Friday, October 16, 2009

Coast to Coast Update

I'm probably hard to keep track of, so I'll give an update of my recent activities for anyone who wants to know:


I spent the whole Summer in Tucson, AZ.


At the end of August I drove up to Tacoma, WA. The drive was a measly 24 hours or so, and I basically did it in two days, not counting the first night when I just drove from Tucson to Glendale. I took the Utah route and stopped for the night in Sandy, at my brother Hyrum's house. I got to Tacoma on August 31st.

While in Tacoma I rotated at a hospital called Multicare, one of several places I might end up for residency. I was also able to visit a few friends from college that live in the Seattle area (Bryan Cook, Amanda and Adam Walsh, Trent and Sarah Cunningham). I didn't sight-see very much while I was there, but I did:

  • Wander around downtown Seattle and drive past the space needle a few times.
  • Experience the revelry of being in a sports bar/grill when Washington beat Southern Cal. in football. People were going crazy!
  • Listen to a lot of grunge music while driving around (Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, Silver Chair, Weird Al...).
  • Discover pianos used/owned by Rachmoninoff and Debussy in a local antique shop where I went to find quarters for laundry.
  • Get a free membership at a gym, where I went climbing and accidentally took a short boxing class.
  • Stroll down a part of Pike St other than the part that's famous for fish-throwing. 

The Drive

Around the end of the month, I packed up my things and set off on a cross-country drive to my current rotation, in Binghamton, NY. I decided to take it slow and break up the drive into reasonable distances. I also tried to plan the drive around people I wanted to visit, even if it took me a little out of my way. By the time I was done I'd taken it even slower than planned, and visited a few more people than planned, but it all worked out fine in the end. Here's how it shook out, in ten easy steps:

  • Day 1: Drove from Tacoma to near Coeur d'Alene, ID. Since I got a late start, I got really tired and had to stop and sleep in a parking lot, even though I was only about a half hour from my destination. My butt was sore the next day from sitting on my wallet while I slept.
  • Day 2: Drove the rest of the way to my friend Jalyn's house, just north of Coeur d'Alene. I took a nap there, and then she gave me a tour of the area, which is beautiful, just like I'd read in my grandpa's autobiography. That evening, after stopping to watch a little college football, I drove to somewhere in Montana.
  • Day 3: After sleeping at a motel in Superior, Montana, I vowed not to frequent any more motels the rest of the trip. I drove to Rexburg (just missed seeing Allen and Rachel Camp near Missoula, they were in church), and checked out some of my old stomping grounds, including Crestwood and Biddulph Hall. I had dinner with my old roommate Jared Cook, his wife Kristen, and Kristen's sister Angie McKeen. Like a lot of the people I visited on this trip, they were old friends from my ward at BYU-Idaho. I felt really nostalgic being in Rexburg, and it was great to see a few old friends. The new food court at BYUI blew my mind, and it was the first time I'd seen the finished temple. Afterwards I drove to Pocatello for the night and stayed with my friend Amy Snelders.
  • Day 4: Hung with Amy, checked out poky for a bit, then drove down to Utah in the afternoon. I visited my sister Amy's family in West Jordan, and stopped for the night with my brother Hyrum's family in Sandy.
  • Day 5: Spent part of the morning on an assignment for school. Started driving to Wyoming in the early afternoon, then changed my mind and decided to stay in Utah one more day. So I went to visit my Grandma in Provo, my Grandpa in Springville, and had dinner with my friend Aubrey Stribling at a Peruvian restaurant. I drove back to Salt Lake to visit my friend Serena Roundy (and incidentally Melanie Ward, another friend who coincidentally lives with her), and then stayed the night in Ogden with my former Arizona roommate, Steve Austad.
  • Day 6: Took off early for Wyoming. In Cheyenne I stopped to ponder whether I wanted to go to Denver, or just keep going East. After writing the pros and cons on a napkin, I drove down to Denver. I stayed the night with a classmate of mine, Dave Goforth, at his older brother Doug's temporary abode. We both slept on the floor in a room full of guitars and microphones, plus cardboard cutouts of Elvis and Marilyn Monroe.
  • Day 7: Worked in the Denver VA Hospital podiatry clinic (another place I can apply to do residency) with Doug, which I enjoyed. Afterwards I drove up to visit Joe and Mary Ann Ledosquet, who live a little further North in the Denver area. I had dinner with them, and then they let me use their office for a two-hour conference call I had to participate in for school. Stayed with Doug and Dave again that night (one more night with Elvis).
  • Day 8: Drove from Denver to Des Moines, IA, my longest drive of the trip so far. I stopped to visit and stay the night with my friends Matt and Erin Pitcher, and got to meet their new baby Skylie! Erin served tamale pie for dinner. The only other time I'd had tamale pie, a few months earlier, was on a crazy trip (like this one), in the midwest (like this time), with old friends from college (like these ones), who'd just had a new baby (as Erin and Matt had). Tamale's magical.
  • Day 9: Drove from Des Moines to North Chicago, where I stopped to see my friend Caroline and stay the night. To give me a proper Chicago experience, she bought deep dish pizza. Dave Goforth (the classmate I saw in Denver two days earlier) was on his way to Pittsburgh, and after talking with me decided to stop over in North Chicago as well. We had both met Caroline on a medical mission last February, so it was like a mini mission reunion! We celebrated with cookies and milk.
  • Day10: Drove from Chicago to Binghamton, New York. At about 12 hours, it was the longest single drive I made on the trip. It was also the only day I got especially tired on the drive, but I found fun ways to stay energized, like doing jumping jacks in the car....not really. More like fountain drinks, peanut M&M's, loud music, and frequent stops. When I got to Binghamton I immediately moved into my apartment, where I am this very moment.
During this rather long drive (normally 42 hours, I took closer to 52), I decided that I'm in favor of the nomadic lifestyle. I had a ton of fun seeing all the different places and visiting all my friends and family on the trip. It was thrilling to, on a daily basis, visit people I hadn't seen in years. I also got to listen to a lot of sweet music, and had ample time to ponder mysterious subjects. The trip as a whole took about twice as long as I originally planned, but I have no regrets, I'd do it again tomorrow....actually I just might. Well not tomorrow, but I'll have a few more fun drives before this school year's over.

New York (not city)

I'm in New York! Binghamton is a cool town. It's small (maybe 150K), and I don't have any friends. But I like the program: the residents and attendings are cool (two of the residents are from my school), and the balance between surgery, clinic, and didactics is excellent. It's busier than my last rotation, but that's because my last rotation had about two weekends per week, on average. Additionally, the autumn colors are amazing here (seriously), and to top it all off I've been told I'm only about 20 minutes from where the Priesthood was restored to Joseph Smith and where he translated a portion of the Book of Mormon. I may go scout it out this weekend.

So things are good. The biggest problem I have now is that every time I say I'm in New York, everyone assumes I mean New York City. Well I don't. I'm about three hours Northwest of NYC. This ambiguity and synonymity creates much confusion, but I hope to some day eradicate it.


  1. So how do you like New York City?

    BTW we still need a picture of your wife Caroline.

  2. You would be an amazing scrapbooker...Definitely start that if you haven't. And you're married?? When did that one happen cuz it was not in the blog anywhere ;)

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  4. U have a wife named Caroline? She has a terrific name. People must bust out Sweet Caroline every time she enters the room.

    Or is this some "hilarious misunderstanding?"


  5. Tamale pie! That is too funny! Your trip sounds like a blast.

  6. You're right, I should definitely post more pics of my wife... :D