Well, it’s been months…but, not without good reason. Our family returned Memorial Day from a six-week cross-country road trip.
We left the slush and mud of early April in Maine and headed south down the east coast to the Jersey shore, the mountains of NC, and the magnolia blossoms in Alabama. We camped on the tip of AL in the Gulf of Mexico, then headed across the wide space that is Texas into the Land of Enchantment, Gila, Arizona, the Grand Canyon, and Laguna Beach, CA. We saw the giant sequoias, swam in mountain lakes, hiked rocks in Utah as red as the red eft newts of New England. Crossed the plains of Northern Nebraska and the Platte River, dipped our toes in two of the Great Lakes, hiked the waterfalls of Ithica, and floated the Onion River in VT. Nearly 9,000 miles in just a few days shy of 6 weeks. Whew.
We had a blast!
Before we left a friend asked, “How do your kids do in the car?”. It was then that I realized, I had no idea. We’d never driven farther than the 4 hour trip to Boston. I had never been the driver for a trip farther than that myself. “Good, I hope.”
Rob was able to join us for half the trip, taking 3 days to get us on our way. He flew home from Richmond, VA to return to work, but was waylayed overnight in NJ due to the same ice that was wreaking havoc on the marathoners in Boston. That night the kids and I huddled together while tornado warnings screeched from the weather radio and the rangers circled the park advising campers to take refuge in the bathhouses if a twister was spotted. Geesh. It was a harrowing beginning to our trip.
(Lots of pics, in no particular order)
I drove the next 2,000 miles alone (and very much not alone) to meet up with Rob in New Orleans a week later. Along the way, the kids and I drove the Rattlesnake Highway in NC to lunch in Little Switzerland, watched the sunset from the Blue Ridge Parkway, hiked and mountain biked in Dupont Forest of Brevard, got lost in the winding mountain roads of the Smokey Mountains, visited my Aunt in NC and gathered giant pinecones in AL from the tallest Ponderosa Pines I’ve ever seen. We made it through two whole Harry Potter audio books before arriving in NOLA.
We visited with friends in NOLA and Shreveport, and then Rob traveled with us for the next two weeks through Texas and the South West, Grand Canyon, Carlsbad Caverns, White Sands, and Las Vegas, to southern CA where we got to spend two days with childhood friends and their babies. We said a teary good by as Rob flew out of Long Beach, and the kids and I continued our trip North to the Sequoias.
We camped along the Kern River in CA, swam in Lake Isabella, then headed to Utah to meet up with my sister and niece who had driven all the way down from WA to camp with us in Southern Utah.
Afterward, we met up with road tripping friends in Moab for three days. Then, we hit the road again to plug our way across the Midwest toward the Great Lakes.
Two weeks after he left us in CA, Rob surprised us in a movie worthy double take– as I turned around with an armload of soggy towels I literally had to look twice to see if it was real as my hubby walked into the laundry mat where we’d stopped in Montpelier, VT. It was exactly what I needed to see after single parenting 3 kids and a pup for 14 days and 3,000 miles.
We camped Memorial Day weekend with my brother and family in along the Onion River before heading the last 5 hours home to Midcoast Maine.
It’s been a month now since we’ve landed back into our regular lives. Still, my memory is compartmentalizing everything by location. Before, or after Nebraska? In Colorado? We camped the week of the 4th in Mount Desert Island and when we returned home it was like we were just arriving home from the road again. Home is not quite the normal yet. There’s a strangeness to that, but also a sweetness to the chores and rituals of home that seem comforting again. Little things that I don’t always think to notice or appreciate: Countertops, chickens, showers without quarters.
I hope to share more stories about our trip here this summer, as well as bits of our adventures here in Maine in between farm camp, kids stuff, and our crazy summer running.
Thanks for your patience.