So this journey started with Rob being busy selling off all our furniture that wouldn't fit in the U-Haul U-Boxes that we had rented and filled to the brim with all our household belongings... while I was stuck in the hospital with my fifth bout of pneumonia in a year.
The highlight of my three-day sojourn in Homestead Hospital was the fresh fruit I received every day, particularly the strawberries. Hey, you have to find your happiness somewhere!
Last Tuesday morning, March 7th, I had to take one last hibiscus picture by which I could remember my beloved South Florida.
Bye, Caribbean Isles! Bye, Oasis! Bye, Homestead, and Miami, and Florida! Awaaaaay we went!
Florida is such a looong state to drive, so it was with great joy we finally crossed into Georgia! From citrus to peach country.
Onward we went: Me driving; Rob in the passenger seat holding our pups Tapioca and Paco; each child holding a cat on his or her lap, plus either a gerbil or a guinea pig; and one more cat in the back area, packed in with boxes but not in such a way that a fast rescue wouldn't be possible, should the need unhappily arise. We were packed to the gills both inside and out, and with seven pets in travel carriers, we were in a race against time to get to Idaho!
Tapi and Pacqui waiting for Daddy to come back from a rest stop
Everyone was uncomfortable. We had so much STUFF - cold weather gear, kids' school backpacks, kitchen stuff, blankets and sleeping bags - one of which met its demise when it fell off our car before we'd even gotten out of Homestead - purses, camera bag, pet supplies, and oh, my gosh, SO much homeschooling stuff. We fit more than I imagined we would, due to careful packing of the cabin and roof a la Tetris. Oh yeah, and three suitcases full of clothes and towels.
To say we were squished would have been an understatement!
We stopped somewhere in Tennessee for the first night, and it was quite chilly compared to the balmy subtropical weather we'd left behind in Miami. Chloe was SUPER excited to be needing her coat and gloves. She's been wanting colder weather with snow and all the fun it brings for four long years.
In the morning, the doggos were all over me to get started during a gas fill-up. They, too, were eager to get out of our enclosed, rolling box.
After we left Tennessee, we eventually hit Missouri after going through Kentucky and Illinois, and it was there that I hit my breaking point. Rob was driving, well, like Rob. I was exhausted, the pets were miserable, and the girls' and my ankles were starting to swell badly. I had two pairs of compression socks, so Chloe and I wore them while we all did our best to walk around as much and as frequently as time allowed. We were supposed to go see Rob's brother and my friend in Missouri, but in the end we had to bow out of both visits for the pets' and kids' sakes. It just wasn't fair to them to stop and prolong the agony! We caught quite a bit of heat for that, but we did the best thing for our family at the time. So.
After we got started again on Day 3, we drove through Kansas for what seemed like eleventy billion hours. It was dreadfully boring to drive through, at least in the wintertime. There was nothing but empty, dried up fields and wind farm after wind farm. I have to admit, those were pretty cool. But the vast emptiness made for little to look at after awhile, and we were all just... bored, I guess. And needing gas. And a restroom. And we found neither for-freakin'-ever!
Finally, finally!!! We found this gas station with a restroom inside. Look how old-timey it was! Hee! Inside, there were taxidermied bobcats, foxes, deer, and more. They charged a dollar to use the restroom - pffft! - and in the back by that area, there were three elderly men drinking and playing poker. It was quite the experience. Definitely a change from Miami!
The view across the street from the old-timey station of gas
Figures. Not even one mile past that gas station, we rounded a bend and found a rest stop. Can you even?! I cannot. There was a real working water pump there, the mechanics of which Jack, naturally, had to check out before we got back on the road again.
Finally, after another long stretch of Kansas roadage, we made it to Colorado. Yay! Now, the super-fun part of the trip was at hand!
Contented little pupper-doggos on Daddy's lap
Not long into Colorado, we stopped at a local mom 'n' pop grocery store in Limon to get some lunchous foods. Not wanting to get yogurt and chocolate milk spilled in the van, we decided to have a quick picnic somewhere. Five minutes later, we found this empty park. Perfect! Everyone was thrilled to get out and stretch their legs, have a bite to eat, and even have a little fun in the process.
Once we were back on the road again in Colorado, heading toward Denver, the open road seemed much more thrilling than it had in Kansas. We just couldn't wait to see mountains - and if you look reaaaaallly carefully and closely in the distance, you can start to see them here!
There they were, off in the distance, against the background of the Great Plains where we still were. Beautiful, breathtaking, and awesome!
The higher we climbed into the mountains, the closer the clouds came to feeling like we could just reach out and touch them. It was pretty incredible.
We climbed higher and higher, ears popping and plugging all the way, around the city of Denver and headed into Wyoming. Rob needed to stop for a moment on the side of the road, so I grabbed this picture of the buttes as we ascended even further. This was near Green River, Wyoming.
Coming through the mountains and buttes in Wyoming, we saw purple mountains! that inspired Rob and I to burst almost in unison into song: "America the Beautiful" of course was the tune. Later in Wyoming, we stopped yet again at a rest stop called Little America. If you've ever been to Wyoming, I'm sure you've heard of it if not stopped there. That was a pretty amazing place. We stopped for potty breaks for everyone next to this pretty white birch just as the kids finished up singing Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" because they were so excited to be seeing SNOW!
And yes, oh yes, we stopped for those 75-cent ice cream cones for the kids, who were nuts and wanted to eat ice cream when they were already old. Crazy knuckleheads!
That night, we stopped to rest right in the mountains after I had to pull over and throw up - not even kidding - from the altitude change I was feeling. We were used to 3' above sea level and suddenly found ourselves 2500' or more above sea level, and it really messed with my ears and head. Rob tried to drive a little, but the winds were 40 MPH or greater and our top-heavy van was being whipped around. No fun. And so, we slept until I could continue the drive on Friday, Day Four.
After a bit more driving in Wyoming, we headed into Utah. Last state before Idaho! And what a relief it was!
And finally, after Utah, at last we made it into Idaho!! Woohoo!! We all cheered and were in good spirits by then. This was the happiest we had been on the trip, with everyone talking and shouting excitedly at once.
A little longer, and we were finally at our new home in Boise, Idaho! And we loved it right away. The backyard is pretty big, which is great. The kids are loving that, and so are the doggos. Especially Tapioca, who tears around at breakneck speed among all the kids.
Our new landlord met us shortly thereafter, and she immediately jumped out of her car and ran to hug all of us, before she opened the back of her car and brought in groceries for us. So nice! Everyone here in Idaho is lovely, and we can see trains and the mountains from our backyard, and... it's just great. We all really love it here. It feels like HOME.
Thanks for stopping by!