Monday, July 3, 2017

What's in my car?

Driving 2 vehicles across country can pose it's challenges, but they are generally mild. You must juggle refueling and maintain speeds so you can stay together, mostly. But throw in 2 small children in one car and a dog in the other, and you've got a show fit for a circus.
The front has essentials for us: food, medicine, cameras, and water. The middle has plenty of entertainment for both the kids. Also has the trash bag intended for Gabe to put his own trash. Whether or not he can actually reach it, he says he can't and that I must put his trash in the bag. They have their water bottles in their seats. Books at Gabriel's feet. The back has their suitcase, the pack 'n play, the dirty clothes bag, and the cooler (now after some rearranging between the cars).

It is a great setup. If we get separated from Evan, the kids are set for survival without him if we ever have to split from him. But someone could convince them that they are fine back there and that would make my job easier.

We wake up each morning, get dressed, eat breakfast in the hotel (that's a different story), pack up and load the car, then hit the road. I have not even put the car in reverse before either one asks for a snack. Seriously. They just ate and ask me for food. Sometimes I prolong giving them food by telling them to wait until we get going, or after our first stop, or after a time on the clock. Gabriel is great at remembering I promised him food, so he usually asks continually until I give them food. And once one has a snack, the other asks for food too.

We have to play some sort of game or else it is a bunch of questions on where we are and if we are in VA yet. So, I taught him 20 Questions. And it has been pretty fun. He thinks of some objects that are not around except for in his head. It is fascinating to figure out what he was thinking of (think "constellations," "whales"). We also play games of "Eye Spy," "What Do These Numbers Add Up To?", "What Letter Makes This Sound?", and a fun-for-Gabriel game that is what I call "Crying Wolf" that came about when he had the walkie-talkie and I needed it urgently to speak to Evan. I asked then demanded it back and he thought it was hilarious to hand me other objects from the backseat. So, we play that game sometimes now and I know it's a game.

Most of my time is spent between the kids. Getting them food, water, and toys they can't reach. If I am swerving on the road it is because I'm trying to reach it too. Oh, navigating too. Evan and I usually switch daily on who is lead car. It had been 10 minutes? More food please! Gabriel did you go potty before we left the hotel? YES! I you need to go potty? NO! Can I have more to eat? Can you give me the tablet? Daddy?! Banor! Gone? Snack! Mommy, I need to go potty. Hey, Evan, we need to pull over. Can I take my blanket? No, it's too hot. But I need it to stay warm! No, you'll get germs on it. Oh. Can I take the tablet? No. Can I take a picture? No, people don't like their picture taken in the bathroom.

And that's the first 30 minutes.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

How did it get so hot?

Last we had left off we had moved out of our house on the 23rd
When you don't have furniture but Netflix is life
Today is the 27th.
We only left CA at 1PM (PST) on the 26th...

So what have we been doing with ourselves?

Well the first day we made the long haul all the way to Fresno. All two and a half hours of it.

Apparently 30 minutes into the trip Gabe asked Jennifer if we in Virginia.  Not 5 minutes later he asked her if we were still in California.

This was shaping up to be a very long trip.

The first REAL day we went to the Forest Moon of Endor aka Sequoia National Park. We even brought our own Ewoks.
Actual footage of Jennifer and I (in white) handling Gabriel and Alistair...

Yub Nub
While there we saw General Grant and General Sherman trees, the latter of which is the largest tree in the world. This fact would have been even more impressive if I wasn't trying to catch my breath at 7000 feet above sea level. As a Sailor for the last 7 years, you could say I have become acclimatized to a grand height of 10 feet above sea level.... so yeah
Why does he look like he is plotting something with that Pinecone?
He knows he is supossed to stay on the trail
The largest tree in the world "General Sherman"
It actually took us FOREVER to do the Park, mostly because the 7000 ft descent on the South side we were going out. Pretty much 10 mph of switchbacks and winding roads.
Its like a view from a car commercial. But not a closed course. So yeah, you get stuck behind the guy riding his breaks and never going above 5 mph.
"Despair all ye who enter"
We loaded up and went to Bakersfield that night to start our trek into the desert the next day.
First stop, the Cesar Chavez National Monument, because nothing is more exciting to small children than a 1960s labour leader and his grave site. 
But Jennifer and I will be damned if we miss an opportunity for a National Park Passport stamp.
Can't you tell they are captivated?
At least he stopped to smell the flowers. There was also a "Bundy" Rabbit that Alistair found.
 We then crossed into the wasteland.
And it wouldn't be a Valdyke trip if we didn't see something Volcanic.

What a good looking fella

I feel soooo bad for this guy at times. Black fur and over 100 out.
We then wen to Manzanar War Relocation Camp. One of the darker parts of US history, this is one of the locations they forced Japanese Americans to live during WWII. What sadistic person thought just outside Death Valley was a suitable place to force people to live I don't know, but I want to punch the guy.
The plates are still there. Thousands of games were played on this feild.

Memorial to the 150 Americans that died in the camp.
That is Mt. Whitney as seen from our hotel. Yes it has Snow on it. Yes we were taking the photos from 104 degree weather. Yes, that doesn't make sense.

We then did DEATH VALLEY. Gabe was very concerned by the name and didn't want anyone to die.
We said he had better behave then.
Gabe said he wanted to go to the beach
I has sands.
We even put them in swimwear so we could pour water onto them to keep them cool.
We gave Gabe a disposable camera to take his own pictures with. There are going to be grand sights mixed in with random rocks and trees and tables when we get that developed.
Much more my speed.
What a pleasant place.

People actually used to work here. Near a boiler. In Death Valley....

Baron's quarters for the trip. Trying to stay cool in the shade. And crushing my cups while at it.
We missed this at the entrance, so got it at the exit.
That'd it for now. Next up, Hoover Dam and Grand Canyon!