First, my Monday Mission... Mom to the Screaming Masses tasked her readers with making a list of 5 things we are thankful for. Here's my list, in no particular order. I made the list as I was driving today.
- Sharpies. I love them. And they come in so many colors these days, not just black anymore. They are on sale at Target this week so I mentioned my love for Sharpies to Lourna. And she bought 2 packs for me. How sweet... I love my MIL!
- Good friends
- Bella seems to be feeling better
- The clouds are blocking the early morning sun from shining in my eyes as I drive. And they are so pretty. I love the clouds in CO and NM. I'm not sure why, exactly, but they are so much more complex. You can really see the shadows and shading and shapes more than you can anywhere else I've lived. Could be the altitude (putting us closer to the sky and the clouds)?
- That I have a nice, new, dependable, comfortable car to make this loooooonnnnng journey.
- Having the opportunity to travel and see our great American landscape in all its variety and glory
- A husband at home who loves me
Now to the nitty gritty details of our first day on the road as we head back home...
0626 - Leave the house. Beginning odometer reading (miles we have gone since leaving home) = 2982.5 Temperature = 71 degrees. Awesome clouds over the hill.
0635 - Leave Starbucks. Bella went potty. Felisa hasn't gone yet (both girls are still in pj's - scooped out of bed and immediately to the car). Felisa will wait until we get about 10 miles down the road then she'll want to go! Oh and one last pumpkin scone... :)
0639 - On I-40 EAST!
0644 - Had the radio on scan, looking for a station. The announcer said "...oral s** doesn't count as s**..." Whoa! Hurry - change the station! Did anyone else hear that?
0653 - Top the summit. Rain begins.
0706 - Hear on the radio that the funeral for the NM soldier killed in Iraq will be at the base in Clovis today. Which is exactly where we are headed. Oh and a church group has an anti-homosexual protest planned. That just rubs me the wrong way for so many reasons. I disagree with their message, I disagree with the location and timing. It's just wrong. That guy's family is grieving enough already without all those goings-on surrounding the funeral.
0711 - Felisa is asleep. The other 2 are playing Leapster/V-smile
0730 - Deer roadkill
074 0 - Another item to add to Things To Do Before I Die... Own a hammock. And use it frequently!
0741 - Passing Milagro. I think there is a book called The Milagro Beanfield Wars. I need to read that.
074 9 - Ryan is looking sleepy...
0751 - Another new overpass. I like how they are all decorated with a different American Indian/Southwestern theme. There are a bunch along the road from Santa Fe to Los Alamos.
0758 - Bits of blue sky peeking through
0804 - Santa Rosa. Bella is wrestling with the snack box (too full of heavy snacks apparently!) Felisa wakes up and says "I wanna cookie"
0809 - We're off the interstate. Ryan wakes up and says "Hey the sun's coming up!" then goes back to sleep.
0810 - Billboard: "Tobacco contains the same chemical as toilet bowl cleaner." Ewww... another reason not to smoke!
0813 - Wisps of clouds. So close you could reach out and touch them. I would love to photograph the clouds here but I'm not sure the picture would do them justice.
0815 - Ryan wakes up again. Felisa is just chattering away - keeping herself entertained though I have no idea what she's saying.
0820 - The Snack Box. A brilliant idea! It has variety. The snacks are all in individual serving sizes. The box is solid to protect the contents from accidental crushing. Of course the kids are eating chips for breakfast but oh well - we're on vacation!
0823 - I think I should go through my notes and type up a list of all the McD's playplaces and other nice playgrounds we passed along the way and keep it in my binder for future travel reference. It has been hard sometimes to decide whether or not to stop somewhere, not knowing if there may be something better 10 miles down the road. Anyone travelling west on 70 to CO or East through Texas let me know and I'll send you a copy!
0824 - Six BIG black birds on the road but I didn't see any roadkill... Did they eat the whole thing already?
0827 - Pass a high tower. A cell phone tower perhaps? Alas, I have no service... Ryan thinks it is a "Tower of Power"
0830 - Hmmm.... what other ideas have been good on the trip so far?
- Kleenex box
- Paper towel roll
- Garbage bags for the front seat and back seat
- Wipes - especially if you pack cheetos and doritos in the snack box!
0833 - Passed another tower of power!
0838 - Bella found Care Bear in her backpack. I told her she had jumped in this morning so she wouldn't get left behind! Ryan found the Fun On the Run book I bought in ABQ. I told him he could borrow it. Maybe the games will be more fun if he picks them out!
0841 - Red Car, Blue Car... Ryan explains the rules to Bella and they both pick out their car colors. He says, "Okay, let's play" There is a pause as we all look out the windows (not a car or anything, really, as far as the eye can see...). "Okay," he says. "Never mind. There's not enough cars here!"
0844 - Fort Sumner. Final resting place of Billy the Kid. We drive under the train tracks as a train is going over. Kids think this is pretty cool.
0846 - Ryan says we must be near Texas because he sees cowboy pictures (wall murals) and old-fashioned buildings. One more hour? Yes, the states are big out here in the west!
0911 - I really hate passing on 2-lane roads. Makes me nervous.
0923 - Finally finished our excrutiatingly long round of "I'm going to Texas, and I'm bringing apples, balloons, cows, etc. all the way to zebras. Ryan did fine but it was like pulling teeth to get Bella to remember and say all the items in the list each time. If it was a competitive game rather than a cooperative game, she would have been out on her second turn! Felisa was nice enough to just listen and do her own thing for the whole game. Didn't interrupt even once!
0940 - Clovis, NM
0946 - Finally find a gas station, all the way across town. $2.79/gallon - definitely the cheapest by far of the whole trip. 200 miles down, 500 to go!
0958 - All in and buckled after a potty break at the gas station.
1000 - Movie on - Bambi and we're back on the road...
1010 - still no cell phone service.
1014 - Texas!
1019 - Passing our first cotton field.
1047 - My phone display says it is 1147. Did we lose an hour already? Noooooooo... I really needed that hour if I'm going to make it to Kerrville before dark!
1152 - Let the whining commence... Felisa is regretting her movie choice of Bambi.
12:32 pm - Lubbock loop. Hopefully we can find a nice McD's to stop at.
12:39 pm - Lubbock seems very industrial. And, umm, not that pretty.
12:45 pm - last exit in Lubbock - gas, beer, and exotic naked dancers. But no McD's! Guess I should have driven through town instead of around on the highway. But what town doesn't have any McD's along the highway?! Apparently, Lubbock...
12:48 pm - Bella and Felisa are falling asleep.
1:22 pm - 10 miles to Lamesa. 55 miles to Big Spring. Bella and Felisa are sleeping. Do I stop or take my chances and continue to Big Spring?
1:31 pm - Lamesa has a McD's playplace and a Sonic so I decide to pull over and wake everyone up to play. And eat. And get dressed (the girls have been riding in their pajamas). Ryan and Bella had a great energy-expending play time in the tunnels. Felisa hung out at the table. I wouldn't let her sit down though - told her she could go play with Ryan and Bella or she had to stand up and play by the table. I got the map and Betty Lou's directions out of the car so I can decide on which of 3 recommended paths to take. On a side note, Letonke (or whatever the previous town was) and Lamesa have the same size dots on the map. But Lamesa has 9000 people and the other one only had 2000. Makes a big difference in what sort of "amenities" they have to offer the weary traveler.
2:33 pm - Leave McD's.
2:34 pm - Stop at Sonic for a large Cherry-Lime. Still have 5 hours left to drive.
2:42 pm - Song on the radio is singing "Happiness was Lubbock, TX in the rearview mirror." How appropriate for today...
2:43 pm - Was that lightning?
2:46 pm - Red dirt fields as far as the eye can see.
2:48 pm - Yep, that was lightning!
2:51 pm - Hmmm... I wonder if those are oil wells.
2:53 pm -
Felisa: "I want to go home."2:58 pm -
Me: Okay, I'm going as fast as I can but we're not there yet. Why don't you watch a movie.
Ryan: What are we watching?
Ryan: But she already had 2 turns!
Me: Do you want to get there or don't you?
3:00 pm - Okay and that looks like a funnel cloud! But it's white and it keeps shifting/disappearing so it's probably just a dust devil.
3:22 - Passing through Big Spring. Betty Lou just called to check on our progress.
3:40 pm - Ron called. He's working on his painting project at home. Somehow he came across some old love letters - you know, the really mushy ones - and wants to know if I still love him. Are you really asking me this while I drive across Texas alone, with your 3 little kids, while you kick back at home?!?! Just kidding - of course I do!
4:28 pm - San Angelo. Stop for gas, $2.85/gallon. Miles so far today, approximately 500. Can't find a playground.
5:51 pm - Even the "good" kids are losing it. Felisa has been sleeping for awhile. She got mad then gave up and went to sleep so I'm not stopping now! I have about 70 miles left.
5:56 pm - Ryan and Bella settled on Leapster/V-smile.
6:02 pm - Passed an elk ranch.
6:04 pm - Once again, no cell phone service.
6:06 pm - Big black parking lot with about 100 orange cones setting on it, out in the middle of nowhere... a motorcycle training place perhaps?
6:11 pm - I-10 East. Speed limit 80 mph. Gotta love Texas!
6:22 pm - Oops - I've been lost in thought for a few minutes. I hope I didn't pass my exit!
6:23 pm - Oh, there it is. 1.5 miles.
6:25 pm - Ryan has resorted to hand vs. hand combat. We'd better get out of this car soon before we're all loony!
6:27 pm - Another sheep ranch! There sure are a lot of sheep in Texas!
6:32 pm - I'm getting hungry. I sure hope there's food in Harper or it's going to be a long night!
6:40 pm - Stop at Dauna's for hot dogs. This establishment offers gas, food, and deer storage. Okay. Good to know.
6:58 pm - Entertain the kids by zig-zag driving down the road. Stop a couple times to see deer.
7:10 pm - Arrive at "The Ranch!" Miles driven today = 661
Spend the evening playing with the dogs, unloading, and eating hot dogs and fruit!