Leaving Colorado, we were excited to be so much closer to Washington. We were just days away from Jason's return. Things were great... until we spent the night in Wyoming.
Wyoming is really windy and it was annoying to tow the camper with such strong winds threatening to blow us off the road. The camper has a sway bar to control how much the camper sways in situations like this, but it was still unnerving.
We had a rough start to the day, with 3 stops on 3 consecutive interstate exits. There was a potty stop, a camper adjustment stop, and then another potty stop for someone who swore they didn't have to go at the first exit just ten minutes earlier. At the last stop, Matthew reported a strange sound coming from the back of the van. This isn't unusual- the sway control squeaks a bit if we're turning a bit and I was getting back onto the exit ramp from the shoulder. I should have stopped to check it out, but I didn't.
The last night at my dad's house resulted in yet another black eye. This time it was Ryan, who bumped his cheek on my dad's marble coffee table. The worst part is that he was on my lap, with my dad sitting right next to us, and I couldn't grab him in time. It was terrible. My dad promised he'd be a witness for me when they come take me away for child abuse. (Joking, of course!)
Have I ever mentioned that giant windmills freak me out? It's one of my quirks I guess.
When we got to our (civilian) campground that night, everything seemed ok. However, I woke up in the morning to a really rotten day. First, I noticed that our cat was missing. He was nowhere to be seen! I searched the camper and determined that he was not just hiding somewhere. Then I searched the campground for 2 hours, calling his name over and over. The campground was next to a river and in a small town, but there were railroad tracks nearby and I'm sure the coyotes were not far away either. We were devastated. After leaving my name and number with the camp hosts (with instructions to call so I could come back to get the cat) we made the tough decision to leave. As the camp host pointed out, I could have waited for days and not found Pilchard. It was best to keep moving and they'd call if they found him so I could come to pick him up. I was so upset I could barely drive.
As it turns out, I received a letter a few weeks ago. It was from the camp hosts in Wyoming. They wanted to let me know that they had found Pilchard's body in the pasture next to the campground. They thought he'd been hit by a car. They buried him for us. I then had to explain to the kids that Pilchard was not coming back. That was so sad.
As if losing the cat wasn't enough, I also discovered that the strange sound Matthew had heard the day before was apparently our weight distributing bar on the towing hitch coming off. It was gone. A huge, heavy metal bar just gone. And then, even better, I discovered that there was an error with Jason's pay that day and he was not paid. This also happened to be the day that our mortgage payments came out. I ended up spending the day at the Air Force base trying to get it fixed, to no avail. Just my luck. And then Jason called to tell me that he was going to arrive a few days later than expected.
Fortunately, Utah was our stop that night and it was beautiful. We've been there before, but never to Salt Lake City. We watched the fighter jets doing fly bys over the campground and explored downtown. At this point I was still anxiously waiting for a call about Pilchard so I was having a hard time enjoying our surroundings. Lucky for us, we were able to get together with another awesome, crazy family with two sets of twins. (And their youngest set of twins are also Nathan and Ryan. Weird, huh?)
Our kids played so well together and it was so wonderful to actually meet someone else with two sets of twins the same ages as mine. The time passed too quickly and I wish we could have stayed in SLC longer. I was surprised at how much I really loved SLC.
When I saw this photo my first thought was "Why am I still wearing a t-shirt I wore in high school?" First thing tomorrow, I am getting rid of that shirt. I'm a mom, not a skater girl. Good grief.
Matthew and Sydney hit it off right away. I'm not sure which one of them was in charge but there were both ordering each other around and having so much fun. Typical first-born kids.
The next morning we hit the road and headed for Idaho. I'm not sure what I expected to see in Idaho. It wasn't what I expected though. It was actually wide open and the sky was clear and blue. And I didn't see any potatoes... although, I have been informed that they are definitely there somewhere.
We stopped in Twin Falls for lunch. We had to do it.
We drove over this really high (kind of scary) bridge that crosses the Snake River.
And we explored.
We played with tumbleweed.
And then I started to get nervous that someone would fall over the edge so we hit the road again.
That night we stayed in Idaho and watched the fighter jets circling the sky.
The kids colored with sidewalk chalk.
The babies locked us out of the camper and Matthew had to "break in" by climbing in through the storage compartment. Good times.
I woke up to the sound of coyotes in a field nearby. I watched the sun rise over the mountains. I made myself a vanilla latte and loaded the kids into the van. More driving. New places. We were almost to Washington. Almost there...