Thursday, January 06, 2011

Return Trip to Michigan

All too soon, our California adventure has come to an end. We did not get to see everything and everyone we wanted to (sorry!), but we’ll try again next year. On the last day of 2010, we set back home for Michigan. In theory, we should have been able to make it by Wednesday, but the cold weather affected our progress on the roads. We made it up to Cedar City, Utah, on our first night, celebrating the New Year on a day where we started off with sunny skies and 40 degrees and ended with icy roads and temperatures in the negative teens.
Charlie Brown Farms: A must-see along the Pearblossom Highway in California

January 1, 2011, started off bright, sunny, and COLD. We made our way to Salt Lake City, looking forward to spending time with Hallie’s brother Riley, his wife Breanne, and their new son Porter. We enjoyed seeing many old haunts on our way up to their house and especially enjoyed meeting Porter and seeing his happy smiling face. He was feeling a bit under the weather, but his mom and dad were real troopers as they both played host and looked after him.
 The shell of the Provo Tabernacle

Landon and Porter. Wave to the camera! 

On Sunday we attended church at our old ward and caught up with some old friends. Salt Lake Eleventh Ward continues to hold a special place in our hearts. We stopped by Mike’s grandparents’ former house and family cemetery plots before heading back to Riley and Breanne’s. After a yummy ravioli dinner Breanne prepared for us, we visited with our friend Christine and her little boy Christian. The way she sees the hand of the Lord in her and her family’s lives as they have gone through the adoption process inspires us to keep our hopes up. Thanks, Christine!
Ready for his close-up?

Monday morning we got off to a bit of a late start, which meant we didn’t get as far as we would have liked to go. We ended the day in Cheyenne, Wyoming, having traveled along mostly clear but occasionally icy roads. Not a whole lot to see along the way (not to knock southern Wyoming—we just weren’t on the hunt for roadside attractions). The area around Medicine Bow was quite picturesque, and we came across a herd of pronghorn antelope grazing along the side of the freeway. In Cheyenne we met up with the son of our friends the Doreys from Nova Scotia. He had a box for us to take over to Windsor for him to send back to his family. We have gradually accumulated more than we came out with, and the new box has topped us off. No more space! J
We're not kidding 

On Tuesday we drove from Cheyenne to Council Bluffs, Iowa, dipping into Colorado along our way through Nebraska. The last time we came this way in August 2007, we followed the Lincoln Highway. This time we went the quick way, passing mowed down fields of corn. As with Wyoming, we did not stop to see the sights but pressed on to make time. We were still a ways out from Detroit by nightfall, but the end of the road was in sight. Landon, ever the patient traveler, is starting to show some road fatigue. We have traveled through 15 states on this trip, and Landon has shown remarkable stamina. A little hotel room craziness after all those hours on the road is a small price to pay.
He did this in reward for being allowed to watch Cars each afternoon on the road. 

We drove Wednesday from Council Bluffs to Benton Harbor, Michigan, getting sidetracked in Aurora, Illinois, and caught in some Chicago rush hour traffic. The day started sunny and bright; however, by the time we got to the Michigan state line, a light dusting of snow began to appear on the roads. Uncanny—it was almost as if the snow waited until we crossed into Michigan. As we drove through Iowa earlier in the day, Hallie remarked about how beautiful she found the rolling hills along our way. It seems that every state we have been to on this trip has its own beautiful places; it just depends on what you’re into. I guess we’re into water, rolling hills or mountains, color-changing trees, and brilliant sunsets.

Less snow had fallen than we thought might by the time we left for home Thursday morning. While snow showers did fall, driving conditions actually felt better going through the light snow than through the heavy rain that greeted us on our last road trip day to California. Once home, we found everything as we had left it, except for lots of extra mail. Once we emptied out the car, it looked as though the entry way and living room had thrown up boxes and bags and clothes and other assorted souvenirs of our trip. 
Welcome back to winter roads 

All told, we put nearly 6100 miles on the Buick between December 15 and today. Yikes. Yikes! As with any trip, we wish we could have seen and done more or had the time to visit with our friends both in California and along our route home, but we feel very grateful for what we did have on this trip, and we’re glad we took to the road to go home for Christmas!
Suddenly the road trips from our youth don't seem so long. . . . 


Candi said...

Ah! You guys came right by us! We're only 45 minutes North of Cedar. We don't have a ton of room but the living room could have been all yours! Next time, ok? ;-)

Riley and Breanne said...

It was so good to see you guys! Thanks for driving all the way across country for just us!!! Glad to hear that you made it home safely... we were praying for you three. Riley teared up when you drove off saying "I don't get to see them that often" We miss you guys! :)

Anonymous said...

very interesting, thanks

DisabilityDiva said...

SO WONDERFUL to see you!! Oh if I helped inspire you I am glad. I KNOW there is a sibling for Landon. He will be an amazing big brother and YOU are wonderful parents!!!! HUGS HUGS HUGS!!!