26 August 2011

The Epic Move, Part 4: Arizona to Bakersfield

And then we kept driving. Again.

We came across this. Norman thinks it needs a ",Batman!" added to the bottom, while I thought it sounded like the name of a fat, corrupt Southern politician.

Then we got to California, which is very large.

And the Pacific Time Zone, which we had kinda already been in, because Arizona does not observe Daylight Saving Time.

We had to stop, get inspected, and wake up our toddler. ::grumble grumble:: Our apples were certified gypsy moth-free!

We stopped at one of the most tacky, crowded, chintzy tourist traps I've ever seen. It was a McDonalds made out of train cars that also had stalls selling cheap jewelry, stuffed animals, fudge, pretzels, lottery tickets, etc, etc. It was annoying. We came across this, which I thought was awesome! While I was looking and photographing, Lucy was standing directly behind me no matter which way I moved, peaking around, clinging for dear life to my shirt. I've never seen her so freaked out (except for when she sees Geoff Peterson). Norman noted that she does not do well with the Uncanny Valley.

When we rolled into Bakersfield, we made sure to find an In-n-Out burger. None of us had ever eaten at one, but of course we've heard all the marvelous things about it.

[She loves french fries.]

[Om nom.]

[One of the hidden Bible verses I'd heard so much about.]

The verdict:
Then we found our Super 8, did some laundry, tried to get the internet to work, and figured out what we wanted to do the next day in San Francisco!!

23 August 2011

The Epic Move, Part 3: Albuquerque to the Grand Canyon

OK, to be honest, all the driving days are now starting to run together. So I'll just have to go off the extant documents -- the photos.

In New Mexico (I guess) we saw some really cool dust devils!

My arm seems a lot longer inside the car. (And I did a lot of twisting and reaching to accommodate backward-facing whiny child.)

The drive up to the Grand Canyon from Flagstaff looked like this, so we were a little afraid we'd get rained on when we got there.

But eventually it cleared up and looked like this! (BTW, it takes for. ever. to go through the gate and pay for a pass to get in. Do you know why? Because the stupid sign says they strongly prefer debit/credit cards, so the people in the booths have to swipe a card and get a signature for almost every car going through. When we got up to the window and paid with exact change, the attended thanked us profusely and said she was so tired of running cards. So somehow people are supposed to deduce that a sign that says "Credit/Debit Card Preferred" actually means "Exact Change Preferred" or perhaps "No Change Given". Duh, signwriters. Duh. In short, if you're going to visit, buy a pass in Tusayan and you can drive right through in the fast lane.)

["I want to push!"]

[A photo of people taking photos of the Grand Canyon. Because I'm meta like that.]

It's really, really hard to take a bad photo of the Grand Canyon. All my photos (from my cheap little point-and-shoot) turned out lovely.


[Thanks, Eastern European Tourist Man!]

That's right -- coins can kill! Not because when you throw them they'll hit someone on the bottom on the head. Not even because when you throw them they'll hit a California condor on the head. No, it's because of that one time when a condor got zinc poisoning. Yep.

We actually stayed the night in Williams, AZ, which is kind of a hole with expensive gas. All in all, a good day as I recall. The Grand Canyon is really big.

19 August 2011

The Epic Move, Part 2: Norman to Albuquerque

Day One of driving also dawned bright and early. (Actually, you can just assume that all the days were bright and early from here on out.) We packed everything in the car (barely), and took one last look around before locking our keys inside the house. It felt weird to be without a house key, and therefore technically homeless.

We stopped off at Norman's family's house on the way out of OKC. I had to open my big mouth and say something about how accidentally loading their vacuum onto our moving truck and not noticing until the truck was gone could be the one thing that goes wrong on the trip! We said our good-byes, got in the car, and got about an hour and half outside OKC when Norman noticed that he couldn't find his phone. Upon calling his parents, we discovered that around the time I was jinxing us by talking about the vacuum, Norman's phone was jumping out of his pocket, into his parents' couch cushions. Yep. We decided to have them ship it to us so it would arrive the first full day we would be in Arcata. (Spoiler alert: Everything turned out fine.)

[Hello, Texas.]

[Somewhere in the middle of the Texas panhandle. Kinda nice, eh?]

[This sign made us laugh.]

[A fancy rest stop in Texas. We assembled and ate our lunch sandwiches inside because it was so hot outside. We looked like weirdos.]

This place is in Adrian, Texas, the self-proclaimed midpoint of Route 66. (That sounds more cynical than I intended. It's just that all the signs and businesses in the entire town seem to refer to this fact.)
[Fran seems to run a very tight ship.]

[And of course when we drove up, it was closed.]

The day ended at an America's Best Value Inn in Albuquerque. (We highly recommend this chain of motels, by the way. We stayed at 3 different ones along the way, and they were all cheap, clean, and safe.)

16 August 2011

The Epic Move, Part 1: Load 'Em Up

I debated about this, but finally decided, yes, I should write a series of blog posts about my family's recent epic cross-country move, if only so that we have a record of it. A few short weeks ago we moved from Oklahoma to far northern California (job related, of course). We gave our stuff to a freight company and set out in our car: Husband (driver), me (navigator), Toddler (alternating between napper and whiner), and almost too much stuff to fit on the inside of the car. Five days, four nights. Epic.

Moving Day dawned bright, hot, and early. For those unaware, it's been over 100 degrees in central Oklahoma almost every day for the last 3 months. Yet even with the threat of ridiculous heat, we had 12 (TWELVE!) friends and family members come out to help us load stuff onto the semi. (Broadway Express -- recommended!) We had all the loading done in under 3 hours.

[This awesome kid is in middle school.]

[How many Oklahomans does it take to shrink wrap a dining table?]

[Good, sweaty work, guys!]

After everything was on the truck, the driver discovered that... it wouldn't start! I was uncharacteristically calm about this. Hey, it wasn't my truck! But as it turns out, we neglected to fill out some important paperwork (due to Broadway Express's lack of text wrapping in e-mails -- it's 2011, people!). A friend rescued us by running home to print off the forms. We got it all filled out, and then... the truck started! Thanks for stalling for us, truck!

Then there was some cleaning, then there was a Farewell, Braums! Party. (Braums Ice Cream and Dairy Stores, for those of you not in the know -- they have the best, freshest milk that's ever been pasteurized, really tasty ice cream, and fair-to-middlin' burgers and fries.)

[Can you tell she never gets ice cream?]

["My-ole!" as Lucy says.]

Then friends dispersed. Then more cleaning. Also buying bagels and ice for the road. That was a really long day. We slept on an air mattress and entertained Lucy with the laptop + Netflix Instant. As I recall, we went to bed at a fairly decent hour, although I had real trouble sleeping, between the PVC fumes from the (new) air mattress and the bleach fumes from cleaning the bathroom. (I am an HSP, after all!) But no matter -- tomorrow begins the driving!

[The air mattress, before quite everything was loaded onto the truck.]