Thursday, September 14, 2017

Driving Home.

If you've been following along for our road trip this is the final stretch of the two weeks in the car with two kids and a dog.  We drove straight from Spokane to a small gross campsite in Utah, seriously the worst site ever, I didn't even take a picture because it was terrifying to get to and the whole place gave me the creeps.  But a bit south and near the border of AZ we stopped at a tiny rock shop that caught our eye, and they have coffee.  Coffee, Ice Cream,  and Crystals.  
 The girls browsed the precious gems while I headed outside to find these chunks of glass. 
Still trying to figure out what I could use these giant aqua glass 'stones' for, but obviously I need them. 

There were also rocks and stones of a more natural variety on the side of the building.  The kids got tiny bags of assorted stones for $5 and I swear they're Sonja's most prized possession.
 We made it! Blurry but home.
on the road we know and love.
we decided to try a campsite off the Colorado river to see if it would be crowded on the fourth of July weekend but thankfully the desert is so hot, the place was almost completely empty. 
One of the only sites with a tree on it. those shade structures over the picnic tables barely helped shelter us from the sun. So we went down to the water. 
The kids entertained themselves for hours with rocks and weeds.
I love the textures of the desert soft and rough at the same time, gentle breezes and harsh winds have sculpted every surface of this space. 
 We found cool air on the shore of the Colorado hiding in some bushes. 
After an evening in the water we headed back to our campsite refreshed and restored, 
Sonja sorted her treasures as Husband cooked dinner.
We said goodnight to the moon and gave our thanks for the travels we just experienced, there's nothing like being home. 

It took me a lot longer than any other blog post to reflect on our travels this summer, so much happened to myself and my body from then until now.  It was hard to look at these photos knowing there was a third life in me at the time, and now it's not there now, it explained so much, why I was so tired at the end of our trip and happy to finally be home (usually I don't get home sick until months into a trip).  But I feel good looking at these now, knowing we all lived here for a day. It's one of our favorite spots and I can't wait to go back,  Thanks for following along on with all my ramblings, here's to more adventures this Fall and projects and crafts too. 

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Visiting my sister in Spokane, WA

The last planned stop on our trip was to visit my sister and nephews in Spokane, she was originally going to meet me but her Husband ended up having to go out of town and her son had summer camp activities, so we decided to drive up to her...
The drive was boring then suddenly beautiful then boring again before being bright and colorful.  The twists and turns of this road left me feeling nauseous (as did the history of this road -my husband has actually been writing quite a bit about our travels and you can read his version of this stretch here.) but there were pockets of wild lavender growing in the cliffs and the views were phenomenal.
In the fields and farms on the way the sky opened up and everything looked like a painting.  There's no filters or contrast on this photo, it's straight out of the camera.
When we finally made it to my sister's house, I was shocked at how beautiful her yard was.  She's always had a beautiful home, but she just moved into this house and I wasn't expecting this level of landscaping.  Since it was summer, the roses were blooming, everything was bright and colorful.
The kids jumped on their back yard trampoline, and played with their cousins.
While the kids played outside and the sun set, I came inside to set up for our henna and essential oils class.
we made roller bottles with blends of frankincense, melaleuca, and more, to support healthy skin and I adorned the ladies with small henna designs.  //  zipper pouch from society6
you can find more of my henna work and cones (shipped in the US only) at la luna henna.
The best souvenir might have been this lavender harvested from my sister's front yard.
Pretty sure my husband wanted to keep this dog for himself.  He looks so small and sad here, but he's actually a super huge mastiff and full of fun and energy, I just caught him calm and resting. 
And of course attempts at a family photo before we left early the next morning.  I wasn't feeling great, and my energy was low so we opted to just get back home as quickly as possible so we could recover from our two weeks on the road.  I'll share our last stops on the way home on the next post!

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

That Time we drove to Wyoming to see the Eclipse.

I've known this Solar eclipse was coming for over a year, but it was during the school year and out of state, so I didn't think it would be reasonable to take a trip considering funding, school, work and life in general.  But about a week before the eclipse I sat down and looked at our budget, I found some gas money, and mentioned it to my husband, the next day i got a letter from our insurance company stating they would cover 99% of Husband's recent procedure, which I had already paid cash for, I took that as a sign we should do it! I did feel like it was still a little forced, but I have anxiety about money and I think I was just nervous I was spending money I 'shouldn't' on something less than well planned.  But we knew this could be a once in a life time opportunity so we set off in our fuel efficient vehicle as opposed to our camping car. 
We drove a few hours Saturday afternoon to camp near the Grand Canyon.
We got in just before sunset and it was still almost 100 degrees.
As soon as we got there we walked down to the Colorado River, we walked past Moon Lilies and held our breath.  Moon Lilies are poisonous and there were a lot of them. I'll take this moment to remind parents to be mindful and not let children touch or put plants in their mouths while camping, if you can't name the plant, don't touch it.
Past the Moon Lilies, was the icey cold water of the Colorado River, much higher than it was last time, but just as humbling. After a few minutes in her presence we walked back to the car to avoid the mosquitoes by the water.
The sky never fails to impress here.  The colors are magical and I remember why I love living here.
Up bright and early to drive though Utah and up to Jackson, Wyoming.
It wasn't too far after we got into Wyoming, our tire light turned on.  We pulled over in a small town to find that we had completely melted though our rear tires on the drive (this is a huge problem we've  had with Pirelli tires).  We had checked them before we left and they had plenty of tread but the heat of driving on them for almost 14 hours just melted them, there was a hole in the tire, and when Husband used the mobile air compressor to fill them up it just hissed out.  Before panicking we got back in the car and inched forward until the next populated area.  We saw cabins on the side of the road and I asked Husband to pull in and let me do the talking.  I was ready to camp in our tent on their property if they'd let me.  It was 6pm in middle of nowhere Wyoming, we knew we'd have to wait until morning (Eclipse day) to even find somewhere to get tires.

Thankfully, and of nothing other than sheer luck and determiniation, we got a roof over our heads,  I may have cried in frustration and fear at the front desk of the cabin's.  Everything was full and camping wasn't an option, I could feel the tears coming up.  But Rebecca, bless her heart, went to check if this cabin was cleaned and if so we could stay there, I told her I would be happy to sleep on a dirty floor, I just needed somewhere to park my car and feed my kids. She was like 'no. Let me check.' She came back and said it was clean. And available. I promptly busted out my credit card expecting it to be at least $300 a night probably even $500 it was a reasonable $149. We walked in and our jaws dropped, it was probably one of the most beautiful places I've ever stayed. A log cabin with fire place. Tv. Large tub kitchenette and luxurious bedding.
Do you understand how grateful we were? This wasn't a motel 6 on the side of a freeway, this was a gorgeous log cabin with a fire place and over sized tub.  This is the hotel I would have booked had I planned on anything other than driving there and camping.  This is the hotel I'll stay at next time we do a cross country road trip.  This was the Universe telling me things don't always work out because there is always something better waiting for you.
That ceiling though. 
They even have a hot tub gazebo.
did you know 15 is my lucky number?
We had a wonderful evening cooking our camping chili on the patio and watched Game Of Thrones in bed.

Unfortunately, at 3:11 a.m. I woke up in a panic what if they didn't have my tire (it's a small unique tire and this is a small town) what if we had to fly back and get our car later. What if we had to tow it 70 miles. What. If. 
What. If.
What. If. 
What. If. 
What. If. 

I couldn't sleep. I was starting to get physically sick.  This is anxiety at it's finest.  Just Breathe.

What. If. 

What if we didn't make it back in time for our first day of teaching. Crap, what if we didn't even make it back Wednesday when I have a henna event. What if. 

Finally, at 6 a.m. husband woke up and got ready to find somewhere.  He called a few places but ended up having to drive to Jackson, which was our original plan. 
Husband unloaded the car so he could drive into Jackson with the least amount of weight in the car. I knew we wouldn't see the total eclipse but that we'd still get a pretty good show just 70 miles south.  The tires are designed to drive about 50 miles, so the family loading into the car with our camping gear wasn't an option.  I stayed home with the girls while Husband crawled to Jackson.  He got to see the Eclipse, and stare at the sun's Corona, but only after driving for 3 hours at 20 miles an hour, practically on a rim. 
The girls and I made the best of our day in Star Valley and set off to find those Solar Glasses I didn't think we'd need in Totality (and couldn't find anywhere locally and in the moments of total coverage you don't need them).
The weather was clear and cool.  We even had to wear fleece and hoodies.
Sonja may have told me to buy this farm.
Vera was tired of walking and Sonja offered to carry her.
We found a friend on our walk.
At the nearby grocery store, which also didn't have solar glasses, a very generous stranger offered the girls her extra set of glasses.  By the time we got back to our cabin form our walk the moon had just started creeping over the sun.
This is about at thin as the sun got with the moon dancing over her where we were.  Husband was 70 miles north of us in a tire parking lot watching as the moon totally covered the sun and it turned to evening with a 360 degree sunset.  I had a feeling the whole trip was forced and I knew I wouldn't get to see it, but I had tried anyway, and I was so happy at least he got to see it, and now I know I will definitely be planning for the 2024 eclipse in Texas.
As soon as Husband got back with the car we loaded up and drove home.  We were cleansed on the drive with beautiful rain and rainbows.  The girls and I didn't get to see the most impressive part of the eclipse but if you're looking around you, you can find that magic everywhere.
We didn't end up getting home until 4 am but we did it!  As much as i would have loved to make it all the way to Jackson, I'm not sure I wold change anything.  Each adventure is unique and full of lessons.  This one taught me to trust the timing, know the difference between anxiety and intuition, a mother's tears go further than anger and frustration. People are good, there's a few left and they're mostly in wyoming.

p.s. if you'd like to read things from my husband's perspective, here is his write up about the trip.