Friday, August 27, 2010

August 27, 2010 -- Home Sweet Home

We are back at home in Pickering. The last couple weeks of our trip still had some new adventures in store for us.

We left New Mexico for Amarillo, Texas and it was a good drive and very hot outside. The RV park in Amarillo was called Fort Amarillo and they had a catch and release pond. So Tom dug out the 2 fishing rods he bought months ago and surprised the girls with them. They practiced casting in the empty lot beside us (it is blazing hot). Later after swimming in the indoor pool they went fishing. Sophia caught her first fish (a little catfish) and Tom helped her land it. Jessica caught a koi but it came off before we could land it. Needless to say this was very exciting and made memories we'll all treasure. We went out for excellent Mexican food for dinner -- the best fajitas ever. The next morning we got up at 6am to try the fishing again and despite an hour of trying there were no bites. It was one of our quietest hours ever though on this trip as we explained to Jessica and Sophia that fishing is a quiet activity and they shouldn't talk. Our girls are talkers and if they are not watching a movie, playing their Leapster or sleeping it's non-stop chatter. So it was a little odd, but peaceful, to spend this time with them in the cool Texas morning quietly sitting at the pond.

We left Amarillo for Oklahoma City. The tow car lights were not working so we made a quick stop at Home Depot for sandpaper and Tom managed to fix the connection on the tow bar. One thing about a trip this long there are little things that crop up and you have to expect to reschedule as you go. As it was we were into Oklahoma City, hooked up at Twin Fountains RV Resort and decided to go to the Memorial. I like hot weather but this was ridiculous -- the humidity was insane and in about 1/2 a minute you'd be soaked in sweat being outside. Being outside, even in the shade was not even an option so it was either stay in the RV or go out somewhere. Tom and I were finishing up our last year of University and securing jobs at EDS when the bombing happened April 19, 1995. As we parked the car, getting ready to go to the Memorial we were still in vacation mode -- relaxed and happy , not thinking a sad thought. We parked beside a church and I noticed a statue of Jesus and a plaque saying "...and He wept" but didn't realize why it was there. We saw later that statue was erected for those who died. As we crossed up in the heat of the afternoon into the entrance and through the 9:03am gate we gazed into one of the most peaceful spaces I've ever seen with a long reflecting pool and the 9:01am gate of time at the other side, trees, immaculate lawn and flowers and to the right a chair for each victim -- all 168 people. At this moment we were in another space and time, no longer carefree but immersed in the tragedy that happened here and the lives lost. The chairs were heartbreaking, each with a name engraved as they seem to float above the lawn and the most tragic were the smaller chairs for the children who died. The Memorial Museum was run by the National Park Service and our NPS passports were stamped as a token to remember this day. The Museum is laid out in a timeline starting early in the morning as people got to work, and kids dropped off at daycare, then to the 9:02am bombing and chaos afterwards, news reports and newspaper clippings, rescue workers and family accounts, a funeral area with a picture of each victim and personal artifacts -- I especially found it hard to see the children and babies, and finally to the forensics evidence and arrests and building of the memorial itself. This was one of the most touching parts of our trips and won't be forgotten.

We decided it was too crazy hot in Oklahoma City and left the next morning for St. Louis. We picked a park on the Illinois side called Casino Queen and it was a great park. Lots of security, fully paved and level. St. Louis was a little bizarre in how quiet and deserted it seemed on a Monday morning but all night sirens seemed to be going so we were glad of our RV park security. The arch was cool and we went up in a little pod to the top (630ft) and the girls completed another Junior Ranger program as the Gateway Museum. The Arch is to commemorate all the people who crossed over there to settle the West after the Louisiana Purchase. St. Louis was the first site of the US Olympics and introduced the hamburger, hot dog and ice cream cone at the 1904 World Fair.

After St. Louis it was on to Birch Run, Michigan. This was our longest driving day of the trip since July 1, 2010 at 9 hours of driving time. We left at 6:00am CT and arrived at 5:00pm ET -- not bad considering 2 stops for gas. I made egg muffins for breakfast, chicken quesadilla wraps for lunch -- all while Tom was driving at 65 mph. We had breaded Tilapia fillets for dinner with green beans, peas and brown rice for dinner -- but we were camped out by that time! We're trying to use up all our food before we cross the border the next day.

We took the girls for our first family mini-golf across the street. The next morning it's hard to adjust to the time change and I took the girls for some back-to-school shopping at Birch Run Outlet Mall and then we headed back home , reaching Pickering around 6pm.

It was very nice to come back home again, the girls were excited to see their rooms and toys and play dress-up. We have a really nice home and being away a little makes us appreciate even more.

This was an amazing trip --we did so many "firsts" as a family -- hiking trip in Wyoming, biking trip in California, helicopter ride in Washington, raft ride in Neveda, fishing in Texas, mini-golf in Michigan and I'm sure I'm forgetting something. We crossed 16 states. The girls did 11 Junior Ranger Programs. Our favourite family road trip songs include now Take It Easy (now we've stood on the corner in Winslow, Arizona) and Margaritaville (as we've eaten dinner there and seen the girl slide into the giant blender). Besides being fun and relaxing I felt like we took a University course to learn about the world we live in -- but first hand. We learned about nature, forestry, geology, so many animals from birds to land to ocean and river and history. John Muir is now one of my favourite historical figures.

Well it's back to reality now -- cleaning, grocery shopping, laundry and back to work next week. I'll have lots of memories to treasure.

1 comment:

  1. Lovely post. You have given your children (and yourselves) some lifetime memories that you will refer to time and again.Congratulations and here's hoping (lifting wine glass in the air) to many more memorable trips in the future. We have enjoyed reading your blog and can't wait to get together to hear more details,
    Daryl and Mike