We're safe and sound in Salt Lake City. Our tummies are full. Jim's back (although stiff) survived round one, however I did have to massage his shoulder a little bit :)
In usual Sarah and Jim style, we were a little overly optimistic about our departure time. I guess that's why I padded the travel times (a lot), so it's alright. While we *did* get up early like we wanted to (6am), yesterday's getting ready activities just took too long. By the time we were done doing car maintenance, signing and copying jim's new job forms, finishing laundry, updating the itinerary and getting maps ready, getting food ready (our goal is to eat out as little as possible, if we save enough out of the budget we can go see a Cirque show in Vegas!), running to the bank and post office, getting everything to go so that Brandon could watch the animals... it was midnight and time to go to bed, without having packed yet. We didn't want a repeat of the last trip, where we only got 3 hours of sleep and Jim was super cranky pants (and I cried because I get emotional).
I'm proud to say we were both rested well enough that we did perfectly fine in the mad rush to get everything packed in the morning. Finding our camping stuff was an adventure... but a mere four and a half hours later (10:30) we were ready to go. Oy. By the time we got to Longmont and I waited for my shots (it's busier later in the morning) and stopped at Walgreens for the few things we forgot... we didn't officially hit the road until 12:30. I had wanted it to be 9:30.
The good news? The car was pleased to serve us without error thus far. We ended up taking Jim's car instead of mine, so we could go faster. We only took one break the whole way there to fuel up (etc) and make some sandwiches, so we made it to the salt lake exit in 6.5 hours.
All the way through Wyoming and Utah I saw tons of "Jesus" paraphernalia. "JESUS is the answer" bumper stickers. "ESCAPE. Jesus Christ." billboards (It had the temple on it, but it looked like an ad for Disney Land or something). "I (heart) JESUS". There were more. I don't remember. It makes me wonder how Jesus feels about being slapped across bumper stickers and billboards. Tacky. But you can go to your local gas station and buy yourself some Jesus. I wonder if that makes you holier than me, having a Jesus bumper sticker. Too bad I doubt the profits go to charity.
Things were flying. I always think of wind when I think of Wyoming, and today was no exception. First it was the Flying J (ironic, yes, I know) truck flobbling on the road, then the cardboard that flew out of the truck in front of us and smacked the bumper enough to make a giant thud and scratch the clear coat. There was a weird patch of low-lying clouds that produced rain/snow/sleet with lots of wind... but it was eerily quite beautiful as the rest of the day had been sunny and even through this cloud the sun was poking through... it was bright. It was beautiful, and only lasted 10 or 15 minutes. The rest of the trip was sunny skies with lots of puffy clouds (and more wind).
Anyway, I was trying to stay hopeful most of the trip but gave up about 5:00 and called Uncle Blake's number. Nathan (the youngest) answered, and told me Blake was at work but gave me Reanna. So I apologized and said that I thought we'd be there around 7:30 instead of 6:30.
We hit the exit ramp at 7:00, so I thought we were golden. The plan was to check into the hotel so we were sure to have our key if they closed, then to drive to Uncle Blake's a mere 10 minutes away. Never fear, it can never be that easy... Mapquest to the rescue.
I'm not even going to tell you how many streets were named differently than Mapquest said, how many times it wasn't lit enough that we could read it, or how many times we turned around. Then we finally saw the La Quinta sign, then spent another 20 minutes trying to get to it... one of those deals. We finally got there, checked in, found Uncle Blake's house by 7:45... and it turns out it's right by where we turned off of the interstate. 40 minutes. We could have been there 40 minutes before. Grr.
Well, turns out that "work" for Uncle Blake is in Europe starting today, so he wasn't there ;o) Maybe the next time! I did get to spend time with Aunt Reanna, Aunt Teresa, Tim, Tyler, and Missy. Nathan made a few appearances. Yes, they've all grown and are ridiculously tall. I told Tim that the last time I saw him he was in Kindergarten, and he said that all he remembered from Kindergarten was that backpack! Haha, that's hilarious, because all I remember about him is how much he LOVED that backpack and refused to take it off. Anyway, I thought Tawny would be there but it must not have worked out, and Christina sent me a text and said she was going to try to come but never made it. Oh well, it was a nice dinner. We did lots of catching up, but I feel like we must have done most of the talking. They were too good at asking questions! I'm really glad we did it, though, and I hope that they'll want to see us again. And yes, I tried to convince all of the kids to go on Semester at Sea. Hey, Aunt Reanna brought it up!
So we made it back to La Quinta with no problems because I think we have the area memorized now, we just had to figure it out first. Haha. We are safe and we love you.
Tomorrow will be smoother, as it's midnight now and we're going to bed. Wake up time is 8am so we'll get full rest, there's a continental breakfast, then we'll head out. I had also forgotten about the time change (to our advantage) on the way to California, so we should make pretty good time. If there's enough time, I want to see if I can't pick up a new pair of tennis shoes in Reno... I figured out that all of mine are dead when I tried to pack. The newest ones are three or four years old, and have worked at kiddie kandids, done yard work, gone around the world, around central america, on three road trips and to New York twice... it's time.
Sarah (and an already sleeping Jimmy)