Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Incredible Journey (Part 12)

The last day of our long, long, long trip...

After debating whether I should stop over in Oregon or just drive straight through to Washington, I decided to go all the way. We had gotten such an early start that we were still going to get to Tacoma by dinnertime.
It's kind of funny, but I got into some trouble in Oregon. I stopped to get gas and didn't realize that Oregon is like New Jersey- you can't pump your own gas. There were no attendants outside so I just pulled up and started pumping, as did the gentleman next to me. Suddenly two attendants rushed out and told us that we were committing a crime and that the service station prosecutes customers who try to pump their own gas because it's against the law. I thought he was joking... but he wasn't. Fortunately they just let me leave (without filling up!) and I drove away wondering what had just happened. I got gas as soon as I crossed into Washington.
Washington was so flat and brown when I crossed the border that I wondered why they call it "The Evergreen State." Within minutes I saw Mt. Hood (I guess?) and Mt. Rainier. Wow. From that far away, I could still see the snow-covered peaks. It was then that I thought I might like Washington.
As we got farther east, the Cascade Mountains appeared and we crossed right through them. Then I got it. So that's why this is "The Evergreen State." Yep, makes sense now.

This place is amazing. So beautiful. Driving through the mountains was so much fun, even with the camper being towed behind us. Finally, after a long day of driving, we arrived and set up camp. The first night I had to dry camp (no hookups at all) but by the following night I was able to get a site with electricity, water, and sewer. And that was home for the next several weeks.
I can now say that I have been to 47 states and my kids have been to 46 states. And my poor, poor van has been right there with us. It looks 20 years old now and has nearly 100,000 miles. (It's a 2006!) What a journey though. What an incredible, awesome journey. I don't regret one bit of it.

It was weird being in Washington without Jason home yet. The anticipation of the journey was over but we were still eagerly awaiting his arrival. The days had passed so quickly when I was driving and now that we were there, the minutes just ticked by so slowly.

We waited. And waited. And waited some more. I knew that there would be a phone call coming to let me know that Jason was coming home. Until then, we waited.
It rained nearly every day at first. It got old really quickly. Plus, we were camping right next to the flight line of an Air Force base, so there were planes taking off and landing every few minutes at times. And, they play taps really, really loud at 10 pm every night. Loud enough to blast you out of bed!
We celebrated the babies' second birthday with (gasp) store-bought cake and cupcakes. It was fun, but Sarah was sick that day so we ended up not eating the cake until the following day.

Sometimes it was hard to keep the little people entertained in the camper. And sometimes they were the entertainment.
Finally, the phone call came. "Your soldier is on their way home..." My kids knew right away what I was hearing because they saw me smiling through the tears. It was finally over.
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