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Saturday, August 11, 2012

Numbers to Home

This is what the Honda Odyssey looked like every evening when we stopped for the evening and every morning before we hit the road.  This picture was taken at 9:15 Saturday morning.  It contains bags for Leslie and I for our fifteen day trip, Jenna for her four weeks at camp and one week on the road home and Blaire for her two weeks at camp and the week to drive home.

One advantage of driving is you can over pack, and pack for comfort. For instance, to make it easier to sleep in many beds over a long journey, Leslie and I pack our pillows from home.  Since I have sleep apnea  I travel with a C-Pap machine; since we are packing pillows it is easy to add the small device to the pillow bag.

You notice the cooler, what you don't see is the box containing our mini(van) bar.  For as long as man has traveled he has knocked off the dust of the road with an adult beverage at the end of a day's travel.  Leslie and I belong to species homo sapiens and thus enjoy knocking the road dust off at the end of the day.  With beers costing up to $7-8 and cocktails up to $10-12 we save money by traveling with a couple of bottles of booze and several cans of mixers.  On the trip with us was Black Eagle bourbon and Mount Gay rum, for refreshing cocktails the former is usually paired with ginger ale and the latter with Fresca.

The bag with the orange handles you can see is the game bag for the kids, that along with the portable DVD player that runs off the van's DC current and we can go thousands of miles with two kids.

Traveling from Williams, Arizona we left the high desert and dropped to the Colorado River and California border. The Mojave Desert greeted us with 108 degree heat and desolate landscape.  As we neared Barstow a fierce desert thunderstorm tore across out path, very high winds from the south switched to coming from the north in less than a quarter mile--concerning me that we could be in some trouble from micro-tornado.  Rain cut visibility to about 100 yards or less.  The temperature dropped over thirty degrees. And within five minutes we were out of the storm.

After Barstow the kids really started counting down the miles and the time.  Jenna, who left the Smith Compound on Lime Avenue in the morning darkness Monday July 9th seemed the most anxious to get home.

Finally at 4:15 we pulled up to the house.

Our odometer rested at 32,001.  Those with good memory will recall our starting odometer read 27,003 on the morning of Saturday July 28th when Leslie and I departed on the Great American Road Trip.  With no tickets, flats, or any issues whatsoever from the Odyssey Leslie and I traveled 4,998 miles.

In our fifteen days we covered 14 states (California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona).  The girls traveled through eight states (Minnesota through Arizona in list above plus California).  We crossed entire states from border to border either north-south or east-west eight times (Montana, North Dakota, Iowa, Missouri, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Arizona). We stuck pretty much to our originally intended route with the exception of when we left Reno we stayed with highway 395, cutting back into California before heading into Oregon.

Speaking of the 395...if we were to get a ticket on this trip that highway through California and Reno would have been the most logical opportunity given the number of California and Nevada Highway Patrol we saw.  We saw more cops on the 395 Saturday and Sunday at the start of the trip than we did on the rest of the trip combined.

Our trip covered three times zones, Pacific, Mountain and Central; though the Odyssey clock remained on Home time.  Instead of Greenwich Mean Time we had Lime Avenue Mean Time.

We had 15 lunches and 14 breakfasts and dinners; of these only two were eaten in the car from a fast food joint (Wednesday from a DQ in Texas as we busted over 700 miles from Tulsa to Albuquerque and today in Needles from Jack as Jenna stressed the importance of getting home as soon as possible).

Jenna was gone for a total of 33 days, Blaire for 19 days, Leslie and I for 15 days and Harrison for no days--though he did kill a possum evidently around 3:00 a.m. the night of the earthquakes in Southern California much to the chagrin of super-house/dog-sitter Niece Jacqueline.

One number that is hard to judge without a scale is how much this ways.

Laundry!  A combined total of 82 days worth of laundry for the four of us.  The over and under is 8 loads.

I mentioned in yesterday's post our homecoming is bittersweet. We saw a lot of beautiful country, met a lot of wonderful people, caught up with some life long friends, and did it as a family creating memories we all will retain as long as we retain our memories.

As great as the trip was this is what it is all about at some point.

Coming home!

On the trip there was talk about next year, what route we should take, what we should see.  Colorado, Vegas and Bryce are on the list of possibilities.  Looking at the map if we can drop down to the I-80 in Nebraska to the I-76 through Denver then east to the I-15.....

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