I am back. Which begs the question- where was I? I was saying goodbye to my favorite place, tidewater Virginia. And my favorite people. And my favorite church. And my favorite house- that had a rat infestation, but that’s a blog for another day. In May I said good bye to every dang body.
Then I went home for a chunk- to tidewater Maryland and commenced saying goodbye to every dang body there.
Why was I saying goodbye? Only because for not the first time in my life, I was moving away to California. Bye East Coast! Don’t let the door hit ya where the good Lord split ya.
And so we geared up for the longest and most grueling road trip of ever, please Jesus say this one was the worst.
Start of Road Trip Day One. Maryland- Kentucky
Singing “Jesus Take the Wheel” by Carrie Underwood. Feeling thankful for car dvd player recently installed. Ready to learn the origin story of Ponyville for the first time (but not the last time.)
Driving through Wild, Wonderful, West by God Virginia was firstly very hard, because it is tres mountainous, and secondly very beautiful and heartwarming because my kinfolk happen to be friendly hillbillies from these here parts. And I grew up going to WVA every summer. So, memories. My face is weird and puffy from realizing that I am, in reality, actually moving across the country. And also McDonald’s.
Day 2. Kentucky-Illinois. 8th Wedding Anniversary.
That romantic beam of golden light is shining down on us, for it is our eighth year of wedded bliss. We had just woken up and loaded the car and I am angling the photo just right so that you can not see the dog poop clean up station behind us at the hotel. Kentucky. Nick and I decided to take a selfie in every state. So prepare yourself for just so many selfies. Like really a lot. And I don’t think I ever change these sun glasses, so good luck with that.
Just wow. What the heck state is this? I want to say that this is Illinois. Henry is doing Blue Steel. Things I remember about Illinois… would be this rest stop and that it was there. I have terrible news. I deleted the selfie from Indiana on accident. But kept all three drafts of the Kentucky selfie. All aboard the hot mess express! This would never happen to a successful travel blogger.
Here we are in MISSOURI! I always type MISSOURI in all caps because it is such an exciting state. Behind us is the arch. It is a giant arch of some significance. And all I wanted to do was stop at Covenant Seminary while reading a book by R.C. Sproul and listening to Sovereign Grace so I could have the world’s most reformed selfie… but time would not allow. I will keep dreaming big though. You can’t keep me down.
I really enjoyed day 2. The drive was beautiful, I got to eat dinner with a dear friend, and our hotel was actually gigantic because the Midwest is crazy affordable.
Day 3. Kansas. So. Much. Kansas. Also- Colorado.
This is Kansas. Kansas is big. Kansas is rural. Kansas has got some farms. And look! I did change my glasses!
At this rest stop Maisy Jo found this bird nest that had blown down. It blew down because flat and wind. I’m married to a meteorologist, that’s how I know all this weather jargon. The nest was made up almost entirely of the stuffing that fills the discarded cigarette butts found at this truck stop.
Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?
Speaking of Jesus- he showed up a couple of times in Kansas. Most notably here:
This is a billboard I encountered somewhere deep into Kansas. And that billboard of Jesus made me laugh and laugh and laugh and laugh. Before I left on my journey one of my pastors wished laughter for my journey – and here it was. In this wheat field in Kansas. I don’t know what Jesus is trying to say here- that His power can overcome gluten intolerance? That when you least expect it He might sneak up on you bearing a wheat frond? Something about chaff? I don’t know what it said to other people, but I know what it said to me. That Jesus was with me on my journey. That He understood my need for laughter and that He loves me.
Day 4. Colorado. Rest. Rejuvenation. Being scared of heights.
On day three Kansas slowly morphed into Colorado. Because everyone knows that Kansas is flat and Colorado is mountains. And if you’re like me- you didn’t know they were border states until the day you drove across one into the other.
On day 4 we stopped to spend the day with Nick’s sister who lives in Colorado, just around Colorado Springs. Nick took Owen and his cousin to Pike’s Peak. That’s a high peak. And I stayed at home because I
am scared of heights needed to let the little ones take a nap.
I also needed Jesus to intervene in how grumpy, yell-y, and generally terrible I had been being to all of my family members, especially the dog. I hand wrote a blog while I sat on the porch of my sister in laws house watching that deer and drinking that coffee. I’ll post it sometime soon. When Nick got back we began our mission of tourism in the few hours we had been allotted.
Off we went to explore Manitou Springs. Apparently the mountains are a boon for springs. The sink water is off the hook and people drink from natural springs all around the town and no one even gets ebola OR dysentery. We also bought several Colorado souvenirs because Nick and I collect magnets and post cards and there ain’t no shame in our game. Hipsters be damned. I need me some souvenir magnets. I have a magnet from Guam. Do you? Yeah. That’s what I thought.
Next stop: Garden of the gods. They were very tall rocks. I don’t get out much.
Day 5. Colorado- Utah
I was dreading Day 5, even though I was so thankful for the rest we had just experienced. Nick and I had to drive through the mountains, at elevations of 10,000 feet. With twists and turns and brake checks. Day 5 is when I stopped being judicious with lollipops and began to throw them in the back seat with reckless abandon. By this point the car had developed an abnormal toddler stench and crumbs were prolific. “Do whatever you want guys, just stop screaming. Here’s a bottle of cheez whiz. Go crazy.” I also can not downplay the bloating effect of five days of fast food on the body. Okay. It’s BLOAT. I ACTUALLY AM SKINNY IN REAL LIFE. Now that we have that all straightened out, let’s get back to my captivating story.
Vail Pass, Colorado was only the most beautiful place in the entire world. I think they filmed the Sound of Music here. Behind me is a colony of Prairie Dogs. Every time I come to the realization that North America has cool wildlife, I lose it a little bit. That’s why my face looks like that. I never wanted to leave this rest stop. That’s right. This is a rest stop. That’s how beautiful Vail is. Even their rest stop can’t be marginalized.
Speaking of terrible bathrooms, after Colorado and this neat valley we couldn’t get a picture of because we were both driving, and a nail biting descent, we hit Utah. OhhOohhhh Utah. The toilets in the Utah desert are simply very, very deep holes dug into the desert. With a toilet lid. I had a moment of anxiety when I imagined tiny Maisy Jo plunging into the toilet hole and me with no recourse. I did not let MJ fall into the toilet hole, thank you Jesus and amen.
The desert is bleak y’all. Not my favorite thing. I’m not sure what to say. There were plants and birds and rocks and things, there was sand and hills and rings. After much desert and many gas stops, we made it to Salt Lake City, Utah. For not any other reason than that of my love for cults. After nine hours of driving I did not stop for dinner. I did not stop at the hotel. I did not pass go. I went straight to the Temple. The Mormon Temple.
The Mormon Temple was a lot smaller than I thought it would be, especially because on many highways around the country you may think you are coming upon a theme park castle, only to realize that it’s just the Mormon Temple and you forgot your holy underwear so what is even the point?
This is me taking a selfie in front of the temple which might be really disrespectful, but I just really wanted to and did you just say one of the fruits of the spirit is self-control, and oh gosh I’m the worst. I went in excited and came out thinking “there but for the grace of God go I.” I really hope to tell some Mormons about grace someday.
Day 6- Utah- California
And here is the most unexpectedly cool part of our journey. The Great Salt Flats of Utah. It needs to be mentioned that Utah felt really prehistoric. I get why there are so many dinosaur fossils there. It’s like hella mesozoic. (Is that factually correct? I only got up to teaching third grade science and we don’t cover paleontology) Pictured above is some weird statue that Nick thought was interesting and I thought was lame, but was game enough to stop and look at.
The flats were bright and crusty and crunchy and surprisingly delightful. (I mean, look at those mountains in the background. They’re really t-rexy aren’t they??)
They were the perfect place to execute my road trip dubsmash.
Next up was Nevada. Nevada, surprisingly has a lot of wild horses, and unsurprisingly has terrible 4G. I know this because I was streaming the HP and the Sorcerer’s Stone audio book off of YouTube. Because Day 6 there is none songs that I want to listen to. Not. A. One. The kids had destroyed their earphones pretty much off the bat and kept asking me to turn down my music/audio/weeping, but I refused. I’m selfless that way.
Enjoy this time lapse of my children trying to return feeling to their feet after being constrained in harnesses for almost a full week.
Nick and I decided to spurge and stay at Lake Tahoe for our last night of our journey! #worthit
Going back to Lake Tahoe is high on my list of priorities. It’s so pretty! Which you can’t tell from these low grade phone pictures, but maybe I’ll treat you to some pictures Nick took with his actual camera, and then it’s just like you’re there. Sticky car seat buckles and all.
Day 7. Lake Tahoe- Monterey
Oh easy. Quick drive. Let the kids take a quick dip in the lake. Get a donut. Then SIT IN TRAFFIC FOR FIVE HOURS.
Maybe the craziest I have ever actually been is day 7 with my kids. Not moving. Ugh California! Stop being so cool and overpopulated. California is in a drought, so it is crispy and brown and about to catch on fire every single moment. People beep their horns a lot here- I had forgotten that.
We made it to California. And after living in a hotel for many moons we made it into our house. The only thing that got us through was the grace of God and lotsa prayers.
Now that we’re all caught up on each other’s lives I can start blogging again. About what I do not know, but I’ll think of something. I always do. 🙂