Monday, May 14, 2012

Travel Tales: LA to Akron 2012

Los Angeles skyline and San Gabriel mountains....
Los Angeles skyline and San Gabriel mountains.  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
When I pull out of the garage to begin my long trip, I am sometimes overwhelmed by the number of miles I have to drive - 5000 round trip! I often think of the scene in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade where Indy takes a leap of faith and steps out into the abyss to finally find the Holy Grail. He puts out his foot onto what he thinks is nothing and the foot lands on a bridge. That is the way I feel when driving the first mile. I never know what lies ahead and I have to take a leap of faith that everything will be okay.

The return trip to Akron is different. All but one of my adventures are over and I am going home. I can clearly see what has to be packed into the car. All of it is going with me. It is time to go back to my world...

After being in a holding pattern for a week for severe weather considerations, I was finally able to leave Los Angeles early Monday. This was a source of stress to make sure conditions were the best they could be. I waited out even the rain in the forecast because rain storms can sometimes turn into something more dangerous. My journey was difficult enough on its own, so I was willing to wait for clear weather. My patience paid off and I had beautiful weather for the entire trip home.

I left Los Angeles at 6:00 that morning so I could avoid any delay from the rush hour traffic. An unexpected treat was to see snow on the San Gabriel Mountains. The Mojave Desert was as beautiful as it always is in the early morning light. The first stop on I-40 was Exit 9 in Arizona - a great exit for gas. Arizona and New Mexico provided great scenery which I really enjoyed. I decided to make an adjustment to my usual gas stops when I noticed the prices were higher at Exit 277 on I-40 in Arizona, so I decided to stop instead at Exit 16 on I-40 at Gallup, New Mexico. With the higher speed limits in the Southwestern states, I was able to cover a lot of miles that day. By the time I got to Amarillo, I thought it was a good idea to stop for the evening. I got gas again at Exit 75 on I-40. Even though I felt great, I did not have an appetite. All I ate that day were three Zone Perfect bars...chocolate mint of course!

The next morning I left Amarillo a little later than I wanted. Once again it was a perfect day, but that was the kind of day I waited to have. Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri and Illinois passed quickly by me. I got gas again for the last time on I-40 at Exit 140 in Oklahoma City. When I was on I-44, I got gas for the only time at Exit 8 in Joplin. My only time for gas on I-70 was at Exit 162 in Effingham, Illinois. I still did not feel hungry, but I was able to eat a burger later in the day. I was really surprised to see that everything was in bloom. That made the scenery even more beautiful. People had told me the winter had been warm, but I did not expect it to be summer in April.

By now it was the middle of the night, but I did not feel tired since I left so late in the morning. I do have to admit that my Harry Potter audiobook was starting to lose my attention, so I put in cds that I knew would keep me awake and singing. An unexpected turn of events came just after Indianapolis when everyone was directed off the interstate. We were given no directions as to which way to go, so I just followed the truckers. After a while, they guided me on an unmarked detour back to the interstate.  One advantage about driving I-70 in the middle of the night was I was able to avoid construction and rush hour traffic. My last stop for gas was north of Columbus on I-71 at Exit 131.

I stopped for gas seven times on my trip and usually at the same places. I know that does not seem like enough times for gas, but I own a Honda Civic which has incredible gas mileage.

Akron, Ohio
Akron, Ohio (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I was not at all tired, so I continued home arriving in Akron at 6:30 on Wednesday morning. I do want to point out that if I had been tired, I would have stopped. In fact, I had so much adrenaline going, I did not go to sleep until after 11:00 on the night I arrived.

After a lot of planning and attention to detail, I have successfully completed another cross-country round trip. It was a leap of faith that turned out okay.  Now I have to plan for the next one!!

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