In mid-January, a former boss of mine contacted me about an immediate opening in Las Vegas, Nevada for a Senior UNIX Systems Administrator position with a small company/start-up where she was working and, after a week of discussion, I accepted the position and set about to move my entire life, my fiance, and my possessions the 1,500 miles from Little Rock to Las Vegas within two weeks.

To say that the process was a logistics nightmare would be an understatement but, in large part to very helpful friends, I was able to resign from Jacobs on the 30th of January to begin working for Criterion-Systems on the 1st of February. It was a hectic road-trip, but we managed to stop along the way to see some of the historic landmarks and take a few scenic detours on Route 66.

The entire process took an untold amount of man-hours, consisted of a three day road-trip, and cost approximately $3,800 using ABF's U-Pack and Umbrella Movers to ship, and unload our freight cross-country while we spent three nights hopping from Hilton to Hilton and landmark to landmark.  During this adventure, we learned several lessons that I felt warranted a blog post:

  • The Texas Panhandle is terrible, desolate, and boring. The highlight was The Cadillac Ranch, which was an amusing distraction for the duration of a handful of selfies.
  • You can watch Food, Inc. all you want, but until you drive by an industrial cattle ranch and deal with the lingering smell for >100 miles, you have no idea.
  • Always get gas whenever your fuel range is <200 miles.  Always.
  • The drive into and out of Albuquerque, New Mexico on I-40 is truly remarkable.
  • The Grand Canyon National Park isn't just a "hole in the ground;" it's a 30 mile hole in the ground within a forest surrounded by desert at 6,000 feet above sea level.
  • When visiting The Grand Canyon, make sure to visit from the Eastern Rim on highways 89 and 64, so that you drive through the historic Kaibab National Forest, experience some of the seasonal Indian shops, and encounter the isolated (and less-crowded) scenic vistas.
A Google Map representation of the ideal way to visit The Grand Canyon's Southern Rim.

A Google Map representation of the ideal way to visit The Grand Canyon's Southern Rim.


  • The Petrified Forest (or Painted Desert), by contrast, is just a desert; unless you find yourself with excess time, it's mostly just a gift shop.
  • At all costs, avoid Wal-Marts in Las Vegas; I've been to deployed environments that were better stocked, cleaner, and safer than Las Vegas Wal-Marts.
  • After Global Warming, everyone is going to want to invest in water R&D firms; these will be expensive stocks - instead invest in lotion R&D. More affordable, but just as required.
  • Traffic patterns in the greater Vegas area are unpredictable, with six lane boulevards coming to four-way stops, and three lanes condensing to one with little-to-no warning, and taxi's couldn't care less.  If you're a taxi driver, then please accept my heartfelt apologies, sympathy, and hatred.

While stressful and filled with far too many cheap, generic "Indian" trading posts (seriously, there were hundreds between Oklahoma City and Las Vegas, the process of driving cross-country for the purposes of relocating for employment was fairly enjoyable. I'm currently recovering from severe culture shock, but I'm fairly certain that the experience is one in which I'll fondly tell my friends and family about for decades to come.