On this road trip, we set out to get to the Rocky Mountains in a much shorter time than when we came out this way in 2015. So, instead of 21 days, it took us 6 days.
Our first stop was New Jersey (only about a 3.5 hour ride), where we stayed for one afternoon and overnight with our dear friends, the Hallidays. We all had an amazing time of fun and friendship. The kids played games, bounced on the trampoline, giggled, told secrets, and stories, etc. etc. The adults got to reconnect and we are so appreciative of our time there (thank you, Hallidays!).
From New Jersey to Colorado, the following 5 days are a bit of a blur, that included not much beyond this:
Drive > Rest stops > Drive > Jake working > Gas stops > Hotels > Microwave dinners > Hotel Pool (only once) > Drive > Some of the kids napping > Drive
Not a lot of whining, thankfully. The kids have been great in the car. It helps that Jake has outfitted each of them (not including Scout) with headphones and devices that hold their favorite songs and audio books. Much of the time was actually very quiet, as surprising as that may sound. Headphones work wonders. But the ride was not without the usual issues that you might expect: a bit of whining and crying, a roadside “bathroom” emergency incident, various naps, the occasional bad attitude, and limitless lost items between seats – Cheerios, cranberries, pencils, crayons, socks, baby toys, a shredded styrofoam cup, etc. etc.
There were a couple of very difficult moments. Coming into Columbia, Missouri, we were approaching a very foreboding storm – heavy rains, ominous clouds, lightening streaks across a darkening sky, and the threats of tornados (which we didn’t mention to the kids, obviously). We made it to the hotel without incident, except for being drenched while bringing in the bags.
An hour out of our destination on the 6th day, we stopped to give Scout a break (he was losing it), and get a little gas. And what do you suppose happened? We were so close to making it with no real issues, and then…poor Isaiah. He had his hands in the car door jamb when someone closed it, not realizing where his hand was. His ring and pinky fingers were closed into the door, ever so briefly, but still. Remarkably, God protected his little fingers from being broken, but they were mighty sore. We iced them, taped them, elevated them, and plied him (and the rest of the kids) with ice cream nearly immediately. But before too long, he was really fine. Amazing.
Coming into Aurora, Colorado on Monday evening, we were physically and emotionally tired. Thankfully, we were headed to the Muzaca’s house! For 3 days we stayed and visited in their cosy house. The kids spent time collecting chicken eggs from the back yard, getting friendly with the 2 family dogs, building block structures, flying Mark’s remote controlled helicopter (Dylan), drawing, resting, laughing, playing at the park, and so on.
Isaiah made amazing progress getting over his fear of dogs, and almost made friends with them. We ate delicious food, had wonderful conversation, slept, cleaned out the car, organized the bags again, and reconnected with our friends. We could not possibly thank them enough for being so open and welcoming and once again, as on our last road trip, giving us a taste of home so far away from home.
This morning, as Jake is driving south, I am in the passenger seat and we are flanked on our west side by the most stunning snow-capped mountain range. After days of driving through the Great Plains, then staying in and resting at the house with friends, the Rockies are a beautiful and most welcome sight.
So, we’re are off to Colorado Springs for one night, then south to Taos, New Mexico to stay in a cabin on a goji berry farm for a couple of days. We are excited for what the next adventures will be, and we’ll keep you posted periodically.