Sunday, October 16, 2016

Road Trip to Virginia: Days 2 & 3

Evening of Day Three. I think; we're now officially two hours ahead of California time, and my body is oh-so confused about what time it actually is (although I would still much rather handle the time changes gradually like this, rather than have jet lag from moving straight there).

We're approximately halfway there. Three days down, three more to go.

The last two days have been rather slow. To be honest, I had forgotten how boring and, well, desolate some of these long stretches of I-80 can be. Much of Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming are unaccountably dull, especially at this time of year. Everything is dry, the grass is all dead, and there's not really much to see. Maybe we're just driving through the boring parts? I don't know. There were some cool parts. The salt flats are interesting, for a little while. I enjoyed some of the rock formations in Utah. But it seemed like most of what we were passing was endless grassy plains, with occasional softly undulating hills.

It's not like we're interested in doing many tourist-y things anyway, or even stopping any more often than is strictly necessary for bathroom breaks and eating. We do have the cat with us, after all, and while I think he's getting to be a better traveler every time he's forced to make a long trip--he is quiet for long stretches now, and really only meows when we're stopping somewhere--we obviously can't leave him in the car by himself for more than a few minutes at a time. And we can only even do that when it's cool enough outside that we don't have to worry about the car rapidly heating up. (Hint: That was not today.) So the last two days have just been driving, driving, driving.

Here's the seating arrangement: D is driving, because he likes driving, while I'm in the back entertaining Bug, who is in his car seat, while the cat is in his travel carrier on the other backseat. We did our best to travel light this time around; with every move, I get better at figuring out what's actually essential for the drive and the first few days in a new place (since it'll likely be a few days before our pod with all our other belongings can be delivered to our new home, once we have a new home). So the trunk is full, but not so full that we're dependent on the mirrors to see what's going on around the car. There are blankets shoved under the cat carrier, and my leg room is severely impeded by my purse and the bag of books/coloring books/activities that I am using to entertain Gregory.

Not surprisingly, the front seat is also being used to hold stuff, mainly food-type stuff. Our current car is a 2014, and it's got all sorts of newfangled safety features, including some kind of weight sensor in the passenger seat that tells the car whether or not to turn on the passenger airbag while also causing the car to beep incessantly if the passenger seat belt is not buckled. We discovered yesterday that we are just shy of that weight limit. Every now and then, if we go over a bump wrong, the car starts beeping at us, and D has to rearrange the things on the seat to convince the car that there is not, in fact, an unbuckled passenger in that seat. And when I say we're almost at the weight limit, I'm not kidding; if D so much as puts his phone on the seat, it starts beeping. It's ridiculous. I'm sure there's some way to turn it off (or maybe we should just buckle the darn seat belt), but we don't have the time or energy to figure it out by the time we reach our hotel every night.

By the way, Bug seems to (hopefullycrossyourfingerspleaseplease) be over his stomach issues. His appetite still isn't 100%, but his energy is high, his mood is cheerful, and there's been no sign of vomit for the past two days. (In case you're wondering, though, we did buy a puke-catcher-bin after the last incident, just in case). All is progressing normally.

Food. We've been eating breakfasts at our hotels, although I've got to say that continental breakfasts are a little boring for me as a vegan... thank goodness plain oatmeal is usually an option! We've been eating PB&J in our hotel rooms in the evenings, to save a little money, so we're really only eating out for lunch. Today was fairly decent Mexican food at a little restaurant in Sidney, Nebraska (I had veggie enchiladas, packed with veggies and beans and sans cheese, of course), while D and Bug had burritos. Yesterday, though... yesterday, we stopped at a hole-in-the-wall sandwich joint in Salt Lake City called Buds, which we found through Happy Cow (in case you've never heard of it, it's a website--and app--that helps you locate vegetarian/vegan/veg-friendly restaurants wherever you are). And oh my goodness. I had a vegan "cheesesteak" sandwich, with some kind of sliced/seasoned faux meat (which, if you know me, isn't normally my thing, but I do make exceptions on occasion) and an amazing cheesy sauce on thick, crusty bread. SO GOOD.

And now we're in Nebraska. For some reason, one my last road trip to this area, I remember Nebraska as being the most boring state ever, but this time around it's actually refreshingly pretty compared to the last few states. There are trees--trees!--and bodies of water and interesting landscapes. And now we're halfway through! Today was an easier, shorter day, but tomorrow we'll be putting our noses back to the grindstone.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Road Trip to Virginia: Day 1

Day 1. ~490 miles.

For those of you not in the know, the family and I embarked today on a cross-country drive; D has new orders, and we're moving to Virginia.

So today was the first real day of our road trip. We left amidst a light drizzle, the first real rain I've seen so far this autumn. The morning was uneventful; a fair amount of real rain, not much traffic, a straightforward drive. Bug, who has been recovering from an inconvenient and unpleasant stomach ailment, started getting sleepy as the morning progressed. We got Starbucks, we stopped for gas. I played games and colored with Bug, I let him watch a few cartoons on D's phone (thank goodness for data), and he eventually drifted off into a nap.

When we stopped for lunch at Chipotle, Bug woke up. Since we have our poor fraidy cat with us, the plan was that D would go in and quickly eat first, then Bug and I would go in while D waited in the car with the cat; But and I both eat a lot slower, and that'd give D a nice, quiet break while we ate. Of course, D made it barely five steps from the car before Bug let out an alarming burp, and then proceeded to vomit into my hands (I have ninja reflexes, so I caught the bulk of it). Many paper towels and some clean clothes later (honestly, more ended up on me than on Bug, and thankfully only a little ended up on the car seat), we were finally able to eat. Fortunately, I don't think this was any kind of major setback in Bug's stomach thing, as he bounced back immediately: sparkly eyes, goofy sense of humor, and appetite were all restored pretty much instantaneously upon emptying his stomach.

After that, we bought a vomit-catching-bin (just in case), and D opted to drive the rest of the way so that I could stay back with Bug. But that one incident was pretty much the most exciting (not in a good way) part of our day. More rain, off and on. The discovery that we had left Bug's stuffed animal at Grandma & Grandpa's house, where we had slept the night before. Occasional unhappy moans from the cat. Bathroom breaks. Boring, dreary Nevada landscapes. More coloring, a little reading.

We saw a rainbow!

Ultimately, we made it to Elko, Nevada, for the night. Upon entering our hotel room, the cat promptly hid under the blankets of the closest bed while I made peanut butter sandwiches for dinner. It had been a long day, so it wasn't long after that that Bug had his bath (not optional tonight), listened to a few chapters of his current book (The Dragon Prophecy by Geronimo Stilton), and crawled into bed, where he fell asleep quickly.

Smart idea. Tomorrow is another long day...