I had already written a few paragraphs of our story of moving when I accidently closed the window and lost it all. (My mouse is in its charging dock and I'm trying to navigate my browser using only my keyboard. Lesson learned: Ctrl + N is New Window, not Ctrl + W. I could have Alt+F'd it to pick from the File list, but I was trying to be Super Smarty-Pants Memory Girl. They really shouldn't make those so easy to confuse.)
I really don't have the heart to rewrite it so here's the gist: Wanted to leave Friday morning, at the crack of dawn, for various side-splitting, very cleverly written reasons, we left Saturday evening, at the crack of dinner-time. End of gist.
Since Dug accrues massive Marriott points from his plentiful travel, we really only stay at the Marriott Brand of hotels. This, while very thrifty, is somewhat limiting. For example, our first night we had the choice of Medford, 4 hrs away or Sacramento, 9 hrs away. (We were taking the south on I-5/east on I-10 route again.) Nothing in the middle. Of course, since we didn't leave my brother's apartment (We were there after we left our house so Dug could shower and we could eat.) until sometime after 6pm, we decided that Medford would be an ample drive that evening. And it was.
Oh! I forgot one major, super-important detail. Dug was driving our blue diesel Beast, with our sweet Honda CBR in the back, pulling a little U Haul trailer. This left all four sweet, little angel children with me in the van. But don't worry, I wasn't alone. And no, I'm not talking about God being my co-pilot. I was being kept company BY MEJ!!!! Sweet, wonderful Mej worked out all the details for her five children to be taken care of for almost two weeks so that she could come on our little adventure! Wasn't that so cool?! Between the two of us we have nine children between the ages of two and nine. Both of us in a van with only four? Piece o'cake!
Sooooo.....First night, Medford. Second night's goal: Valencia, California. We slept well, seven of us in a double queen room. (Don't tell Marriott.) Well, everyone but Mej. She wasn't used to Dug's Darth Vader-like bi-pap machine (for his sleep apnea), but we picked up some Tylenol PM and the rest of the trip was a breeze. So we drove all day and many hours later, around the stroke of midnight, we arrived in Valencia. We were hoping for a good night's sleep, but that wasn't to be. The front desk told us that if we didn't leave by 6am, LA traffic is so bad that we might as well sleep in to 11am. Dang it!
Five and a half hours later, our cell phone alarms woke us up and we dragged our seven butts into our vehicles. And let me tell you, we didn't have to worry about needing coffee. At 6am, LA traffic is frightening. Absolutely life-threatening. I have never been so white-knuckled driving before. Wasn't sleepy at all. It was worse for poor Mej since she was the passenger and could merely watch. And Dug navigating lane changes with a trailer? I don't even want to think about how he did it. Somehow we survived and made it to Palm Springs for some Starbucks and Jamba Juice. The rest of the day's scenery was this: desert, desert, desert, desert, desert, desert, double queen room at Marriott. Well, there were some very big windmills, too.
When you're driving long distances there's a point you get to towards the end where you think you are going to go crazy if you spend another minute in the car. You don't know how you can possibly make it another fifteen minutes, let alone three hours. With the lack of sleep from the previous night, we hit that wall right about dinner time, when we still had about 5-6 hours left in the drive. We stopped for some Chipotle mexican food and the act of walking with the added benefit of decent nourishment gave us just the boost we needed. Thank goodness, because we were in some major need of sleep by that point.
I need to make note of a couple things. I need to give Mej the credit she deserves. While I usually drove until lunch-ish time, Mej drove the rest of the day, which is by far the majority of the driving. Luckily, while I prefer passengering, she is much happier in the driver's seat. And let's not forget Dug. The whole time he was driving the loud, rumbling diesel truck sans air conditioning and stereo, with the added stress of pulling a trailer. He was not only driving the entire way by himself, but he was almost constantly on the phone since he could not have a web presence for four days. And while he was on the phone, he had to have the windows rolled up since the wind was too loud for his cell. No air-conditioning + windows rolled up + driving through CA and AZ deserts = very hot Dug. Poor guy. We may have had the kids, but we also had a GPS/nav system/laser cruise control/Bob Marley on a kick-butt stereo/Nintendo 64/DVD AND zone-controlled a/c. I made sure not to complain.
It took us four days this time. Well, really three and 1/4. But it was fun. Mej and I got to talk about all sorts of girly things while the kids were headphoned into their movies.
We arrived in Houston Tuesday night. We didn't have power, the water was undrinkable, power lines lying across the roads (all the above, thanks to Hurricane Ike) and Dug had to leave at 6am the next morning to grab the next flight to Pennsylvania and save his project. This all sounds bad, except Dug's best friend lives in our neighborhood and his family welcomed us in with their filtered water, their generator and their fridge full of food.
next...Texas through the eyes of an Oregonian.