Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Long Trip, Short Version

Originally posted to Chez VH, May 3, 2011 -

Hello All! It's been awfully quiet around here because we've been gone. We took an enormous month-long road trip (2 weddings, 14 states, 32 days) and just returned yesterday afternoon. I was using a private twitter account to keep a few people updated while we were gone. Here it is (and I expect to do a lot more blogging about this trip eventually).
March 29:
Got a throat bug going around with two of us on antibiotics. Hope we're better by Friday!
Bought Tangled this morning (almost) first thing. Now the kids are highly motivated to take care of their clothes...
...not just packing, but sorting and getting rid of clothes too. Trying to leave the house really clean (and decluttered).
1 of our circuit breakers started glitching. Ordered a new 1 online b/c it's not sold in stores anymore. Can't believe it shipped today! :)
Ria's college app. process has been simplified. Notre Dame said no.
Ria's teaching her last set of Irish dance lessons upstairs. I can't believe how much her students have learned in 8 weeks!
John and I are trying to race through just a few more items on the to-do list. I feel SO sluggish! Next up - suspend Netflix account.
The younger kids have the most energy for trip prep and I am beat! So I am paying them nickels and dimes to do a bunch of cleaning jobs.
Gatorade is magic. I'm just sayin'. ;)
March 30:
Apparently not enough going on around here, so Frank cut his foot (on the driveway!). Happily, no stitches.
Well, we didn't need a new tire on the van after all, just a patch. And that was free! If only everything was this easy. :)
March 31:
24 hours and counting - eek and yay!
Need a new candy thermometer as the kids are making caramels for the parish youth mission trip bake sale. Hoping the local store has one!
Yay! Caramels are done and ready to be delivered. On to packing! ;)
We are nearly packed (but not organized into the van yet) and most of the kids are in bed. Not *too* bad for 9:45. But I am BEAT!
April 1:
Wow, everyone seems to be traveling this morning! We're taking off in about an hour. Happy trails all! :)
April 2:
Great trip so far, but not much computer time. Spent last night in S.D. Dinner with Braga-Henebrys.
Just had lunch with the lovely (and funny!) Edmisten family. Life is good. :)
April 3:
Hanging out in Denver with the lovely Nowak family. Will be getting back on the road tomorrow towards Santa Fe and then the Grand Canyon.
April 4:
Haven't had much computer time, so missed a few things along the way... (time for a quick catch-up)
April 1 - Our Lady of Guadalupe Shrine in La Crosse, Wisconsin. Our first time there. It is gorgeous and we enjoyed the quiet, but cold day.
April 2 - Mostly very long day of driving, from South Dakota to Colorado, with a very lovely break for lunch.
April 3 - Mass at the Shrine of St. Anne in Arvada. Neat history! Also got to meet Mary Machado. Yay!
Today we're off to Santa Fe and are very excited about it. Tomorrow we'll head to Arizona and the Grand Canyon.
April 5:
Yesterday we climbed halfway up a dormant volcano - Capulin in New Mexico. Gorgeous vistas, not enough time.
Arrived in Santa Fe late last night. Have reservations for a "Josefina" tour at a living history museum this morning!
"Elevation" stats on GPS are really fascinating. Really help you understand terms like high plains and high desert.
Here's a link to the living history museum, El Rancho de las Golondrinas: http://www.golondrinas.org
Hope to get some pictures up on Flickr tonight or tomorrow. Haven't had much time for the computer!
April 6:
El Rancho de las Golondrinas was lovely and very interesting. Buildings from early 1700s and early 1800s on original site.
Santa Fe: Also saw Loretto Chapel (lovely though touristy) and the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis. Cathedral was my favorite.
I love how the kids have taken to journaling - especially Kate (age 9) who carefully describes each place - with very creative spelling.
Scenery has been breathtaking ever since Denver - especially continental divide at I40 in New Mexico.
Off to the Grand Canyon and Hoover Dam today as well as the "Cars" loop (from Pixar's "Cars").
April 7:
Grand Canyon was beyond stunning. We finally got to the first viewing spot and my first thought was "This can't be real!" Cold, rainy, wow.
Did find a copy of "Roadside Geology of Arizona" at the gift shop. It's technical, but poetic. Lots of geology around here!
We did the Old Route 66 loop starting at Seligman that was the inspiration for "Cars". Lovely backroads, complete with BurmaShave signs!
Yesterday, Frank got his locations a little mixed up. He asked when we were getting to Burger King, when our next stop was Kingman. ;)
A little memory game of "Peaks, Plateaus and Canyons of the Grand Circle" has been a big hit at the hotel. Time for another game!
Haven't made it to Hoover Dam yet - should happen today.
April 8:
Saw Hoover Dam yesterday. Very impressive, but VERY touristy! The kids especially enjoyed walking back and forth across the state line.
Mission accomplished (so far): Made it to California last night! Next up: 1st wedding and family time this weekend. (plus lots of laundry)
April 11:
Wow, haven't made it to a computer in days! Wedding was lovely, Ria is enjoying a visit at TAC, Gus went golfing with his cousin today.
The rest of us had a lovely visit to the Getty Villa today. It was lovely, fascinating, and also free! Great stuff for the younger set too.
John heads back home to work tomorow while we hang around in various parts of California. He'll rejoin us on Good Friday.
April 12:
Can't believe how much there is to do on our day "off". Laundry, cleaning, e-mail, phone calls and starting to pack everything up again.
April 14:
Ria had a lovely visit to TAC and hopes to go there in the fall. A few more hoops to jump through yet.
We finally made it to La Purisima Mission - it was closed by the time we got to it on the last trip (twice!).
The kids and I had dinner with John's parents last night after mission visit. Discovered 2 degrees of separation with the waitress...
Her 2nd cousin was a member of the Violent Femmes which my father-in-law's brother used to manage.
Anyway, we're now hanging out in San Luis Obispo. Cheap motel with huge rooms and worst continental breakfast ever.
Later that day...
Saw two more Ca. Missions today that we've never seen before - San Miguel and Soledad. Both are quaint, a bit off the beaten bath.
Got to hotel early b/c Terri is sick. Something's going around, but seems to be over quickly.
Had a lovely walk to In-n-Out Burger to bring back dinner for the gang. Nice to find another gluten-free-friendly fast food joint!
They actually wrap their "protein-style" burgers in lettuce so that you can pick it up!
April 15:
We are spending a second night in Salinas b/c Terri has pneumonia. It was tricky for awhile, but she is sleeping well now.
We'll be skipping the Bay Area :( and heading straight to the cabin tomorrow in order to get her some good rest (and avoid sharing germs).
And on a more positive note, Ria had time today to finish her TAC admissions stuff and get it all e-mailed in today.
April 16:
Quote from Frank: "I have a crush on swimming."
I love our parish! Six people from our morning prayer group took John out for dinner last night.
April 17:
Last night we made it safely to my brother's cabin in the mountains. GPS took us on quite a ride to get here - scenic but crazy.
So nice to be settled in once place for at least a week. And Terri is on the mend. Happy Palm Sunday!
It's funny to be seeing snow again. There are pretty big patches on the ground here still (we're at a ~4000 ft. elevation).
Went to Palm Sunday Mass at a teeny parish up here in the mountains that only has one Sunday Mass and one Daily Mass (on Fridays) each week.
Really it's one of four churches that form one parish. Have to head down the mtn. to the main church for services like Holy Thursday Mass.
Yay, my sister and her family are on their way up!
April 19:
My little bro and his family are up here too now. Nice to have a chance to hang out for a bit (they live about 2000 miles from us).
Nice to be back in SF Giants' territory again. Got myself a t-shirt and I love this: http://bit.ly/fPlnk4
Had a great hike this morning with a gaggle of kids to "Top of the World", with a great view of the Sierras.
April 21:
I have to admit that playing cards while singing polyphony is an entirely new experience for me.
Some of the kids are getting homesick (especially since Daddy is still gone). Playing board games and cards are helping.
Been downloading a lot of pictures to flickr, but it's not letting me do much editing. Stuck with fuzzy pics and disorganization for now.
We're having our traditional Holy Thursday dinner at the cabin tonight, even w/out Daddy. It's the kids' favorite meal of the year. :)
Murphy's law strikes again - after complaining about flickr, it seems to be working properly again.
Lamb is coming out of the oven in about two minutes. Table is set out on the deck. Should be fun!
Yummy dinner! Sad not to be going to Mass tonight, though. Not willing to drive so far on mountain roads at night. (I'm a big chicken)
April 22:
Made it to Good Friday services with all the kiddos in Angels Camp this afternoon. Looking forward to John's return tonight!
This area, by the way, is Gold Rush and Mark Twain territory. Angels Camp was the site for "Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County".
Too bad the kids are travel-weary and don't want to go exploring. Gus and I have been reading Twain's "Roughing It", though. Funny stuff!
April 23:
John finally arrived late last night after a lot of travel delays. We are so happy to have him back!
April 24:
Happy Easter! We had a long late-night ride last night from my bro's cabin to his house, but enjoyed Easter with two siblings + families.
Mass today was with the St. Anne Chapel Choir. Gorgeous music!
Had a lovely potluck/picnic at the park after Mass. A beautiful day!
April 26:
Left the SF Bay Area yesterday morning after a lovely visit with my dear friend Katrina.
Made it to L.A. yesterday to meet up with my bro and family at a beach. The wind didn't stop the kids from dancing in the waves. Fun!
We met a man there who is profoundly lonely and searching for God and reality. Please pray for him!
April 27:
Made it back to Flagstaff, Arizona yesterday. We're staying at the same hotel as, what, three weeks ago? Petrified Forest later today.
iPods are great for travel. Lots of audio books available, plus we can introduce our kids to such classics as Yellow Sub. and American Pie.
I guess it's a good thing we didn't get around to coloring Easter eggs. Just opened the Paas box for the first time and it was empty!!!
April 28:
The Petrified Forest was beyond amazing!!! Got loads and loads of pictures. Hope to get some up on Flickr soon.
We made it all the way to Amarillo early this morning (crossed two time zones in one day!). Tonight we'll be arriving in Oklahoma!
It's likely that I won't get a chance to a make further updates until we're home since the guest house at Clear Creek Monastery is low tech.
Or would that be no-tech? LOL
May 2:
We are home and ready to sleep! Thanks for all the prayers and well wishes - it was a great trip!
On the way home, we found out that Ria got accepted to TAC via the wireless in the parking lot of a McDs - and celebrated with milkshakes.
Surreal moment last night: We pulled up to a nearly empty gas station just over the border from St. Louis at about 11:30 pm yesterday...
A guy who was done pumping gas pulled up next to John to make sure we heard about Bin Laden. It was a memorable way to hear the news.

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