Our first stop on our epic road trip leaving FC was actually just a short hop to visit Jaelyn and her partner (I forget his name). I hadn't had breakfast and I'm not good at meeting (haha, almost typed 'eating') new people on an empty stomach. So I was kinda D= or ~~ until I finally got some food into me several DAYS LATER. =P
(Next year, I'm keeping some sort of nonperishable food in my hotel room, even if it's just Pop Tarts.)
Anyway, got a tour of their home, then wandered off to a local Westfield mall so that Jaelyn could buy some girly clothes.
Decided to stop by The Cheesecake Factory for lunch (I blame The Big Bang Theory). Had a chicken
After lunch, we wandered into the mall itself. Wolf and I hung around in the girly clothing store for a while until I realised this was going to take aaaaages, so we wandered off a bit. Had an orange smoothie at a famous-in-America chain (I forget the name) but it was tasty. Bought a PS2 from Game Stop (looks identical to EB Games in Oz) because I want to play freaking DDR. That's why I bought my other PS2, but I've been too lazy to get it modded, and for $70 I might as well buy an American one. Can't buy DDR games in Australia.
Jaelyn had finally finished buying clothes! Huzzah! We piled back into her car and went back to her place. We goofed around a bit playing GT4: Prologue, which we generally sucked at. I need to buy one of those Playmate chairs. I already have the steering wheel and pedals kit, but I don't have anywhere to properly mount the wheel.
We left at about 6, then Wolfwings realised just how freaking far it was to Redstorm's place. =P
We hit the highway, and took a wrong turn which took us through a toll booth and we ended up on Treasure Island. That place is a MAZE. It really, really didn't help that they'd blocked off one of the escape routes due to roadworks. Augh!
Eventually we escaped and made our way north into Sonoma County. Unfortunately, there was a bit of a miscommunication and Gatcat thought we weren't showing up until the following day. There was an entertaining string of screwups involved, and a side trip to get food and doughnuts which I wasn't a part of, plus experiments with mulled wine. Eventually we all got fed and it was actually pretty good.
The following day I woke up to some bad news and went for a walk to clear my head. I wish I'd taken my camera with me! I still don't have any photos from that area. Also, I managed to leave Sonoma County without tasting any of the local ales or wine this time. Dammit! I reckon I need to spend another week there with transportation and actually see some of the local attractions. *flail* It's a really nice area.
Sandroo/Deezlberries was staying with Gat and Red after the con, but he needed to get back down to the LA area, so we offered him a ride. =D I'd never met him before, and may have only heard of him in passing, but it was great meeting him. He's from England and I think he makes fursuits? He's also a 3D animator.
We had homemade crepes for lunch. They were nice. I should have crepes more often.
WolfWings wanted to hit the road, but not before a 2 hour nap. It was 7pm before we'd got the Yaris packed (Tetris packing FTW!) and were on the move. The first time I got to drive a stick shift in America was on the I-5. I had a bit of trouble with it at first and over the following couple of days I'd randomly reach for the stick on the wrong side. Oops! The cruise control was awesome (I want it for my Corolla now!) and I got very good at passing big-rig trucks. =P Also, I think WolfWings' plan was to give me most of the boring parts of the drive back. ;P
Had dinner at a truck stop diner. Burger and fries, which was surprisingly good for a truck stop! Must have been all that animal fat.
Was starting to zombify by the time we got to the top of the Grape Vine so WolfWings took over the driving to take us into LA. Deezl and I weren't keen on crashing at a random furry household (which I later found out wasn't random at all but a very (in)famous one), so we located a nearby Travelodge.
For some reason, Wolfwings dropped himself off at the furry house first, then handed me the keys. About five minutes prior I was completely out of it, so it was essential that I had to wake myself up enough to get us to the motel. This was at about 3 in the morning. Fortunately, I managed to successfully drive Deezl and myself to the motel without incident, except that I had trouble starting the car initially.
Checked in to the Travelodge and crashed (into bed). The room was fairly basic, but clean and warm, and the beds were comfy, and it was a cheap rate, which is all you can ask!
In the morning, packed up our gear, checked out of the motel, then drove back to the furry house to pick up WolfWings. We did make a wrong turn getting back, but I blame the iPhone's GPS position not updating fast enough. This was when I stepped inside the Prancing Skiltaire. Uhh. Yeah. Soooo glad I didn't stay the night.
We dropped Deezl off at a nearby mall, then drove to Burbank so that Wolf could say hi to a car mechanic buddy of his and drop off another licence plate for the wall. Had lunch at a pub up the road, but there was just too much food on my plate for me to finish.
Hit the highway again so that we could be in Vegas by about 6pm. I'd been in contact with Tadrith in the hope that I could see him and Saoirse again, but he'd already warned me that it'd be unlikely that I could meet them on a weeknight, and since it was Thursday and he was working late I didn't get to meet them. Maybe next trip? I'd try to be in Vegas on a weekend next time.
Spent the night at Radar's place (whoever that is) in the northern part of the city. Tried to watch some anime and fell asleep. Woke up in time to have some ribs for dinner, which I couldn't finish. They had a couple of cats there, so I got my kitty fix.
Hit the road again early. About an hour into the trip we stopped at a town for breakfast. We tried to locate a Quiznos but failed. We could find plenty of casinos! Frakking Nevada. It boiled down to a choice between a McDonald's and a convenience store, so we chose the convenience store.
Drove through a pass in the Rockies, but I was in the middle of eating a sandwich so I only got about 20 seconds of video and no photos.
Shortly afterwards, WolfWings declared that he was too sleepy to drive, so we swapped over. I guess he really isn't a morning person! I was wide awake and fine to drive.
Stopped off in Cedar City for fuel. Not long before that I got to see my first layers of snow on the ground for the trip. Wolfwings was still napping so I ended up driving all the way to the I-70 fork and stopped off at the truck stop there (when we eventually found it!).
This road house had a Subway store. That sounded pretty good so I wandered in. All the staff were standing inside near the front door and the lights were out. One of the staff informed me that the power was out and they had no idea how long it'd be before it came back on. And RIGHT THEN the power came back! XD Behold the power of Gryphon!
Needless to say, I tucked in to a footlong sub and some cookies. Omanomnom.
Wolfwings took over from the driving at the start of the I-70. By this point we were well into Utah. What can I say about Utah? Well, it's desolate and boring, but occasionally it has some incredible scenery. We passed a "Denver 404" sign which we HAD to double back and take a photo of! Shortly afterwards there was a scenic lookout where I took a whole bunch of photos. I haven't looked at them yet, so I don't know how they turned out, but they should look incredible if they came out okay.
After that, we decended from the hills (I think?) and hit some pretty bad fog. We must have been driving through fog for an hour or two. Fortunately, it cleared once we hit the Colorado border.
There was a fantastic sunset (got photos) and incredible full moonrise. Getting photos of the moon was tricky because the car kept bouncing all over the place.
Driving through the Colorado mountains easily made the roadtrip worthwhile. Snow capped mountains nicely lit by the moon, the river, the canyon, even the road through the canyon was awesome. Sadly I didn't take any photos because there's no way they'd have done it justice. Plus there wasn't anywhere to stop.
We were concerned about hitting ice and snow but incredibly the weather stayed clear for us, so we got a clean run all the way through Utah and Colorado to Denver!
I called Wolf Nymph to ask about possibly meeting up, and got some tips from her about where to stay. We Googled and located a Holiday Inn and Comfort Inn next to each other, consulted their prices and determined that the Comfort Inn was way cheaper. Even better, the Comfort Inn provided free breakfast! Awesome! We took full advantage of the free breakfast, although I failed to locate the maple syrup which was RIGHT NEXT TO the waffle irons. *facepalm*
We had planned to meet Wolf Nymph in the morning and I left her several messages on her phone but she didn't respond (found out later that she had issues with her phone). WolfWings was getting impatient and wanted to hit the road, so we took a quick stop at Walmart to pick up some supplies for my common cold infection, then hit the road again for Kansas City.
Yet again, WolfWings said he was too tired to drive so I took over for the first leg. We stopped at a McDonald's in the middle of nowhere which freakishly for an American McD's had an EDIBLE chicken sandwich!! Admittedly, the only times I had McD's on my previous trip was in California and Florida, which may not be the best sample.
Our next stop was at a roadhouse in the middle of nowhere. It was very misty and WolfWings made the comment, "Do you feel like you're driving into a horror film?" I swiped my card for gas and waited ages for it to go through. Wolf said he could hear the modem dialling in the restroom shed. XD
A Winnebago pulled up and the driver needed some help cleaning her windscreen. It turned out that she was part of a group that had bought some Winnebagos in Texas and they were driving them up to Vancouver. She had become separated and was trying to catch up with them. Wolf helped her set up her CB radio (and I got to use one, yay!). Unfortunately, she was heading towards Denver, so we parted ways.
The rest of the trip to KC was fairly uneventful. There was a cat at another rest stop. Might've been a stray because it ran away from us. Hit a toll road before Lawrence KS and stopped off at another burger joint for dinner. My sinuses were clogged so I had to alternately chew and breathe. =P Made it quite unpleasant eating!
Crossed the bridge into Missouri and of course I had to tweet, "We're not in Kansas anymore!"
Pulled up at WolfWings' house and I guess that's the end of the road trip!