This is a cross-country hyper lapse from DC to LA. Unfortunately, I screwed up and didn’t start the sequence until we got to Hagerstown…I had bigger things on my mind, like how to drive a 26′ truck while towing a SUV through the congested streets of DC and then onto the Beltway.
Sorry about the dirty windshield in the beginning…it does get cleaned. Promise.
Some of the cross-country highlights:
0:47 Truck breakdown #1- We got off the highway just past Wheeling, West Virginia in Ohio. When I pressed the gas the truck moved only inches as the engine revved and revved. I was able to pull into a closed gas station lot just in time for smoke to start billowing from the hood. Imagining that all of my earthly possessions were about to go up in flame Ben and I tore the vehicle apart looking for a fire extinguisher. There was no fire extinguisher. Of course. But, by the time we figured it out the smoke had subsided.
Still, we were broken down in the middle of nowhere. Yet a vehicle pulled up behind us. Would they help? No, they just honked and shouted because we were “in the way.” After letting the engine cool I decided to try and make it to a hotel a little down the road. Blowing the engine was a better prospect than being cannibalized by Appalachian Buckeye meth zombies.
0:48 Raccoon!!- I left the camera running through the night (only time on the trip) and spied a raccoon have the best night of his life in a dumpster.
1:18 Wright Patterson Air Base- What’s a road trip without the random stops, especially when you need to periodically cool the engine. I had been talking with someone about the air and space collection at the base just a few weeks prior, so it was basically divine intervention that led us to stop here. Having spent a lot of time at the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum on the National Mall and the Udvar-Hazy center at Dulles I can say this definitively: this is the greatest air and space museum in America. If only we had more time.
1:30 Indy 500- We stopped at the Brickyard and all you get to see is a sign that says “SPEEDWAY MONOGRAMMING”. Sorry, I’ll give more thought to my framing the next time I’m driving a 26′ truck while towing an SUV. Also, as Ben and I ran back out of the track a lady stopped her car on a very busy road to ask if we were playing Pokemon Go! That’s when I knew we were all doomed.
1:37 White Castle- What better place to have a long strategic phone call about the place where you want to live…yes, that’s right, up to this point in the trip our destination was unknown. We had packed everything up hoping that we would have an address before getting to California. More on that in another blog post!
1:39 Finally!~ Someone has the sense to clean the windshield.
1:50 The Arch- If you hit pause at exactly the right moment you can almost make out an object on the left side of the frame that has the basic proportions of the Arch in St. Louis.
2:14 Kansas is flat- That’s why I blog, to answer the tough questions.
2:44 Sunset over the Rockies- This is my favorite part of the video and my favorite part of the trip. We weren’t planning on hitting the front range of the Rockies at sunset. In fact, we were a bit behind schedule on the day. But, what a beautiful stretch of driving right there.
2:53 Truck breakdown #2- Have you ever driven up a steep mountain pass at 12 mph in a 26′ truck while towing a SUV??
While driving 12 mph you have plenty of time to think about things, and do math. So I worked out the formula (after taking an online college course in calculus) and estimated that at the speed we were traveling we would arrive in California just before the end of Emperor Trump XVI’s reign. Wanting to at least catch a minute of my unborn daughter’s childhood I opted to call U-Haul’s roadside assistance. Ben and I waited for about an hour for the mechanic to show up. He was like, “I don’t have the part you need so we’ll get you guys set up in a hotel until tomorrow.” And I was like, “Um…I ain’t got time for that.” And he was like, “Let me check one more thing.” And then we were fixed. Magically. It was a sensor.
3:05 Crossing Loveland Pass- Yeah, so the drama on the side of the highway meant that we missed the deadline on a planned closure of the Eisenhower Tunnel. And that meant no interstate highway access across the continental divide. So drive up and over Loveland Pass it was, in the middle of the night…while driving a 26′ truck and towing a SUV. I stopped to pee on the continental divide, so as you read this some of my pee is making its way to the Pacific Ocean and some is trickling on down to the Atlantic. Science. And Reaganomics.
3:17 Rockies in daytime- A bonus of all the truck drama is that we were set far enough back in time that we could drive down the western slope of the Rockies in daylight. It’s a fantastic stretch.
3:25 New soundsystem- The A/C in the truck didn’t really work so we had to drive with the windows down. The radio in the truck didn’t work, unless you’re a humpback whale…then you’d probably enjoy whatever was coming out of the speakers. So we had to rely on the Jambox, which tried its hardest to pump out some sound. But by this point in the trip we needed an upgrade…enter the Sony. (It’s OK Jambox, we still love you!) Also notice this is when the bass drops. Synergy.
3:35 Utah desert- I love this little bit of the hyper lapse because you can see the distant mountain ranges grow as we driving along a road that’s straight as an arrow. Also every time we stop there seems to be some brilliant rock feature just hanging out in the background.
3:56 Arizona/Virgin River Canyon- If you blink you’ll miss it. Along the entire route we spend less time in Arizona than any other state, even West Virginia. But, mile for mile it’s among the most gorgeous ribbons of road as I-15 passes through the Virgin River Canyon. And then we emerge into the Nevada desert at dusk.
4:03 Vegas Strip- You can’t not drive down the Strip near the end of a cross-country road trip…ESPECIALLY if you’re making a movie out of it. Nothing like crawling through the neon jungle in a 26′ truck while towing a SUV. Las Vegas is spanish for “good decisions.”
4:11 Moonlight over the Mojave- A jarring juxtaposition at the end of this whole thing from the lights of Vegas to the emptiness of the desert. The nearly full moon dances around as we head south on the 15 toward the final destination (no, not death!).
Other random observations: My brother Ben likes to pace in front of the truck every time it’s stopped. Bugs really love windshields. Who needs Google Maps when you have an atlas?