Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Exodus to AZ

I'm not quite sure what blood stirred in my veins. It might have been latent strains of insanity or it might have been an overwhelming case of stupidity but I somewhat spur-of-the-moment decided to hop in the car and DRIVE down to Tucson over the spring break holiday. I loaded up all four kids, packed in the gear and off we went. I've always thought that I was capable of mighty feats of heroic magnitude. Maybe I decided to do this trip just so I could prove to myself that I could do it.

We started off the trip with pretty good attitudes--there was minimal fighting in the backseat--KC was quiet and sleeping--No one asked, "are we there yet." Even the policeman who gave us the crappy speeding ticket outside of Council, Idaho was impressed with the polite behavior going on inside our vehicle. (Too bad he wasn't a little MORE impressed.)

One of the reasons that I felt like I could do this trip by myself was that we have friends and family at fairly reasonable intervals along the route from here to there. I felt like if "worse-case scenarios" did actually take place that I wasn't too far away from friends or family that would help if I needed it. I feel VERY blessed that this is the case. What a blessing it is to know that you are not alone--even in the middle of nowhere. At one point we were not sure whether to continue on or whether to turn around and go home. KC had gotten a little fever and cough and was not feeling well at all. We had already travelled about 8 hours and the thought of turning around and going home--admitting defeat--was not at all appealling. I did not however want to take my sick children to other peoples houses and expose them to our sickness. I was at a loss as to what to do. I happened to be at my aunt and uncles house and I decided to take the morning to think about it and not leave early that morning as planned. I prayed and prayed to know whether to just go home or not. I couldn't quite make up my mind. Indecision is such a powerfully immobilizing factor. Jeff finally recommended that we ask my uncle for a priesthood blessing for KC. I did and luckily for us he was able to ask his next door neighbor to stand in as well. (Terribly convenient when all of your neighbors are lds). It was this blessing that finally helped me decide that we could continue on as planned. I was still questioning my decision all the way to SLC however I felt that if we could just make it there then we could make it the rest of the way. I'm sure there is a very important lesson learned about praying, then acting in faith, then and only then, receiving confirmation that you did the right thing.

I was questioning the rightness of my decision about 4 hours later while parked on the side of the SLC freeway with cars screaming past me, the rain pouring down and a horrible noise coming from my right, front tire area. I remember feeling a little panicky and then decided to say a prayer with the kids. We did so and then I started the car and slowly drove to the next exit. I made it to the quick-mart at the corner and asked them where the closest tire place was--low and behold it was only about a block away. Coincidence? --I think not! We drove over there and made it just before closing time. They took a look and found that my front break pad had lost one of its bolts and was coming loose and rubbing on the tire. I had horrible visions of being stuck in SLC all weekend until they could get parts and fix it. Thank goodness, that was not the case. It turned out that all they needed was a new bolt and I was up and running again in about an hour. Truly, I know that we were being watched over. We could have had this problem somewhere in the middle of nowhere---we had been THERE a lot lately! It could have waited until after the shop was closed. The brake could have come off completely while we happened to be hauling down the freeway at 70 mph. I know that it could have been a lot worse. There was "Someone" watching out for us.

After that little bit of drama it was so nice to be able to decompress in the company of a good friend--Thanks Mel. We met at a conventiently placed Carl's Jr. with a killer indoor play area. The kids had fun playing with friends that they have missed since they moved away and I got to sit and visit for a while.

The trip was nice and calm after that--We made it to Richfield later than we had planned but at least we made it there safe and sound.

The next day after some scrumptious pancakes that my cousin made we headed south yet again. We broke up the trip with conveniently placed geocaches along the way. Whenever the kids started to get ancy we started looking for the closest geocache. That gave the kids a goal to look forward to and gave them a chance to get out and run around for a few minutes.

One of our favorite stops has always been the huge Dam near Page. We found a fun geocache just before you get to the dam. Here is a picture of the kids just after finding it.

I have stopped there every time we go through page ever since I was a little girl. It doesn't matter what time it is, light or dark, we always stop.

This time however, we made it during opening hours. We were able to go inside and check out all of the exhibits and interactive activities and stuff. It was the perfect diversion for my car-weary clan. Sadly we were just a bit too late to be able to actually take the tour down into the dam. Someday I'd like to do that.

This is one of the peaceful, solitary moments I enjoyed. All of the kids were asleep and the sunset was really pretty. I just had to snap this fun photo of our shadow against the barren, desert scenery while driving.

While we were there we just happened to hit the Tucson Zoo. This is the perfect zoo for me. It's not too big--you can make it all the way around in about 2-3 hours. It's got all of the cool animals and they are all close enough to get really good looks at.

So is THAT where all these kids CAME FROM?


Since we don't see our cousins very often we took full advantage of this opportunity. It was so good for the kids to play with them. We had fun going to dinner at Little Anthonies--a Tucson classic.

I'm so glad that we were able to go and visit with everyone. I miss my sisters. Have I ever mentioned that I have sisters with hearts of gold--every one of them. Why didn't I get some picts. with them?

On the way home we decided to make a little detour to visit the Grand Canyon. I think that everyone should visit the Grand Canyon at some point in their lives. You never know when the kids will have this opportunity again so I figured that I'd better take advantage.

It was definitely still chilly that day. You can see that they still had snow on the ground. My kids were still in their Capris and light clothes from the Tucson weather so we were a little unprepared for the chill of the Canyon. You can tell from their faces that they were attempting to "smile through the pain" but deep down they were "freezin' their butts off." They were able to at least change into some sweats in the car which took the edge off but they were still not interested in staying as long as I would have liked. I was able to capture some fun shots of the canyon at Sunset. What an amazing time to be there. Some day I'd like to go back as a REAL photographer and spend a week.

This little Miss (and about 3 of her friends) decided to cross the road just as we were leaving the canyon. She took her own sweet time--obviously I had time to dig out my camera and still take a few shots of her standing right in front of us on the road. She didn't really move until this bus started bearing down on her. Then she just sort of mosied her way across to join her friends.

I decided to avoid Council like the plague on our return trip and instead to go home via our usual route--through Cascade and McCall. I love that road. In my opinion, it is one of the prettiest stretches of road in all of America. We always love to find a nice spot on the river to get out and have lunch or stretch your legs a bit. The kids play by the river and enjoy the reprieve and that is one of my simple pleasures--sitting by the side of a river listening to the sounds of my kids laughing intermingled with the sound of the river, birds chirping, wind whistling through the trees and the occasional frog croak. It's always so hard to get back into the car and head home. But we did. Four hours later we were home. We had a really wonderful trip but I have to admit--I was really glad to be home again. I breathed a sigh of relief as we pulled in the driveway and I knew that we had made it the entire way without any major problems taking place. I'm glad I did it but I'm not sure that we'll be doing it again anytime in the near future.----------oops, I guess we'll have to do it in a couple weeks when we go to Colorado. Well, I guess that was a good warm-up.


Alisha said...

You are one brave lady!!! I've driven by myself to Idaho Falls and I thought that trip was long!! I really don't know if I'd have the guts to drive all the way to Arizona by myself!! Good for you!!! I'm glad you all had so much fun!!

Anonymous said...

Wow! Super Mom! I never would have been able to do that by myself with my girls. When we drive the two hours to Tucson they constantly ask "are we there yet" or "this is taking along time". You would think as often as we go down there they would be used to it. It looks like you had a great time and made some great memories.