Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Back on The Road: Days 4-6

On the 4th day of our trip, we drove from Albuquerque, NM to Moab, UT. Originally, we had planned to stop somewhere around Durango and take the time to see a few more national parks, but we decided to shorten the trip by a day instead. Before we left Albuquerque though, we wanted to make sure we were set to drive over snowy mountain passes. We called a Discount Tire, but they didn't have chains in stock. They directed us to a Pep Boys close by and not only did they have the chains in stock, they also rotated our tires for free (and we didn't even have to wait). With that taken care of, we hit the road. On the way to Moab, we stopped at Four Corners. It was almost 5pm (closing time) and it was WAY cold. I don't remember the specifics, but something like 30 degrees with 20mph winds. We were the only insane people out there and we might have stayed all of 5 minutes...just enough to take a few pictures and run.
All the girls (Secora is inside my jacket to keep her warm)
Sierra made an attempt at being in all 4 states at once, but she didn't quite understand the concept (quite possibly because between our hoods, the wind and our chattering teeth it was hard to hear)
It was so cold we didn't even take a second to realize the camera was facing the sun and turn around to take the picture the other way. Oh well, this is what we got: Josh in New Mexico, Sierra and Sedona in Colorado and Secora and me in Utah and Arizona.

The rest of the day's drive took us through plenty of open range land, so we saw plenty of this: And here I thought cattle alongside the highway was a Texas thing. I still maintain that cattle is safer than deer though, at least they usually move pretty slow.

We made it into Moab in the dark (which was a shame, we couldn't see the scenery) that night.

Day 5 we were driving from Moab to Pocatello, ID. We got an early start again and stopped by Arches National Park. (I realize Secora is covered up in every picture...it was cold! I'll be updating with actual pictures of her soon)

I definitely want to visit this park again in the relatively near future. Maybe next fall we can make it back. I would love to have the time to camp for a few days and hike around the park. We started out in the visitor's center where the girls got postcards to send to people and explored the hands on exhibits

Then we drove up to the delicate arch viewpoint and that was all we had time for

The rest of Day 5 was more driving. We headed up through Salt Lake City and then met up with a friend and her 3 kiddos for dinner in Ogden. There was a brief meltdown when Sierra had to leave the new friend she'd made, but she did okay once we got back on the road. We made it up to Pocatello that night and found a hotel room in our price range.

Day 6 we woke up to even more snow and cold weather. The parking lot of the hotel (through the car window) looked like this:
The roads were a lot more clear, thankfully. We checked out road conditions across Idaho and Montana and picked the route we thought would have the least snow/ice to travel over. We ended up only needing to cross one mountain pass with "bad" snow coverage and even it was pretty clear. We didn't need chains after all, just a slow and steady pace. As luck would have it, I was stricken with something (I've since decided a mild e. coli infection based on how the symptoms played out over the next 3 days) just about the time we got up to the pass. Of course there is no where to stop up there and you can't really go any faster than about 30mph and there aren't a whole lot of places to stop when you get down off the mountain either. The last 50 miles through the valley back to our town seemed to take forever and I think we stopped 4 times. But we did finally make it home that night. We found several inches of snow in the yard, covered in deer tracks. The girls acted like it was Christmas morning seeing all of their toys they'd forgotten they had. We had about 2 hours until the big girl's bed time and it took us that long to get the car unloaded, unpack the essentials, and for Josh to run back out to get some basics from the grocery store.

So now this Texas family is smack dab in the middle of a northwest winter. It hasn't been as bad as I expected, but then I haven't left the house all that much either...

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