few necessities into my unit (Cats included), and gave me an air mattress to use until I had gotten an actual one. Now I`m normally a gratuitous person, but in my current state of mind, that was turbocharged, and always will be in my memory. Thank you, A. I appreciate you more than you could ever know.
After seeing A off, I climbed the stairs back to my apartment.
Reality came crashing into me.
The apartment was small – tiny. 208 square feet. What the hell was I supposed to do with this?
Every emotion possible for the whole situation chose that moment to come out. Joy that I had arrived. Elation at the feat that I had just accomplished. Apprehensiveness about my future. Anger at my past. Sadness at the state of myself. It was messy – and rightfully so. Humans are messy creatures, after all. We prop and primp ourselves up with trivial things from who we associate with to what we believe in to fulfill our idea of what is good, and what is ideal; but at the end of the day, we`re all the same. And so as this torrent of emotion crashed into me over and over again, I decided now would be a good time to press the reset button, and start fresh the next day.
So I did.