Oh, a roadtrip across the United States! That should be pretty easy to figure out. No, no Dave-from-2-weeks-ago you are wrong. Very wrong.
Well, it’s not that this trip is difficult to plan per se (the major highways I’d be traveling down aren’t exactly going anywhere), but routing the most economical and least stressful way of getting myself, my car, and my stuff out west has been a bit challenging. Initially there was talk of not even doing a roadtrip. Instead my Subaru would be placed on a large carrier truck, packed up with a few suitcases and an Xbox, and I would have flown one way to LAX. This would have been the easiest option on my part, all I’d have to do is sit around and wait for my car to make the journey on its own, but it would have also been the most expensive option (more than $960 to ship the car out and almost $700 for a plane ticket), and expense is just not something I’m into these days.
New options were quickly drawn up after getting that quote from the auto shipping place. With that dollar figure in mind, I’ve decided that instead of having someone else chauffeur my car out west it would make the most sense to man the helm myself and make the long lonely trip. The only question that remains, however, is what would be the best thing to do with all of my stuff.
In the grand scheme of things I’m not really taking that much along with me to Los Angeles. Most of what I own can be broken down into three categories: computer stuff, music stuff, and house stuff (anything from books to christmas lights), but the car load would still be more than just a suitcase and a laptop bag. Keeping these things in my back seat and trunk as I make the 2700 mile drive is what’s bothering me more. I could fit, with a little creative packing, everything I would want to bring, with more breathing room than I left myself on the way home from my last day at college, but just having those things laying around in the car like that that makes me feel a bit uncomfortable.
Option the second is to rent a U-Haul trailer and pack my belongings in there. For this I’d need to get a trailer hitch installed on my car, an addition thats a lot less expensive than I anticipated, but while the U-Haul is only $20 a day and the hitch plus installation would run me about $300, I’m still not sold. As a friend pointed out, what’s to stop entrepreneuring thief with the right knowledge of trailer hitches from simply detaching the U-Haul while I’m fast asleep at the Butte Motor Inn. I’m almost wrapping it all up in a nice neat package for them. Middle of Nowhere America worries me like that. Also, U-Hauls are apparently quite easy to break into, they use the same tumbler latch design that many semi-truck manufacturers have been phasing out over the years, and we haven’t even started talking about how much more gas my car would use with a trailer attached. More and more this second option looks less and less appealing.
The third options, which I’m still crunching the numbers on, is to take along only the essentials (clothing, computer, and my MacGyver DVD box set). These items would be transportable enough so that I could take them into whatever motel room I’d be crashing at and I could have the rest of my things shipped to me once I find a place to live. This way I’d be using less gas, wouldn’t necessarily have to worry about someone breaking into my car (and leaving a gaping hole in my rear windshield while I make a cross-country drive in December), and would (hopefully) have all my less important items delivered to me in one big shipment, on time, to my front door, in one piece. Hopefully.
In any case, time’s a wastin’ when it comes to planning this journey, so I’ve got to make some quick decisions about what I want to do on this drive and where I’ll be heading. Expect the next few posts here to involve me working out more of this trip, what towns I’ll be traveling on my route, what items I’ll ultimately be bringing with me, and what my final checklist will look like before I embark. There are also loose plans to document the whole excursion on this blog, this is of course depending on whether or not I decide to invest in a new digital camera that would actually be worth documenting the trip with.
Oh, and I’ve also been working on the comments section here over the past few days. New toys include Identicons (randomly generated avatars that will appear next to your name when you post a comment), Gravatars (support still pending), and some smiley faces you can add to your comments so you can honestly express your emotions when replying to the information I post here.