Boston to Los Angeles: A Retrospective [Photos]

As many of you know, I recently made the move from Boston to Los Angeles in order to complete my final semester with Emerson College at our campus in Burbank, CA, while interning at TBWA\Chiat\Day. Because I do not own a car, I decided to road trip to Los Angeles with my roommate (using his car) and rent my own car upon arrival. Therefore, we sat down one night in late December to hammer out our road trip route (visible above). Below is a brief recap of each day, along with a photo stream of the entire journey at the bottom.

Jan. 3: Boston – Providence

I had to drive to Providence to meet my roommate in order to begin the road trip. We loaded his car – 2005 Dodge Magnum – with all of our belongings and prepared to head off early the next morning. However, there was still plenty of time in the night to record music and watch Banksy’s Exit Through the Gift Shop.

Jan. 4: Providence – Washington D.C.

Our first stop was the suburbs of Washington D.C. where one of our friends from college lives. Upon arriving, we threw our bags in the basement and had some time to kill. We watched the first two episodes of The Pacific, which is an absolutely unbelievable show. Our friend from Virginia Tech hosts an annual “Fat Fest,” which is pretty much exactly what it sounds like: lots of unhealthy food. I got to meet some great people this night and exchange funny stories over deliciously greasy dumplings, fried noodles and chips. We also played a lot of Wii and watched koi fish swim around in a pond.

Jan. 5: Washington D.C. – Nashville

We headed out early the next morning, sights set on Nashville, TN, where my aunt lives. On our way, we drove along the western border of Virginia, passing through Shenandoah Valley. There were some gorgeous hills and caverns along the way. Just as we thought we were leaving the treacherous winter weather of the North, we hit a massive snowstorm just outside Knoxville, TN. The storm lasted for a little more than an hour, and caused severe traffic delays. We didn’t end up arriving in Nashville until around 8 p.m., meaning that we had been on the road for about 14 hours that day. Needless to say, we were tired so we crashed immediately.

Jan. 6: Nashville – New Orleans

New Orleans – the first city of the trip that I had not yet visited (as was the case with every city from this point onward). The drive was tremendous, passing through incredible countryside, and a sweet bridge that leads right into downtown New Orleans. While in The Big Easy, we took the time to walk around, spending much of our time in the French Quarter, particularly on Bourbon Street. The night was filled with tasty food and drink, and lots of music. I had some jambalaya and sweet potato beer, while listening to a live jazz show from Steamboat Willie. This jazz trio, to my delight, did a number of classic jazz covers.

Jan. 7: New Orleans – Austin

Another fantastic day of driving. We passed through the Louisiana bayous and on into eastern Texas. Somewhere in Texas, we found a large flea market full of all sorts of crazy things. I bought a couple gifts for some people – but I can’t reveal these yet, as the recipients have not yet received the gifts. We then proceeded onto Austin (and saw the most unreal sunset I have ever witnessed), where we were stayed with the founder of Beats Broke Records. He took us on a tour of the city, showing us the Whole Foods HQ, the world’s best record store (I picked up CDs from Aaron Parks, Nick Drake and Miguel Atwood-Fergusson), and a tremendous experimental rock/electronic show at Mohawk. Now, I had heard fun things about Austin, but I had no idea how much I would fall in love with it. I will most certainly be making return trips.

Jan. 8: Austin – Albuquerque

Confession: It took me a good day or two to be able to spell Albuquerque correctly, without looking it up. All in all, this was another cool day of driving – but very long. We passed through the deserts in western Texas, some very cool windmill farms, and some awesome mountains as we entered Albuquerque. New Mexico is an interesting state, just because of the vast amounts of emptiness, particularly along the highway. It’s beautiful and somewhat depressing all at once. We arrived late into Albuquerque and after getting a little bit lost, found our hotel, ate dinner, and crashed.

Jan. 9: Albuquerque – Las Vegas

Vegas,  baby! Well, sort of. The drive here was very fun. We saw outrageous mountains, stopped at the Hoover Dam, and changed a broken brake light. We arrived in good time to go into Las Vegas to experience whatever it is that people experience in Las Vegas. I’d like to bite my tongue here, but I feel that it must be said: Las Vegas disgusted me. I’ve never seen such a lack of intellect in my life. In a city that is as overpriced and superficial as Las Vegas, I found it incredibly difficult to have a good time. I may return someday, but I really see no need. Overrated. Oh, and I should note that due to some poor planning on my part, we also missed CES by one day. That probably didn’t help.

Jan. 10: Las Vegas – Los Angeles

The shortest drive of the trip! We decided to prolong the drive and head north through Death Valley first. This was a great decision, as Death Valley is one of the most incredible places I’ve ever seen. The ground looks like the ground from those Neutrogena lotion commercials, where they show cracked desert ground to represent dry skin. There are some tremendous mountains through this area – some still snow-capped. We took the time to stop along the side of the road and venture off into the desert itself, climbing dunes, exploring caves, and enjoying the openness of the landscape. Then it was off to Los Angeles, our final destination of the road trip.

As with any good road trip, we also played a great amount of music. Some of the top artists played along the way included (in no particular order):

  • Radiohead
  • The Avett Brothers
  • P.O.S.
  • Nick Drake
  • Bon Iver
  • Aaron Parks
  • Rocky Votolato
  • Passion Pit
  • Bob Dylan
  • Elliott Smith
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