What a Long Strange Trip It’s Been…

I don’t expect anyone has been feverishly refreshing this site to check for new posts, but just in case I’m wrong, let me start by apologizing for the more than two week hiatus I’ve taken. The reason is very simple – we have just completed a cross-country move from Orlando, Florida to Salt Lake City, Utah! That’s right, we are now officially Utahans.

And while every move is stressful and full of various difficulties, let me tell you something that is definitely TRUE: Driving across the country with two toddlers, a heavily pregnant and VERY hormonal female and two sweaty men in one minivan over four days and with a ton of problems before and behind you is quite possibly the worst thing you can attempt in the heat of summer. If you can possibly help it, do not do it.

I don’t want to bore you with all of the details, but suffice it to say that the move did not go as easily as we had hoped. It entailed a lot more expense than we’d budgeted and we basically had to leave behind almost everything. Add to that the fact that we’ve not yet finished getting the Florida house ready to rent, and the additional stress of our Utah house being uninhabitable when we arrived, and you might find some sympathy for us.

And other than the incredibly levels of stress we dealt with, I will say that the trip itself was pretty epic. I think it’s kind of cool that the kids got to see so much of the country, despite their young age. And you know how much we love road trips around here.

If you follow me on Instagram, you might have seen the photos I posted along the way, and if not, you’re about to get a brief recap of some of our favorites from Epic Road Trip 2014™.

Firstly, let me tell you, we went through NINE states on this trip! Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado and Utah! I loved getting photos and video of each state as we passed because it made it feel more like a great adventure and less like a stress-filled panic-inducing terror voyage.

State Welcome Signs

And we got to experience some of the most beautiful scenery you can imagine. Swampland, rivers, mountains, desert, plains, sunsets and more. It was gorgeous. Every state has SOMETHING going for it. And while I wasn’t much impressed with some of the traffic we dealt with in the cities (cough… Austin… cough), I was able to appreciate the rich tapestry of each new scene and how it melted one into the other to create a memory I will never forget.

Traveling across the southern states

And it was a LOT of driving. As in about 2600 miles! Again, I will point out that our party was comprised of 2 fidgety toddlers, one hefty pregnant chick and two burly men. In a minivan. Which was filled to the brim with clothes, computers, food and housewares. Want to see our first day mileage? Yah… I don’t recommend this…

First day mileage for epic road trip

My kids behaved pretty well for the most part. Dexter spent the majority of the time coloring or playing with toys, and Daniel took several naps each day. And we had movies on the tablet so they could watch TV whenever they got fussy. I think the official viewings stand thusly:

Frozen – 4 times
A Bug’s Life – 3 times
Despicable Me – 4 times
Bolt – 6 times

I’m sure there were more, but I pretty much blocked it all out now.

Keeping kids occupied on long road trip

Whenever things got a little stressful (who am I kidding? I was stressed beyond reason for pretty much the entire time!), I tried to focus on the cool stuff we were doing. Like getting to see/cross some pretty famous rivers, for instance.

Road trip including crossing the Mississippi and seeing the Rio Grande

Or crossing off a few items on my bucket list. Like seeing an official Andy Warhol installation in Eastland, TX or visiting Lubbock, TX, home of the legendary Buddy Holly. And even getting to go by Fort Sumner, wherein lies the grave of Billy the Kid. EPIC.

Some items off my bucket list!

There were even some funny signs at one of the rest stops we hit, and I enjoyed them immensely.

Funny signs at a rest stop

And while I let my hormones get pretty aggressive at times, Mark was always thinking of how to make it easier on me, and I couldn’t be more in love with him if I tried. That man is a SAINT to put up with me. Seriously.

Husband and wife selfies

One of the funniest things that happened on this trip was when we were driving across Texas. I don’t know if you’ve ever done it yourself, but our route took us across the Llano Estacado, or Staked Plains, and what is there is a whole lotta nothing. So when Dexter decided he needed the toilet, LIKE NOW, we were forced to turn to that timeless male tradition of peeing on the side of the road. Mark took him to a nearby bush and explained how to do his business, and we all kept our fingers crossed for him not to piss on a rattlesnake. When he was done, the kid was WAY excited, and for the rest of the journey, he kept asking if he could “pee in the grass…. like a MAN.”

Yes, I got a photo…

Peeing on the side of the road in Texas

The worst part of the whole trip was on the second to last day when Daniel managed to vomit all over himself and the car. We had intended to drive a few more hours that evening, but the smell made it impossible. And so the WHOLE last day, despite our best efforts at cleaning, we were forced to endure that particular vile smell that accompanies toddler sick.

Perhaps the best part of the whole trip was on the last day, when we were able to cross a HUGE item off my bucket list. I’ve ALWAYS wanted to stand on Four Corners – the site where four states (Arizona, Colorado, Utah and New Mexico) all meet. Amazingly, despite growing up so close to it, neither Mark nor his friend Flint (who was accompanying us on this Epic Road Trip 2014™) had ever actually been there before! So we went out to the monument, paid $5 per adult to enter and stood in line in the HOT HOT DESERT to take a couple quick photos on the monument. TOTALLY worth it.

Standing on Four Corners - where Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Utah meet.

And then we made the final 450 mile journey into the Salt Lake valley. As we arrived, I snapped this photo of my new city so that I could have a record of the day I made it my home.

My new home - Salt Lake City

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Katie Reed

Katie Reed

Katie Reed is a 38 year old mom blogger from Salt Lake City, UT. She is married to the man of her dreams and together they have four beautiful boys. Dexter is 9, Daniel is 7, Chester is 5 and Wilder is 2. She writes about living with mental health issues while navigating motherhood. Her blog focuses on tips and tricks for moms, information and parenting news, kid-friendly recipes and crafts. She loves to reflect on the humorous side of parenthood and shares the reality of her life, with a "warts and all" attitude.

3 Responses

  1. Wow sounds mammoth – well done you! I once did the North of England to the South of France (no where near as Mammoth as yours) but I remember the first day was fine, it was the next day that was really hard so to survive 4!!!

  2. Thanks for sharing your road trip. I am thinking of doing the same trip too but it will be a roundtrip journey.
    Enjoyed the information your shared. ;0

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