Burnin’ Daylight

For those who don’t know, after nearly 5 years in the DC area I have relocated, transplanted, however you want to say it… to the San Francisco area along with my boyfriend and our puppy. Any of my close friends can tell you, moving to California has been a goal of mine since I knew the state of California existed. A mix between the nature, chill attitude, weather, and just all around way of life is what drew me here and I’m really glad, after months of planning, to finally be here. I’m working on a dayjob at the moment and have some leads but am also looking to jump into the west coast DJ scene: SF, LA, SD, & LV. For booking holler at elovelidge@gmail.com!

In order to get from the east coast to San Francisco we decided on a road trip to explore the states, leaving from New York City following Thanksgiving with our families. The following is a collection of two emails (with minor edits) that I sent to random family and close friends while we were trekking, telling the story of the trip. I’ve also now included some photos to go along with the tale. Enjoy!

Check out all the photos in the Flickr set here.

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Left NYC morning of Sat. Nov 27
Email sent Sun. Nov 28 @ 2PM CST

Figured i’d email from the buckle of the bible belt, Missouri to let you know how the trip is going.

Two big things happened before we even left the east coast: 1. We realized that we could get really easily held up in snow storms in the Rockies so we decided on a more southern route just in case there was weather. This turned out to be a great plan because apparently storms are moving in right now. And 2. Jane, my sister, asked to come along for the ride then fly back east after we get to SF. Totally fun.

We got off to a good start yesterday morning from Long Island, NY. Western PA had some pretty solid flurries but we enjoyed the mountain tunnels. Ohio was uneventful and after 12 hrs of driving we finally reached Indianapolis and a friend’s apartment to crash.

This morning I rallied the troops yelling “we’re burning daylight” and we got on the road by 8 am. The flat plains west of Indianapolis were smooth sailing at that time of day and traffic has been relatively light the rest of today’s driving too. We took a much needed break when we reached St. Louis to check out the Arch, dip our hands in the Mississippi River, and take some photos.


Right now we’re 6 miles from the MO/OK border and about an hour and a half from Tulsa, three hours from our destination of Oklahoma City. We have a hotel room there but not sure what else to do, if you know anything exciting in Oklahoma City… errr… holler?

The trip has been really nice with three people to drive and we stop every couple hours for a run-around with Samson. He’s super confused and I’m not sure if he’s big on being stuck in the car for so long. Our apartment isn’t available until Friday so our new route gives us 2 extra days. With Samson and the beauty of the west in mind we are going to do shorter driving days every day and enjoy different sights instead of staying in 2 cities an extra day. Tomorrow we will head to Albuquerque then Tuesday to Flagstaff and the Grand Canyon (none of us have seen). From there we will hit Vegas for the night and maybe check out the old strip, a more chilled out version of the city. After leaving Vegas we’ll make it to California and stay somewhere between Vegas and the bay area. Taking suggestions but already considering Yellowstone, somewhere along the coast, or wine country. On Friday we will get to our place in SF after a fun tour of the states and especially the southwest!

Feel free to call, text, email, and/or fax us whenever you want. I’ll be in touch with further news of the adventure in the next couple days!

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Email sent Thurs. Dec 2 @ 3:30PM PST

When I last emailed we were headed to uneventful Oklahoma City and really the only cool thing we had seen was the arch in St. Louis. Boy has the second half of the trip been the opposite. So much to see and do!

After about 9 hours of driving on Sunday we finally made it to our cowboy-themed hotel just to the west of Oklahoma City, a great advantage to avoid rush hour the next morning. We grabbed a quick dinner and followed it up with a horrible night sleep.

The next morning we set out for Albuquerque by way of Amarillo and the actual driving instantly became easier with straight roads through rolling desert and 75 mph speed limits. You set the cruise control and just coast for hundreds of miles at a time without the blink of an eye.


We stopped in Amarillo for a tasty lunch at Taco Bueno (gotta love the name) and then stopped by the Route 66 landmark Carhenge where old Cadillacs are aligned standing up in the ground in the middle of a field. This was the beginning of the crazy desert winds and it was starting to get really cold again but I finally convinced Anthony and Jane to run and check it out with me. Turns out it’s a huge ode to graffiti and everyone tags it when they come to visit. Luckily I just happened to have a paint marker with me (where’d that come from?)  and we all left our mark, including Samson.


After that quick break we hopped back in the car and headed to Albuquerque. We ended up hitting a pretty crazy desert snowstorm before climbing over the mountains and reaching Albuquerque just before sunset.

The snowstorm and freezing temperature in Albuquerque quickly taught us that the desert isn’t always warm and we really enjoyed the faux fireplace and Tempur pedic beds in our retro style hotel to help us cope. We had a relaxed dinner at a nearby cafe and rested in the room for the rest of the night to avoid the outdoors. Samson did get to enjoy some runs in the park across the street however. It was at this stop in the trip that he seemed to grasp what was occurring and started relaxing in the car, taking in the view and napping between potty breaks.

After an extremely comfortable night sleep we ate up the free breakfast at our hotel and started our Tuesday journey to the Grand Canyon. Another straight, flat day of driving put us at the Grand Canyon right before the sunset and we were able to catch it at one of the prime watching spots. We were all amazed at how beautiful the canyon was especially since none of us had seen it in person before. From that lookout we drove a snowy, icy half hour through the Grand Canyon National Park where we were able to see a ton of deer and also several elk at close range. We finally arrived white-knuckled to Grand Canyon Village and settled down in one of their lodges for the night.

Wednesday morning we quickly packed up, went and saw the canyon one last time, and headed on our way to our next stop,  Vegas.

The ride was again easy, straight, and flat and we arrived on the strip,  after a stop to check out Lake Mead and some mountain goats, around 2 pm with plenty of time to explore and play.


Anthony and I had been to Vegas recently but Jane was especially excited since she had only been at 14 to visit family. We got a great deal at the Palms but the only problem was they weren’t Samson-friendly. In order to get past this technicality, as their Twitter suggested to us, we registered him as a US Service Dog and we were good to go. He ended up having a blast playing fetch in the huge hotel room and after all our hesitation with the service dog plan, it worked out great. We didn’t end up leaving the Palms at all and were entertained by a combination of petty gambling, bar hopping, dining, and returning to the room to play with Samson and relax. Celeb-watching was also fun since randomly the MMA (mixed martial arts) awards were being held at the Palms that night. Tito Ortiz and Ron Jeremy were the only ones we really knew but both sightings were pretty funny and “so Vegas”. Because we had finally reached PST we crashed around 9:30 pm and woke up at 7 am this morning.

We hit up brunch in our hotel so Jane could get her Vegas steak and eggs fix and rolled out around noon. As I write this it is a little after 2 pm and we are in California driving through the beautiful Mojave Desert. We hope to head north after reaching Bakersfield and end up somewhere around Fresno for the night tonight. We had planned on staying right outside of Yosemite (not Yellowstone as in my last email lol that’s Wyoming) but are really anxious about our arrival in San Francisco tomorrow so we’re gonna make tonight easy on ourselves. Plus Lebron plays at Cleveland and the Eagles play tonight, and we’re in dire need of free wifi since we’ve been without after OKC.

Tomorrow we are planning to arrive at our apartment in the Mission District around 2 pm. We are excited to do laundry and really, to finally be there after our amazing journey. Looking forward to going out with friends tomorrow night in SF to celebrate (fernet!) and planning a grilling get together for Sunday before Jane has to fly back to Philly on Monday night.

It’s been a great trip and I’m sure I’m missing silly little details but I’ve already written more than enough. I’m actually surprised you’re still reading at this point. 😉 You know how to get ahold of us all and I’ll be in touch by Saturday with the last part of the trip and settling into SF including some photos of our new place and neighborhood. I also want to take this time to say thanks for all the friends and family who helped make our move happen from packing to planning to housing us and most of all encouraging us to take on this adventure. Love you all. Look forward to your visits to the Bay area!

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Stay tuned for details about our last stop, drive through California, arrival in the Bay, our new apartment, and our new neighborhood!

I’ll be posting a road trip mix of songs we rocked out to during the long driving days in the next couple of days…also stay tuned for that!

About djlilelle

DC to SF. Love the ocean, puppies, nature, hip hop, social media, photos, and adventures.
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1 Response to Burnin’ Daylight

  1. Pingback: Street Art in the Mission | DJ Lil' Elle

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