We left my in law’s house right around 1pm yesterday to head into the wild blue yonder of our future. I couldn’t bare leaving before I went to small group one more time, so although my husband thought he was doing me a favor by waiting around so that I could attend, I think it ended up being a blessing that I took the kids to play with their friends, while he finished packing WAY too many things into our truck and trailer.
Sidebar: We did NOT put enough stuff in the uhaul! We are loaded deeeeeep on this 20 some odd day trip across country! #Imayhavemorethanadozenhighheelsonboard #andwaytoomanyclothes
My mother in law requested that we plan our official departure for her lunch hour, and by the grace of God, that ended up being just about perfect. I had a beautiful morning with my sister’s in faith, saying goodbye, praising the Lord, and being prayed all over- that’s always a blessing when you’re faced with a dramatic life change.
One of my sisters, Terran, gave me the sweetest longest hug that said all the things, before abruptly leaving me teary eyed- but I’ll take it because I know she hates me for leaving (hates means loves me too much). My sister, Sarah, told me that I’m the friend who remembers the song in her heart and sings it back to her when she needs to hear it. Well, if that doesn’t make me cry right now as I write this, I don’t know what does (thank God I have sunglasses on as I sit shotgun writing)! I hugged the rest of my people, and wiped away tears of joy and bittersweetness as I walked out of my favorite church for the last time. Lucky for me, I know it’s only the last favorite church before my next favorite church. I mean, after all, I am headed to the dang Bible Belt!
I also heard a need onstage at group that God allowed me to fill for another one of my sister’s in Christ, and that was just the icing on the cake. We are blessed so that we may bless others, isn’t that right?
Ba (my father in law) made us lunch- I will miss his cooking so very much- and then we loaded the last of the last onto the rig. We held hands in the front yard and sang our favorite family prayer song…
Oh the Lord is good to me
And so I thank the Lord
For giving me the things I need
The sun and the rain and the appleseed
The Lord is good to me
And then we prayed for real and loaded up. As we drove out of the neighborhood, we recounted all the things we hope we didn’t leave behind, while my mother in law sent me pictures of the few things that we did. Such is life.
And then there was driving…
My mother in law packed bags of road trip gifts for each kid. One was entitled ‘to open when your mom says so.’ Remind me to make sure that is NOT one of the options next road trip. If I wasn’t asked for that present every 10 minutes for the first hour… But between coloring, napping, reading and ipad-ing, we made it to Winnemucca, Nevada a little before dinner for a ‘pit stop’.
Thomas dropped us off at McDonald’s while he fueled up and checked out the gas station store for gluten free snack options. Let me tell you this… road tripping with a gluten free 17 month old is no easy task. He has two teeth, so that’s limiting enough, and then remember how all food kids eat has gluten?
Do not judge me as I tell you that he ate the ‘egg,’ ‘cheese,’ and ‘sausage’ food like items off of an egg Mcmuffin, while the bigs ate happy meals. And boy do happy meals make kids happy on road trips- NEW TOY!!! That one hour stop ensured another 4 minutes of pure joy as we drove away with our new toys!
From Winnemucca, we drove straight onto good ol’ Elko, Nevada. For whatever reason, although that is not much of a destination, I have found myself in Elko quite a few times. So, we pulled into our favorite RV campground, after a quick stop at Walmart to load up the fridge. Although we had OVER PACKED our camper pantry with all the items that came from our real pantry, we basically had nothing in the fridge, and we definitely had no donuts. And what on earth are we doing on a road trip with no donuts?
So anyway, we loaded up on the goods- who knew Walmart had a legit deli and bakery?- and then headed to our campground to get the kids to bed. Our trailer is exactly perfect for our family, I have to say. If you’d like to know more, check out our episode of ‘Going RV’ on the Great American Country (GAC) channel. Yes, we did film a tv show. Yes, it is in reruns. Yes, I do regularly get tagged in still shots on my Facebook page from it. But that’s neither here nor there. Our camper continues to be the exact right fit for us. Not too big, not too small. It has triple bunks- which was a must have on our episode- but Gage isn’t quite big enough to participate in the bunk game just yet. So Merit sleeps on the bottom (floor level), Cay is in the middle, and the top is much needed storage. Our dinette breaks down into a bed, but if you don’t put the cushions on it, it’s a perfect little spot for a pack and play. And of course, there is a queen for Tom and I and the two golden dogs.
It only takes a few quick minutes for Tom to set it all up, while I brush teeth and do the jammie game. And then… peace. Kids are filled to the brim with experience, and they’re out like a light.
Tom and I shower, I hop in bed and write in our travel journal, and we both get caught up on work before we, too, are out
This morning, and every morning on the road or otherwise, we awake to the sweetest voice…
“Daaaaaaddddddyyyyyyyyyy. Hi….. Hi…. Hi. Hi…… Hi.”
Gage is awake and happy as can be. My joy boy. I lift up my head to see his sweet smiling face peering over the pack and play rail. He sees me see him and the jig is up. Luckily, he lets us sleep until 7am so I’m grateful and happy to bring him back over to our bed for a snuggle. Soon after, Merit is up, and the morning begins. On the days we have time, we make breakfast, but on the ‘hit the road days,’ it’s cereal and fruit. Boom.
Breakfast, dressed, dogs play and back to it. But not without a quick play on the playground. Most RV parks and campgrounds have some sort of playground or park and my kids LOVE this about road trips. It might be their favorite thing. And despite the fact that it was DANG cold and a little rainy this morning, they were not willing to skip the park. Even baby Gage shivered through the wind and the rain to get in some swing time.
This morning, we traveled into Utah. If you don’t know it, Utah is quite pretty. I’m always so surprised every time I drive through this state. It’s so dynamic. We hit the salt flats, and had to get out and run around. It’s such strange countryside in that stretch of Utah. You can’t really tell what is water and what is just salt. Everything is white and everything seems to be reflecting the sky in the distance. It’s uniquely beautiful. And then, not long thereafter, we hit the foothills and the mountains- which are stunningly green this time of year. It’s a little overcast today, so things are extra pretty. As we come down the backside of the mountains, we come into the red clay and rocks. So different than what we’ve seen so far, and the road signs promise wildlife is nearby. Deer and elk! We spotted some antelope so far!
The kids are amazing. Merit has the most contagious laughter and every time they get going about God knows what in the back seat, Thomas and I can’t help but join in on the laughing. Gage is quiet as can be. He’s not supper thrilled to get back in the seat after a break, but he doesn’t complain once he’s in. We plan to make it to Wyoming tonight, but you just never can tell…
I have to say, the first few days of this trip are going to be heavy on the driving, but we’ll make up for it when we hit South Dakota and have a few days of exploring caves and National Parks planned. I’m so grateful for their patience, God’s beautiful landscape out the window, the future ahead, and my computer to share the ride…