Leaving California

Writing about an ending, where do you start? When did the ending really begin and when did it officially finish off?

All I know is the sun began setting on our California scene much too soon and a part of me will always be there — with the toe-happy sand, exhilarating waves, sun-bleached skies, smiling palm trees, and eclectic people.


I write this after being in Colorado for more than two weeks now. And, sometimes, my life almost feels like a dream — everything happening before me, like I’m watching it. It’s hard to believe our time in CA is over and that we’re already halfway through our stay in CO. Everything we had been looking forward to for so long, has already begun. It's such a strange feeling.

Jordan and I shared a sand bucket full of sun-soaked SoCal memories. I will cherish them forever. Our relationship matured in our years spent there. We really became a family, even as it consists of just the two of us, well, three of us with our fur-kid Sybi Tuckett.

During the last three months leading up to our move, Jordan and I had many weeks and weekends full of travel. I spent two weeks in Thailand in January. We spent a weekend in Nashville. Jordan spent a weekend in Columbus, OH and another in Washington D.C. I traveled up to Idaho for a bit, and we even spent a few days in San Jose and the Bay Area.  It was a crazy, busy last few months.

Even with all of that flying and driving around, we still managed to cross a few more Southern California bucket-list items off. We hiked the Hollywood sign; watched the stars at Griffith Observatory; shared popcorn in our mangled Prius in front of a drive-in theater screen; camped at San Mateo; hiked Mount Rubidoux; went beachin’ at San Onofre, Santa Monica, and Laguna; walked Hollywood Boulevard with our eyes glued to the stars beneath our feet; and spent a couple last romantic nights bathed in Claremont’s charisma.

And with all of that, we still had to pack up our entire apartment and get ready to move, all while I worked and Jordan finished his third-year rotations.

We sold almost all of our furniture making about $300 in 3 consecutive Saturday yard sales. (Our friends, the Lifferths, were generous enough to share their front yard with us.) Then, we put in storage whatever we wanted to keep but couldn't take with us on our year-long road trip and gave away or trashed any non-essentials.

During our last week as Upland residents, my friend, Marianne Mckay, and I kept each other company as we both packed up our Las Brisas apartments. Those hours with her were a tremendous blessing to me. She brought music, books, and Church talks for us to listen to as she helped me stay positive and not feel quite so lonely or nostalgic as we packed up box after box.

Friday came: Jordan’s last day of third-year! Oh, how we wanted to go see Batman versus Superman (as the Batman aficionados we are), but, we had to pack. And boy did we underestimate how long the rest of our packing would take.

We hoped to leave Friday night, then Saturday morning, then Saturday night … We weren’t on the road until Sunday afternoon.


The apartment was empty. Our car and trailer were loaded. Our friends and partners in the chaotic moving, the McKays, had left a day earlier. So, the three of us climbed into our packed, cramped car. Jordan turned the keys to start the ignition, and ... nothing. Dead. Leaving the trunk door open for as long as we had while we packed it to the brim, caused our little hybrid to kill over.

After our neighbor, a kind marine, helped us jumpstart our car, we were on our way. But we continued to have mishap after mishap. The first being going hungry even longer than planned because we wanted to have a last California meal of In-n-Out during the drive to Vegas. But because we never found one that was open on EASTER SUNDAY, we settled with a very less-than-satisfying Burger King “linner." (Honestly, we were glad In-n-Out honored such a sacred day, even if we couldn't. And it was pretty sad that we spent our Easter this year packing up and driving north.)

But even with all that went wrong, we still managed to stop and enjoy our road trip in all of the desert's beauty as we carried on.