Monday, August 13, 2007

The Exodus

It would be really easy to describe our trip as a LOT of driving, with a few hours of mountains at the beginning followed by days and days of driving through the plains. And by the end it was just hot. But there is actually a little more to it than that. For example, the late afternoon scenery on the way out of Utah was breathtaking, and the plains were thick with endless fields of sunflowers, waving at us as we passed by...

Seriously, our caravan consisted of the 26' Penske truck towing the red car, and the Explorer carrying the kids. Justin's dad and brother came along to switch off driving the two vehicles with Justin and me. While we didn't worry too much about keeping together on the road, we did work out a rhythm within the first day. As it turned out, the Explorer could travel a 150 mile stretch about 20 minutes faster than the truck, but the Explorer usually got a late start on a given leg due to resetting the stage for the kids: clearing out trash, moving snacks to the front, setting up a movie, or even actually making a potty stop in the middle of the leg. So both vehicles usually ended up at a stop within a few minutes of each other.

Our late start on Friday meant that we arrived at our hotel in Cheyenne at midnight instead of 7pm; but by the next morning we were back on schedule and made good time to Hays, KS. Along the way Jesse pointed out every blessed thing that moved on the prairie by shouting “Horsie!” or “Moo!” We also were made aware of every truck, train tractor and airplane that passed within half a mile of us. It's funny how much is out there that you tune out until a child reminds you that it is notable. My favorite thing that we saw was completely missed by the children because they didn't know what they were seeing. Several times we passed groups of flatbed trailer trucks carrying what looked like one or two windmill blades on each. I know the windmills are pretty big; but I guess I always see them from so far away that I didn't appreciate their size. I just could hardly believe the fan blades were the same length as a trailer, which I believe is something like 52' long. Yeehaw.

Sunday was our longest day, 12 hours from Hays to Dallas. But the hotel breakfast was great fuel to drive on, the kids were miraculously fine, and after swimming in the hotel pool that night we all completely passed out from being so tired. Our stop that night was just 4 hours from our destination. I noticed that about an hour north of Dallas is an exotic animal sanctuary, including something like 130 tigers, the nation's largest collection. That is definitely on my list of places to visit on a weekend trip next summer!

Monday was the day of our arrival at the Red Boot Ranch, as the Burdines call their 4 acre lot at the far end of a windy country road outside of College Station. When we pulled into the driveway, we were welcomed by Grammy with her camera, two exuberant dogs, and a brand new swingset complete with Texas flag! We came inside to find a huge welcome banner painted by my Utah- friend- turned- sister-in-law- turned- new- housemate, Whitney. Thanks, Whit! She and Momma Dawn had worked hard to prepare us a nice space to call home while we are here. We are in the red guest room: I have always thought it would be fun to have a red room, and I was right! The kids are in their own room together, and we all use the main floor bathroom which funny enough is actually bigger than my old master bath! The only thing I miss is having my own bathroom in my bedroom; but I can definitely live with this arrangement for as long as I need to. Seriously, it could hardly be any better considering that three households live under this roof.

I think it was about 100 degrees the afternoon we arrived, the same as in Utah the week we loaded the truck, but the humidity here is so heavy and palpable that it is almost alive. That evening, while unloading the truck with some true friends from the Burdines' church (thanks Scott, Thad, Britt, Andrew and Josh!) we were all so soaked with sweat that we looked like we had just come straight from the pool without bothering to towel off. The good news is that there is a pool, and we have tried our hardest to use it at least once a day!

The other good news is that the Burdines have a 30' x 40' workshop behind the house and they graciously cleared it out so that we could store our belongings there as long as we need to. Saves on both money and frustration, since I think of at least three things a day that I need or would like to have from my pile. We rearranged everything a few days later so that boxes are sorted by area of the house, and piled in rows so that we can reach almost everything if we need to. It is really a work of art in its own right, which is why I mention it!

All in all, we are getting settled and feeling closer to equilibrium every day. I have most of my “important things to keep with me,” with me. And most importantly I guess, I seem to have found a sense of ease that has been missing for months.

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