Mounds, IL to Alameda, CA

Total Trip: 2,327 Miles

Miss you already Mom and Dad! Thank you for EVERYTHING!

View 2000 Miles in a Vandura Checkpoints in a larger map

Mileage Chart – Google Maps

Sorry for the belated update… We’re still awaiting our internet service and currently piggy backing on an unsecured network ;-). But its a connection so it’ll work until Friday when our UVerse is back up and going…

Big News! We have made it to our new AWESOME home in Alameda. So as of now we’re officially resident’s of the wonderful state of California!

Its actually quite surreal really. Four months ago we were living our lives in Chicago, IL and now we’re in California living a life we had only imagined. We knew we would eventually make our way out here, but we surely never knew it would be so soon. Through a series of what seemed to be unfortunate circumstances, the clouds parted and here we are.

On the last leg of the trip we stayed in another KOA in Santa Cruz, CA. We didn’t think the management of our new apartment would be keen on handing over the keys late in the evening on the 8th so we stayed just outside town. In coming up the coast, we came across what seemed to be the disadvantage of a 2 night minimum at the Santa Cruz KOA. But it worked out well. We enjoyed another night in a cabin and headed this way early the morning of the 9th and my folks got to stay the second night by themselves in Santa Cruz and enjoy themselves visiting the town the day we drove up to Alameda. They came in to town the following day to check out the apartment and spend one last night with us before departing for Illinois. There is one fact here… I will miss them so very much. Definitely some tears shed during our farewells. The internet has made the world smaller, but 2000+ miles from home is a LONG way. Love ya mom and dad.

It was relaxing driving up Highway 1 as we checked out the Pacific ocean during the morning commute to Alameda. At least until we realized that the next gas station was about 16 miles up and the gas tank was pegging on “E”. None the less, we found a station in Las Gatos and had the pleasure of dropping down some green on the California gas price of $4+ bucks a gallon. Argh… No worries though, its the price to pay for living here and worth it. Here’s looking to get employment close to home so I can finally enjoy a good bike ride each day. We ended up coming through the mountains on the way in, so we got to experience what my father did coming into Santa Cruz through those 6% inclines. Phew, it was bad enough for us in the car, I can only imagine how bad it was for him with the Honda in tow.

In the end, the payoff has been wonderful. The apartment is a perfect size one-bedroom. The neighbors seem really cool and many have dogs themselves. Thank goodness too, because Travis has seemed to of regained his separation anxiety leading him to go batshit crazy whining and pawing when we leave the apartment. We actually visited the veteranian this afternoon to find something we can do to hasten his relaxation and understanding that we will return. It was mayhem for a while when we first got him while in Chicago, but he eventually chilled out. Sadly now that we have severely turned his world upside down and spent the last month always at his side, he is now in freak out mode again.

Oh well, we got a special kind of collar that is supposed to relax him from the vet (hopefully its not a shame like the “thunder-shirt” thing) and some tips on how to better his acclimation to the new digs. Thank goodness this new location has a lot of pet owners… Otherwise, I think our problem would be MUCH worse. I just hope that he dociles out quickly. It curls my skin in humiliation when he goes off the walls like he does, but I understand he is just scared and afraid we are leaving him. Something that would NEVER happen lil buddy.

Anyway, the apartment itself is very old school, nearly all original from the 1920s when it was built. Giant kitchen sink with the wicked stainless steel faucet head and damn does it get hot quick. Something that had lacked in every previous Chicago apartment we had. I couldn’t believe the advantage of a great hot water heater until we finally now have a good one. No more wasting of gallons of water while waiting on that faucet to boil. 😉

A view of the mountains from the window… Score!

We now have three total closets and a large main room and bedroom. Quite amazing, especially since the sweet young lady that showed us the place was concerned we wouldn’t like it. Hell, we even have a ironing board built in, behind a door in the dining room. Kinda weird, but neat none the less.

The parking lot out back, while tight when entering or exiting, is a godsend. So much better than on the street parking. It’s good to not park a mile down the road, as we expected we would have to do.

Oh yeah… and the most dangerous thing of all… McDonald’s is right next door. Mind you, I prefer not to indulge in the obese inducing affects of the endless double cheeseburgers and big macs… But their coffee is actually really good and an occasional Double Cheeseburger can certainly make the lunch run much more pleasing than sitting over a stove. 😉

Besides all that, I finally had the honor of getting in touch with Henry Navarro over in San Fran. A magnificent photographer that my cousin grew up with and introduced me to. It was a perfect storm early on trying to reach him. But we finally did speak and he’s gotten me introduced to what seems like a very enjoyable couple of FB photog groups that touch down here in the Bay area. So now I am stoked to hit up the Chinatown area with Henry for some great street photography opportunities. I got to admit, I am more excited about that than just about anything else at the moment.

Thats about it for now… So I will end with a fun street shot I got today while having lunch at Alameda Pizza around the corner with my lovely and our handsome lil pooch. Wild, the first day I hang out in Alameda I see cats carrying mirrors… Nice!