Monday, April 17, 2017

California Bound: Lonely Roads and Sleeping in the Car

I tucked myself into my down sleeping bag as best as I could in a sitting position. I listened to the audiobook that was covering the sounds at the truck stop in Wyoming. Outside it was 21F (-6C) and soon it would be close to freezing in the car. I tucked a blanket over the window to shield the lights of the street lamps from disrupting my sleep. I shifted every couple of minutes trying to find a comfortable position banging my knee on the steering wheel.

Somewhere in Utah
My car was packed to the ceiling with all my worldly possessions. I starred over to the passenger seat where my friend had drawn a set of eyes on a piece of tape. She named him Quacker McQuackpants. For some reason iQuaker McQuackpants made me feel a little less alone. The cold night lasted for what seemed to be years.

Hanging with Quacker McQuackpants

Less than a month ago I found out that I matched into my top choice for residency. That day seemed like just yesterday. I held the letter in my hand, written inside was going to be the residency program where I would spend the next three years. My whole body was shaking as I waited to for the dean of our medical school to count down from three. Around me a hundred and sixty other students held their own letters.


As the dean counted down to zero I thought about what my life would be like if I ended up in Ohio or New York. "3... 2 ... 1 ... Open your letters." I could not tear the letter open fast enough. Part of me was scared of what I would read, another part of me was anxious to see where I would be moving.

Pediatrics at the University of Southern California!


Fast forward a month later .... It was only 40 hours ago that I left New Jersey. I am driving my gold Prius back to California. The first day I drove through Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana and slept in the Worlds Largest Truck Stop in Iowa. Now I was freezing cold zipped into a down sleeping bag sitting in my gold Prius in a truck stop in Wyoming. After drifting in and out of sleep I woke up to my Pius covered in ice.

Somewhere in Nebraska
I let the car warm up while I purchased a cup of coffee and an egg and cheese sandwich at the gas station connivence store. It was the last leg of my three day cross country trip. Only half of Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, and California left to reach my home in the San Fransisco Bay Area.

Bonneville Salt Flats - Utah
I completed two audio books and listened to the same playlist six times in the span of my trip, the lyrics of Drake's Passionfruit permanently ingrained in my head. I drove through the Appalachian mountains (hills) in Pennsylvania, the flat farmlands of Indiana, Iowa and Nebraska. I was awed by the moon-like terrain of Wyoming and Utah. I tasted the water from the salt lakes. I would not recommend it.

Donner Lake
Finally I passed the sign "Welcome to California." I stopped in Truckee and Donner Lake to reminisce about the mountains and see how much snow has fallen this year. Lastly I stopped at In-N-Out before arriving to my parents home. I drove close to 15 hours a day to reach California in three days. Finally I am home and I am here to stay... at least for the next three years.

Animal Fries- In-N-Out


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