September 5th, 2012
Unrelated ad is unrelated.
California, here we come! At one of the gas stations we stopped at in central Nebraska, we saw these cool posters for the Huskers football and women’s volleyball schedules. They reminded me of illustrations from a 1960′s children’s book.
“What are you doing?” Elliora asked me when I stuck my phone in her face. Taking your picture, I said. “Oh,” she said. “Cheeeese!”
Great Platte River Road Archway // 140 miles to Denver, CO.
Cousins, coincidentally dressed sort of matchy-matchy.
Rest stop shenanigans.
The sun starting to set behind the mountains in Colorado, behind the clouds. // E & me.
Troy and Elliora with the Rockies in the distance. // Storytime on the road.
Rain in the mountains. // Tunnel.
I think we’re in Utah here… // Oh, nope. Now we’re in Utah!
We’ve reached the part if the road trip where I-70 turns into a gravel road. !? // Little bit of rain. (The sky isn’t that foreboding. The filter I applied to make the rain more visible made the clouds look more dramatic than they were.)
Ready for Day 2 on the road. // Wait for meee, guys!
Aunt Bethany braided Aurora’s hair for her. // Hooray for Berries! The little cartoon on the back of this bag of candy cracked me up. I especially like how the one Lifesaver is telling the others how he “read it online” that grapes are berries.
I always forget how striking and dramatic the scenery in Utah is till I’m driving through it again.
More beautiful Utah scenery. This is just what I could take from a moving car, mind you.
More Utah gorgeousness. Lovely layers in the rock…
Cool formations, and some lovely and intriguing colors.
More rain in the high desert. It rained on us more as we were driving through the desert than I think it ever has before. It was kind of weird but welcome.
Little playhouse thoughtfully provided by a random gas station (the one with the giant soda cans).
Elliora naps with flair.
Annalie wanted Chinese food, so we found a restaurant in Mesquite, Nevada, called Panda Garden. The service was wonderful and the food was excellent. And Elliora is still talking about the “baby statue” (a five-foot-tall Buddha statue) and the “baby lion statues” she saw there.
We didn’t get to swim our first night at a hotel, but we made sure we got the chance to swim our second night, in Las Vegas. And the next morning Annalie asked if I could braid her hair like I’d done Aurora’s the day before, which is kind of a red-letter event. She normally refuses to let me touch her hair.
While in Vegas, we met my cousin Vickie for breakfast! We were hoping to meet up with Vickie’s sisters and their families, too, but it didn’t work out. We’re glad Vickie was able to meet us, though.
The drive between Las Vegas and San Bernardino is pretty boring. Well, it’s both pretty…and boring. Other than Baker and Barstow, there’s not much civilization until you get to Victorville. You take what landmarks you can get. Like the World’s Tallest Thermometer in Baker, CA, and good ol’ Zzyzx Road.
And you take pictures of shiny, shiny trucks.
There’s a HUGE In-N-Out in Barstow. Well, huge compared to every other In-N-Out I’ve ever been in.
We do enjoy us some In-N-Out.
Troy, driving us into San Bernardino! At that point, we’re entering very familiar territory, my mom’s home turf. She grew up in a small town east of there, and worked in San Bernardino for a while.
After almost 1,600 miles (almost 3,000 miles, if you count Troy’s two-day drive from DC to Omaha that he did without us), the minivan’s A/C conked out with only 60 miles to go. Oh well, at least it was only 97F. (Seriously, it could have been worse! It had been in the low 100s just a couple days before.)
The other photo is of Elliora drawing startlingly precise circles and spirals. She’s barely 21 months, people. (Though I suppose Annalie was writing As when she wasn’t much older than that, now that I think about it.)
Very familiar freeways and signs. Almost to the hotel…
…where Elliora immediately climbed up on the bed and made a nest of the pillows.
California. We made it!
Annalie hugged a random tree and said, “It’s so good to be home!” Yes, it is.
The white light below and to the right of the green light is the moon. // City streets and rising moon bokeh.
Tall, old palm trees at an RV resort off the freeway, and Snail Mountain.
Your average strip mall signage: no bicycles or skateboards on sidewalk, private property, no horses on premises, etc. // Hillcrest sign. And cool clouds.
We had dinner at one of our favorite restaurants from the last time we lived here, and it was the same. We even had the same waitress we used to always have. The bread and butter at this restaurant is so good, the kid who doesn’t even like bread and butter ate three or four pieces.
Pro tip: Labor Day weekend isn’t the ideal time to start house-hunting. We were able to get a lot of driving around done on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, and eliminated a lot of possible rentals, and made calls about a bunch more. We saw a handful today and have one or two good prospects, and will be seeing more as the week goes on.
It’s kind of weird, this house-hunting thing. I always forget what an emotional roller coaster it is, and how physically draining it all is. (As my friend Lynette said on Facebook, “It’s kinda like labor, we just block it out of our minds till we have to face it again!”) Overall I’m calm and confident that we’ll find a good place, and that it will all work out, because it always has before. But that doesn’t mean I’m not experiencing surface anxiety and day-to-day stress. Not to mention the fact that my mother is stuck in a hotel with three kids for hours every day that we’re out hunting, which makes me feel bad for all of them. I want to find a house so we can go do some fun things together, like visiting friends and hitting the beach.
I’m trying to be patient. Intellectually, I know that it’s worth waiting a little longer for a house we really like and will be happy with for the next couple of years; and I know that it always works out like it’s supposed to. But the uncertainty of this part sucks while it lasts. So if you should feel moved to pray that we find a good house soon, and for our peace of mind while we wait, we would appreciate it!
Update: We unofficially found a house! We sign the lease tomorrow and move in next week. THANK YOU for all your prayers and good thoughts!