It was a week ago today that I finally reached the start of my California Dream. My sister, Heather, and I (along with my niece, Emilia) left our folks and nephew at the Hy-Vee on East 10th Street in Sioux Falls on Saturday morning. With my trading in my fuel efficient VW Jetta for a wonderfully spacious, yet gas guzzling, Ford Explorer XLT, we packed in as much of my life as I could.
Topped off by a car seat and two pieces of Heather's luggage, our troop headed off to our first destination point, Casper, WY. Emilia was asleep before we even hit the interstate and pretty much slept the whole way to Casper. We drove across the wonderful state of South Dakota towards Rapid City. We documented our road trip on video, which we hope to get posted soon.
After finally getting through Rapid City (AAA had us going to visit Mt. Rushmore and Crazy Horse), we made our way to Casper. We pulled into town in early evening and found our hotel. After going to dinner, we rested in the hotel and then got some sleep...well, some of us. Emilia decided she wasn't as tired as us. Finally we all got some sleep and got an early start in the morning. Next stop Las Vegas!
Sunday, the second day, was the longest of the trip. So far the new car was keeping up really well, and I was getting used to driving a larger car WITH luggage on the top. Emilia decided she wasn't going to be as tired and wanted a little more attention then the day before. We drove from Casper down to Salt Lake City. We played a game as we went through SLC. Call it, "Morman Steeple Search". It started out as kind of a joke, but by the time we through the city we had seen over 20 cross-less churches. That's just along the interstate. All the way into Arizona, the game continued. By evening, we'd crossed into the Pacific time-zone and hit Las Vegas. We pulled into Heather's Vegas house and unloaded the baby and our stuff. This was a really nice place to rest after the trip so far. Heather went and got food for us at Chili's and I watched the little girl. We decided to stay one day more, Monday, in Vegas so Heather could do a few things before she and Emilia flew back to Taiwan. Also, I wanted to hit a Disney Outlet Store that is in the area. I used the free day to also get some freelance work done.
Tuesday morning we got packed back into the car. Emilia still didn't enjoy having to ride in the car seat. It was always a joy to put her in that thing! The drive from Vegas to Los Angeles was the shortest drive, but feels the longest sometimes. We got into California and passed the produce check point, barely! This was the first time either Heather and I had ever gone through the check point when it was open. The guy at the check point looked at our South Dakota plates and asked us to roll the back window down. I looked back at all my stuff and we told the guy it might be a little hard. We told him it's jammed packed with my stuff since I was moving to LA. Not that we had anything to hide, but I guess he believed us enough to just wave us through. After that, it was free sailing to the big city. We found our way into Torrance without much problem and pulled into the Taguchi's driveway in early afternoon. Grandpa and Grandma Taguchi were excited to see Emilia again.
Finally I'd arrived to LA. It was still all surreal, but now that the cross country drive was over...I could start living the dream for real!