Some thoughts from the long, long drive yesterday:
New Mexico is gorgeous and, at times, looks a bit like an alien landscape. My son kept asking about nuclear testing and what the government did with all the people when they performed the atomic bomb tests. He didn’t understand that there is just a whole bunch of nothing in vast regions of the state. So, I jokingly told him that this is why New Mexico is filled with overly tall mutants. He believed me.
The Texas Panhandle has insane amounts of wind. Any time we stopped for gas, the wind would rip the door of the car from my hands. It’s also flat, vast, and seemingly endless.
Oklahoma stole my heart. Crossing the border from Texas was like entering a whole new world. There were trees and rolling hills and meandering creeks. I wanted to find a spot and spread out a picnic under the fluffy clouds. Also, HOLY BELT BUCKLES. We stopped for dinner and I’ve never seen so many cowboy hats, overalls, and massively impressive belt buckles in my life. Bug and I felt so out-of-place. Especially him, with his pink shirt – lol.
Packing the car is an exercise in spacial relations. Every night, we pull out the suitcases and the cats, and every morning, we have to repack it. It may not look like it, but this is a perfectly packed car:
Today, we’re suppose to head to Memphis via Little Rock. However, as I type this, The Colonel is puking in the bathroom. Bug is determined to press on, but I don’t want to load a sick little boy into the car. Fingers crossed he feels better soon. In the meantime, I’m finishing up a sample chapter for my *hopefully* new book.
We had good intentions to start the day early. Really, we did. We’d stayed the night in Kingman, Arizona and planned on getting to Albuquerque no later than 6pm.
Alas, we didn’t leave our hotel until around eleven because Bug had some work stuff to do. We then decided to side-trip up to the Grand Canyon which added about three hours to the day. Totally worth it though:
Bug and I had taken the boys a few years earlier but it was snowing so hard, no one wanted to leave the car. This, mind you, was in the middle of May and we’d just spent a few days lounging next to a pool in Scottsdale. Today was much more pleasant, although very windy. Driving through the valleys proved challenging as the gusts shook the car and often pushed us into the other lane. Two-hand driving all the way.
The biggest challenge being on the road (other than having spoiled cats who want to sit on our laps constantly) is food and lack of exercise. Pudge is a strict vegetarian and I can’t have gluten or red meat. As you can imagine, we are a barrel of fun in fast food restaurants. Salads, water, sides of fruit, and “grilled cheeses” – aka cheeseburger hold the meat – are about it for us. I think tomorrow, I’m going to find a Safeway before heading out and buy some mini-bags of carrots, apples, and some nuts. As for the exercise, sitting so many hours is hard on the body. Both Bug and I are dying for a run, but I don’t see it happening until we arrive in Virginia. For now, we’ll just have to do periodic stretching breaks.
The second biggest challenge is keeping all the devices charged. Since Bug is trying to work on the road, he needs to keep his laptop and phone charged and within easy access. The boys have been watching movies on the iPad, which, when it runs out of juice, I tether to my laptop. Then there’s the GPS and my phone plugged into the stereo. Basically, it looks like we’ve robbed a Best Buy. First World problems, right?
Here’s one last picture from the day. It would be perfect if the Fox where with us.
Yesterday, we loaded up the car, took one last look around, wiped away tears, and left San Francisco. I had to bite my lip to keep my sobs locked in – I didn’t want the boys to see how upset I was. All week, I’d been selling them on the adventure and how wonderful everything will be for us in Virginia. I didn’t want them to know that I’m scared and nervous, and that there are times when I doubt this whole crazy decision.
But no matter how unsure I am, I’m even more convinced this is the right thing for our family, if that makes sense. Bug has been re-energized by a job that is already challenging him in a good way. He has a spring in his step and is just generally excited again. Pudge is actually – and this shocked me – looking forward to going to traditional school. In fact, he was supposed to stay in San Francisco for another six weeks with his grandparents, but decided at the last minute to come with us. The Fox will fly out and meet us on Sunday night, but he’s looking forward to decorating the new house for Halloween and having kids trick-or-treat at our house (In twelve years, we’ve never had a trick-or-treater in San Francisco!). And The Colonel, well, he doesn’t care as long as there are cookies, a bed, and his family on the other end.
We’re taking the southern route to Virginia and so far, it hasn’t been very scenic. I’d wanted to get a picture of the “Welcome to Arizona” sign, but we rolled past at 9pm and there was no where to stop.