Sunday, August 15, 2010 mexico.texas.louisiana.missisippi.alabama

and back to florida. we just got back a week ago from a month-and-a-week-long journey. and boy, does it feel good to be home!!!!!!!!!! except that we picked up a nasty virus in texas and liesel's had a fever/mouth sores/swollen gums/ear infection/nausea since we got home. but that's a story for another day. (we're still glad we visited you, joanne).

in order to keep your sanity and my sanity intact, i will only do a very brief rundown of the trip. followed by approximately one million pictures. give or take a few. it depends on how my sanity's holding up at that point.

day 1: drove 3 hours to kissimee, florida to give ourselves a bit of a head start on the trip. loren and i had a goal of working out every morning of the trip to utah, so we woke up early the next morning and went on a walk with pace, who rode his strider bike.

day 2: drove to somewhere in white-trash alabama. swam in the hotel pool. decided we do not like driving in alabama.

day 3: made it the "boy" allen home in arkansas (no relation to us--friends from california who had 3 boys when we had 4 girls--since then they've had a girl, and we've had a boy). had a fabulous dinner of homemade veggie burgers. did some crazy fireworks for the 4th of july. the dads loved the fireworks. the moms were nervous.
day 4: drove to marian and chad's house in kansas. had a thoroughly good time recovering from driving. got to watch a terrific fireworks show from their driveway. people in kansas are serious about their fireworks! played in the pool, went barefoot walking (it's all the rage now, didn't you know?), and watched the cousins play together. stayed in kansas for days 5 and 6.

day 7: drove to wyoming and stayed in a hotel.

day 8: drove to utah. stopped at maggie's house on our way to orem. loren's mom, dad, and sister came up for a visit, too.

days 9-15: stayed in orem. had a lot of fun seeing both sides of the family. we snuck in a trip to 7 peaks water park. i also got to meet up with some roommates of mine from byu. my big sadness of the trip was having to cancel a visit with kari and rochelle (friends from virginia). the logistics of packing and organizing a week-long camping trip proved to be complicated, to say the least, and i ran out of play time.

day 16: drove to tonopah, nevada. stayed there for a night on our way to the family reunion in yosemite.

day 17: drove into yosemite national park! hooray! went on the best roller coaster road ever. also went through lots of tunnels (or igloos, if you're pace). got to the campsite and set up camp. LET THE PARTY BEGIN!!!!!!

days 18-23: family reunion in yosemite. best fun ever. highlights: valley sightseeing, ponderosa grove, half dome hike (loren, liesel, gwyneth), swimming at the swinging bridge and hole-in-the-rock, policing the strider bike gang.....
day 24: drove to simi valley, california to karalee's house. had a happy reunion with liesel and gwyneth bffs kelsey and amelia. day 25: loren flew back to florida. the kids and i stayed there through day 26: went to church at our old ward, had a swim party with long-time friends........

day 27: drove to liza's house in arizona. played in the pool and the sun for 3 days. i could live in arizona, for sure. pace perfected his swimming techniques.

day 30: drove to poppy's house in new mexico. this was like a california reunion trip for me! went to a fabulous park and had a great time catching up with each other!

day 32: drove to joanne's house in texas. swam and played, swam and played, swam and played for the next 3 days. cousins are the best.
day 36: drove to louisiana for the night. swam in hotel pool. wished loren was there.

day 37: scrapped original plan of taking 3 days to get home from texas, and decided to drive all the way home. MADE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

end of trip.

random things i noticed on this trip: 4 wild pigs running along the side of the freeway (florida), a man doing pushups by his car on the side of the freeway (california), a town named "bangs" in texas, a huge mongo snake on the freeway (HUGE, seriously--like national geographic worthy) (louisiana), the ugliest swamp ever (louisiana), LOTS AND LOTS AND LOTS OF EPIC RAINSTORMS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (every state we drove in after california--it made for some very tense driving and lots of praying)

other side note: florida definitely has the craziest drivers of all the states we drove through. it also has the most highway patrol cars. hmmmmmmmmm. something's not right here.