The Yearbook Office
Writings on staying alive
 

In 2012 I moved from San Jose, California to New York City and drove the entire way. In 2013 I moved back to California, driving from New York to Los Angeles. Here is everything I learned from both:

  • Give in to your impulse to buy animal hand puppets at a truck stop in Ohio early in your trip, or regret never achieving YouTube stardom through puppet videos made while in a delirious state from driving twelve hours by yourself.

  • Driving west is better in terms of gaining time whenever you reach a new timezone, but driving east is far superior in terms of not driving directly into the blindingly bright setting sun every night.

  • After five days in a car by yourself, it might seem like a good idea to pick up a hitchhiker. Avoid it.

  • Plan to stop and see friends towards the end of your trip, not the beginning. If you put it at the end, it can be a reward for putting up with the barren flatlands of America's breadbasket. Doing it the other way will just make you lonely and sad.

  • Even though there is a franchise of America's Favorite Fast-Casual Restaurant Chain at a truck stop in Colby, Kansas, you will not get the same level of service or even food quality you have come to expect from America's Favorite Fast-Casual Restaurant Chain. The employees will screw up your order, and gawk at your novelty fur animal hat and generally make you feel like an idiot.

  • Listening to podcasts for long stretches of time are better than audiobooks, as each episode completed gives you a sense of accomplishment. In a single day you could knock out 10 to 15 episodes of a show compared to 12% of the latest Michael Chabon novel.

  • The cheaper the hotel, the less likely you are to get a parking spot.

  • Pretty much every single highway in the continental United States looks exactly the same. You might think "Oh I should go through Nebraska instead of Kansas, there might be something interesting or new to see!" but you would be dead wrong. Thanks for nothing, Eisenhower.

  • Taking side roads is very high risk, high reward.

  • Going out of your way to see the Grand Canyon is worth the extra day trip. The Grand Canyon is fucking magnificent. Do not avoid it.

  • If the cheapest hotel in a city you are passing through is at the local casino, take advantage of the nice accomodations but stay away from the casino itself unless you want to lose your mind (or just spend the night drunkenly tweeting ridiculous slot machines).

  • Pennsylvania is the perfect state venue to hold a Hunger Games.

  • Driving through Missouri at night while listening to Welcome to Night Vale might seem like fun. The only problem is that driving through Missouri at night will make you feel like you are inside Welcome to Night Vale, by which I mean completely miserable and the complete opposite of fun. Avoid it.

  • If you just drove across the country a year ago, you do not need to do it again.