Three Thousand, One Hundred Eighty Seven Miles Later...

7:10 AM

I'm finally at my new home!!! Well, sorta.  We are living in yet another hotel, but the kids (and dogs) and I made our loooong trek across this beautiful country into a state that I'm already falling in love with!

A quick recap for those who need it:

1.  Hubby is in the Navy
2.  Lived in Japan for four years.
3.  Earthquake hits Japan, kiddos and I evacuate right before our scheduled move.
4.  Stayed in Virginia with my mom for a month.
5.  Drove three thousand, one hundred eighty seven miles to the Seattle area.
6.  I am sitting in a hotel blogging with silly numbered lists, watching years old Zach and Cody reruns.

We won't be getting a house for probably a month or so, and in the meantime, we will continue to call ourselves nomads.  At least we are at the end of our unpredictable adventure, and hopefully when Lance comes "home" in a month, he will have a house to come home to (or almost, at least).

I was dreading this drive considering the longest I've ever travelled alone was probably 3-4 hours. I've taken several 18-20 hour trips down south to either Florida, Louisiana, or Mi'sippi (as my native dad calls it), but I've always traded off driving.  Luckily, the three of us seemed to resign ourselves to the fact that we were in this for the long haul, and none of us seemed to get bored or tired of the trip.  Other than extreme thunderstorms that forced us to sleep in a truck stop in the Appalachian Mountains, and an oncoming blizzard that forced us to stay two nights in Fargo, North Dakota, it was a pretty good trip with miraculously well behaved kids and dogs the whole five days (four days actually driving, not too shabby, eh?)

Below is an iPhone photo summary of our drive!

My *sigh* moment, when I left the Wal-Mart parking lot in Virginia Beach, officially starting my drive.

I bought an atlas in Ohio, and Alex become BFFs with it instantly.  That book did not leave her hands the rest of the trip, and she is now an expert cartographer.

Lance being a very good boy and snuggling with a freshly groomed Suki.

A fish face for Big Lance (he's in Japan for the next month; movers are at the old house as I type this getting our stuff out!)

We arrived at Chicago at 4:15 p.m., which meant we got to endure the entire rush hour phenomena.

This was in Wisconsin, where we pulled over for gas/restrooms/lunch break.  It was amazingly gorgeous outside, so I decided to take a break from driving and have a tailgating party at a Pizza Hut. I took out the dogs' blankets, toys, and bones so they could bask in the sunlight, tethered them to the truck, and...

Zeus wouldn't have any of it.  He did his business and jumped right back in the truck.  That boy loves going byebye so much that he refused to hang out outside, and every rest stop that I fed and watered them, he would only eat inside his truck! He is never really finicky about things, but needless to say, this is the exception to the rule.

An "ambulance" (shudder) at a rest area in Wisconsin.  I hope one of those never comes to pick me up!

At the same rest area there was a trail with a scenic view.

Don't remember where this was taken.


Its hard to tell from this picture, but the clouds in this part of Montana were super dark, yet up ahead they were radiant and beautiful.  Lance Jr said to me "Mom, we need to drive out of these gross rain clouds, and go to where heaven's clouds are" :)

And here are heaven's clouds

Montana: Seeing the Rocky Mountains for the first time in my life through a bug-spattered windshield

I definitely "lol"'d at this

This was actually a pretty hilarious moment for me.  For months when people found out we were moving to Washington, they would tell Lance and I "its gorgeous, very green, and it rains a lot." I knew the cliché and just kinda brushed it off after dozens upon dozens of people reminded me.  I was preparing to take the above picture and nearly missed it because it was on the lefthand side of the road, throwing me off.  I quickly snapped this picture at the state line, put my phone back down, and guess what? It started raining! It hadn't rained since mid-Montana and was a gorgeous drive all day, and BAM! Rain in Washington!  Whodathunkit?

Despite the rain, Washington state had me mesmerized almost instantly! For the first eastern half of the state, it was mostly flat farm and ranch land, very green and peaceful.  Once we got towards central Washington, the mountains kicked back up, but they were different than the ones from the prior states. Although the above picture contradicts this statement, the mountains were overrun with gorgeous evergreen trees! It was simply stunning; in fact, I told Lance when I talked to him that the mountains and the landscape looked fake it was so beautiful; it looked like God had put a bunch of plastic Christmas trees on the mountains; I did not see a flaw or an empty spot without the lush trees.  I don't really have good pictures yet, but I promise I'll have some in due time! After this drive, I can't wait to go camping this summer!

There was a really cool stretch of road that had a windmill farm? power plant? ranch?  They speckled the side of the road for about ten miles, and I was ooo-ing and aah-ing the whole way. 

This is the first trip that I've ever used GPS, and "Stella," as we call her, was pretty faithful the whole way.  However, once she told me to drive my way across the water to the island, I had to scold her a bit for her deception (the kids have a theory that "Stella" is trying to steal daddy away from me, thus her sporadic attempts at doing away with me). This was also my very first ferry ride :)

And finally, I took this picture this morning; add three thousand miles to it, since my odometer resets every thousand miles.  We did have to make a 40 mile backtrack in North Dakota when Alex left her most prized possession, her stuffed puppy named Puppy, at the hotel, but otherwise there's my evidence of a long, weary trip.  

I can't wait to start exploring the area and taking pictures to show off to you! I still have lots more posts to catch up on, but catching up on sleep right now sounds a lot more tempting. 'Til tomorrow!

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