The Great Move: The Longest Drive Ever…

The plan, originally, had been to leave our former home as soon as the Boyo got out of school. Then we would drive as far as Pea Soup Anderson’s off the 5. The next day we’d stop in Stockton to visit a friend for lunch, then we’d get a hotel later that night in Oregon, probably near Grant’s Pass. Friday, we would land in Olympia around noon, get the keys for the apartment and settle in. However, I had been smart enough not to book hotel rooms because I knew that there was a very good chance that our plans could change since it all depended on traffic and the whims of a three year old. Since it took so long to pack everything in the trailer and clean, we ended up leaving the OC metro area around seven… and promptly got caught up in LA traffic. As soon as we broke free of that, we found ourselves mired down by traffic leading up to the Grapevine. It was pretty miserable even though I was in good company.Our friend was riding with me, so we chatted while the Boyo played with his iPad. Eventually he grew tired of that and passed out. None of us could blame him – we were all exhausted – but I knew that it might make bedtime rough when we eventually stopped for the night.Once we got into the pass, we were able to make up a bit for lost time. But going through the Grapevine at night is very disorienting. I’d forgotten how long it is, and the darkness makes it feel even longer. It probably didn’t help that about halfway in we decided to stop for food.After our little pit stop, we checked the GPS. It claimed that we had another 3 hours to Pea Soup Anderson’s which meant we would be getting in around 1 or 2 in the morning. It would be rough, but it helped that John and I were used to staying up late. We had done some middle of the night road trips to Vegas and Mammoth when we were younger – this wouldn’t be any different.The Boyo, however, had other plans.As soon as we left the pass, he had a bit of a melt down. He was flat out sick of the car, and who could really blame him? This was the longest drive he had ever gone on.We tried bribing him. It didn’t calm him down. We tried telling him to go back to sleep. He refused. He wanted out of the car, and he wanted out of the car now.We pulled off the freeway and into this tiny town that I can’t even remember the name of. Thankfully one of the hotels had an open room, and they allowed pets. So we checked in, got a key, and led the Boyo up to the room.We, foolishly, thought he would fall asleep as soon as he laid down. Even though he had taken a brief car nap, he had had such a long day that surely, surely, he was just exhausted as we were right?Wrong.Instead he proceeded to bounce off the walls. He hoped from one bed to the next to the chair and then back again. He explored the fridge and bathroom before going back to the beds. We had neglected to realize that 1) he had never stayed in a hotel before so he would be excited about that, especially after watching so many YouTube stars visit hotels and 2) Toddlers can get more hyper as they get tired. Finally, after a lot of milk, a lot of back rubs, and singing, we got him to go to sleep around 1 am. We tried to get some sleep ourselves, but it was hard. The Boyo has sprawled out all catawampus on one of the beds, leaving just enough room for either me or John to sleep. John had to sleep on the floor as a result and I was so worried that Boyo would roll over and fall on him that I kept waking up. Then there were the cats. They prowled around, inspecting everything, before finally disappearing under one of the beds somewhere.So it was a really rough night.We woke up around 8 and tried to clean up as best as we could. Unfortunately it was hard to get into our suitcase due to everything packed on top of it, but at least we could reach our tooth brushes and tooth paste.Once we were somewhat presentable, we loaded the Boyo and the cats back into the car, and checked out of the hotel. After a stop at the gas station, followed by a visit to McDonalds for coffee and McGriddles, we hopped back onto the freeway and braced ourselves for a long day of nothing but farms and cows.So many farms and cows.But on the other side of Sacramento, we were greeted by the sight of Mt Shasta in the distance.Also, the cows had been replaced by wild turkeys. Crazy HUGE wild turkeys that liked to fly (yes FLY) out in to the middle of oncoming traffic. We had to swerve to avoid hitting one.However, the fear of crazy turkeys was soon replaced by the awe of Mt Shasta towering over us.Somewhere nearby, my friend told me, there was a camp ground where trains would regularly drive through the camp. We had planned to stop there to stretch our legs and we figured it would be a nice surprise for the Boyo, because he is crazy about trains. But since we were running behind schedule, and because the Boyo was fast asleep in his car seat, we decided to keep going. We vowed to visit the next time we found ourselves driving through the area.We took a quick break on the other side on Shasta, and discussed where to stop for the night. We all agreed that we should try to make it to Eugene, which was only another four hours away. From Shasta to Eugene is gorgeous country, but the 5 is angled to the east just enough that the setting sun was a pain in the butt. Combine that with being unfamiliar with the area, and I found myself driving a heck of a lost slower. But we finally got to Eugene!We pulled into the hotel parking lot, checked in and then promptly found out that while the pet friendly hotel didn’t accept cats. However the night manager looked the other way while we rolled the cats and our luggage in and on to the elevator. Unfortunately, yet again, we had a very hyper kid on our hands. Not only were we staying at a hotel again, but he had been able to ride on an elevator, and the room we were staying in was a lot bigger AND it had closets. Cue one very crazy three year old running around and playing elevator with the sliding closet doors and two very frazzled parents.Meanwhile I was starting to get homesick. Once we got the Boyo to go to sleep, I tried to discuss things with John, but he didn’t quite understand. I was looking for reassurance that we were doing the right thing and comfort, but instead he thought I just wanted to turn around and head back to California – which wasn’t even remotely close to what I was thinking. Even if it had been, going back wasn’t an option. There was nothing for us there.So that was a rough night.We had talked about stopping and getting Voodoo Donuts in the morning, but by that point we were so tired that we just wanted to get into Washington and get into our apartment. We loaded up, and I promptly handed my keys over to our friend for her to drive. I knew in am hour or so we would be driving through Portland, and while Portland is a very lovely town, some of the overpasses and interchanges scare the bejesus out of me. Friend had volunteered to drive us through that mess and I was so very grateful to just sit in the passenger seat and close my eyes. Repeat after me: Oh HELL no. Thankfully the overpasses of doom are over very quickly and soon we were in our new home state. We pulled over, switched drivers, and started the last leg of the journey. Finally, shortly after 2, we pulled into the apartment complex in Olympia that we would be calling home for the next six months.

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