Monday, June 19, 2017

Our time in Alliance with family

I know it's been over a week since I've written, and it's with good reason. I'll get into all of that later, but for now, let me recall some good times we had in Alliance while we were visiting with family. We weren't there very long, but we kept the days pretty packed full of activities while we were there.

One of my favorite things about visiting my family is that everyone always comes over and we have huge family dinners and gatherings...that happens when you have 3 siblings and they each have 3 children! It gets hectic trying to plan it all and make sure we have enough food for everyone, but once everyone is able to sit and eat and chat and hang out, it all turns out fun. The adults get a chance to be adults while the cousins all play together and have a great time!

The kids went exploring and found a snake and played games and finally went swimming for the next several hours. I went with them for a little while, but mostly it was just the cousins.

I was able to get my bike out and take it for a ride. It was quite lovely out and felt great to be moving around.

The next day we went to the lake...and by "we" I mean many of the family members! My brother brought his boat and the kids went tubing (kids, including my husband). We cooked and ate and watched people wipe out on the tube and laughed and just had a wonderful day. The wind was quite brisk and the water was chilly, but that didn't deter the children!

That night, My Love and I took advantage of the fact we had a babysitter and we went out for a few beers, just the two of us. It was a fun evening.

The next day we celebrated Victoria's 10th birthday a month early (so that we could be with family and because we won't know anyone in Alaska to celebrate with when we get there). We made fresh strawberry-rhubarb crisp for breakfast and the kids had a water balloon and water gun fight and we ate cake and dinner and just had a wonderful day!

Victoria and Gryphon both got a few presents and they were both so thrilled with what they got!

 Gryphon's reaction to his little 4 wheeler was so wonderfully innocent and excited and I wish I had gotten that on video. 

Knowing we were leaving the following day, Sunday, My Love and I went shopping to get some groceries for our camping trip in Yellowstone (more to follow on that).
We got up the next day and headed West, with tears in my eyes. I tried really hard not to show my daughter, who was riding with me, how difficult that was for me. We've always headed back East when we were done in Alliance and this time, it was different...and it was heartbreaking and a bit exciting. I love to travel, but maybe still a bit in denial that this isn't just a vacation.........


Saturday, June 10, 2017

The adventure continues...


What an adventure already. So, after everything was loaded up and tied down and ready to go, MyLove went and got the moving truck and trailer weighed and we were WAYYYY overloaded, by 4,000lbs. That afternoon, we proceeded to start unloading the entire moving truck into the garage. Thankfully we have wonderful friends that came over and helped us to unload everything and go through boxes and get rid of so much of our belongings and then reload the truck. They also went and
got food and entertained the kids while this was all going on. My Love was quite upset with all of the tools and items we had to get rid of to get us to a legal weight, but we did it. That night was a late night and we were planning on leaving the next day to start our trip.

 We got up the next morning and re-weighed the truck, finished getting everything loaded, cleaned up the house some, and finally left our home around 2pm.

We were on the road just shy of an hour when I realized that the lights quit working on the trailer that he was pulling. We found a place to pull-over and fix the connection issue we were having. This took
about two hours, putting us close to dinner time. The kids and I were able to relax in the shade of the trailer while My Love did the troubleshooting and fixing.

We drove into the darkness of the mountains on some very rough roads and decided to continue the drive in the morning so we could enjoy the sites of the Smoky Mountains of North,
the first day, we were still in North Carolina.

We woke up in the morning and My Love was checking everything over on the trucks and trailers and realized the hitch on the moving truck was beginning to bend. That's not good. We called a welder and headed his way. We were at Farmer's Welding Service in Leicester, NC for about 6 hours that day waiting on him to get all of the materials necessary and then to fix the hitch. Luckily, his shop was in a beautiful little valley with plenty of space for the kids and dog to run free, so we did!


He did a beautiful and high quality job. When leaving the shop, we had to drive on a two lanemountain road that twisted and turned and climbed and dropped down hills
without any shoulders on the was THE MOST STRESSFUL DRIVE. I was never so happy to see the Interstate.

The drive on the Interstate was beautiful mountainous roads (with wide shoulders and not quite such sharp turns or large climbs and drops!). I love driving through the mountains of Tennessee. They
are incredibly gorgeous and breathtaking.

That afternoon and evening everything went very smoothly and we were able to drive all the way to Clarksville, TN that night. After a few glasses of wine, I slept peacefully until my kids (the jerks, haha) were up at 6am.

I love driving through Kentucky. It's a beautiful state. The landscape changes from farm to rocky hills to river valleys and more!

This day, the drive was easy going until we hit St. Louis, Missouri...or forever to now be called Misery. Holy moly...the adventures just seem to keep on coming. The state of Misery welcomed us with a MASSIVE thunderstorm and buckets of rain for over half of the state.

If you look by the road sign, you can see the St. Louis Arch
The wind was howling, the lightning was flashing and the thunder banging...and then came hail.  Goodness this was another miserably stressful and exhausting drive.

I was very happy when the skies opened up and the blue sky shone through.

That evening, we were able to drive to St. Joseph, Misery. It was a long day of driving, but it was uneventful and we got another good night of sleep before heading to my grandma's house the next day.

Driving from St. Joseph to South Sioux City, Nebraska is kind of a boring drive. There isn't much change in the landscape for most of the drive. There are hills to your right and flat to the left for hundreds of miles.

Besides the outskirts of Omaha, there aren't any cities that you drive through. There was a really beautiful rest stop on the way that we let the kids and dog run at for awhile though.

Visiting my grandma is always wonderful. It's such a blessing for my children to get to know their great grandmother and I so enjoy learning from her. She is almost 94 and she is sharp and smart and funny.

Her love language is to feed people, so everything in her home is surrounding food. I love that she cooks with me and we always eat so well while we're there. That woman makes the best gravy!

We only stayed there two nights before heading West to Alliance, NE which is where I grew up and where my parents and siblings still live.

The drive from Iowa to Western Nebraska through the northern part of the state is an interesting one. The landscape changes many times as you drive and yet most of the time you're seeing wide open
spaces of farm and ranch land with scattered small towns throughout.

Most of the drive was smooth and easy, though just outside of South Sioux City was rough and there was a lot of construction.

People have asked me many times how the kids are doing on this trip. They are taking it very well so far, but this portion of the trip we do every year. We actually just did it at Christmas time.

Our girl likes to read and color and listen to music and now play a few games on the Kindle she bought herself

 and our boy is happy as long as he has his cars and a few books. He has been riding in the big yellow truck with daddy, while I've had the dog and the girl.

I am going to get off of here and continue to visit with my family in Alliance. I'll write more later! 

Each passing mile gets us closer to our destination, but further from the people I miss so much already.