In the middle of our West Coast moving madness, I decided it would simplify things if the boys and I drove our vehicle to Portland from our Washington DC area home. And somewhere in the middle of Ohio, I bolted upright in my drivers-side seat and realized I had made a terrible, terrible mistake.
But we pushed forward, and against all odds, stopped the car in my mom's Portland driveway several days later exhausted, but safe.
Some of my reasoning was practical - it was the cheapest option. I also didn't want to be without a car for the weeks necessary to transport a car cross-country. We knew we would be living with my mom for several weeks while we waited for our new Seattle home to close. I needed to bring along clothes for several seasons (we were going to be staying in Portland in the springtime, after all), homeschooling materials for the remainder of the school year, toys and games, and bicycles. All the essentials.
The trip also sounded adventurous. I had never been through our country's midsection. The boys would learn so much as we drove and stopped at various landmarks. It would be a bonding experience. I would get to catch up on a lot of reading via audiobooks.
Here is the reality of our trip. I was pretty exhausted and stressed out from the last two months of packing, moving logistics, cleaning, and selling the house. Plus work and all of the other day-to-day life that needs to be handled. Ed had to leave for his new job at the beginning of March which put an incredible amount of pressure on me to get everything taken care of before we left. Add in some autism and it was a very difficult time. On a Friday morning in early April, while the neighbor kids headed off to school, we loaded up the car and drove out of Reston, and then the state of Virginia, for good. I was too tired to be sad.
I really did not want to eat fast food for the entire drive, so I packed a cooler full of food so we could picnic at rest stops. It was just way too cold throughout the trip to do this successfully. Our first picnic in Morgantown, WV was met with a freezing wind. I still made the kids wrap up in blankets and eat but didn't push the issue going forward.
It was also hard to transition Noe in and out of the car....so we just drove. Drove right past the Hoosiers gym that I've always wanted to see, among other Midwest treasures. It wasn't long before the weather forecasters were predicting a big snow storm in the Rockies....so we had to speed up our trip or risk getting stuck in the mountains. Before long, the boys travel education had been reduced to this same conversation as we entered a new state:
"Look, we're in [state]." (Boys look up bleary-eyed from their electronic devices)
"What is the capital of [state]?" (Asher answers, but butchers the pronunciation)
I continue...."[State] is known for having lots of [insert one of the following: corn/mountains/potatoes/Republicans]
As for my plan to listen to audiobooks....yeah right. We listened to Noe's music for the entire ride in an effort to keep him settled and happy in the car.
There were some highlights (and lowlights) along the way.
*A jaw-dropping sunset coming out of Omaha....Asher still claims this was the best part of his trip.
*Stopping to visit my sister, Kelli, in Utah.....just a day before she gave birth to my new nephew. I got to see meet him at 1 day old!
*Experiencing first-hand the vastness of our nation....it is hard to put into words, but driving the entire country kind-of felt like watching an IMAX movie through a variety of landscapes, people, lifestyles.
*Trying to communicate with a cashier in Wyoming and not being able to understand a SINGLE WORD of his thick intermountain west accent.
*The joy of a hot shower and a good mattress after a day of driving.
*THICK FOG and then SNOW in the mountain passes between Wyoming and Utah. I picked a truck and followed behind it...for miles and miles.
*The spray shower of pee that Asher and I got from Noe when I couldn't pull over and find a restroom for him fast enough. Noe, miraculously, kept himself completely dry.
*Our final night in Baker City, OR and the sure signs that we were back home: No sales tax, a sign for Pop and Ice, an attendant to pump our gas.
And it is GOOD to be home!