just moved from chicago to san francisco
Jan 09

Roadtrip – Chicago to San Francisco

















A job opportunity in San Francisco came calling – and before I knew it, I was off on a 10 day journey across the country, my friend Vanae sitting shotgun.  Packing only what I could fit in the bed of my father’s Chevy truck, we hit the road and headed west – a new life and home awaiting me in San Francisco, CA.

From Chicago, we hit up Nashville. A country twanged tourist trap, we had a few brews, sang some karaoke and for the most part had a grand old time  – but I realized it wasn’t a place I’d be visiting again anytime soon.  Next was New Orleans.  French quarter, Acme oyster bar, po’ boys, fresh crawfish and of course, Bourbon street.  It’s impossible to ignore the history of this great city – so much culture and tradition. And I’ve never seen so much passion for a sports team. Boy, do they love their football team, the Saints. Street jazz musicians’ renditions of the song “When the Saints Go Marching In” slowly morphed into “When the Saints Win the Superbowl”. Sitting at the famous Cafe Du Monde and eating beignets with fresh squeezed orange juice (everyone must try this spot once in their life by the way) while listening to that song, in that moment I suddenly became a New Orleans Saints fan.

Next stop away from the bayou was Austin. Austin, Texas I officially love you. What a great city. Such a young, fun-loving, free-spirited town.  So many random eateries and fun bars. I ate the best doughnuts I’ve ever eaten in my life served out of an Airstream® trailer. Gourdoughs. Check them out immediately before they run out of deliciousness. Oh yea – Salt Lick. Epic BBQ ribs and brisket. We also stayed with really cool couchsurfers named Dee and Skip who took us to a burlesque show and my new favorite bar called Spider Bar.  Austin, I’ll be back soon.

After Austin, we made a quick stop at El Paso, eating authentic Mexican downtown that reminded me of… well it didn’t remind me of anything because it was so authentic. Driving past the US-Mexican border, we headed west to Phoenix.  Great weather in Phoenix – the dry heat of the desert melted the bits of snow still stuck atop the Chevy truck and we were glad to be in warm weather again.

Along the trip we saw so many great mountain views from our truck. The most significant of these were at the Texas Canyon.  We saw a clearing in the road and had to stop to check this mother out.  Camera and guitar in hand, we crawled under barbed-wire fence to reach great boulders and cactus.  We sang a few songs together on guitar while the sun set.  Quite possibly the highlight of the trip.

Following Phoenix and acoustic recording at the Texas Canyon, we drove north to the greatest canyon of them all – The Grand Canyon. What a magnificent, awe inspiring site.  We arrived just before getting bombarded with snow, capturing some sweet pics before the blizzard could obscure the view.  It’s crazy how many people uttered similar words simultaneously: “Oh my God – that is insane! $&#@’n Crazy! ” Snow covered pine forests accompanied our trip back down the mountain to flagstaff, making an otherwise treacherous and stressful drive quite pleasant.

Still stunned by the beauty of the Great Canyon, Vanae and I continued our trip with a quick stop at Barstow, CA.  What an amazing city! The view was incred….wait. No. This small town was quite lame and super generic.  The food choices consisted of a desert version of Taco Bell called Del Taco, Denny’s or the infamous Sizzler. Needless to say, we didn’t exactly make a Yelp review after the meal.  Just a pit stop before finishing our journey to San Fran.

The song “On the Road Again” by Willie Nelson once again got stuck in our heads as we hit the road. Again.  Heading up highway-5, I’ve never seen so many cow mega-farms nor smelled such nasty pungent odors of cow pee in my life.  PETA activists beware – skip highway-5 and take the scenic route up highway-1’s beautiful coastline.

Finally, close to midnight on Christmas Eve Eve, we arrived safe and sound in the Bay area. It was good to be “home” but bittersweet the long road journey had come to an end. What an amazing trip. We saw so many sites, met so many cool people and learned a great deal about ourselves along the way. A special thanks to Vanae for accompanying me on this epic adventure.

5 Responses to “Roadtrip – Chicago to San Francisco”

  1. Great pics!!!! Great trip!!!

  2. troychafin says:

    thanks Chris!!

  3. Nick says:

    Snow caps at the Grand Canyon? Beautiful!

  4. Evan Thoreau says:

    Dood dood DOOD. I love these pics. Especially the Delacroix and De Soto signs. Fucking love cool urban signage… Troy, you my muthafuckin’ hero, kid.

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