Well, this is going to be a blog (which is why I am not using names) but I am also going to print it out and send a form (gasp of horror) letter out to all those who care about us. If you receive by mistake, just throw it away or pass it on to someone who does care. This is going to be review for a lot of you but bear with me.
So, Hubby was already out here and so I got to plan move all by my lonesome. It really wasn’t too bad. I opened the door and said, “Hi. You’re hear to pack me up?” and then I stepped aside and tried to stay out of the way. They even asked me to empty my trash before they packed it (which I did). So the move wasn’t the hard part. It was planning the 4 day cross country trip that was difficult. We weren’t sure what our housing situation was so we were kind of flying by the seat of our pants. We had to bring camping stuff in case we couldn’t afford hotels in California or if we ended up waiting for housing too long. We had to have enough clothing, food, blankets, household stuff to last us until we got into housing. We also had to take with us all the stuff that the movers couldn’t take- paint, aeresol cans, cooking oil, etc. And we had my good friend, Nana, coming with us so her luggage as well. Thank goodness for the wagon (as opposed to the Metro) was what we thought as we packed the car that Friday evening.
So things went well until we started making the car actually work–starting up the mountiains of Colorado. Then the car started to die. Like every 40 minutes or so. We would drive until it died then pull over and wait for 20 -30 minutes letting it cool. We, of course, didn’t have cell continual cell phone coverage in the mountains so we kind of had to just keep limping it along. It was very hot so we were drinking lots and lots of water. Well, you aren’t always lucky enough to get stranded at a rest stop so Daughter and I learned to us nature’s bathroom–the roadside. Again, we were thankful for the four doors of our vehicle as opposed to the 2 doors of the Metro. That was a lot of fun–Daughter still talks about peeing on the road in the mountains.
So we limp into our stop for the night. This little town on the map called Glenwood Springs. The map really doesn’t make this town look like the tourist trap that it is so we weren’t really planning on spending $97 for a mediocre hotel room. But camping didn’t seem like a great idea, what with the car dieing all over the place and it getting dark (spending 1/3 of your travel time sitting at the side of the road eats into your schedule like none other). But we did visit the Hot Springs. Which if you talk to my daughter on the phone, she will probably mention. This was a very impressive thing to her apparantly. Hopefully we will be able to stop again at some point with her.
Colorado was beautiful and Utah wasn’t too bad except that it is considered high dessert and there’s a reason for that. It’s hot. It’s dry. There’s no shade. It is nicer to pee on sand as opposed to the Rockies but it’s still not a lot of fun. So we finally accepted the fact that this wasn’t a case of bad gas or mountain fever or some such thing. I had a real problem with my car and we needed help. So we called AAA. They can’t find me. I mean, they had no record that I have a membership. I assured them that I did. I explained that AAA had cashed my $86 check and that I had better get a free tow out of this and my daughter was out here in the fricking dessert and my car was dead and what the hell was I supposed to do? All very politely of course.
Someone did come and tow us finally. They towed us to Price, Utah, to a wonderful man named Joe Piccoli. One of the nicest and most generous people that I’ve ever had the pleasure of depending on when in such a vulnerable position. He was very nice but the car still had a bad fuel pump and it was going to cost us almost $500. YIKES! We were already over budget-what with $100/night hotel rooms and now, an extra night in Utah. But he gave us a military discount and even offered to pay for it himself. He told us, as we left, to call if we got into a bind and he would wire us money. Seriously nice guy.
(For anyone who was involved in this process, you know that this is the severely edited version. If you’ve ever read or watched A Series of Unfortunate Events, then you will understand that I am sparing you the horrid details of the tears, snot, and headaches that were involved.) Oh, and I did get to yell at AAA again. They tried to tell me that I would have to pay for the tow and then they would reimburse me. HA! Through much phone calling and talking to supervisors and plain old stubbornness, I didn’t have to pay for the tow. ( I did get a bill a couple of weeks ago for it but that was taken care of quickly and much less emotionally)
Salt Lake City was huge. Itâs this big city, which isnât that new to me, but it is totally flat. We drove down into it at night and it really did look like we were driving into the stars. We had to stock up on water (the dessert will do that to you) and so we found a Wal-Mart. It was downtown and the parking lot was a parking garage. Seriously. The front of the Wal-Mart was totally covered by this two story parking garage. Very different.
So we finally get to California. And it is beautiful. It was actually kind of funny. At the border coming into California, there is a check-point where, I assume, they check for plants from unapproved states and things of that nature. It was closed so I donât know for sure what they did there. But as we left Nevada–which was also beautiful. I felt like I was in a Louis LaâMour book the whole time. Nevada (at least northern Nevada) is cowboy country. We drove through hills that looked just like the area in Silverado where Danny Glover (I canât remember his characterâs name) hides Emmett. It was really neat. But it was dry and somewhat brown and there werenât a lot of trees or anything. So we cross into California and we drive into a forest of tall fir trees and it smells like cedar. It was exactly like the movies Iâve seen of Northern California.
So we drive and drive and drive and finally get to our stopping place for the night. We are only 24 hours behind schedule but it was nearing dusk and we were anxious to get settled for the night. The first hotel we stopped at was $150 a night. Yikes. So I asked who was the cheapest and they sent us to a used up but maintained motel. They wanted $89 plus tax, making it closer to $100. We stopped at a gas station to fill up and I just happened to ask the clerk if she knew of any cheap campgrounds in the area. She gave us directions to a campground–no amenities, first come, first served, $10/night. Our kind of place. We drove down these twisty, steep roads (did I mention that we had a bent rim that caused our tire to go flat between fill-ups and that we were so heavily loaded that we were actually rubbing on our tire?) and finally, just as it got dark enough to really not be able to read signs, we drove into the campground. The campsites edged a small rock-bottomed river (in Iowa we would call it a stream, creek, or brook but in dryer states they call them rivers). We found a campsite, found the check-in box, luckily, I had $10 cash for some reason, and set up our tent in the dark. It was too dark to find the port-a-potty so we used our new found skills and went to bed.
In the morning, we made pot-noodle with hot dogs over a charcoal fire. We emptied one of our coolers and filled it with river water (very, very cold river water). We warmed up a pot of water on the fire and washed with that (after making a very ingenous âcurtainâ with a sheet, some clothesline and the side of our car). âNana washed her hair in the freezing river water and Daughter and I laughed at her. It was a lot of fun but we were glad to get back on the road and headed towards Husband.
We get to the base and try to get a pass. Well, turns out that through someoneâs oversight, mine or the fine state of Missouriâs, we donât have proof of registration for our car. So they call it in and the guy calls back and says that our plates are from a 1976 El Camino belonging to a Mr. Mandez and it hasnât been registered in 7 years. AAARRRRHHHHGGGGG!!!!! But then he ran the plate as a Missouri plate and found our car. Then we watched Daddy finish his workout, gave him a huge hug (sweaty, too, but after 4 weeks of being apart, who really cares?). Then we got checked into our room, and honestly, I donât really remember the next few days. I remember walking to the ocean with âNana and Daughter but I donât remember eating or anything. It was just so good to be in the same city as my husband and not be going anywhere for a while.
So that was our journey to California. It was fun, scary, frustrating, empowering, and above all, it was an adventure and that is a big reason that Hubby joined, was to have adventures. We certainly did.
Tune in next time for my thoughts on Military Life. Housing, Community Service, Gossipy Neighbors, and Pay. Until then, take care and feel free to write, call, send a telegram (singing or not).