Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Chapter Three...Out of state cards and ten o'clock burritos

The sun was peeking through the zipper lines of the tenting on the camper, when we decided it was time to rise. We knew that our route would mean about a 10 hour drive. The morning was so nice. Jeremy did a little oil check, with a little supervision from Savannah Kay. I capture the two on film. Don't you just love those Kodak moments. Nice pic Savannah! Bekah manned the Maddie-dog. Then it was off to New Mexico.

Note to all who dare to enter New Mexico...never be in a hurry to gas and go! It was time for another refill on gas and a snack, so we pulled of at the huge casino/gas station/Dairy Queen/potty/what ever else you needed place. Jeremy had been whining via cell phone for about 30 minutes that he was about to spring a leak. Jeremy pulled in about 38 pumps away from myself, and the door. I swiped my little cardy-poo and had to enter my zip. After two attempts I was feeling that NM heat, and a lot of frustration. The woman buzzed in telling me I would have to come in to pay because my card was from out of town. I might have answered with a crude "whatever." I mean aren't 90% of the people traveling through this place? Who in their right mind would live here?! Anyway, Jeremy walks up at my "whatever" and decides to try his card. This is where the comedic relief begins.
The kids and I head into the building to find the ladies room. Savannah Kay can still tell you that it was by the huge cactus. Rebekah told my parents later that "that gas station was like a mall, and the policeman was really nice." LOL While we were getting our daily dose of DQ, Jeremy was swelling up like the blueberry girl in Wonka's factory. He had been into the store, left his card, filled my car, picked up his card, and headed over to his pump to fill up. He had not been to the potty yet.
After filling the van, he told the clerk that he was now going to be filling up at pump 87, or whatever number it was, and headed out to the great beyond. When he finally reached his pump, and swiped that little piece of plastic, he found that the card still would not take. He buzzed in, and the conversation went something along these lines...
Jeremy:"Yeah...hey...I was just in there and now my card won't let me fill up. Can you just turn it on?"
Clerk 1: "I'm sorry sir, you'll have to come back in."
Jeremy: "I was just in there. I got $70 worth of gas at pump 4. You know who I am, can you just turn on my pump?"
Clerk 1: "Sorry sir. It just our policy"
Jeremy:"ricka-fricka-racka-fricka-ricka...(this is what it did sound like, I am sure...just picture a scene from acme's Yosemite Sam)."
Jeremy enters the waddling. "Here is my card, but you know who I am, I was just in here and I told you I was headed out to fill up at pump 347."

Clerk 1:"I know, it's just our policy."

Jeremy: "But I was JUST in here."

Clerk 2 interjects with her back turned "She didn't know it was you."

Jeremy: "YESSSSS...SHE DID." Jeremy leaves his card and slowly exits the store to head back out to pump 843.

Clerk 1 smirks and chuckles.
Jeremy does a crazy looking 180, extends his arm in front of the next 10 customers, and leans over the counter, looking like a bit of a psycho...""
Clerk 1 steps back with a bit of fear and says, "Ummm no sir, it just happens all the time."
Jeremy: "When I get back, I want to see YOUR manager."
The best part is, while Jeremy is manning the three ring circus, Savannah and I were having a great time!

Don't worry, Jeremy did not wet his pants, and the clerk is still alive.
Prior to our gas encounter, we had planned to meet with my Nana and Pappy, as well as Jeremy's family for dinner. Once we were back on the road, and after an update from LOLA, we began to realize we would not be getting in until about 9:00 p.m., so dinner was off. Jeremy and I briefly discussed just heading northeast rather than on in to Amarillo. If we weren't going to see family, then it would be faster to just head on up to Kansas from Albuquerque. However, Jeremy's mom promised a sack of Taco Villa, and we were sold.

We spent the night at "Fort Amarillo." It was a lovely place to stay. We had high hopes for an indoor pool experience, but it was about 10:00 when we finally pulled into our spot.

Savannah Kay showed Grandpa John her bunk, and then we had a quick photo shoot before saying goodnight to Jerm's folks. John was lookin' pretty good, in spite of the chemo he has been taking. He even had a little hair. Tisha even stopped in after work. I spent the wee hours working on homework. It was around 2 a.m. when I finally crawled into bed. It was a long day, but our longest was just ahead. If I had only known what tomorrow would hold...I might have just kept driving on the night before. However, those burritos were super fantastic! Thanks Grandma Dorothy!

The climax is coming...just you wait!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Chapter Two...Flagstaff or Bust

As we opened our eyes, thoughts of our burnt cord and busted AC loomed in our minds. Well, at least those thoughts loomed in Jeremy's and Lindz's minds. The kids wanted to know what was for breakfast. Jeremy stepped outside to make an analysis on the cord replacement.

After closer examination, he sent the girls and I to breakfast and he made a trip to Car Quest for quick connects for our wiring. You see, the new cord needed to be hard wired into the camper, which was not scheduled in our time block, so he made the executive decision to repair our damaged wire with a set of quick connects and some electrical tape.

After almost 30 minutes in the restaurant, the girls and I waltz out to find a sweaty and frustrated dear old daddy, sitting between the camper and the truck. While Bekah manned the leash with Maddie and swore she was dying of heat exhaustion, Jeremy and I made the surgical-type repair to the camper wiring. Savannah Kay was obliviously kicking at random things with rosy cheeks. Ah, ignorance is such bliss! Just so you know, Jeremy and I make a great team!

Then we called just about every auto repair place listed in LOLA to find a shop to charge the freon in Jeremy's truck, Old Blue. We were told to stop by the local Pep Boys. The couldn't fit us in until around noon, so we made a strong effort to 'do it yourself' with a freon filler, purchased for about $30. Yes, there was a sensation of cool-ness coming from the vents, but in no way was the AC near arctic chill levels. I suppose anything was better than what he had been sitting in that morning. At around 11:00 a.m. we finally headed out of Bakersfield.

The rest of the day proved rather uneventful. Well, except I did notice my check engine light was now illuminated. I should interject at this point that we had a little concern about the transmission in the van. In the last few weeks our van had slipped out of gear a handful of times. This occurrence was always on our street, and always after just starting the van and taking off. We knew that 125,000 miles was high, and just passed the transmission trouble off as much adieu about nothing. Oh, and my regular beams were still not working, but hey...we could check that out later. At least I had light, right?! Also, Jeremy's left arm was looking rather reddish with his new stylish burn from the day before. He had rigged his sunshade to protect his arm from further damage. Somehow, I managed to capture this safety violation on camera.

We did have one other rather exciting event at one of our gas and potty stops. The kids and I had decided at Dairy Queen Blizzard was a must. We overheard someone say, "It's only 104 today." Can you believe this?! Only 104!!! Well, after an ice cream drive-thru, Savannah and I did our potty stop first, but were told to enter the bathroom from the outside. While in the one room potty, I noticed there were two doors, one on each side of the room. Apparently one of these doors was the clerk entrance. Bekah made her potty stop after us, but with a rather grumpy escort from Momma. We had already had one of those discussions where she didn't need to go until right as we were about to drive off. With melting ice cream, and daylight burning away, we treked to the potty. After washing my hands I walked out the door and headed to the car. She was slowly drying her hands behind me. After about three minutes, there was still no Bekah. I had now reached the conclusion that she was probably sulking in the bathroom, so I stomped back to haul her to the car. When I reached the bathroom, Jeremy and I discovered she was locked in, and bawling! Apparently my exit had triggered the faulty lock, and she was stuck inside. Thank heavens for the second entrance. About 2 seconds later, with child in hand, and a tissue for the road, we were on our way once more.

We pulled into an RV resort that was located just west of Flagstaff, and within eye sight of I-40. There was a military rate, and $23 later we were now running the heater and snug as a bug in a rug. The mountain air was a bit of a change from the 100 degree pool weather in Bakersfield. This was not our scheduled stopping point, but it was nearing 10:00 p.m. and we had been driving for about 9 hours. Our reservations were for Munds RV Park, but it was off the beaten path, and Jeremy swore the new place was a step up. We had high hopes to be in Amarillo, Texas by dinner the next day, so staying right on the interstate was a big plus.

Another day down, and a couple more to go. We had repaired our cord, rigged our AC, freed our captive child, and arrived at our desired destination for the night. Things were working out quite well. Little did we know, the most adventurous part of our trip was yet to come!

Monday, May 26, 2008

One other very important post...

While this is completely unrelated to our journey, you all should know just how proud I am of my mister. He graduated with honors from the Defense Language Institute! I thought each of you might enjoy some pics of this very celebrated and momentous occasion. Cheers to you hunny pie! Let's all give him a hand!
Fernando, Drew and Jeremy...the three honors grads and best buddies
Colonel Sue Sandusky presents Jeremy with his Associates of Arts in French
Drew and buddies and grads!
Left to Right: Chappy, Jeremy, Fernando, Drew, Dunn, and Sergio
The Fam with our Grad!

Chapter One...the journey begins

(R-L: Sassy-Frassy, and yours truly, in the driver's seat; Savannah Kay with a cup 'o goldfish; Bekah chillin' with an icee)(**Please note the beloved tele in the back...we are loaded to maximum capacity. This information is very important for the chapters to come.)

(Sweet caboose, huh?)

On Friday morning, we open our eyes and spring from our camper beds to begin our last day in beautiful Monterey...and begin our journey to the heartland of Manhattan, Kansas. We were looking forward to our trip because sleeping in the driveway was a far cry from adventure. Little did we know that adventure was one thing we would get plenty of in the days to come. We collected Rebekah from school at lunch, and had lofty plans to depart around noon. At nearly two, and after a very tearful goodbye to our best buddies, the Stroms, we embarked on our journey.

Now on day one, we decided to travel to Bakersfield, California. Jeremy had stayed in the R.V. Resort there when he made the trek from Arizona to California in October. After a bit of discussion about our route to Bakersfield, I'll have you know that Lindz relented and followed Jerm on his route to our destination of the day.

It was unseasonable warm in Monterey. In fact, I would venture to say it was the hottest day we had witnessed during our stay in California. Jeremy gave me a little ring a ding on my cell phone from his steamy truck. It seemed the air conditioner was no workity in Big Blue.

Jeremy spent the next five hours with the windows down, sweating like a maniac. I spent the next five hours staring at the rear of the camper which is how I noticed that the right blinker light and the brake light were not working. After a quick pit stop on the side of the road, Jeremy replugged the unplugged light cord and we headed on. About an hour later I noticed a recurrence in the lack of lighting, only now the cord had drug the ground and was in need of repair or replacement.

In addition to the camper light issue, my regular headlights were not working. I had to drive with my high beams on, blinding all who drove in front of me. Our new GPS, fondly named LOLA, informed us that there was a Camping World just down the street from our final destination. We cruised into the Camping World parking lot just 15 minutes before closing, to purchase a replacement cord for the camper. Then we high-high tailed it to our spot at the resort. After a dinner at the resort restaurant, I checked into my college class via the complimentary Internet, and Jeremy took the girls to the pool.

We ran that AC all night, and slept like babies. Day one down, and a to do list for the morning. Our early morning mission...replace the camper cord and repair the AC in the truck. We had scheduled a stay in Flagstaff, Arizona for Saturday night. We had a 9 or 10 hour trip ahead of us, but the hum of the AC was all we could think about right now.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

For my beloved blog reader...

I know you probably think I have fallen off the face of the Earth, as I have not written in such a long while! I have not wandered off the planet, but rather wandered from the sunny state of California (or lack there of) to the foothills and tornado alley of Riley County...Manhattan, Kansas. It is officially official!!! And believe it or not...we are all alive and well! I have so much to share with each of you about my dramatic journey from the Monterey Bay across the Mojave, into the chill of the mountainous Flagstaff air, across the barren dust and heat of New Mexico, into the desolate plains of northern Texas, through the GOD-FORSAKEN state of Oklahoma, and into the sunflower state of Kansas. It was a journey like none other, so be sure to tune in for a daily dose of drama and entertainment. I will give you a little chapter in the life of a Welch for the next several days. Thank you faithful reader for still checking in. For now, I can finally sink into the couch with my sweetie pie, for my home is unpacked and my life can begin in our newest home! It's movie night at my house!

Love to you all~

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