Two weeks ago I left the town I’ve called home for the past 21 years to embark on a new life adventure with my husband.  What a whirl the past 14 days have been!   Our household belongings were wrapped, packed, stashed and moved to California except for the “valuables and important papers” the moving company suggested not get shipped, but transported by me….I also needed to transport the family dog Ozzie and a few other things.

I love how life works out the way it is supposed to.   While I could have driven from Memphis to Sacramento alone,  I was relieved my friend Leanne wanted to go along.  Leanne and I went to high school together and had only seen each other a few times over the past 30+ years but had reconnected on Facebook a few years ago.  Gotta love Facebook!!  In a moment of  “why not ask” on Facebook who wants to go on an all expense paid cross country road trip with me, Leanne, a photographer, said she did.  Her words, “What’s the use of being an empty nester if you can’t just pick up an go…..no job either!!!”.  It was meant to be…..FUN! Leanne documented the two thousand mile journey with photos and Facebook posts along the way,  feeling like many of our family and friends were on the trip with us with the ever flowing Facebook comments.   But….. I really wish there had been a video camera filming us like Oprah and Gayle’s road trip adventure.  Oh my….. at times we were laughing so hard we were crying and more tears shed when we talked about our lives and heart breaks of the past 30 years.  I’ve had a lot of fun trips in my life but this trip will rank up there as one of the top!

While I also wish we had more time to zig zag across the country to see ALL the sights on both of our bucket lists, what we did see and experience was amazing.  Check out a few of the photos below.

Leanne wanted me to pull over on the bridge crossing the Mississppi River into Akansas so she could get a shot of me with Memphis in the rear view mirror……. I had to disappoint her early on…… it wasn’t safe.  So this was the pic she got.

Crossing the Mississippi River into Arkansas

We thought these teepee picnic tables were cool at a Oklahoma rest stop.

Oklahoma Rest Stop

After a day and a half of rain we were happy to see the end of the clouds as we entered the Texas panhandle.

Welcome to Texas

We were up before the sun to see the Cadillac Ranch just outside of Amarillo.  It was so cold, but what a beautiful sunrise!

Sunrise at Cadillac Ranch, Amarillo, TX

We first saw windmills in Oklahoma, but look how pretty the sun looks on these in Texas.  I think they are amazing to see.

IMG_2063

Leanne had asked if we could stop here during the trip and the timing could not have been better for a lunch stop at Tim’s Place.  BTW, the food was delicious, as was the hug from Tim!

Tim's Place!

Ozzie pit stop.  He really is a great dog, low maintenance, but we did have a few minor issues.  He didn’t like being left in a hotel room alone and to avoid that one evening we left him in the car (the temps were mild so no need to be concerned) while we had dinner and Ozzie found his own dinner, Leanne’s $10 bag of jerky she had purchased earlier in the day and left in the car.  I was really concerned he would be sick either that night or the next day, but thankfully that didn’t happen.  He did break out of the portable crate to drink a lot of water, which resulted in me having to take him out twice in the middle of the night to relieve himself,  down the curving staircase of the historic El Rancho Hotel  and locking myself out.

Pit stop for Ozzie

No animals were harmed in the making of these photos.  Yes, that is Ozzie not looking so thrilled to be at the Grand Canyon.

Ozzie at the Grand Canyon

Both Leanne and I had a bit of a panic attack as well.  Goodness, it is so BIG and DEEP!  But beautiful!!

Grand Canyon, South Rim

When my husband I drove thru the Mojave Desert in late February it was brown and although it was beautiful on it’s own, I cannot express the difference I witnessed 6 weeks later.  Most of the plants were green and we saw so many flowers blooming yellow, orange, purple and blue.  Even in the asphalt along the side of the I40 W there were flowers growing….  I realize what a gift it was to see and all the other sights we saw along the way!  Life memories.

Mojave Desert Blooms

Photos by Leanne Simmons McConnell

Status Update

The big move and my second cross-country drive to California are fast approaching.

We signed the real estate closing papers with the relocation company this week.  I’ve sold many of the items we will not need, use, nor want to move, and what didn’t sell will be donated for a tax deduction.  My stress level is a bit elevated, but I’m working on keeping it in check by spacing out the things on my to-do list.

My boys will be with me Easter weekend for some quality time before the moving company begins packing April 1st.  I’m praying the time with the boys isn’t too emotional.  So far I’ve had what I would consider normal emotional moments but could completely begin sobbing easily.  I really don’t want to do that, cause as good as a good cry is (releasing all those endorphins and all) crying gives me a headache and I hate feeling bad with a migraine.

So for now I’ll distract myself with the road trip planning.

Traveling With Angels

Treacherous. Ice covered roads, heavy fog, and 18 wheelers passing us by. Not good conditions for driving. What we learned……to pay attention when a truck changes lanes and wondering why when he’s not passing another vehicle. The reason, to get out of the way of the wreck in the right hand lane with emergency vehicles we couldn’t see due to the fog. I about wet my pants when another truck blew his horn just as we came upon the scene I just described. We also learned we need to remember to turn off the headlights when sitting for long periods of time when the car is off. You might be wondering what? We came to a slippery stop narrowly missing the car in front of us. Minutes added up to two and a half hours later when the music stopped that we were listening to. Huh, what was going on? Well, talk about feeling dumb. We had turned the car’s engine off not knowing how long we would be sitting there till traffic began moving again forgetting we had the car lights on and now we had a dead battery…… Yes, we did. A sweet older man had one of those portable battery jumper, didn’t work. We kept asking folks in other vehicles around us, finally someone had a set of jumper cables and the driver of the 18-wheeler behind us jumped us off just as the traffic began to move. YAY!! Now there was hope I could pee in toilet and not along the side of the road in the snow I seriously had been considering.

So thankful for the angels that were with us today. TWA, traveling with angels. Thanks KK….and everyone else who was praying.