Sunday, December 20, 2009

Over the River and Through the Woods

Pictures added!!!

This year's drive to Utah was significantly less eventful than last year's.  Of course, it's hard to top a violent snowstorm combined with not-quite-as-violent stomach flu.  This year the roads were (mostly) clear, and no one was throwing up.  Such has become my criteria for a good drive to Utah.

We pulled out at the unholy hour of half past three in the morning.  I don't know if there is any hour that is truly holy, but if there is, 3:30am is definitely not it.  The main reason we leave so early is because, in theory, the girls go right back to sleep in the car and we have a peaceful four or five hours at the start of the trip.

I say "in theory", because in reality what happens every. single. year is that they get excited about the prospect of going to Grandma's house and bounce around in their seats for an hour before we finally lose it and announce that the next person who makes a noise will spend the first three hours at Grandma's house in car in the driveway.  At which point they get the message and fall asleep for about an hour.

I was drifting in and out of consciousness (fortunately, Chris was driving) when I heard Ellie's overexcited voice shout out from the backseat, "Hey, I know where we're going to!  Grandma and Grandpa's house!"  After laughing at the obviousness of the statement, we realized that the stretch of road we were on looked like the road up Parley's Canyon to Grandma and Grandpa Y.'s house.  I can't believe that, after a year, she can remember what that drive looks like, but apparently so.  And with that, everyone was awake and the fun began.

When I was little my family took road trips from Oklahoma to California.  To break up the monotony, my parents came up with the idea of 100-mile treats.  We always thought that we got a treat every 100 miles, although I learned that my Dad's idea of 100 miles didn't always agree with the odometer.  The tradition has continued.  Over the course of the nearly 800-mile drive the girls got 4 treats.  Vicki, ever the stickler for precision, has caught on, but the other two are, fortunately, still in the dark.  When I was little, the treats were always edible and usually candy, but in the interest of dental hygiene, the treats this time consisted of coloring books and crayons, a new movie, fruit snacks, and mini Oreos.  Just enough to keep them quiet for 10 minutes before the Are we there yets and the Has it been 100 miles yets kicked back in.

Normally Chris and I trade off driving, but over the coarse of the trips Chris has come to realize that the lack of leg room in the passenger seat far outweighs the boredom of driving, so he volunteered to drive the whole way this year. 

And I got squished.

The girls did nap, briefly, at around the 11-hour mark. 

I have to give them props here, because while I may complain about the lack of leg room in the front seat, the three of them were crammed together in the back of a Subaru wagon for 12 hours with backpacks, dolls, blankets, pillows, and bags of food.  We had a talk before we left about being understanding of the fact that your sister has just as little room as you do, and for the most part they handled it well.  Elbows seem to be our biggest issue, so we're thinking of just strapping their arms to their sides for the drive home.

But we made it.

We saw lots of livestock (the girls stopped shouting, "Look! Cows!" after the 10th farm), fluffy snowflakes, a french fry factory, falcons perched on road signs, highway evangelism, and an overturned semi truck, spilling onions from the overpass to the freeway below.  And finally...Grandma's house!!!

It was by far not the worst 12 hours I've ever spent in a car, but I'm thankful it's over and we can enjoy the next two weeks with family and old friends.

And I'm extremely thankful that it will be two weeks before I have to do it again.

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