Sunday, September 05, 2010
Across the U.S.
We decided this summer to pack the car and travel for a 2 week period across the country, seeing the United States and visiting family. The husband had tons of vacation time, and the kids were out of school, so we hit the road. People thought we were crazy, spending that much time in the car with kids. The thing is, why wouldn't we do it? Kids are adaptable. Riding in the car is not the most fun thing to do especially for over 5000 miles, but what we see and where we go is. My kids comfort level is not my main concern. Showing them about life is. So we did it.
The kids were mesmerized by the lights of Las Vegas, the sun rising over the Utah mountains. They complained of their ears popping in Colorado's altitude and we enjoyed the sweetest little visit with my grandparents who practically live in the orange and pink rocks of Garden of the Gods. The girls made green chile and ate as many ice cream cones as their tummies could handle, while watching the deer wander the yard behind them. All my childhood memories flooded back to sitting in the same spot, smelling the marigolds.
From there, we experienced the corn, sunflowers and Mother nature even tossed a mini tornado from the sky for us in Kansas. Missouri had the largest bugs, the most traffic and the big arch. The girls wanted nothing to do with going inside it, but sweated like crazy at 8 in the morning as we checked it out. We made a wrong turn in Illinois, where they marveled at little towns. Indiana was just a pass thru and then into Ohio. I wondered what they would remember, and what they thought. Oldielocks remembered the most, even the way to get to Grandma's house. We visited our old house, which didn't feel the least like it was ever ours. Oldielocks visited her old school and we all laughed at the changes and how some things never change. It was hot, and you would have thought it was the end of the world. Nobody goes outside in the summer and nobody goes outside in the winter. My kids didn't mind the heat and we spent many hours in the garden eating tomatoes, walking the streets and just enjoying.
Off to Michigan we went, to a small little town for a visit with the husbands grandfather. We spent time with an old game of lawn jarts, and exploring the run down property next door. We headed to the husbands little hometown and the girls played in the river he once played in too.
Kentucky has the nicest people you will ever meet. So sweet and just plain kind. I want to bottle up some Kentuckians and spread them around the U.S. Tennessee was beautiful and we stopped to see Elvis but it was Elvis week and well, crowded. We spent the night in Mississippi, which put on a heat lightning show just for us.
Louisiana always has so much to explore. We headed down to New Orleans and hung out on St. Charles drinking soda and sweating. But the houses always make me smile and the kids love spotting beads in all the silly little places. It rained a few days while we were there, so when it rains, we go shopping. We spent a day tubing and the kids absolutely loved it.
Texas was long, hot and dusty. San Antonio was intriguing, and we all went to the Alamo. And the Riverwalk. And Coyote Ugly Saloon. I am all about equal opportunity.
New Mexico was the land of my people. We woke up and stopped to grab some green chiles. We visited the adobes with bright blue doors. And even in Wal Mart I saw the faces that warm me, similiar characteristics to my own family.
Arizona was long. And of course hot. We stopped and visited with the cactus while our sandals melted in the asphalt.
The ride was longest back into California. And dirty and I think we were just done. But it was so worth it. We had fun, as our family of five. And they got to see what a big world there is out there, but mostly and most importantly I hope they learned that people matter. I have always strived to make people matter. Sure we could have spent the money on things. We could have made excuses and just said it wasn't important as other things are. But that's just not true. My kids will always learn people first.