Friday, February 15, 2013

Day 16! Seriously 16 days on the road!

We have been at Squaw Valley, Lake Tahoe since Feb 13- so 3 days so far. We check out tomorrow and start our short 10 hour drive to Portland. I really do mean short because by comparison- 10 hours to get to Portland is short!

Ainsley's teething madness hit its peak once we got here. She's thrown herself down face first into just about every hard surface around--ice, snow, mud, sand, pavers, concrete, marble and some carpet. I've tried letting her sleep whenever she wants but she wakes up screaming and bloody. Poor kid. She's made most parts of the trip disappointing for me--if I am totally honest. I am extremely grateful that Avery has been able to get out and do some fun stuff with Stephen though.

From our travels Stephen and I have discussed starting a blog that rates places for their kid-friendliness (or unfriendliness). The internet, even as overwhelming as it is, just does not make it easy to find the best places to visit for young kids. Kid-friendly ratings seem to mean kids who are old enough to be without their parents. Surely families with young children can maintain some of their favorite hobbies and include their children...or are we wishing for too much?

Three more nights and we'll be staying in WA. We have a lot of great photos so we can at least say "we were here" but Stephen and I both know the trip was worthy of being an entire season of Survivor: Harding Family Van. Outwit. Outcry. Outlast.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Finished Day 11...

OK I have no idea how many miles we did each day or any of that because we never had solid internet service or an evening free since we left Champaign, IL. From Carroll, IA we went to Prescott, IA down through Kansas to Keota/Stigler/Blocker, Oklahoma. We stayed two nights and three days there. It was a lot of fun for all of us...especially Avery! She and her oldest cousin A. had a blast. They never squabbled and were so happy to be together that they even shared a chair at the dinner table. It was heart melting to hear A. say she was going to wait for Avery while she finished her snack...and that meant sitting in the same chair watching her with a big smile. Avy has a few really good friends in NC but there was something very different about the bond with her cousin. It was hard to leave them, especially knowing we will live so far away. In addition to meeting or hanging out with some of Stephen's family, we spent some time with Uncle Logan's horses. Avery was a little timid and Ainsley was "so cold" so she didn't enjoy the time too much. We left at bedtime to make it through the most boring part of our trip.

From Blocker, OK we took Interstate 40 all the way to Barstow, CA or somewhere about there. We were in the car for 27.5 hours before we finally arrived at Point Mugu, CA to stay on the Naval base's beach motel. The drive was atrocious. We tried to take turns sleeping but that didn't go well with Ainsley waking for me all night and then both of us struggling to actually sleep in the car. Around New Mexico through Arizona we ran into a terrible snow storm. in NM the interstate was solid ice for almost 2 hours. While I was driving a van ahead of me lost control and spun around towards us then slid into the ditch. While I let go of the accelerator to slow down we fish-tailed a bunch. I was SO sure we were going to hit the van. From that moment we traded and Stephen drove through the rest of the awfulness. This route was really dull. We saw all sorts of neat scenery but it was abundant. It was over 1500 miles on one interstate. We did get to see rock mountains, snowy mountains, the tundra and the CA desert lands...for hours and hours. I have absolutely no recollection of checking into the motel but I do recall seeing about 10 rabbits in the grass out the sliding door. At first I thought I just had a delirious moment but the next day they were all still hanging out.

We walked the beach at Point Mugu, headed to breakfast in Oxnard, CA then drove highway 1/the Pacific Coast Highway to Santa Barbara. While there we checked out three different beach areas plus the Stearns Wharf and artisan street flea market. So far Santa Barbara is the most interesting place we have visited on this trip. The downtown area is extremely creative looking and full of culture. There is no shortage of food or shopping.

We drove from Santa Barbara to Pismo Beach. The kids were trying to sleep in the car (4:30pm here but 7:30 at home). So we just checked in at The Cliffs resort. Everyone but me is asleep already. We reserved a room with a slider out to the hot tub/heated pool/beach. Hopefully we take advantage of that tomorrow since we paid $50 more *just* for the view!

From here we are headed up the Pacific Coast Highway towards San Francisco. We have hit over 2000 miles and 60 hours. I will check the van log tomorrow to confirm.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Day 6 and 7: Not Enough Time

We spent 3 nights in Des Moines and missed seeing so many of our friends. We had a nice 24 hour visit with grandma and grandpa. The grls didn't take any time to warm up with them. They were chatting away right from the start. We headed from Carroll, IA to Prescott, IA to see our family friend Nancy. This put our current total at 1609 miles 34 hours 28 minutes.

We got on the road at 8 this morning for Oklahoma. The girls are showing signs of travel fatigue. So far Stephen and I are handling it well. We keep getting more efficient with each stop. Today's trip is close to 450 miles.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Day 3, 4 and 5: Lounging in Des Moines

We had originally planned to stay another night in Champaign but Ainsley wasn't doing so well with the wind and staying in a small room. We checked out and drove to Iowa. We arrived a bit after 11pm. Driving that late was rough because we were already so tired. The wind was crazy and we saw so many semis and such in the ditch from a snow storm a few days prior.

We spent Saturday and Sunday doing a whole bunch of nothing except messing up our gracious hostess' house by throwing up on her kid's bed (poor Avy) and eating her marker tips (Ainsley). So far we have traveled 1302 miles and driven for 24 hours and 25 minutes. This was the short leg of or trip!

One not so great part about these short lay overs is not having enough time to see everyone. We hardly made the rounds this time and there isn't anything we can do about it. From missing a former business partner to a brand new baby- we missed some important people.

We will be heading for grandma and grandpa's in the morning.