After talking to Mom on Sat. Dec. 18 I floated the idea to Jess about us packing up the van and driving to Utah to visit with Erin and Dad for a few days while Erin's kids were with their father for the first part of winter break. Our friend Sarah agreed to take care of the kitties and we engaged a crash program for packing up. The girls had already gone to bed so we got up when they did at 6am the next morning and told them of our sudden plans. They were very excited, until they realized they would miss an art class and a gymnastics class, then they were upset, but we got through it.
So we ate breakfast, got dressed, and finished piling our stuff and ourselves into the van and pulled out of the driveway at about 8:00. We got around the corner and down the street when the tire-pressure monitoring alert came on. So I stopped and measured the tire pressure and found all four tires were about 8 PSI low. So, back to the house to run the air compressor and fill them up. THEN we were pulling out of the driveway again at about 8:30.
We drove and we drove and we drove. The girls watched Christmas specials on DVD in the back. Jess and I listened to podcasts in the front. And we drove some more. I-80 across the Sierra-Nevadas was clear as it hadn't had a storm in a couple of weeks, but one was coming and we knew we'd need to take the Las Vegas route to get home later in the week.
We drove through a McDonald's in Sparks, NV to grab some lunch and eat on the go. We stopped for a fresh tank of gas in Winnemucca, NV and, ugh, more McDonald's for dinner in Wendover (in which your choices are McDonald's or Burger King). Then we drove some more and arrived at Erin's house at ~8:30pm after 11 hours of traveling.
We hadn't told anyone we were coming, so we really wanted to arrive before it got late.
So we arrived Sunday night and stayed for Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.
The girls got to play in some leftover snow:
And we enjoyed a sunset:
We cooked some food, played some games, and helped out with tasks around the house.
We also made a trip down to Mapleton to visit with Christopher-and-Jenny's family for a few hours:
And on Thursday we loaded back up into the van and headed home. Donner Pass on I-80 was expected to get something like 30 inches of snow that day and night so we headed south through Las Vegas. A lunch at Culver's in St. George, a whole lot of rain, dinner from Panda Express and Wetzel's Pretzels in Barstow, a lot more rain, some patches of really dense fog, and about 16 hours later we were home. Exhausted, but home. It was after midnight so already Christmas Eve.
We had learned during lunch that Dad had fallen chasing Erin's dog (which had taken off with the bag of rolls I made) and cut his head open and so they were in urgent care waiting for stitches. Which was really just the cherry on top of the super crappy several weeks of life at Erin's house.
After getting some sleep we began the whirlwind process of getting ready for Christmas with grocery shopping, house cleaning, baking, cutting a lot of things from the "to do" list, and then a whole lot of wrapping.