Tuesday, April 29, 2008

We made it!

And it only took 15 days to move two adults, two kids, one dog, one cat, three vehicles (one disabled) and a trailer 3125 miles from central Mexico to San Juan Island WA!

Apart from the first night out when the truck’s fuel pump died just outside of Monterrey and the next day when the Jeep’s battery gave up the ghost in Del Rio we were miraculously free of mechanical trouble. The VW camper aka Toady rolled right out of the shed where it had been on blocks since 2001. And, though the shed it had been in was riddled with Black Widow webs there was no sign of any inside.

We had no real problems towing either the trailer or Toady though the truck was pushing itself toward its limits on the big mountain passes we had to cross in Idaho and Washington. We had great weather all the way through though the temperature went from 95 degrees in Uvalde TX to 45 in Fort Stockton overnight. We saw gorgeous red rock desert in Bluff UT, high plains in New Mexico, snow 15 feet deep at the top of Snoqualmie pass above Seattle and now, the most beautiful area yet, the fabulous mix of farmland, pine forest, sea coast and snow-capped mountain views that make up San Juan Island. We even got to meet up with a real live Dingo in ABQ! That was cool. It was one of those experiences that is just what you hope it will be. It felt like Sparkletruck and I had known each other for much longer than 1 lunchtime, as I suppose, we have. But it was cool. And somewhere I have a picture which I will load when I find it.

The house was in vastly better shape than any of us had dared to hope. It was relatively clean, mold-free (thanks to our intrepid real estate agent and her husband) and within the first 48 hours we had power, heat, hot water and a stove to cook on. Our visions of camping in Toady and a tent in the yard have come to nothing, we’re each in comfortable bedrooms on cozy mattresses on the floor.

The pond at the house has been a pleasant surprise too. We knew it was there of course but had never investigated it’s depth or clarity. It turns out that it is crystal clear and very deep, well over my head in the middle. We also discovered a floating raft with a paddle that the Bunny has taken to paddling around. She is also an avid angler as it turns out. She has a rod and reel and her first stop on this first Saturday was the edge of the pond where she cast in for over an hour in hopes of bringing in a fish. So far we haven’t seen any but we are planning on having it stocked, with what we don't know.

So it has been a week full of happy discoveries and relative calm. The Bunny is already deep into the first grade here now. We arrived last Tuesday, by Wednesday morning she was begging to go meet her new teacher so we stopped in to sign her up and on Thursday morning she started. The best part is how happy she is getting on the bus when it stops at the end of our driveway!!!! She has already said that she likes this school even more than her old one, I think it was the huge library that won her over but she seems to have already made some friends too and is just as happy as can be. And that tells us that as crazy as it sounded for us to up and leave everything we had been doing, it was the right choice.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

What is it with Utah?

There was not one diaper changing table in any public bathroom in Utah. Do mormon babies never need a change or do they just not go out in public?

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Three days down, how many to go?

We've made it to west Texas, whew. It hasn't been like the old pre-kids road trips, that much I can say for sure! Our first day we didn't get going until late morning, not the pre-dawn we'd hoped for. Dh wanted to try to get to this little town about an hour south of the border where he felt our caravan would be safe. We stopped for dinner late, just past Monterrey and when we went out to continue on to the next stop the truck wouldn't start. So at 11:00 at night we had to get a mechanic to come check it out. Thankfully it was Mexico where you don't need AAA and a million bucks to get some guys to pop out your fuel pump in the parking lot and the install a new one at midnight. It did not seem like an auspicious beginning to our trip though.

So that was the first night, we finally pulled in to the hotel at 2 am. We got a nice late start the next day, spent a good long time at customs where they x-rayed our cars (who knew?) and then made it to Uvalde in time to catch a little of The Biggest Loser (go girls!!!!) and get a swim in. The pool was just a little one so I swam in place by doing freestyle into the ladder, I don't know if it would count as real exercise or not but it felt good after 700 miles in the car (and in the 95 degree heat!!! Holy Cow is Texas hot already!!!!)

Today we only made it to Fort Stockton. We stopped for gas in Del Rio and when I got back in my car wouldn't start! Again we had great mechanic karma, I hadn't even reached for my AAA card yet when a mechanic came over and offered to help. He had a shop a couple blocks away and quickly figured out that we had a lame-o battery and all the a/c, radio/laptop charging/trailer lights had sucked it dry so we got a bigger battery installed pronto and got on the road again. And here we are in windy Ft Stockton. The wind right now is so strong it is kicking waves out of the pool! Seriously. The last hour of driving today SUCKED> Ali G screamed the entire time. Her carseat is really old, a little too big and just clearly not comfy (nor probably safe). I had a perfect replacement in my hands this morning when we went to get dd1 a booster seat to make her street legal. I can tell you I kicked myself that whole hour for cheaping out and not just buying it.

So! That's our story so far. The dog is doing great, the cat is pretty freaked (and needs a round of antibiotics that I'd been hoping I could skip but don't think is wise to any longer) and dh and I are doing okay. The girls are doing great for the most part but I think 300 miles is our maximum mileage before they go insane each day.