Weekend Road Trip

Our trip is over and I went back to work today…what a crazy weekend!! I traded shifts with Bob on Friday so I could be off by three thirty, which gave me just enough time to stop at Costco for cat litter, take a shower, and pack my stuff. We were on the road by six, with a quick stop at Wendy’s for dinner. Paul did the first round of driving. I ate my dinner, and tried to fall asleep early (which should have been easy, since I woke up at five-thirty that morning). The sleeping didn’t go so well, so I dozed at best until about two-thirty in the morning when we switched places and it was my turn to drive.

I happened to take the wheel just in time to drive through the Siskiyou mountain range. This can be a nerve-wracking place to drive in the winter, as it’s prone to snowstorms. In fact, outrageous snow in that same mountain pass was the reason we got stuck in Redding on our move up to Washington. That morning, though, it was free of snow but full of fog. I had to slow down considerably to be able to see where I was going, and despite downing a Red Bull and a 5 hour energy shot, I felt myself fighting sleep by six-thirty and had to trade places with Paul. He’d already driven for eight and a half hours, but he dutifully took over and I passed out in the passenger seat.

I woke up about an hour later, when Paul was pulling into a Starbucks. My knee was throbbing, and I was worried that I’d hurt it during my workouts all week. I really hoped it’d loosen up once I’d had sleep in a real bed and resigned myself to pain for the remainder of the day.

Please note: this did not stop me from complaining about the pain in my knee periodically, just to let Paul know that yes, it still hurt.

I drove the rest of the distance into Newark, a city south of San Francisco. We met up with Andy, Kristen, and Jesse in the parking lot of their hotel, and Kristen and I took off to get coffee while the boys started the install of the new Jeep bumper. It was a beautiful, sunny morning. Latte in hand, I spent the morning soaking up the sun while the guys worked.

All too soon, the bumper was on, pictures had been taken, and it was time to get out of town. We bid goodbye to our friends, and I felt sad leaving them behind. Andy, Kristen, and Jesse are three of the nicest and best people I’ve ever met. Moments like that sometimes make me a bit sad that we moved away, because weekends with them were really one of the best things about our old life in California. Sigh. I love living in Washington, but sometimes, it surfaces for me just how much I miss people we left behind.

I volunteered to drive since Paul had done most of the overnight driving. I stopped at an El Pollo Loco so we could have lunch. El Pollo Loco is one of our favorite restaurants, and since it’s not in Washington, we have to grab it when we can. Delicious! After lunch I got back on the highway, took a wrong exit, and took us through city traffic. It was a warm sunny afternoon and I started feeling sleepy instantly. Fighting drowsiness, I rolled the window down to get some cool, fresh air. It definitely felt more like a spring day than one in mid-January.

I drove for hours, until we finally reached Medford Oregon (we did make a stop at a BevMo to stock up on cheap booze and at a truck stop Wendy’s to say hello to Paul’s cousin Jennifer, who works at the fast food restaurant and is super nice). We had a quick dinner at a diner next to our hotel, then settled into our room for some sleep. We’d talked about going to Crater Lake on Sunday, but the weather forecast was calling for heavy rain so it wouldn’t have been very pretty. We decided instead to just sleep as well as we could and then get back on the road.

It wasn’t the best bed in the world, and the pillows were far too poufy for my taste, but it felt amazing to be lying down in a real bed and not curled up in the passenger seat of the Jeep. I fell asleep almost immediately and didn’t wake up for about ten hours. When I did awaken, I’d completely forgotten where I was and thought I was in my bed at home. It took me a minute to remember that I was at a Best Western in Medford. I returned to sleep, and didn’t wake up again for about another hour. The pain in my knee had subsided, and I was in good spirits.

We checked out of our room and hit the road again, and I was very excited that we made it to Eugene by lunchtime and that there was a Chili’s (yay, more food we can’t get in Washington!). We had soup and split an appetizer of Southwestern Egg Rolls and spinach and artichoke dip for lunch. I beyond love Chili’s and ahhhh I was happy to get to eat at two of my favorite places on our trip.

So now we’re home. It was a whirlwind trip but we had a blast and I’m glad we did it. The Jeep looks awesome, we saw some of our dearest friends, and we got to enjoy sunshine, warm weather, and delicious food. Now I’m looking forward to our next adventure, our vacation to Yellowstone in February.

New Year's Recap

Happy New Year!!

The last few days have gotten incredibly cold and clear, which for the Northwest means icy. Temperatures have been in the teens and twenties, and it’s making everything slippery. New Year’s Eve, Paul and I stayed in out of the cold. We didn’t exactly party hard: we had one margarita each along with our plates of enchiladas. We watched South Park, Family Guy, and Robot Chicken. I took a bath and finished a book while Paul napped on our bed.

We were both asleep by midnight, although I did wake up around that time because the neighbors were shooting off fireworks. And to me, it was a great night.

New Year’s Day, I tackled my most hated project: the un-Christmasing of the house. I took down all the garland, all the bows, all the cute little figurines. I put the Nutcrackers back in their boxes. I stripped the tree of its topper and ornaments, and enlisted the help of Paul to jam the thing back into its narrow box and put it back on its high shelf in the garage. I discovered that my cats had been taking soft little beanbag characters out of their display place in the downstairs bathroom and systematically removing their hats, hair, and heads. This devious work had been hidden under the Christmas tree skirt. I put all the pieces away, leaving them for my future self to deal with in Thanksgiving of 2011 when next I put out Christmas stuff.

Once the house was back to normal, Paul and I loaded up plates with the festive foods he’d made: Chex Mix, fresh cut veggies, ham and turkey, crackers, and cheese. We spent the afternoon relaxing and watching Food Network. There’s a show we’ve discovered called Worst Cooks in America. I love that show. It’s beyond entertaining. While we watched, I baked and decorated some cupcakes. I think I’ve finally figured out how to frost them the way I like: I cut out the middles, then using a star piping tip, I fill the hole and then just keep on piping to make a perfect little plop of icing. Beautiful! I only wished I’d discovered that sooner than I had, as I only had three cupcakes left at that point. But, point being, something finally clicked for me. And anyway, who doesn’t want a cupcake that’s stuffed with frosting?

Angela and her hubby invited us to their house for games and food, so Paul made another batch of his awesome Chex Mix and I loaded up the cupcakes. We ended up having a blast playing a game. There were eight people total, plus an undetermined amount of excited children who were continually being shooed upstairs away from the adults and our game.

Great New Year’s. I ate waaaay too much last night but Angela and I decided that the eating part of our resolutions could wait one day.