The opposite of Kansas is not Oz; the opposite of Kansas is Los Angeles. And here I am.
Over the course of two days this past week, I drove 1,600 miles from Kansas City to the City of Angels, my new home. Part career strategy, part mid-20s crisis, the move is undoubtedly a turning point in my life. Driving halfway across the country is pretty memorable, too.
Here are some highlights, 100 miles at a time:
MILE 100: Eastern Kansas
I’m less nervous in this first chunk of miles than I was during the days before my departure. Of course, those days included saying goodbye to my family, friends and coworkers – which was about as much fun as lighting a firecracker in my pee hole.
MILE 200: Salina, Kansas
I fill up the tank and grab a bite to eat. I determine that IHOP’s cinna-stack pancakes are what God would eat for breakfast.
Unfortunately, as I’m leaving the parking lot, I get a slight urge to poop. Too late now, intestines. Too late now.
MILE 300: Western Kansas
It doesn’t get much more uninteresting than this section of the United States. Little do I know, Utah will soon challenge western Kansas in the ultimate Battle of the Boring.
MILE 400: Western Kansas…still
How bored am I? I just had the following thought: Clark Kent grew up around here. He might have been responsible for one of these anti-abortion billboards. I don’t much care for that Clark Kent fella.
MILE 500: Eastern Colorado
I finally cross into a different state. It looks a lot like Kansas, but the speed limit is five miles-per-hour faster. Also, I hit the Mountain Time Zone. If Benjamin Franklin were with me, his nipples would be so hard right now.
Poop cramps increasing.
MILE 600: Denver, Colorado
Everything you’ve heard about Denver traffic is true. Let’s just leave it at that.
MILE 664: Silverthorne, Colorado
Poop at a Quizno’s.
MILE 664: Silverthorne, Colorado
Eat at Quizno’s.
MILE 700: Central, mountainous Colorado
Every vehicle, including mine, seems to be gasping for air in the elevated Rocky Mountains. And as beautiful as the Rockies are, the thin air has given me a headache. I’m tired and cranky. (Still kind of pissed at Clark Kent.)
MILE 752: Glenwood Springs, Colorado
I’m pretty sure this town – which housed my hotel – was the inspiration for South Park, and not just because the lady at the front desk reminds me of Cartman’s mom.
Also, where do hotels find these HD mirrors? I want one!
MILE 800: Western Colorado
It hits me: I’m going to be in Las Vegas today. (Not to mention that Los Angeles place)
MILE 900: Eastern Utah
Utah: America’s yawn.
MILE 1,000: Utahhhh
This stretch is actually kind of scary. No cell phone signal. No gas stations. No houses. If I have car trouble, I’m screwed. An 80-mile-per-hour speed limit? You just got interesting, Utah! (Again, car: Please do not break down.)
MILE 1,100: Utahhhhhhhhhh
Driving through these barren canyons must be what it feels like for a tear to roll down Micky Rourke’s cheek.
MILE 1,200: Utahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
I finally hit Interstate 15, but I’m still in fucking Utah.
MILE 1,222: St. George, Utah
My first experience with In-N-Out Burger. Glorious.
You’re not so bad, Utah. Although would it have killed you to throw me a few Mormons or some of that fine jazz I hear so much about?
MILE 1,300: Southern Nevada
After a dip in Arizona, I approach Las Vegas. I can almost smell the dead bodies buried in the desert.
MILE 1,357: Las Vegas, Nevada
I stop in Vegas to put money on the evening’s Game 2 of the NBA Finals. After much consideration, I place a whopping $40 wager on the Heat. There’s no way they lose Game 2 at home after such a dominating Game 1. No way.
Also, are we sure Las Vegas isn’t an Inception situation and Carrot Top is the architect? To me, his fame is that questionable.
MILE 1,400: California desert
Happily listening to the game on the radio.
MILE 1,403: California desert
Lose radio signal. Fuck.
MILE 1,500: California desert
I get pieces of information on the game from an AM station that comes in and out. Miami’s dominating. It’s cool to know that my first-ever bet in Vegas is a winner, even though I hate the Heat.
Humorous side-story: Near the California border, all vehicles have to stop for an agricultural inspection. In my passenger seat is an old box marked “mozzarella cheese.” There’s no cheese in it, but the inspector looks right at it, asks me if I have any food items, and I say no. He tells me to have a good night.
Ah, California. I feel safe in your arms already.
MILE 1,525: Southern California
A text from a friend: “I hope you bet on the Mavs LOL”. I can’t find the game on the radio, so I check the score on my phone. Dallas 95, Miami 93.
MILE 1,600: Los Angeles…kinda
I’ve arrived. It’s late at night, so traffic isn’t too bad, although it is busy enough to distract me from examining the landscape.
MILE 1,634: Culver City, California
I’ve made it. After all those miles, I am here. I find a parking spot on the street in front of my temporary new home. I move in. I shower. I sleep.
I begin a new part of my life.
Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.
Don’t worry. Hank hasn’t gone Hollywood on us. Contact him here…