I remember what I did exactly ten years ago today. July 5th, 1995, I left Dundee, Oregon for a two-week road trip to Southern California. I drove three days and two nights coming and going, learning after Day 1 that swimming at the end of the day was exactly what I needed to help me sleep at night. (Guess what I hadn't done that first night?) Once in the greater L.A. area, I was Tourist and Professional, interviewing record producers for two articles for Film Score Monthly magazine. My first big accomplishment that trip was seeing Harlan Ellison in person for the first time, talking up his then-in-production Dream Corridor comic but also bringing up an Infinity Minus One of topics: the man has something informed and funny to say about well-nigh everything.
(Checked up on second computer: oy. Something's freaking out like I tried to open a corrupted file or something. Restarting, to see what happens this time...)
The day before, July 4th (of course) 1995, was a happening day for my family. Mom and Dad had moved into their Dundee place the previous August, and had vowed to host the family for Independence Day '95, and so relations from Spokane to Guam were there. As I left the next morning, Dad and friends of his started dismantling the deck in order to rebuild it, make it stronger, better, wider. I learned later that one of the guys asked Dad, "You had HOW many people on that deck??!!" So we apparently cheated death 10 years ago! Go us!
(Hmmm... is computer working now? Mmmmmmaybe, but slowly...)
I couldn't afford a motel room in L.A. for the length of time I'd be there, so I stayed at one of maybe two campgrounds in the Greater L.A. area. Mine was kind of near Pacoima. (Who pitches a tent in L.A.? I do.) The only time it rained in my two weeks in SoCal was, coincidentally, the one night I crashed at a friend's house.
I knew that Los Angeles would not be my home by the end of that trip...not that I had ever really planned on that. The clincher was the night I had to drive 100 miles to get back to the campground, because I'd made a wrong turn onto the wrong freeway...and, when I looked at the map, saw that even had I gone the exactly most direct route, I'd've driven 70 miles. Remember, there are states, even countries, smaller than that. I need a more compact environment: my best commute was the mile-long one in Hermiston, Oregon from 1997 to 2000. I could walk it on weekends.
While living in Hermiston, I talked to my parents about where I'd move next (which wound up being Portland, but that was still up in the air). L.A. came up, and Dad said I likely wouldn't like living there: "L.A. would probably run you over." "Yes," I said, "perhaps literally!"
(Score! It got done! On to Step Next...)