I’d like to say that our 6 day drive across the country was a blast. Really, I’d like to. But it wasn’t. Thankfully we made it 3000 miles with nothing dreadful happening, but it wasn’t a good time. Things started out okay, here’s our moving truck that Jay personalized with some shop art. I gotta say though, that chopper in front of a bank of flames looks awfully like a wreath when you’re looking at it in the rear view mirror! And here is where I made my first mistake. See that beautiful blue sky? And Jay in shorts, sandals and a short sleeved shirt? That’s because it was in the 90’s when we left Moses Lake, Washington. So, like an idiot, I packed accordingly. My only saving grace was that I did think to pack light jackets for everybody.
So, we left Washington, briefly passed through Idaho (good-bye Coeur d’Alene, I’ll miss you.), and drove into Montana. Where the deer and the antelope play. And play, and play and play. Right off the side of the busy interstate. Now, I’ve lived in ‘deer country’ my whole life. I know to watch for them at dusk and dawn. I know lots of people who’ve hit deer and totaled their cars. I’ve never in my life been actually afraid of hitting a deer. Until now. I’ve also never in my life longed for a rifle. Until now. The entire day we drive through Montana and Wyoming the freeway was plagued with deer and antelope. Huge herds grazing juuuuuust off the freeway. And sometimes not EVEN off the freeway. I passed many a deer who had four hooves firmly planted on concrete, eating the grass that grew off the edge. I was about 20 miles ahead of Jay most of the time and I’d call him (I know, smart huh.) and say, ‘there’s a herd of about 15 deer on the left up here, watch out’ and by the time he’d get there they’d be gone. All except a couple of corpses lying in the road. I started counting dead deer and gave up about 2 hours later when I’d gotten up over 20!!! I was a nervous wreck and a mass of tense muscles the whole day. It was awful. At one point we were on a less busy highway and I stopped to take this picture. The deer just looked at me, they couldn’t have cared less.
The next day we drove to Mount Rushmore. And it was cooooooooooold. And windy. Oh my gosh. We walked up to the observatory, found someone to take our picture, took a couple more pictures, stopped at the gift shop and left. We were there maybe an hour. I just asked Amelia about this picture and she said, ‘that’s the mountain with the funny faces and my nose was freezin’.’
It was pretty spectacular though. It’s just hard to be properly awed when you can’t feel your extremities.
My camera has facial recognition software (which I probably could have disabled if my fingers weren’t numb) and I couldn’t get it to keep everything in focus. You could see the camera start to do it and then start spotting faces and focusing on them. Would have been a cool pic though!
So then there were many days and many miles and many missed opportunities for seeing friends and roadside attractions. Most of the time when there was something cool to stop at, the kids had juuuuuust fallen asleep or the weather was ghastly. So we didn’t stop. We did go to Niagara Falls though. And the weather looked nasty, but held off being a jerk until 5 minutes after we left!
Nice. Not one kid looking at the camera! Geesh. We went on the Maid of the Mist and the kids thought it was awesome! They really liked it when we got close up to the falls and the water is all bubbly.
Our last day was definitely the best. We only had to drive about 3 hours to get to Jay’s parents’ house, so we took our time. There is a sign on this building (it’s just off the side of the shot) that says,’ Chocolate, Fudge, Ice Cream, Cheese’. So I came to a screeching halt and went right in! When we went inside there was a collective gasp from the kids, and then not another sound. For about 30 seconds. There are tables and shelves with huge glass jars full of candy all over. Display cases with specialty chocolates and truffles. Tables with gifty things and maple syrup jars. It was just amazing! In fact, we didn’t even make it over to the ice cream and cheese part of the shop! We walked the kids through the aisles of candy and let them pick whichever one they wanted. Reese chose candy coated malted eggs and a couple of gummy octopi, Lia chose conversation hearts. I got chocolate ‘sea pebbles’ and cotton candy and cream soda Jelly Bellies. (My favorite flavors of Jelly Bellies!) Jay got Jelly Bellies too, and something else I can’t remember. The wonderful woman who worked there loved watching the kids walk around the shop in awed amazement.
A few hours of driving through staggeringly beautiful fall scenery and we made it to our new home in New Hampshire. Jay’s parents live away from town and the kids just had a ball exploring their new home!
I’ve always enjoyed driving through the different canyons in Northern Utah (where I’m from) in the fall. Deciduous trees grow in the canyons and in the fall they are just spectacular. And even hearing for years about how amazing the fall is in New England I was wholly unprepared for the reality. I feel like I probably shouldn’t be driving around here. I give myself whiplash trying to drink all the scenery in at once! And the homes around here? House candy! I’ve always loved old houses, and I love the sprawling ones here that have been added onto several times and always seem to end in a barn. So I’ll apologize now for all the New England not-food pictures that I’m sure will be popping up in my posts! I can’t help it!