We left my husband’s hometown with heavy hearts. I had not been able to see a few good friends, but with time being limited, we knew we needed to hit the road to make good time over the next fourteen hours of driving we still needed to do.
It was also my son’s birthday. He turned seven years old yesterday! My husband’s family threw a small surprise party for him with cupcakes, ice cream, and a Star Wars themed present from his great aunt and her family. He also got quite spoiled by his grandfather with enough money to get the huge Lego Star Wars kit he had been wanting to get for a long time. It’s either that or he wants to save up for a bike. I’m hoping he will do the latter.
The past couple of days was full of walking through the small town where my husband grew up in, spending time with his family, visiting my mother-in-law’s grave, and watching my daughter master riding a bicycle for the first time. It was a very emotional 48 hours there.
The morning we needed to leave, I made scrambled eggs as my father-in-law made hash. We teased each other as we always do. I ended up flicking some of my scrambled eggs into his hash, and all of a sudden he began a new volley of teasing, “OH, we can’t have you cooking anymore!” It’s always been that way, as it’s his way of showing his love. We ate and made plans to prepare for our day. Showers were needed, things to be packed back into the trailer and car, and the chore of getting the cats back into their carriers. The latter was the last thing we did, and it was a challenge! The cats, for the previous 48 hours, had gotten comfortably settled in the guest room and found refuge under the guest bed. Unfortunately, my father-in-law was also in the middle of sorting through a ton of my late mother-in-law’s things and had them in the guest room. There were tons of hiding places in the room, and when it came time to gather the cats, we had an obstacle course to go through! I grabbed some cold turkey from the fridge and dangled it at the end of the bed and coaxed my stubborn tabby out to where I could quickly snatch him by the scruff, much to his dismay, and get him into his carrier. He yowled his dislike and glared at me through the mesh of the carrier. “Sorry, buddy, but you are safer in there than out when we drive.” Harley, my sweet and gentle cat, stared wildly at me from under the bed. There was no way she was going to come to me on her own. My father-in-law moved some things quickly to allow him to get on the other side of the bed to chase her towards me, which worked like a charm. I grabbed her waist and slid her out from under the bed. A soft protest of a meow came from her mouth. Oh, she did not like being put into the carrier. I quickly got her in and zipped the front of it close.
That whole ordeal left me with scratches all across my arms. Cat scratches are no fun, but I understood they were not happy with the fact they were to be in their carriers again. I found that washing them with the blue dawn dish soap takes the sting of the scratches out really fast!
I began the first part of the trip as I knew my way out of the area to the main highway out of Illinois. It was a beautiful cool summer day. My son colored in his new Star Wars coloring book, my daughter stared out the window, and my husband sat relaxed in the back with them. My dad and I began the audio book we had started listening to back in Virginia, which was “The Hobbit.” We had reached the point of the party of dwarves, a wizard, and a reluctant hobbit were leaving Rivendell and facing the foothills of the Misty Mountains. The narrator was wonderful in doing the various voices of the characters, and it made the story come alive more so than a movie does.
It was several hours before we had the pleasure of crossing the Mississippi. My kids heard all about Mark Twain from their parents, as books are something we both love together. We picked up lunch quickly, and it was my dad’s turn. He drove for the rest of the day as I was a better navigator than driver. We found some really neat things along the way. My favorite was a picture on the side a pillar at a rest area.
Being deaf myself, it’s these kind of things that hit a special place in my heart. I was so tickled to see this. I only went to a deaf school in Arizona for one year in high school, as I was mainstreamed growing up. Yet, I can proudly say I am a graduate of Gallaudet University!
As night came upon us, we were almost half way through Iowa and could smell hay and clover in the air. We were definitely in farm country. The hills rolled up and down and the sunset was incredible. It was a orange fireball disappearing into a purple haze upon the horizon. I tried to take a picture while we were driving along (I was in the passenger seat, of course) but the sporadic tree line popping up and down as we drove made it very difficult.
We also gained another passenger in the car- a firefly. We had a firefly join us in West Virginia, and now we had another. Fortunately, it was a very polite bug and didn’t fly into my dad’s face as he drove. Eventually it made it’s way out a cracked window and joined the throngs of other fireflies blinking along the side of the highway.
I should also we discovered something about my tabby feline that night. As soon as it grew dark, he began his persisting meowing. My dad had an idea and said, “I wonder if Took is uncomfortable in the dark.” I passed back a small flashlight I always carried in my purse. Sure enough, as soon as the flashlight was put by his carrier, he settled down and we didn’t hear a peep out of him after that. Who would have thought?! A cat afraid of the dark! I am glad now to know he is like that. We will make sure my little feline boy has a night light from now on.
With Took settled with his nightlight, (and he’s sitting on my chest at this very moment) we pushed on through the farm state. Everyone else fell asleep and settled down as my dad and I began to monitor a storm blowing into the area we were driving through. It was almost 2:30 in the morning when we finally were driving through part of it. Fortunately, the worst part of it was south of us, and there was a few storm cells north of us we were praying to drive past. Yet, the scene in the heavens was incredible to watch. My dad and I discussed the amazing science of lightning, and with the good reception I had on my phone, I was googling information about it and reading what I had found.
Fun fact: The lightning you see is actually going from the ground to the sky. There is also a “lightning” that you cannot see that goes from the sky to the ground, and it causes the arc of the lightning to form in which you DO see.
Okay. I know. I’m such a geek. But I won’t back down from this fact – Science is awesome!
I ended up falling asleep as we drove past the storm. I knew I needed to if I was to take over driving soon for my dad. Before I did, I watched the moon grow reddish- orange… It was nearing the horizon for a moon-set.
The sky was lightening up as I woke up. The horizon looked so different than Iowa – The grass was yellow compared to the lush green I had seen before. The hills weren’t as rolling as well, and with a quick glance at my gps, I saw that we were in Colorado!
The air was cool, and as I took over driving I scanned the horizon for the Rockies I craved to see.
I grew up with mountains around me, so I wanted to see them again. It had been a bit sad for me not to see any like what I was used to in my previous home in Virginia. As I was driving nearer to Denver, the hazy horizon played tricks on my eyes. I would think I see mountains, but it would turn out to be something else.
I WANTED TO SEE THEM. I could feel myself growing anxious to see the high slopes of them before me. It was a couple of hours into driving I began to finally see the true shapes of the Rockies. I have to say I no longer felt like I was going crazy anymore. It was beautiful. The snow capped tops of the high peaks gave me such a peace. I am looking forward to exploring some of the land in those mountains… Definitely by way of hiking! There will also be snowboarding in the future.
Okay, I’m going off point here…
We are now at the hotel for the night (or two) since our apartment isn’t ready for us to move in yet. I am praying and hoping it will be ready tomorrow. I am kind of hoping we can begin settling in by then.
I know this part of the journey is pretty much over, but this blog will continue as I grow to become a solid resident here in Denver, Colorado… So keep on reading!
I hope you are enjoying my entries!