This was my email to Calvin last Sunday night... (same day we got home)
We left Sat afternoon (Aug 8) at 2:30 and drove* all night and all day Sunday until about 8 pm.
*(mainly Papa, of course, but Olivia, me, & Josie too, and even Carmen took a tiny turn)
~ Drove through Wyoming, Nebraska, Iowa - (just a little corner), Missouri, Illinois, & Indiana...
~ Stayed in great hotel Sun night in New Albany, IN (across river from Louisville, KY)
~ Another 9 hour drive on Mon - through Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia, then North Carolina (to O & B's place in "Garner" right by Raleigh).
...Everywhere from Iowa to NC was hot, humid, lush, GREEN, & beautiful! And you said it - lots of big rivers, that are often the borders. I was surprised by HOW many total states were involved in getting there!! (Of course, I hadn't stopped my busy bump & grind to glance at a map beforehand - i also knew Papá was on it). But we'd only decided late Friday afternoon that Ash & I would drive out with them the following day....
Yes! RIGHT choice?... HELLO! ("it's called a lance, HELLO" -- name that movie).
Sean talked us into taking a GPS he just bought while in LA the week before (he stayed home to work and hold down the fort while we were gone)... We LOVED that GPS!! Can't believe how much we used it and were amazed by its wide variety of helpful features/uses!
~ Mon eve: went out for late meal (in Garner?), then left B&O to themselves and stayed in hotel.
~ Tues: unloaded trailer, set up their big flat file thing, and put away boxes, etc). Even made it to a nearby Target for a few essentials, before heading to Jordan's in Durham for dinner! Yes, a total treat - not only a home-cooked meal after being on the road for days, but a Kurt, Becky, & Jordan deliciously perfect meal - - just great to be with them again too.
~ Wed was our wonderful beach day! (via Wilmington). MUY good for my Nor Cal soul, and great fun to see kids loving it as well.
~ Thurs we hung out, played games, went to Home Depot to get them a new fridge (Papá' insisted!) on our way to inspiring art museum - NCMA - We ALL loved it! Had a fabulous casual italian dinner at a place Ben picked from, you guessed it, the GPS list!
~ Fri morn we said our sad goodbyes :'( and headed back to same nice hotel in IN. We swam w/ kids, got Chinese food delivered, and slept very well in 2 adjoining rooms. (Papa & I even had time & space to ourselves!) - It dawned on me what a nice feeling it was, after paying our parenting dues for years... to be able to have the youngest 4 fit comfortably in a room w/ 2 big beds, and be old enough to easily get along w/out us!
~ Saturday the planets kept aligning for us all day long! First in getting up and out early - then in making a 15 min stop at Trader Joe's in St Louis, (almost as essential for my soul as the beach :) and finally in enjoying church history sites: Independence and Liberty Jail. And to make it even more special, there at Liberty Jail Visitors Center Josie got to meet up w/ Lizzy, who moved to Missouri last summer AND we 'happened to' get there just in time to help an excellent Japanese Sister Missionary tour guide by translating her inspiring presentation for a very interested Spanish-speaking family that "happened to" be from Ecuador!! (Same country where we "happened to" have gone on our missions!) - and it was in that small sunk- in jail cell that Joseph Smith 'happened to' receive the revelation that a young woman from Ecuador realized she just 'happened to' need to hear in that moment of her life. (As per her words to me right before we parted, as she hugged me and thanked me for coming in right when she needed my help).
After the jail and a kids-picked Wendy's fest we headed on down the long trail home w/out stopping to sleep - (all through last night) and arrived home at noon today!. 15 mins later most of us were at church having already missed the first half of YW presented Sac mtg. After church we opened your fun package :) told Sean ALL our stories, shared good London & Trader Joe's chocolate, and napped...
We web-cammed with Olive and Ben this evening... I miss them already.