I have some pictures to add in this journal record, that didn't get placed in earlier. But they are fun to share!
Teaching Leo the tricks to win UNO!
We didn't stick around mom's for long, we were antsy to get back home! We usually hang around and chat about whatever comes up. But today is different. We don't have far to go, but knew it would be nice to get home with time to unload everything. The least fun part of the entire trip!
We woke up feeling very rested, packed up and found a Perkins in Rapid City for breakfast. We've been to Rapid City before, but it wasn't recently, and this seems to be an entirely different city than I remember. We skirted around the southeast part of the city and found I-90 East. Now it's nearly a straight path to Mom's house!
The highlights of the drive were reading at least 100 Wall Drug signs, crossing the Missouri River at Chamberlain and viewing the Dignity Statue just east of Chamberlain. We stopped listening to that Patterson book (Coast-to-Coast Murders) because it just didn't make a lot of sense to us. So today we listened to quite a few podcasts instead!
We pulled into mom's driveway about 6, dodging the trick or treaters. They were funny running around in their little costumes! Good to see mom, and she had whipped up some soup and cornbread for supper. After that we had to watch a terrible Vikings game, just to round out the day after driving 457 miles!
We left the campground early and headed north from Rawlins, not on Interstate, which is kind of a relief. Today will be mostly 2-lane roads and small towns. We do have I-25 for a bit, but just a small part of our route today. A little bit shorter drive, about 330 miles today to reach Hill City, SD. Much less traffic today. We had a brief stop in Casper for lunch and looking for a yarn shop that I located and then left because it was a bust. I keep a list of yarn and quilt shops that I read of or hear of, and occasionally we are in a spot to shop. This one just didn't do it for me!
Anyway, we got a Blimpie sub sandwich for lunch at a spot near the yarn shop, so that was a good thing! As we got closer to South Dakota, we could see the Black Hills in the distance. We passed by the Crazy Horse Memorial, from a distance. I've seen it before and I've never seen it changed. I wonder what's going on up there?! We are headed to a place called Sick-N-Twisted Brewery. It's one of the Harvest Host locations that provides overnight parking for RVer's who have a membership. The annual cost is less than some of the Florida campgrounds we have been looking at for January! So it comes in very handy when we need an overnight stop.
We went into the brewery for a bit of supper and Comedy Show, getting some laughs part of the time, and left wondering what was the punchline at other times! It was dark and quiet back in our trailer, and we pretty much asleep when our heads hit the pillows! We're excited that tomorrow should bring us to mom's house for the night!
Our first stop this morning was at a grocery store to pick up some things for the pasta supper we are planning for tonight. Load up on those carbs so we can sit all day in the truck! Also, a little health food for breakfast, apple and raspberry fritters! We continue east on 80 across the Great Salt Desert through Salt Lake City. It's always an eerie landscape through there. I remember way back in 1975, I think, when Bob and I made this drive. It was night, no moon, very little traffic, and I was driving while Bob had a little shut-eye. The car headlights turned off for a second or two, without warning. It's the kind of thing that after it happens you kind of doubt that it really did happen! Soon after that, it happened again! I think Bob was awake this time, which helped me believe that it really happened and I hadn't just imagined it. We never knew what caused that and it never happened again. See what I mean about eerie?
We finished the Baldacci book and it got 2 thumbs up. We started The Coast-to-Coast Murders by James Patterson, an author that we have liked before. Lots of semitruck traffic on the interstate and lots of antelope near the interstate.
Another 400 mile day for us that was pretty unremarkable. We did cross the Continental Divide twice, which I didn't understand at first until I looked it up on a real paper map and I could see the squiggly line of the Divide crossing the interstate west of Rawlins, WY. I have an interest in the Continental Divide Trail (CDT), due to a YouTube station, Wander Women, that I follow. It tells the story of 3 friends, mature women who really enjoy long distance hiking. They have done several through hikes in the US, including the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) and the Appalachian Trail (AT). Their latest hike was right along the CDT, so I was interested in what they had to say about it.
We pulled into another KOA tonight and although it was pretty close to the interstate, we went for the convenience again. Very windy all day, which can be a challenge with a trailer in tow. We had to unhitch the trailer tonight because we were on a bit of a slope. But we'll be comfy and warm for a good night's sleep, hopefully!
Today was costume day at school for the kids, so we got to see what they would be dressed like for Halloween! We have a Hershey Bar, a Minecraft guy and the fireman. Bob went with Brita to take the boys to school and watch the costume parade for all the classes. Some very inventive costumes out there! I'm glad it was a special day at school because the boys didn't have much time to think about the fact that we were leaving.
Back at the house, we did the final run through to make sure everything got put away or back to the house where it belonged. We hooked up without trouble, even though Bob had to watch out for all the snow sticks that were just installed for the winter. Sticks that are many feet high are driven into the ground to outline the driveway for snow removal this winter. We said some sad farewells to Brita that can't be avoided. Ben is still in Florida for another day. It's always sad to leave, and then plan when we will see each other again. The local roads were mostly melted clear and dry and the Interstate was totally dry. We hopped onto I-80 East to Reno and beyond.
We drive through long distances with few people across northern Nevada. To help pass the time, we started listening to a recorded book - Walk the Wire by David Baldacci. We try to have a book on one of our devices when we know we are driving just to get from Point A to Point B. I like to use the Libby app for recorded books. It always seems to work well and can be played via Bluetooth on the truck's speakers.
We made it into West Wendover, Nevada, just before sundown. We stayed at a KOA for the convenience, plus we could see our way around by the lights of the nearest casino! We needed to level up a little (the red wedges under the tires on this side) but were able to just hook up the electricity and leave the trailer hitched to the truck to make the morning departure easy.
We had a special treat for breakfast! Fresh cinnamon rolls, not made from scratch, made from a tube! But they do get the ball rolling on a positive start for the day! Brita drove the boys to school and then went to an appointment. This is a stage that Brita is enjoying, just for the fact that all 3 boys are in the same school at the same time, and she gets a chance to breath and remember that she really is herself again, not a mom with some of the kids at home most of the time. I remember that time for myself, not sure if I should tell anyone how freeing it felt to do things on my own again! There was always the mom guilt, and I had been working fulltime so that was, of course, a break from being a stay-at-home mom. But knowing that I didn't have to worry about daycare and drop-offs and pick-ups was such a good change! So, what is Brita going to do with all her newfound free time? Why, get a job, of course! It's not fulltime and it's not healthcare related, but something convenient and a step to getting back to feeling employed again.
We heard from Ben today, he got to go ocean fishing and look what he wound up with -
This afternoon Bob and I did some cleaning up and reorganizing in the trailer to get it ready to roll. It was 50 degrees and partly cloudy. We had a yummy pasta night, topped off with s'mores and popcorn and watching ET together. It's a hit every time!
No new snow this morning! It was an early start today with Ben leaving to catch a flight to Key West for a business trip. Shoveling snow yesterday, shoveling sand later today!
The rest of us got up as usual, and got the day started. At home again for school today, so there was schoolwork to be done first. Bob and I are anticipating our departure and making things ready to travel. Now that a lot of the snow is off the trailer, we feel better about no more leaks. The afternoon was warm enough to see some melting. We got any laundry done that was needed, and that should last us until we get back home. We needed propane for the large tanks on the trailer, so we took one of the tanks to the hardware store and got it filled. We need it for our furnace to run! We stopped at the grocery store for some items we'll want during our trip home, and looked in vain to find the Pumpkin Spice Spread that is oh so good on toast! If you see it on your grocery store shelf, please take it home and you can thank me later!
The boys played outside this afternoon, having great fun making slides down the big piles of snow on the corner of the lot. We had tacos for supper (it's Tuesday!) and tucked in Jack and Leo in their beds in the trailer. We lower the dinette table and make a nice bed area there, plus the extension of the couch has worked out well, too. A little tight when all 3 want to sleep in the trailer, but very comfortable if there are just 2. Since Ben's gone, Ian is staying inside with mom to protect her during the night! We have also really, really enjoyed the bedtime stories that Bob makes up. He started these last year, I think, and they have grown into an important ritual. He has made up some characters for each of the kids and himself - Leo Pigeagle, Jack Chimpanzeeduck, Ian Rhinoceroshorse and Elephant Bob. They all live in Grandpaland, and have lots of adventures. Sometimes they have conflicts with the bad guy, Crocodilesnake. Sometimes there is a moral to the story about friendships, family, good sportsmanship, etc. They are interactive stories, Bob asks them for help deciding where they are going to go and what they will do there. This has evolved into the boys starting their own stories, in their own lands. It's great creative thinking! Leo was getting ready to tell a tale about Leoland, he really is very expressive while he is storytelling. This time it was going to be a scary story (Halloween is coming!) and he told me that I might need to cover my eyes so I don't get too scared! Such a sweetheart, looking out for me!
Just before we fell asleep last night about 11PM, the pitter patter of the rain drops on the roof fell silent. I was glad that the rain had stopped, that should relieve our little leak problem. But the silence meant that the rain turned to snow, and we were greeted by an awesome sight in the morning!
The lovely Sierra snow was really piling up! About a foot deep at that point, and still coming down. I have to say that I was impressed by the snow removal crew, getting the first run at clearing streets and driveway just as we were waking up. The power was out again, but the house was still warm enough for school time this morning. Classes were cancelled last Friday for today and Tuesday due to an increased number of Covid cases. But I imagine the snow might have forced a cancellation today, too. Either way, there are assignments and online class meetings for the 3 boys, and some hands-on help with some of their work.
Around lunch time, the snow was letting up and the kids needed to get out of the house, so everyone geared up to go out into the snow banks. Snow days always mean fun for kids and extra work for parents! And when I was a kid on the farm, it wasn't all fun and games because there was a lot of shoveling to be done to get the animals taken care of. But we usually got some time to take our sleds across the road into the neighbor's pasture for time to goof around and fly down the hill!
Anyway, with 4 adults and 3 kids, we were able to get the key areas cleared out. Leo seemed like the most enthusiastic shoveler of the boys. The power was still out, making it hard to put together a good supper, plus the Seahawks were scheduled to play. There are Seahawk fans in the house, stemming from Ben's growing up in Seattle. He and the kids, especially Ian, follow them closely. So he checked around and found a bar/restaurant in another area of town that had electricity and food and TV's to watch the game. We bundled up and went there for burgers and sandwiches, etc. Leo might have overeaten a little bit, he had to lay down in the booth and air out his tummy!
Surprisingly, the Truckee area seems to have moved from drought to monsoon! It rained all night long and throughout the day. I guess there were a couple times when it was just a light rain, but it never paused long enough to let anything dry out! At least, we have electricity! We had fresh cinnamon rolls this morning (from a tube, not a bakery!). I guess we weren't quick enough with the baking because Leo snuck some goldfish for snacks and then fibbed about it, so he and grandpa butted heads a bit. jAfter that was resolved, we did some indoor things with the kids and talked to mom and dad. There is a strong winter storm headed our way, and the concert was cancelled. Disappointing. They decided to come home sooner than planned, which is the reasonable thing to do but that doesn't make it any better!
We, however, will be glad to have them back home. Bob and I decided we wanted to make a batch of beef stew for supper, so Bob went to get the groceries that we would need for that. The afternoon was spent with football for most of the household, while a couple of us accomplished a few other tasks.
We got the stew all ready to go and into the oven, but checked it awhile later (closer to supper time) and the oven wasn't turned on! It had preheated, but the power blinked off for awhile and that must have shut the oven off! So, we ended up making a little supper for the kids and then the adults ate the stew later.
When we went out to the trailer with the kids for bedtime, we discovered that for the first time, we have a couple water leaks! Just some drips, one from the ceiling in the bedroom and another in the bathroom. We dried things up as well as we could and tried to catch the drips until we could get a better look in the morning. I guess 24+ hours of rain aren't good for our trailer roof!
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Hi! I'm Pam! Join me on this journey through the next steps of life!