Thursday, November 5, 2009

I'm an Oregonian!

Wow! What a hectic week or so it's been!! I hardly know where to start. We just got our TV and internet hooked up today, so I'm excited about getting back in touch with so many folks.

I guess I'll start with the trip. Our last day in Northern Michigan was Nov. 29th. The movers had already come and packed and loaded up our stuff in the previous days. We ate one last meal with our favorite neighbor, then got our remaining stuff packed up. Sleeping on sleeping bags and pads on a floor isn't exactly a thing I'd recommend for a night before a long day of travel, but live and learn right?

Our plumber came early to winterize the house, we finished cleaning, then said good-bye. Our later-than-anticipated departure got us down to Chicago right at evening rush hour. We also had a bad trailer light. It was the first (and hopefully last) time I've ever had a trailer on my Subaru, and driving with it was nerve wracking. Chris took the trucks and the boat. I had one kid, Chris the other, and dog and cat were also evenly div-eyed up! I must admit that it was the quietest trip I've ever taken with the kids.

Going through rush hour in Chicago with a bad trailer light was bad enough, but just after passing through we got hit by torrential rains. They were horrible! I kept getting passed by 18 wheelers, and couldn't see a thing. I don't think I've had a worse driving experience ever. Not to mention that we also went though construction and it was getting dark. We didn't get in to the hotel until almost 11 at night.

The next morning Chris finally got the trailer light working. High winds and snow in Nebraska kept us on our toes, and forced us to stop in North Platte, Nebraska for an early night. But by then my Subaru was idling horribly, and getting abysmal gas mileage. She was sounding terrible. Internet research led Chris to the answer... a loose spark plug wire. We'd had a major tune up right before leaving Michigan. We're guessing the mechanic failed to put the wire in snug and it had worked its way free. Upon inspection of the engine though, we discovered that some boots (CV?) had also torn. This concerned us enough to find an open garage to get advice from before leaving NE. It's a 3-4 hour repair job ($$) so we decided to wait and drive on, hoping for the best.

With I-80 still closed, and no signs of it opening soon we headed North into Wyoming. But the spark plug wire kept popping off. We had to stop several times to replace it as I couldn't drive once it happened. Once I got into Wyoming onto the interstate, it finally stayed put. Chris is guessing that the plug/wire was loose, and that possibly the heavy rain we went through got water into it, which may have been heating up and the steam kept popping it off. We'll get a mechanic to check it here in Pendleton once we get time and money... Needless to say, I've suddenly started dreaming about a new car.....

We stayed in Sheridan, Wyoming the third night, and got a very early start the next day. And what a wonderful day it was. Beautiful scenery, mountains (!), perfect weather, and best of all, no car problems! I must admit I was so happy to be back in the West again, so happy to see antelope and those rugged mountains. We stayed in Spokane that night, leaving the next morning for another uneventful beautiful day that brought us all the way into Pendleton at last!!

That was Monday. We took a friend's advice and ate at The Great Pacific Wine and Coffee Co. What a treat! They had more micro-brew on one shelf than I've seen in all of my last 3 years! Incredible salads (I've missed the wonderful salads we get out here), and for the kids, Italian sodas that they've also missed these last 3 years. We took the kids to each of their new schools to introduce them and to get the piles of paperwork to fill out. We then unpacked what we had, filled out school forms, and slept once again on the floor, but in our new house. This time we had our pop-up mattresses though, and it was much more comfortable.

The next day I took both kids to their new schools, got them settled in, and found the local laundry mat, while Chris went to work.

Wednesday was moving day. Did I mention that our truck driver on both ends was from Poland? He was quite a character. I loved listening to his accent. He was a really neat guy! We shared his truck with 2 other military families who were moving from Ohio to Washington state, and luckily were first to off load. It went quickly, and by lunch I was in a house jam packed with boxes! While the truck was being off loaded, Chris was loading up his pick-up with hunting and camping gear to go elk hunting. He said good-bye before they were done moving us in. I'm not too thrilled, but I figure he owes me big on this one! Hmmm I'm thinking Hawaii sounds good.... Maybe a new car AND Hawaii???

I must say that the kids are a bit frazzled going from a tiny small town school to much bigger schools, but so far they're doing well. I'm getting used to them being in 2 different schools that get out at the same time. One will soon be walking to school, while the other, I'm hoping will be taking a bus soon. We'll get it all sorted out. One of the kids' schools has solar panels all along the South side, but apparently the person who installed them passed away, and they can't find anyone else to figure out how to work them. (???!!??) But it also has passive solar design. It's a neat building, and it seems like a really good school. Both are.

Whew... are you still with me? I promise future posts will be MUCH shorter!

Anyway, you know the rest of the drill... unpacking all of the boxes, and trying to figure out how and where to put things. It's wonderful sleeping in our own beds again, and while I still haven't found my coffee maker yet, there is plenty of that wonderful PNW coffee to chose from just down the hill.


Laura Martone said...

Congrats, Becky! I'm so glad you and the brood made it to Oregon in one piece. I enjoyed reading about your journey - although I must admit to feeling your pain re: the car troubles. We've certainly had our share on the road. Sigh.

And, yes, I think Chris owes you big time! I don't think Hawaii and a new car sound too unreasonable.

Beth said...

Great to hear you arrived safe and sound!! You can quit talking about the salads anytime. One of the things I miss from the west too.

Great bird pictures. I don't quite get the same variety, here in the Chicagoland area...

Have fun unpacking! It's an adventure.
Beth-Near Chicago

Becky said...

Hi Beth and Laura! It's so nice to have all of that behind me! I love once again having the wonderful food bounty of the West Coast available to us. I admit one thing that was not so great about N. Michigan was the food. I had been so spoiled growing up in Southern Louisiana, and living in Oregon :-)

Laura Martone said...

Yeah, Becky, I'd have to concur about the food. The only thing I really like about northern Michigan is our garden (when it produces, that is) and the abundance of cherry products. Otherwise, give me New Orleans cuisine any day!!!