It was so much fun the first time, let's do it again!
Well, we made our second trip across the country, and I'm just now coming up for air in order to update this blog!
We were excited to fly out of here and head for Medford. Actually, we flew into Sacramento (the rates were a lot cheaper), and Mike's sister Barbara and her husband drove down to pick us up. Of course, the first thing we had to do is drive over to Woodland and eat at our favorite Mexican restaurant, El Charro. After all my rantings in my last blog about the lack of good Mexican food out here, you can imagine our pleasure! The 5-hour drive back to Medford went by quickly as we yakked all the way! ;-)
The next day, Mike went over to storage and got out my little Bug Convertible. Oh, how I had missed my little car! I was happy to put the top down and drive around Medford (God did us a favor and caused the weather to be perfect while we were there!).
Since I was going to be singing on the Worship Team on Sunday, I had arranged to go over to the church Thursday afternoon to practice with my buds Linda, Cindy and Lucy. Wow, as soon as we started singing together, I felt like I was home again! Everyone (including myself) remarked that it didn't even seem like I had been gone. It was so good to be with those girls!
On Saturday evening, we were invited over to the home of our good friends Peggy and Perry Atkinson. Also invited were Trevor and Krystle, Linda, and Dave and Jenna. Perry barbecued (yum) and we all just had a great time talking, laughing and enjoying each other.
Sunday was great, being back at church. It was enjoyable to be up there with the Worship Team, and it was good to see everyone. After church, I went by to see my former assistant, Lynda, to see how she was doing and to catch up on all the scuttlebutt at the office (so I was prepared before my visit to the office on Tuesday).
Late Tuesday evening, I went to the airport to pick up Matt and Avery -- yes, at the last minute it was decided that little 20-month-old Avery would accompany us across the country! Matt didn't get too much rest, because first thing Wednesday morning he had to join the others in packing up the TWO 26' moving trucks (yes, we have WAY too much junk!). We had two professional guys in the mix, and with those two and four others, they actually had the trucks loaded up by mid-day.
We decided that instead of waiting until Thursday morning to leave, we would go ahead and leave Wednesday afternoon. We went and ate at Si Casa Flores (yes, Mexican food once more!), then we headed out. Our goal was Winnemucca (now there's a lofty goal, eh?).
Boy, the trip through the high desert of eastern Oregon and into Nevada was pretty boring. I was amazed at how many people actually CHOOSE to live in Winnemucca! Right before we got to Winnemucca -- it was already dusk -- we had to suddenly slow down for six wild burros that had gotten themselves stuck on the highway. They found themselves wanting to go where there was a guard rail in the way, so they were very confused. It was cool to see them so up close and personal, but I felt kinda sorry for them. I was afraid that they were so determined to go that direction that they would just jump over the guard rail into the ravine below (do burros actually jump that high?). I couldn't help but think that we're a lot like them. Sometimes we get so focused in one direction that we can't see other options.
We stayed the night in Winnemucca, then headed eastward -- through more desert! We drove through the Bonneville Salt Flats (very interesting -- white flats as far as the eye can see), and drove by a lot of the Great Salt Lake. It's amazing how desolate it is through there. It's said that the only people that go visit there are the tourists, mainly because with all that stale water, it's stinky! (We smelled it even through the closed windows). I read that since it has no outflow (kinda like the Dead Sea), it's about 37% salt, compared with about 5-6% in the ocean.
We passed through Salt Lake City again (the last time we were going from south to north, this time from west to east), and on up through Park City (a very pretty, very exclusive skiing area). We spent the second night in Evanston, Wyoming, just past the Utah border.
So How's Avery Doing?
I haven't commented yet on how Avery's been doing -- he did extraordinarily well! He was content for about 99% of the trip (and the other 1% wasn't really that bad). Of course, lots of crunchy goldfish helped!! And so did the new-toy-of-the-day I brought out for him each morning!! Also, Matt had brought along a small personal DVD player, as well as Avery's favorite movies. There was a slot above the windshield that the player fit into perfectly, so we played the movies while he sat back in his chair and watched. Oh, if you're wondering what Avery's favorite movies are, they are Little Mermaid (aka "Muh-may"), and Lion King (aka "Ly-uh"). We could always count on those movies at least taking up a good couple of hours each day, although usually more than that, since he loved repeated showings. By the way, I now have those two movies just about memorized! ;-)
Wyoming, Nebraska, Iowa and Missouri
From Evanston, we headed east through Wyoming and into Nebraska, where we spent the third night in North Platte. By the way, we ate Mexican food in North Platte that evening. That was every bit as exciting as eating it in Kingsport!
On Saturday, we drove east through Nebraska -- actually from Ogalalla to Lincoln (about 275 miles) was the only section of this drive that we had already been on during the first trip across. The only difference was, this time the corn was higher! We turned at Lincoln toward Nebraska City, traveled about 9 miles through Iowa, then into Missouri. We passed through Kansas City again (last time south to north, this time west to east), and spent the night in Boonville, Missouri.
This stop worked out very well. As you may recall, my dad lives in Bolivar, Missouri, which is about a couple of hours from Boonville. So my dad and Lanna drove up there Sunday morning to have breakfast with us. This was a special visit because they had never met Avery, and they hadn't seen Matt in several years. We had a great breakfast in a little diner in beautiful downtown Boonville (!), and afterward walked over to the little park next door, which was on the banks of the Missouri River. We got to visit for probably a couple of hours -- it was an enjoyable time.
Here's a nice four-generation picture.
Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky and Tennessee
After the visit, we headed out toward St. Louis -- it was good to see the Arch again (after probably 20 years), and to drive across the Mississippi River. Then we lopped off the southwest corner of Illinois, and the western corner of Kentucky, and ended up spending the fifth night in Clarksville, Tennessee (almost home!).
The sixth and final day had us traveling from Clarksville, through Nashville, and on into Kingsport. We made it in at about 2:00 in the afternoon. Whew! You know, if we didn't have Avery along, and hadn't stopped to see Dad, we probably could have driven long hours and made it in about four days; but I'm glad we didn't do that. We had shortened the days so as to not make it too tiring for Avery (ok, Gramma benefited too), but those six days actually went by pretty fast. Matt and I had some good visiting time, I got to be with Avery 24/7, and we went swimming several evenings at the various motels. Overall, the trip was about 2750 miles, but it wasn't bad at all.
Time to Unpack
The next day was unpacking day. Again, we had a couple of professionals help out (a good idea), and then Michael and Matt. We were hoping that Scott and the boys' dad Ron would be able to come over and help too, but because of work obligations, Scott was not able to come. So Ron came over by himself so he could see Matt and Avery anyway. It was a good thing he came. I ended up needing to be available to the movers to tell them where to put things, so Ron ended up just taking care of Avery all day. That worked out well. Ron got to spend some quality time with Avery, and I don't think I could have handled both Avery and the movers at the same time.
We just put the bare essentials in the house in order to get by; we put all the boxes-o-junk in the finished basement; then the rest of the furniture etc. went to a storage shed until we're ready for it. Michael had decided that while he's remodeling the house, he didn't want all our stuff in the way and potentially getting damaged.
So here we are. Michael has resumed taking the wallpaper off (will it ever end??), and now tearing up a bathroom. We've been making daily trips to both Home Depot AND Lowes (they'll know our names soon), and I'm keeping a spreadsheet of our expenditures (yes, I DO keep spreadsheets on just about everything!). ;-)
AS USUAL, I HAVE LOTS MORE GREAT PICS OF THIS TRIP, AND OF COURSE AVERY, ON MY PHOTO SITE (CLICK HERE).
More Adventures Ahead
We're heading out Monday to go to the National Gospel Music Convention in Louisville, Kentucky, then after that, we're heading over to Lancaster, Pennsylvania to the Sight and Sound Theater for my birthday. We're coming home after that for maybe a couple of weeks before heading to the Northeast. We realized we're still early with the leaves changing up there, so we're going to head up that way around the first of October.
I'll keep you posted.