our epic road trip, leg one

 

Let's switch gears. 

This is the story of the first leg of the epic cross country road trip I took with my son, who was (is) ten this summer.

Autumn feels like as good a time as any to reminisce.

It was just me and R, most of the summer, in our Mini Countryman, going to California and back again, stopping along the way to visit and experience as much as we could. 

(And one leg with my mom along for the ride.)

Adventure. The daily grind. Both at once. Finding what works and what doesn't (and then figuring it all out again everytime the hours shifted or the weather changes or we were staying with new people - that was interesting). 

 

We started by driving down to the coast of Alabama, to where R was born. This was at his request, although in the end I'm not sure he cared all that much about the particulars of his birth, or birthplace, but he found great joy in playing with old friends. (As did I.)

It was truly astonishing to see him and his first best friend take up playing almost as if no time had passed at all. I felt the sadness of having separated them all over again, but knew it was OK, because they reconnected so easily. 

(Isn't this the lesson of my life, too, having moved so often?)

It's interesting to go back to a place where life was so hard (and so wonderfull). Early parenthood was tough. Alabama was tough. And yet, the house, the friends, the place - these are things I truly miss. 

 

We were still finding our road trip groove on this first leg, so I made some rookie mistakes. Following the gps when I knew it was wrong (and getting caught in abysmal traffic as a result). Doing an extra long leg between South Carolina and Mobile so that we would remain on schedule. (Too much driving. And part of it in a terrible rainstorm in Montgomery. Luckily I've driven that freeway before, which made it easier. I do not like driving in zero visibility.)

And then after our too-short visit in Mobile, we were off, keeping to the schedule I had set in order to get to California in time to see M (who only had two weeks off). 

 

Our next stop was a week long visit with my dad and stepmom in the DFW. It was quiet and low key for a variety of reasons but we made the most of our (once again, too short) time together. 

R enjoyed the pool my dad put in last spring (he's now asking for a pool of our own, but the idea of pool maintenance makes that a definite no in our current house), swimming every afternoon with his cousins and playing as much Minecraft as he could. 

I got to meet my two year old niece (my other half sister's daughter) who was an absolute delight. 

And I saw some of my extended family, though unfortunately we couldn't coordinate visits with everyone. 

(The DFW is huge and a week really isn't enough time.)

 

(Plus it turns out coordinating short visits isn't my forte.)

(This would turn into a running theme for the rest of the trip.)

(It's probably a running theme in my life, too.)

I wasn't sure until a few days before we left the exact route we'd take on leg two of our trip and it was basically the weather that decided me: there was over a ten degree difference between the southern and northern route through TX/NM/AZ. While I like hot weather, temperatures of over 105 are a bit too much for me. 

(Especially driving a brown car with black seats.)

Northern route it was. 

 

Grand Canyon here we come!

(To be continued...)