Bobbie was sure right about the best laid schemes and a' that. I certainly felt about mouse-sized towing a 5x8 trailer in my two-wheel drive minivan crawling through the Rocky Mountains this time! So much for blogging the move from Houston to Redmond in real time, though... I blame that on the streptococcal pharyngitis -- I really meant to be more disciplined about blogging. I did collect some unusual souvenirs along the way (besides the bacteria). I'll spare ye the pictorial account of our drive northward. Heh.
|Houston, Tejas||up to Friday 14 December 2007 (when we left)||200+ cartons of household goods, approximately 15,000-pounds gross weight accumulated over 15 years of marriage (seven in the same house). It all fit (surprisingly) in 3/4 of the Graebel moving truck. We only had about 20 cartons of stuff the moving company refused to transport (don't ask) in our little 5x8 Uhaul trailer behind the van.|
|San Antonio, Tejas (Fort Sam golf course)||Saturday 15 December 2007||I got 3rd place in the 2007 Reed Classic golf tournament (limit to 9 holes due to inclement weather and the early wintertime sunset). Have to schedule this in Yuma, Tucson, Sedona or maybe Prescott next year. In July.|
|San Antonio, Tejas||Sunday 16 December 2007||New winter coats, gloves and hats for the kids from Burlington Coat Factory (since we know that we'll need them before we get to Denver).|
|Abilene, Tejas||Monday 17 December 2007||Strep throat (probably contracted earlier and incubated all weekend). Ouch! Didn't make it very far driving in this condition, but I didn't really realize what it was until I woke up the next morning.|
|Amarillo, Tejas||Tuesday 18 December 2007||Injected and oral antibiotics (taken continuously for the next seven days). Thank goodness for great traveling health coverage from Microsoft!!|
|Denver, Colorado||Wednesday 19 December 2007||Skipped visiting friends and family to avoid infecting people we care about with streptococcal pharyngitis. No memorable souvenirs collected. Aaron & Steve, I promise to ship the gifts we didn't get to deliver!|
|Rawlins, Wyoming||Wednesday 19 December 2007||Replacement drive belt for 2004 Toyota Sienna (we were very lucky to find this part 500+ miles from the nearest Toyota dealership). It's amazing how weird the electrical system behaves when the alternator's not turning! |
We also got our first opportunity to tow the Uhaul trailer through unplowed snow on the streets of Rawlins (where they apparently don't bother plowing side streets).
We were very afraid of being stranded in Wyoming over the coming holiday because all but one mechanic in town (there were only 3) couldn't help us until the following Monday!
I did get a good view of where I want to put a summer place on Elk Mountain, though. We'll definitely be back to Wyoming!
|Ogden, Utah||Thursday 20 December 2007||Raced a snow storm all the way out of Wyoming, but it caught us halfway to Snowville, Utah (that's really what it's called!) and we had to turn around and camp in Ogden for the night. I should've followed the snowplow, instead of passing it in a hurry. Whoops!! The wife is starting to understand why I wanted to buy the 4x4 before we left Houston. C'est la guerre. Had the most expensive bad room service of the entire trip in Ogden. Utah's a lot prettier than my mental image suspected it would be, though. I think I could live here, even though I'm about as not-Mormon as you can get.|
|Near Juniper, Idaho||Friday 21 December 2007||Decided to brave the snow and the mountains (despite the fact that we can't find anywhere in no-man's land to buy tire chains) and try to push through quickly before the big snowfall projected for the weekend. Shouldn't have. |
Got stuck for a bit in the snow going uphill just north of Juniper; finally powered out of the snow drift (trailer and all!), but burned up something inside the van -- it never acted "right" after that.
I successfully won the "we should've bought the 4x4 before we left argument" but I'm probably going to have to concede the "we should've taken the boring route through California" point. See? We're both right! Heh.
Idaho is a lot prettier than I expected, despite the fact that they only run snow plows on the "easy" sections of the road, not on the mountain faces that really need it. Grrr. We're on a first name basis with AAA by now, even though they really haven't been able to help us yet (besides providing a calm voice in a warmer clime on the other end of the phone).
|Pendleton, Oregon||Friday 21 December 2007||Really wanted to make it to Redmond today, but after wending our way through the Blue Mountains in the dark (not as much fun towing a trailer as you might expect), we decided to camp and race the projected snowfall in the Cascades tomorrow. Umatilla Indian Reservation is gorgeous; we'll definitely be coming back for some hiking later!|
|Snoqualmie Pass, Washington||Saturday 22 December 2007||We lost the race. Because the Cascades are so much lower in elevation than the rest of the mountains we've driven through so far, I chalked up the name Snoqualmie to an odd homonym taken from a Native American dialect that just happens to sound similar to frozen precipitation. I was wrong. |
The snow was coming down by the bucket! And then some. We were less than 90 minutes from our new home when we had to turn around and take a seven plus hour detour back through Oregon; we didn't even bother trying Satus Pass or the others since they're all about the same elevation and the forecast called for snow all weekend.
Still no tire chains to be found anywhere. Everyone else has 'em, but nobody knows where we can buy 'em for our van.
I promised the wife that as soon as we buy the 4x4, we're coming back through Snoqualmie so that I can thumb my nose at the mountain. It did look like great snow for skiing, too.
Samia bought a mug at some interstate truck stop to commemorate our strategic withdrawal from Snoqualmie. Grrr! We got in very late (two days after we'd originally planned to arrive).
|Bellevue, Washington||Saturday 29 December 2007||Belated souvenir. Way late, but better late than never own a 4x4. |
After unpacking all the boxes and starting to get the house in order, we traded in both cars (the Camry that got shipped up from Houston -- the long way, though California -- and the Sienna that barely survived the trip through the beautiful Rockies) on a 2008 Toyota Sequoia Platinum.
It doesn't snow enough in western Washington justify the 10mpg monster 4x4, but I do have an upcoming rematch with the mountain. And my wife is starting to believe my threat to buy a summer place on Elk Mountain in Wyoming. Oh, yeah! I won't be held hostage to mere snow anymore. Stupid mountain. Stupid snow. Heh.
Needless to say, I love my wife's new vehicle. It's the best 'souvenir' that we got this trip. I'd never heard of the Platinum trim level, but I do wish (in retrospect) that we'd bought it in Houston. (No, I don't need another car. I'm still planning to bike to the office despite what everyone else thinks. I even bought a new bike to demonstrate my resolve! Heh.) Arctic Frost Pearl is an appropriate color for our new land yacht. The kids are upset about not being allowed to eat (or anything else except breathe) in the new vehicle. C'est la vie. I have to make sure to buy spare everything, though, before we venture back into no-man's land where they don't believe in stocking parts for "foreign jobbies." Note to self: buy tire chains before you need them. Duh. They're probably easier to find from home, with internet access, than interviewing locals who can't understand why I'm not driving a Chevy, Dodge, GMC or Ford.
We're planning to assault Snoqualmie next weekend and go for a hike around Toppenish Ridge or Yakima. The kids are already having flashbacks from the Great Grand Canyon Hike of 2007. Heh. It'll be fun.
Pray for snow!