Saturday, August 11, 2012

Road Trip Success!

A little over 48 hours ago, the kids and I rolled back into our very own driveway, after driving approximately 4800 miles over a period of 18 days. I have been existing in a suspended state of reality, and I'm very slowly working my way back to the daily grind. Did I mention very slowly? Also, after living out of a suitcase for a couple weeks, all this crap making a mess in my house seems rather superfluous.

Here is a brief rundown of our itinerary:

Day 1: Left home. Drove across Michigan, cut through a corner of Indiana, drove all the way through Illinois and half way through Iowa

Day 2: Drove through the rest of Iowa, then north into South Dakota

Day 3: Continued west through South Dakota

Day 4: Stayed in South Dakota for a 3rd night

Day 5: Left South Dakota, cut through a corner of Wyoming, and half way into Montana

Day 6: Dropped my mom off in Montana, and continued into Idaho

Days 7 & 8: Stayed in Idaho

Day 9: Left Idaho and drove into Washington

Days 10, 11, 12: Stayed in Washington

Day 13: Left Washington, drove through Idaho, and went back to pick my mom up in Montana

Day 14: Stayed in Montana

Day 15: Drove east through Montana and into North Dakota

Day 16: Continued through North Dakota and into Minnesota

Day 17: Continued through Minnesota and into Wisconsin

Day 18: Drove east through Wisconsin, into Illinois, cut through the corner of Indiana, and then all the way across Michigan to HOME!

That's a total of 12 states, if you're counting. Before we left, it truly sounded like we were giving ourselves an abundance of time to reach our destinations. But we did so much along the way, that we did feel rushed at times. If money had been no object, nor my mom's work schedule, a day or two longer each way would have been nice, plus a day or two longer in each Idaho and Washington. It killed me to pass multiple signs for Yellowstone, yet not have time to take a detour and spend a day there. We rarely had the time or energy to use the hotel pools. At the end of each day, I was utterly exhausted like none other and had very little time to unwind and prepare for the next long day of driving. Plus I would have loved more time visiting the family and friends we were staying with in Idaho and Washington. Especially that!

This trip was really so incredible, my brain is kind of still not done processing everything yet. We had so many great experiences, and saw so many beautiful sights, some of which I have dreamed of for a very long time. And while we did see and do quite a bit, there is still so much more we wanted to do that we couldn't get to this time around. Which means another trip of a similar magnitude will definitely be happening again in the future. And I already have Chris's okay on that; in fact, he even suggested it himself. I only hope next time he can join us.

The impetus of this huge undertaking of a road trip was the announcement that Bethany's best friend was moving to Washington. The moment I broke the news to her, she burst into tears, and I immediately responded with, "don't worry, we'll visit!" At the time I didn't know how or when, but I knew I had to make this happen for my daughter. I also knew that my aunt and uncle lived only a few hours from where our friends were moving, and we had been invited to visit them if we were ever so inclined to take a trip out west. Then my mom announced she was going to be spending a week in Montana, just a few hours from my aunt & uncle's house, and that she would gladly hitch a ride with us in lieu traveling by train or plane. Therefore I would have another adult with me for most of the trip to help with the kids. All of the dates just barely, miraculously, fit into place. I mean, my aunt would be returning from a trip the day before we were due to arrive in Idaho, and our friends were due to return from a trip a day before our arrival at their house in Washington. That close. Despite being weary from their own travels (both were taking long trips, and driving as well!), we were welcomed with open arms in both households.

In Idaho, we stayed with my aunt and uncle. I didn't know them growing up, and it was a really awesome thing being invited to stay in their home and getting to know and love them, along with my kids. To be honest, I was a little nervous it might be awkward. But it wasn't, at all. And that's because they were incredibly hospitable and wonderful. The kids took to them immediately, and were totally comfortable. And I was able to sleep alone; in my own bed, in my own room. Blissful, especially after sleeping several nights in a row three to a bed in hotel rooms.

Our stay in Washington got off to a rocky start when Connor puked his guts out the very first night. Because that's always especially fun while staying at someone else's house. But my friends were kind and understanding (they do have four kids of their own!), and never ever EVER made us feel like we were imposing or like they were terrified that their own kids were going to get sick. (Thank you for that, Hilary & Milo!) I then spent the next few days feeling like crap more often than not, and Mattie woke up puking one morning too. Plus my friend had to work a ton because they are just getting their own chiropractic practice off the ground and running. So we did zero sight seeing or anything like that. But our kids were all so happy to be together, doing regular stuff like riding bikes and jumping on the trampoline, it didn't even matter one bit. We were made to feel at home, and were able to concentrate on catching up, which was lovely.

I am feeling blessed to have family and friends who are willing to happily welcome us into their homes (that's a lot of house guests!) and treat us with such love and kindness. I am feeling blessed that my mom was with us for much of the trip, which was a huge help and great companionship, as well as a fantastic opportunity for the kids to spend time with their grandma. I am feeling blessed that I was able to take my kids across the country, expose them to beautiful places, and help build lifelong memories for them. As my brain decompresses, and I  re-acclimate to life in the real world, I will share much more about our trip, including lots of pictures. Stay tuned!


Jackie said...

Now that is one long trip! But I can only imagine how much fun it was and all the great things that you got to see along the way!

alyaia75 said...

It was long all right, but what a great experience!