Sunday, August 31, 2014

2014 Epic Road Trip -- Details

How many miles?
We drove a total of 7,871 miles on our 4-week road trip.

How many rest stops did you go to?
Take a guess, and I'll post the answer on September 2, 7pm pacific time.
Closest guess on here and facebook gets a huge chocolate bar!
(This doesn't include the numberless times we went to McDonald's for additional rest stops)

What day did you leave, and when did you return?
We left on July 20, and returned on August 16, 4 entire weeks of driving.
(You can click on the dates above for the posts on those days)

How did we have what we needed with just a minivan and car top carrier?

This is what everything held:
car top carrier:  tents, sleeping bags, 2 bags of pull-ups, camp stove, propane, lantern, sleeping pads, air mattresses
rubbermaid container 1:  laundry soap, feminine products, 3 rolls toilet paper, dryer sheets, small box of powder bleach, laundry pods, 2 shower baskets (full-size shampoo and conditioner, toothpaste, soap, razor)
rubbermaid container 2:  (larger container than #1) kitchen utensils, lots of canned food, packets for gravy, spaghetti, etc., pre-portioned snacks, dish soap, knives, washcloths
fishing tackle box:  medications
personal backpacks:  pajamas, 2 swimsuits, 2 outfits (plus the one we wore), tennis shoes (wore sandals), socks, towel
garment bag:  church clothes, Andy and Josh's church shoes (girls wore sandals to church)
cooler:  salad dressing, veggies, yogurt, milk, string cheese (bought almost daily)

The cooler was between the two middle seats, but closer to the front seats.

The rubbermaid containers were stacked next to the stroller in the back of the van.  On top of the containers, we had the STUFFED backpacks.
Around the stroller, we put the medicine box, a bag for dirty laundry, and misc. stuff.
We did not block our rear view.

Our minivan seats can fold flat into the floor, so when they're in the correct, upright position, there is an empty area underneath the floor.
In these, we had games, our blog books*, pans (one big, one medium saucepan), 2 plastic mixing bowls, paper plates, plastic utensils, and cups.
*We had blog books with us since there were a lot of fires going on in our area of the world.  

I also packed a binder with everyone's medical info, everyone's birth certificate, Anthony's adoption decree, and everyone's social security number.  Yes, I actually used this, when we had to bring Anthony in to the ER.

 Random thoughts:

It was interesting to see actual departments in the grocery stores in Utah, dedicated to food storage!
And, a lot of stores were closed in Utah AND Idaho on Sundays.

There were a few signs in one of the middle states that said "Correction Facility nearby.  Don't pick up hitchhikers."

A boy in Anthony's primary class in Alabama exclaimed, "Hubba Bubba!!"  I love it.  :)

Going over the pass in Montana, passing is not allowed on curves.

While driving in Montana, I wanted to see wildlife.  I didn't see much, but happened to look down at a river we were driving over, and there was a moose and her calf!!

In Fraser, Colorado, there was a guy in a brown jumpsuit.  I was excited because I thought it was a deer, and Andy thought it was a nude guy...

In Hot Sulphur Springs, Colorado, our motel had a bunch of robes in the office.  I was wondering why, then realized the next day that people probably borrowed them to go to the hot springs with.

When Andy and the older children went in the hot springs pools in Lava Hot Springs, Andy said it was hotter than any hot tub.  And, it made his mosquito bites stop irritating him.

One morning, I was so proud of myself for being on top of things and called our water department at 8:30AM to pay our bill.  But, it was 5:30AM at home and I got the answering service.  I just can't win sometimes!

In the South, regular cheese is not in so much demand.  They have a huge display of processed cheeses, but 3 kinds of regular cheese, and they are expensive.

I don't think I consulted my planner/calendar ONCE on the entire 4-week trip!  This hasn't happened before.

Before the trip, my location in time was based on before cancer (Anthony's leukemia) and after cancer.  Now, I have been reset and my existence is not based on before the trip and after the trip!!

2014 Epic Road Trip -- August 16 HOME Sweet Home!!

We picked Kelly up at 7:30, from her dorm.
She made a lot of friends, learned a lot, and had a great time!
Then, we hightailed it out of there, so we could get to our next destination before too late.
We were planning to have an 8 hour drive, which is more than all our previous days which averaged around 4-6 hours.
We got a few hours in, figured we were doing good, and thought why not go a few hours further?
Then, a few hours later, same thing.
Pretty soon, we realized we could get home that day!
It was an 11-12 hour drive, but we did it!

Our house had a flood in the basement since the night before and the local plumbers wouldn't return our calls while we were out of town.
So, Andy wanted to get home as soon as we could, to see the extent of the flooding.
This day's pictures are mainly rest stops...

 I posted this one twice, because I forgot to take a picture at the one we went to before it.

 We found a lot of state license plates, but not all.
This page was pretty ratty by the time we got home.
 All the stuff our kids had crammed into the car while they sat in it...
 car top carrier and Kelly's suitcase from camp
 We stopped at the grocery store on the way back into town, to pick up a few basics.
It was soooo nice to buy groceries without buying potato chips and candy!
We ate junk every day of our trip to keep us awake while driving.

When we left on our trip, we left our bread in the drawer, thinking that our friends who were housesitting for us would just eat it.
They didn't.
We returned home 4 WEEKS LATER to NO MOLD on that bread.
*The white spot on that one piece is not mold, just a lump of flour or something.*
We aren't buying it any more.  
And here I thought I was buying healthier bread!

2014 Epic Road Trip -- August 15

Idaho Falls, Idaho Temple

Back at the visitor's center, Anthony was flirting up the sister missionaries.
Missionaries aren't supposed to hold children (protocol for liability, etc.), but Anthony always finds a way.
He has a way of forcing them to hold him...and letting him wear their tag.

 After we got our hotel room in Rexburg, we needed a place to eat dinner.
I facebooked the need for a place to eat, and had 2 suggestions within minutes.
Gator Jacks was the first one suggested so we went there.

2014 Epic Road Trip -- August 14

After our restful (because of staying 2 nights) and fun stay in Lava, we were ready to continue on our trip.
We drove to Idaho Falls and got to visit with our friends/family from Alaska.
Dawna and Wade were like family with us when Andy and I were first married.
We spent Christmas at their home, Dawna cared for Daniel when I worked at the library, and I was able to babysit for them in the early days before they found their house.
A few years back, they moved back "to the States" so they could be near grandchildren.
It was so good to see them again, and I have a feeling we'll spend more time together as our children start going to college.

We figured that Josh's ankle didn't need to be seen the day after it was injured, since there were no purple lines, and the medical facilities would definitely be better the day after that, when we'd get to Idaho Falls.
He iced it regularly and took ibuprofen to help with swelling.
It still was swollen like this though, when we finally got to a clinic in Idaho Falls.
 We found a hotel that looked decent, and found out they had good rates.
We stayed at the Hampton Inn in Idaho Falls.
It was very nice, EXCELLENT service, and breakfast.
We were very impressed with them.

While driving around the city that day, I saw a fun looking Mexican restaurant near the mall.
So dinner was at Garcia's.
I can't even begin to describe how delicious my food was, and I wasn't even able to eat half of it!

Another picture that I'm not sure if I posted before or not.
This is from when we were at the Denver, Colorado temple.

2014 Epic Road Trip -- August 13

Ok, so I forgot to use the file from Andy's camera for the day before and the zip lining adventure he and the older kids went on.
So, this is a catch up post, current post, and I included a fun video at the end too.

ready to ride
 the hike before they could zip line
 Josh, I think.
 Lilly--no wonder her back was so sore when we got home!

 Josh chose to do the Challenge Course at the end.

 He said they had to run across the log.

 The tightrope.  He said it was so hard.
It was after all the challenging course was done and he was near the ground that his ankle rolled.
 Ok, so on the 13th, we floated on the river in the afternoon.
The water was so cold when we all went!
My shrieks from the cold water plus the sound of the rushing water made Anthony almost come unglued.
His ears have been bothering him for a month now.
He and I sat out for the next hour that Andy and the older kids floated.
It actually worked out well, since we could pick them up at the end of the floating part and drive them back to the top.

The first part of the day, we went to the water park at Lava Hot Springs.
They have a huge, amazing, fun pool outside, and a huge pool inside, plus an indoor kiddie pool play area.
Something for everyone.
After climbing the wall, they drop down into the water.
Maggie is on the right.
Josh did this, without using his sore ankle.
His arms were so sore afterward though.
 Hot tub
 Anthony loved this water bubble.

 He's blurry, but you can see the joy on his face anyway.  :)
We did this slide over and over and over and over and over.
 I had Andy go on slides with the girls (Josh didn't want to risk making his ankle hurt), and Anthony and I watched people jump off the diving boards.
This activity has long entertained Anthony and brings him a lot of joy.
The super tall ones require a waiver to be signed.
 Maggie after one of the slides
 Andy went down a slide or two, but he didn't like them much.
 Andy doing one of his flips off the board.
 When we walked around town, we'd see people holding on to tubes like this, and we'd laugh.
Then, we realized how convenient it is to not hike a mile back uphill, even if at a slight upward angle.

 Josh and Lilly
 Maggie just chilling

 They were stuck on rocks.

 Back at the camp ground
 Lilly was good upside down.
Anthony kept climbing the side until he was near the top, but then we had to grab him down.
He'd try to climb back down, but would slip right through the open space.
 Maggie wore sunblock at the beginning of the day but didn't reapply it.
Lilly didn't wear any at all.  She was more burnt than Maggie.
Maggie's burn.
 more sunflowers in Idaho
Ready for their zip line adventure the night before.

This video is from when we first stayed in Ogden.
Josh remembered when our little friend, Bentley, did this roll in his pool.
He said "Bye Mom," then rolled into the pool.