Saturday, June 11, 2011

road trip.

North Dakota.Minnesota.

Yep, that's 1800 miles and 30+ hours of driving. In a U-Haul.  Lots and lots of road ahead of us.

My daughter graduated from college and after all of the fun and festivities came the hard work - packing, loading up the truck and starting the long drive home.  We had a small, 10 foot U-Haul truck and it seemed to be brand new and it was actually quite comfortable and easy to drive.  We loved the fact that on the back of the truck was a photo of a mother and daughter as if to say, "see, it's so easy that even moms and daughters can do it!"  And we did.

Along for the ride - a fish.  If you know my daughter at all you know that she's an animal lover and it probably doesn't suprise you to know that she had a pet to bring along.  J-WOW rode along in a travel cup.  2 coffees and a fish.  We were lucky that there were 3 cup holders in the truck!

We have driven this route many times - 3 times we drove from Minnesota to Oregon and 4 times I drove from Oregon back to Minnesota.  That means that I have made the drive 7 times in 4 years, and that's enough.

Every trip we have made some of the same stops - creatures of habit that we are.  One stop is always in Wallace, Idaho.  The first time we must have needed gas and just ended up there; after that it was such a cute little town, perched on the side of a mountain that it became one of our favorite stops.  On the sidewalk in Wallace there's a wood cut-out made for photos and we have taken our picture there using a timer every time we have stopped.  Sometimes the timer shots don't quite work out as shown below as Emily races to get in place.

One side note about Wallace:  One of Emily's professor who was also her advisor was born in Wallace!

Another annual stop is in Ritzville, Washington.  The first year we made the drive we were looking for a place to stop for the night and when we saw Ritzville on the map we figured it would be a great place to stay.  Turns out we were wrong.  Ritzville is not ritzy.  We ended up driving for 2 more hours that year to find a decent hotel.  It became an annual stop for gas and coffee because we love to hate Ritzville.

Speaking of coffee, we got behind this truck and we were racing to catch it.  Desperate times call for desperate measures.  We were not successful but we got a great photo.

Now this was a great sight . . . you are now entering Minnesota!  YAY!  It was a long drive and we were exhausted and so happy to be back in the Land of 10,000 lakes.

We now have a great fondness for U-Hauls.  You might think that after that long drive we would never want to see one again, but we both feel a bit sentimental about U-Hauls.  Go figure.  Driving down the interstate we waved at every U-Haul we met - we felt a real kinship with other U-Haulers.  We talked about starting some kind of group; U-Haulers Unite or We Love U-Haul.  Hey, it's a long drive and you have to talk about something!!

All in all it was a great trip.  Good bonding time for mother and daughter, beautiful scenery and challenges we faced and conquered together.  We listened to many, many podcasts (This American Life, The Moth, etc.) and lots of music along the way.   We talked about what the future holds for my daughter, we argued about little things when we were tired, we drank lots of coffee and we ate lots of Subway sandwhiches and sunflower seeds.  Good times.

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