summer 2011

summer 2011

Paul and I, all 16 kids and Ashley, Benjamin's wife...Christmas 2012

Paul and I, all 16 kids and Ashley, Benjamin's wife...Christmas 2012

Friday, January 15, 2016


We made it! We drove all the way across the entire country! Yesterday's driving was the scariest, and leaving the worst for last isn't my favorite. We went from Reno, and drove up into those mountains, with the signs flashing about slippery roads and snow and ice. Trucks were required to pull over and put chains on the tires, and we had ours in case cars were also supposed to. The elevation rose to almost 7,000 feet, winding and curving, with those tractor trailers just speeding along like they never heard of brake failure. There were Runaway Truck lanes here and there, so it obviously has happened...and when the hill was steep, and there was a tractor trailer in the rear view mirror getting bigger by the second, and the road was twisting into another hairpin curve, and Aaron had asked to please be nice to his brakes...ugh.

We survived. I told Mare that this trip was like climbing a mountain for me. I don't like driving, I don't like big trucks, I don't like passing them, I don't like entering freeways, or changing lanes, or navigating through five lane traffic. But I figure there's nothing to fear but fear itself. Mirielle did more driving than me for day three and four, because she doesn't mind it at all, and I hate it, but I did my share yesterday, and for the first two days. I am so very thankful and relieved that the driving part is over...

I have lots of pictures on my phone, but it's still plugged in and humming with white noise, as it's 6 a.m. here. Aaron bought a couch from Ikea that turns into a queen bed, which Mare and I share here. She can sleep through snoring, which is good, just in case anyone were to snore. Aaron and Riley took us around Redwood City yesterday. We had coffee from a local place they found, and walked around in the warm (to us!) fifty-five degree misty rain, sipping it. We decided unanimously to have dinner at the apartment, instead of going out somewhere, because Riley is an amazing cook. So we stopped at Safeway, which I loved, being the grocery store geek...and got some chicken breast, fresh green beans, and a bottle of wine...New York does not sell wine or liquor in grocery stores.

Then to Target because they needed a few things. I bought all the ingredients to bake them some chocolate chip cookies. Their apartment has this amazing microwave/convection oven, and a KitchenAid stove/range. I am rather excited to use it.

The dinner was delicious, eaten at their desk in the office, as they have no dining table yet.

So the road trip that came up out of nowhere, last minute and spontaneous, played out better than I could have imagined. I looked at the map and figured it out, and it worked wonderfully. We drove all the way to Davenport Iowa the first day, then to Cheyenne Wyoming the second day, putting 1600 miles behind us. Then to Salt Lake City, arriving early in the afternoon and giving us a nice break...we hit Target there, and had salads from Wendy's for dinner, and had a plastic hotel cup filled with wine, in the hot tub...we did take a stop in Nebraska for something called a Runza, which is burger and cabbage and onions, enclosed in a fresh baked roll. Mare tried it and liked it, I had the regular burger with lettuce, tomato, and pickles...we shared a fries/onion rings made Nebraska more pleasant.

Our fifth night was in Reno, and we got there early too. We stayed in one of those mega resort casinos, for only fifty bucks a night. I'm sure they thought we would feed money into the slots but neither of us had the slightest desire to gamble, but we did visit the Starbucks in the lobby. The girl gave us our coffees, and said that if we brought the cups and receipt back later, we could have fifty four cent refills. Um, yes please! This resort had seven restaurants in it...we chose the rib buffet one, and it was very good, including drinks and coffee for eleven bucks each. The pool was amazing, as was the hot tub.

We watched several episodes of HDTV, so Paul should watch out when I get home, I am inspired to knock out some walls and redecorate! Kidding about the walls, but I am buying paint!

Anyway...we're here in California. Aaron has to work for part of the day, then we are going to see the Golden Gate bridge, and the Pacific Ocean, which I do suspect may closely resemble the Atlantic Ocean, but still. Tomorrow we get on a plane and fly east again....and believe you me, as thrilling as it was to see the country, I'm glad we don't have to drive home.

We saw the Salt Flats of Nevada with the sun coming up behind us, we saw tumbleweeds. We saw small towns, and Black Angus cattle. We drove through land so flat it looked like we would drive right off the edge of the earth. We saw windmills...miles of them. Truck stops and McDonald's and dirt roads and tractor trailers hauling farm equipment. We watched the sun set over the Nebraska sky, like the world's biggest mess of cotton candy, spreading from horizon to horizon. We drove and drove and drove, and didn't get bored. We didn't listen to audio books, or the radio. We just had good conversation, companionable silence, and lots of laughs. We found a super yuppie town in Utah, a place where rich skiers live and shop. As with every stop, we would gather the empty coffee cups and other trash, so the car wouldn't get all dumpy...and headed to a posh little coffee shop. There was no can outside that we could see, so I just carried the garbage in with us...and put it in the can in there. The whole shop was filled with people...and they just looked at us when we entered. No smiles, just staring. We did look a little frumpy and windblown, but not quite homeless. The menu board had no prices listed, and I wanted to just meander around and find a more comfortable coffee shop. But nah, we, only five something for two coffees! I'll have on snickerdoodle cookie too, for us to share, I told the girl. Okay, she said, that will be nine dollars and fifty six cents. Four. Dollars. For. A. Cookie. Now, my pride is right around the four dollar mark, so I let it go, paid, took the cookie, and waited until we got out of there to exclaim about it at the same time as Mirielle....we could make a whole batch of cookies for four dollars!

But we shared it with the yummy coffee and chalked it up to saving our faces. Mirielle's iced coffee was interesting though, the ice cubes were frozen coffee.

The apartment is still quiet, I could probably put this away and take a little nap....


Marilyn said...

For some reason I thought you were going to LA.🤓 and that is why I said you would be seeing lots of desert. Desert would be better than mountains and snow😬😬 especially if you are not used to it. What a great trip! We always managed to hit SLC in rush our......scary.....and last year it was raining/snowing at the same time!! What a story you will have to tell the family back home. Enjoy your day is a beautiful area.

Marilyn from Canad

Susan R said...

So happy to know that you made it safely!
You gave such good descriptions that I could picture things without the photos.
Wondering who Riley is?