The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me. Psalm 16:6

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Road Trip!

Most people break out in hives at the very thought of being trapped in the car with their spouse and five children for a 6,000 mile, three week road trip. I, nut that I am, adore such circumstances. What a blessing and privilege it was to spend such a wonderful time with my dear ones, to see so much of this country and partake of the interesting cultures, and to glory in the Creator as we marveled at His beautiful creation.

To begin the story properly, I must begin with the farewell of Bessie, our trusty 2003 Dodge Grand Caravan. She was a great car, we had virtually no issues with her, but with 115,000 miles we decided a new van would give us a greater sense of security on our long trip. Enter Carmen, our 2011 Kia Sedona. How fun to start off on such a long journey in a brand new car. Definitely a blessing!

We started off on Sunday, July 31st, after collecting Nicholas from a 3-day stay at Camp Pendleton with the Young Marines. Heading east, we picked up the 40 (that's I-40 for you non-Californians!) in Barstow, CA and stayed on it until central TN! Crazy!

 One of the things that quickly caught my attention as we drove into open country was the beautiful clouds. You kind of forget what clouds look like in SoCal. I had forgotten how much I missed beautiful cloud formations in the sky.

We stayed in Kingston, AZ on our first night. I should say that we stayed in Marriott hotels all along the way, and because of Gustav's ridiculous number of points, all of our stays were free. YeeHaw! That means free lodging AND free breakfasts for seven. Jackpot, baby.

 We were all very anxious to see the Grand Canyon the next morning. The kids and I had never been there. I have wanted to see it since we moved out here to Cali, but alas, had not been able to make it. So I was psyched to go. Here is the gang walking the path to the rim. Gustav had been telling the children endlessly that the Grand Canyon was "just a big hole in the ground" for months prior to our visit. It had become a bit of a joke, really. I must have heard that statement twenty times as we approached the rim.

We chatted and giggled and skipped our way up the winding path. Then everyone fell silent. I had heard people telling stories of how quiet it is at the Grand Canyon. Everyone - young, old, foreign and domestic - stands in rapt awe as they come around the corner and see it for the first time. It is truly one of the most magnificent natural phenomena I have ever seen. Ever. Pictures cannot possibly do it justice. 


We walked the rim for a while, taking pictures, watching the squirrels and birds, and periodically standing, mouth agape, at the wonder of it all. As much as I loved the sights, I did feel a particular anxiousness as my family moved in and out near the edge. It is, after all, a "big hole in the ground" and I had periodic irrational fears of offspring plunging to their untimely ends. Case in point:

 The happy ending of that part of the story is that nobody went over the edge. Whew!

As we approached one of the on-site museums we could hear some ominous, not-so-far-off thunder, and realized that the sky was getting rather dark. We, along with what seemed like hundreds of others, took refuge in said museum while the skies opened up. The sudden and violent storm was just another awesome event for us. Remember, it never rains in California. (Well, ALMOST never.) The lightening was amazing, and the deluge was captivating for all.

We walked more of the rim after the storm passed over, enjoying the fresh, cool, post-storm air. We hopped a bus for the trip back to the car. The bus driver was rude and brusque and not particularly helpful. I was aghast at the way he was treating the foreigners who clearly could not understand him. Then he gave himself away by saying, "Main pah-king lot next stop." Ah, he was from Massachusetts. My people. I should have recognized the charm :-)

After some more beautiful driving along the rim and into more canyons we made it to Flagstaff, checked into our hotel and had dinner. In the very wee hours of the morning Kurt began talking very loudly in his sleep. Both Gustav and I giggled in the dark as he shouted out, "it's a big hole in the ground!"


Sandi said...

I already looked at your pix online on FB... but I enjoyed reading about your trip here. I guess this is just "part 1" of the trip? Reading your post reminded me of all your thankfulness journaling you have done. I have been reading the book by Nancy Leigh DeMoss about Choosing Gratitude. And this post stands out to me as someone who is thankful. :) Perhaps all of your journal has had it's affect on your outlook on life. :)

Chloe/Mist said...

hi, I used to live out there (you'r lucky) are we related in someway becouse some of you look like people i remember, though I don't even remember my aunts :(.

Nicole said...

Being in a car with your family is actually pretty fun. It's part-preparation and part quick thinking, really. The best thing to make things relatively peaceful in the car is to encourage activity through road games. Keep them on their toes, more or less, to prevent the kids from stepping on toes.

--Nicole Vickers

Earnestine Novick said...

It’s a great thing you had your camera with you. It is nice to document your entire road trip for you to have reminder of those happy moments. I can’t wait to see where you’ll go next! Hehe

Earnestine Novick

Delsie said...

So, how does it feel traveling with your family for almost a month? I bet your kids would love to do it again, would they? By the way, how's your new SUV after a year? Does it still run smoothly?

Delsie Maidens

Andrina Royceston said...

It's nice to see pictures like this with the whole family traveling to a new place. That road trip serves as a test for your brand new SUV, I suppose. So, how is it now, or have you bought a new one?

Andrina Royceston

Rita said...

Yeah, road trips! I love travelling along with my friends! The last road trip we had started in Phoenix and concluded in Atlanta. Man, The Valley of the Sun is sure hot. And traveling along the long, desert highway made us hungry, oh those days… Pardon me for reminiscing for a bit. I’d like to suggest that checking for your vehicles’ condition is vital, especially for long trips. That will make your travel time more convenient from start to finish. =)

Rita McCall

Ellsworth said...

There's nothing like taking a road trip with your family. This is proven to be a great bonding experience to draw each member of the family closer to one another. This surely is a remarkable experience for you guys, and those photos are to be cherished in the years to come.

-Ellsworth Mciltrot

Taisha Bousque said...

So your family loves adventures, huh? Fantastic! :D Uhm, with the bus driver, I guess he was just annoyed with that person. Hehe! Times like this, both of you must be patient with each other. Just try to understand. After all, the driver and that person regard each other as a foreigner, right? You just have to enjoy the trip! :)

Taisha Bousquet