With four weeks left to go on our trip, we sat down and re-wrote our plans. Again. As time goes on we become more flexible in some ways and less in others. Although we had great dreams of south Florida, the truth is, Florida wasn’t as much our thing as we imagined. We started to look forward to the west and wide open spaces again. We dreamed of snow. We decided that our trip up the west coast was not to be missed. With little fanfare we bid the peninsula adieu and hightailed it across the country.
Here’s what that looks like: we passed the 10,000 mile mark somewhere in Alabama. Brad has driven every inch of our trip. He has hauled that camper through the biggest cities and the tiniest of roads. He has searched high and low for parking. Every time we go anywhere, knowing we are too tall for parking garages (roof box with skis) and too long for one spot. All the live long day, hooking and unhooking the camper.
We took a good long look at the weather, and a good long look at our budget. In the last week Brad drove us through eight states. Safely. We agreed that pulling the camper through snow in the mountains was not what we wanted to do and therefore stored it in Albuquerque. This requires us to reallocate our resources, but doesn’t break our budget. So onward.
This week we look forward to the Grand Canyon and time in Arizona. Our soft Florida cheek skin has become wind blown and dry in the desert. We have loaded up on chapstick. At least one of my boys is still wearing shorts (he is a true Coloradan). We have so much to be thankful for. Regardless of where we are. We will miss the traditional family Thanksgiving feast as we pass through Nevada. We will make the best of where we are and enjoy Las Vegas. With kids. It can’t be worst than that one block of Bourbon Street they saw, right?!?
The second leg of our trip taught us a thing or two. For one, we are not ambitious travelers. If you saw our original map, just throw it out. Because, seriously, we are in a pop up camper. Two weeks in and we know that we are not going to go to all that trouble for one night. Plus we are sick to death of the boys asking if they can stop to see something and (we say no because…) we are worried about how we are going to set up camp before dark. Those days are gone. We are ready to explore where we are and hang out for a bit.
And, another thing. We had very little time to spend in Oklahoma. We would have liked to stop and visit, but as our navigation tells us – proceed to the route. We spent some time at the Oklahoma City National Memorial. It was heavy and really affected the boys. I was affected. To tears. It just brought back so many memories of the children who were lost. It was a beautiful memorial. But. It’s good to remember that kids can only handle so much. We will pass on some other memorials until the boys are ready to take on the sadness of those places. They understood and took in more than we expected.
One of the great highlights of this last week were all of the new to us animals we encountered in Texas. Let’s just say that armadillos are at the top of our list of wacky, fun to observe creatures. They make so much noise. Like a bear in the woods kind of noise. All they are doing is looking for bugs in the underbrush. They were totally oblivious and not at all concerned with us.
We are nine states in (Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana) and 3,000 miles. Things are coming together. We are learning to work things out on the fly because there’s nowhere to hide. No room for bad feelings. These guys I’m traveling with are top notch. We are in New Orleans for a few days and then we will follow the Natchez Trace Parkway from Mississippi to Tennessee.