My Dad is getting married (Mar 20th) to a wonderful woman we call Betts. My Mom died 5-1/2 years ago. Betts is wonderful and a perfect match for my Dad. So, with this marriage, there is a merging of 2 homes. My Dad is moving into her house and clearing out his. He has already moved once since my Mom died. Most of the old house was cleaned out, condensed and repackaged into his new, smaller house. Now, he is repacking, condensing and downsizing his holdings to move into Betts house. The reason I ramble is coming. My Mom painted these large paintings when she was younger that my Dad has hanging on his walls. One goes to my brother, Scott and the other goes in my house. They are large and I can never fit them in my car while I am visiting with the kids. So, I took the seats out of the minivan and drove to California to get them. I could of had him ship them, but then I wouldn't have been able to take my mini vacation and spend time with my family.
My short adventure began Friday morning. I left Seattle at 9am, I arrived in Redding at 6:30pm. Yes, it takes 9-1/2 hours (without kids) for me to drive 600 miles. I made a stop in Kalama for coffee, food, gas and bathroom. I didn't stop again until 1/2 way through Oregon (the longest state in the US when you are driving).
My biggest worry was driving over the highest pass with snow bearing down on the region. My goal is to get over the pass before dark when the road starts to freeze. I barely made it, but it was a great time to go over with some beautiful white mountain views.
Of my favorite sights along I-5, these are my favorite. The Siskiyou pass means I've made it through the worst of the snow areas without needing to put on chains. The "Welcome to California" sign means I'm almost there and I've made it through the longest state. (I realize it's not the longest, but it's 308 miles long. At 60mph, it should only take 5 hours. I've never made it out in under 5-1/2 and usually it takes 7hrs. I swear there is a time warp somewhere in the state).
Finally, this picture....this picture...is home. I know I am home when I see Mt. Shasta. This beautiful mountain was my compass for 18 years. I knew which way was North when I spotted. I knew I was near my hometown and my safe place while in college. I know it's where I can relax and pretend life has stopped. I am home and I am on vacation!! My camera on my phone doesn't do it justice, but I smile everytime I see this mountain.
So, I made it to my Dad's house and it is empty. It's pretty strange, but he's only lived here 2 years, so I didn't attach my sentimentality to it. We went to dinner Friday night and everyone arrived at Betts house, at the same time. Betts worked a dinner for membership for Turtle Bay (great place to visit in Redding), my brother, Bryan and my sister-in-law, Robin arrived from Sacramento and my Dad and I pulled up to the house at the same time.
Saturday was moving day. I'm very proud to say, I didn't take everything I could from his house. Marc was a little worried. I placed 2 bookshelves in the van (can never have enough bookshelves), my Moms paintings and 2 boxes of books, photo albums, food blender and a few knick knacks. Some of the stuff is going to my brothers, Scott's, house. My van looked rather empty. But, it's enough. I realize a home is made of memories, a house is full of stuff. We loaded up our cars and went back to Betts house.
This is where the vacation fun started. I unboxed the Wii Fit Plus and showed my Dad how to play. My Dad, my brother, Bryan and I took turns playing the different games. We had tears in our eyes creating each others characters for the Wii (only because we were exaggerating any body part we could). We had dinner and searched for cruises to go on this year. Of course, there are a million other little things that happen, but for your eyes, I am trying to limit the length.
Sunday morning Betts made breakfast (again). It was delicious and I was not looking forward to the drive home. I finally dragged myself to the car and headed for the freeway. I was hoping to avoid the freezing temperatures and snow on the way home. The benefit of driving North is that the worst of the mountains and weather is at the beginning of the trip, instead of the end. I made it over Shasta Lake and it started to snow. Not a lot of snow, but enough to make me nervous. I stuck it out and after the town of Weed, CA, the snow stopped.
Before Weed, there was 2 feet of snow on the sides of the freeway, after Weed, there was nothing. No snow at all. It was REALLY windy though. Sitting in my car at the rest stop, I could feel the wind moving my car and bouncing it. Walking at the rest stop was just as strange. It was almost difficult to walk into the wind because it was blowing so hard.
I made it out of Weed and up the mountains to Siskiyou Summit. The snow was barely falling, but the clouds were thick. The trucks were stopping at the top, but I kept pushing on. Once over the summit, the clouds cleared, the road was freshly covered in gravel and I made it down the summit without speeding or slipping.
The rest of my drive was fairly uneventful. I had to stop a few extra times. My back and legs were not happy to be driving again for so long. This was a good test as to whether or not a can push myself to drive the kids cross country in a week. I'm thinking we might need 2 weeks so that we can have a day of driving, followed by a day of play. To pass the time in the car alone, I listened to music and then movies. I brought some of my favorite movies to put in the DVD player. They were movies I've seen enough times that I can picture them so that I can listen to the dialogue and not watch the movie. Luckily, the DVD player is installed behind my head or I would have been tempted to look. Movies like "Mamma Mia and Under the Tuscun Sun" are fine to listen to. "Sliding Doors", not so much. There is too much going on that I wanted to peek and see where the movie was. I realized that movies have a lot of music over scenes that are great to watch, but very hard to visualize. It did make the time go much quicker though.
My travel time ended up being 10-1/2 hours. I got home at 9:30pm. The kids were happy to see me and I was happy to see them. I missed my bed and family. I love taking a mini vacation though to remind me how wonderful ALL my family is.