Sunday, July 13, 2014

Off to Texas we go.........

As usual plans change. We had printed off a list of truck stops and planned which ones we would meet at along the way. Derrill was driving the Pensky and I and the three children were nestled in the van. As luck would have it our infant needed me to stop almost every hour that first day (as I learned on following days he just needed some time to cry himself to sleep), so we stopped a lot of times more than the truck stops.

The first day of driving was really beautiful. We saw Wilson arch since it is along the highway and got to see a lot of red rock and plateaus. There were several places that I wished we had time to pull over or drive into park wise. At a truck stop both of our phones had lost connection and I had stopped to feed the baby again, and Derrill had already been about half an hour ahead of us before that. He was getting worried about us, so he had us drive in front of him the whole rest of the trip. We thought the truck would be the slower vehicle, but with the children I ended up being the slowest one most of the time. We broke up each day into 3 sections. One of Superstar's highlights was driving a stretch of highway everyday with daddy in the Penske. We also brought along activities for the kids to do and changed them at the stops between sections. Because of the cleaning that morning we got in real late to our first sleeping place in
Bloomfield, New Mexico.

[DW - As the sunset disappeared I saw a car on the side of the road just on the inside of the New Mexico border and thought I should slow down to see if whoever it was needed help. Lo and behold it was Joy and the kids, stopped for feeding. We had a second stop before we reached Bloomfield. We all felt better about driving in close caravan - if only it were more practical.]

At our hotel I met a lady on vacation from Texas who said she had been to Glen Rose and said it was a beautiful place. They were with a large group of family coming home from Lake Powell. The front lounge was very close to our room and had a lovely mural on the wall that they serve breakfast from (right).

I almost forgot to mention that this first day was Princess' real birthday. We gave her a present at the beginning  of the day and sang to her. The next day our Dairy Queen ice cream was in honor of her birthday as well.

In the morning we got out as soon as we could, but it still wasn't before 10:30. The children and I went out first as we had been doing the last couple of times. We were at least 15 minutes out when I realized that I had less than a 1/4 of a tank of gas and didn't know when we would find gas again. I had forgotten to fill up at our evening stop. [DW - Earlier I had scoured the route with google and various map programs trying to find out if there was ANYTHING along that road and couldn't disprove its total lack of life. We figured prudence was the better part of valour.] I turned around and so Derrill was now in front and he let me know that not much further we would have found a gas station, but I had not wanted to chance it.

By the way I am constantly amazed, especially since we lived in Nigeria, that you can just look up directions online and travel to anywhere that you want to go in the United States (we did the same thing in Europe with a GPS). We couldn't have done That in Nigeria and it is such a great freedom to be able to do that and the directions really get you where you want to go. So after our gas problem, we caught up with Derrill on a reservation and ate lunch. Then we were off again (that was only an hour into our trip). The next stop we made was about 2.5 hours down the road, yahoo.

On this day we made better time. I discovered that if I just drove for a little while when JT cried, he would usually go back to sleep. After a while he would get really upset and I would find a place to stop. By this day we did not follow our previously outlined stops. We decided that we would all stop when the baby or children needed to stop. Since we had two phones at the time this worked (now we are down to just one). This whole day we would be in New Mexico. I don't remember as many things from this day because the day went smoother, but I think that at one point both Princess and JT were asleep for a while in the car. I think it was also the day that we got ice cream at Dairy Queen.

When we got to our hotel we found the parking to be very cramped. The first night they had tons of parking, but here we had to park our truck across the street. We did not prefer that, but all was well by morning so no harm was done.

At the end of the day we realized that our dry ice was almost gone. We needed the dry ice to kept our baby milk frozen. We made plans to stop in Lubbock to get dry ice.

Day 3
[DW - Before we left I called a dry ice distributor who said that every WalMart and supermarket in Lubbock should have dry ice. I called all the Wallies in Lubbock. Only one said they had dry ice.] We got gas in the car and were off to our first views of Texas. The children and I had never been to Texas and Derrill had been there just once. It  was a flat land and we were excited to finally be in it. I thought a lot while driving how a road far in front of you really does look like a ribbon, reminding me of a song that says "ribbon of highway"

We got to Lubbock and found that no one had dry ice. [That took an hour and a half of extra driving, calling, and asking why in the world I was told they had dry ice when they hadn't for a week. The next place said they had been calling all their affiliates for over a week and no one inside or outside this city of 230+ thousand people had dry ice]. Even their distributors didn't have it. We just had to load up on regular ice and take our chances because that is what was at hand.

That Walmart was memorable because our car did not want to start.

Boy was I glad it was our last day of travel not our first when the car didn't want to start. We started stopping anyone that we could get their attention to ask for jumper cables. I found a nice slow man that had jumper cables but said that his car had some thing about it that made it not able to jump cars. Then I found someone that would jump us with his cables. Thankfully the car started and we were on our way again. :)

[DW - This is a quick shot of a sign showing I was in SUDAN. Sudan, Texas, that is. Who knew I'd leave Africa to go to Sudan?]

I determined that I should not turn off my car until we arrived at our new home that night. I did a good job with my promise at our next stop. We took turns sitting with the car, getting food to eat, and feeding the baby. Then we were off again. Our next stop was meant to be Glen Rose.

When we were less than an hour away from home I saw a gas station and thought was a good idea it would be to get some gas. The bad news is you have to stop and I forgot that I wasn't stopping and needless to say I couldn't start it by myself. So after getting some gas, I waited for the kind gas attendant to find someone to jump us. We didn't have to wait long and when he was jumping us I saw Derrill passing but couldn't get his attention. So we were on a mission to catch up to daddy. I was so glad that my car would still take a jump.

We sped down twist roads until I could see him in the distance before he turned around the next bend. Then finally we came to a stop sign where Derrill was stopped. He had dropped his directions and was looking for them. [DW - My directions had somehow flown across the cab of the truck and were stuck to the passenger door!] When I hailed him, standing just a few feet away he jumped because he didn't know I was there. [Which was a good thing because my directions got away from me again, so I just followed faithfully and as fast as the big ol truck would take me!]

Now we went in the front again and with just a small potty stop in Stephenville we were home in Glen Rose. We arrived there about 10:30pm and took until about 12am getting beds together and all the luggage in the house (we still had a lot of suitcases left from moving back and forth from Nigeria) and everyone in their beds. We were very glad to be in our new home and done driving!