Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Driving home - Day 13 & 14 {Sabbatical SW trip}

We finished our southwest sabbatical trip with Legoland on Tuesday, June 27, 2017. On Wednesday, we started the long trek home.

Honestly, I was pretty sad to leave. I was downhearted and even shed a tear or two as we started driving. Despite the fact that we had been on the road for 13 days, our trip had been amazing and I did not want it to end. It is now six weeks later as I write this and Terry's ten week sabbatical is ending in only five days. Terry left this morning for some alone time to pray and prepare for going back and I cried buckets before and after he left! And I am not much of a cryer, I'm really not. But it was hard to say good bye for even a couple days after being together nonstop all summer. And it's not that we didn't get grumpy with one another or were perfectly happy all the time, but all the stress and pressure of life was gone. The spiritual battle, attack, accusations, pressure, and condemnation I was so familiar with that made me more than ready for a break, were gone especially on our two week trip. It is hard raising a family in ministry. It is hard to homeschool four kids!

I am more convinced than ever that our American way of life where entire families go their separate ways all day long is not the way it was meant to be. We should be together with our loved ones and not running in six different directions after everything else like extracurricular activities! I want to be the Gornicke family from the movie RV who were full time RVers (we watched RV as soon as we got home because we so strongly related to it)!! There's a quote at the end where the wife is talking about how life gets away from you and you started being "associates in the marriage business," and how their trip reminded her of the "old us...and I was happy." Exactly. Families should be together. But no matter how careful you are, ministry has a way of intruding and demanding sacrifices, sometimes which are easier to give than at other times. What I'm trying to say is that anyone who thinks sabbaticals are unfair, or a joke, or a waste, or that pastors should never need a break because it's just Christian life because "Paul never had a sabbatical," or any other nonsuch have got it wrong. Churches who give their staff sabbaticals are gracious and loving and acting in their people's best interests. This summer was a pure gift and I'm exceedingly grateful for it.

But back to the drive. We drove east from Escondido, California, stopping at Victorville for gas, wishing to cross the desert and avoid Barstow by any means necessary. 

I suppose the desert does have a certain beauty to it, but I wasn't that fond. 

A solar farm, I think... 

I posted a video of the desert on my Instagram story and saved it to remember what it was like.

I took a view pictures as we were passing Las Vegas.

It was neat to see the big hotels and stuff from the interstate, but we didn't have any desire to visit the Strip. It did, however, make us want to watch Ocean's 11 (and 12 and 13), which is what we did when we were settled at home.

I liked Trump's hotel!

There were two pretty sweet sports cars on the interstate with us and I caught the second one. Terry wanted to send a picture to David, but I didn't use my phone. So here you go David, if you ever read this. Also, notice the tower in the background...?

Terry visited that as part of an awarded scholarship after high school back in the day ('97, ha!). There's a roller coaster and other cool stuff on top. 

East of the city was a Nascar race track. I did send a picture of that sent to Terry's dad who loves racing.

After Las Vegas, we climbed the mountain we had previously quickly descended on our first time pass through Arizona and then crossed into Utah. It was super fun to drive past St. George again, where we had eaten Culvers as a special treat for our last night in Utah. It was even more special and bittersweet to go by Hurricane, where we stayed while visiting Zion. From there we drove about an hour north to Cedar City where we would be staying for our final Airbnb. From this picture it looks pretty decent right? It was NOT. It ended up being very dirty and gross. We seriously considered trying to find somewhere else or driving all night. There was pop on the counters, the garbage wasn't taken out, there was mold in the bathroom, it smelled like a boys dorm, and even worse things I won't write down. But we decided to stay. Somehow we all slept decent and got out of there as soon as we could the next day.

The next day, our 14th day of travel on Thursday 29, 2017 ended up being a 13 hour day of driving. Our plans to stay in Laramie ended up falling through so we just drove straight home. The kids watched three movies, which sounds like a lot, but was necessary. Ezra with is Dorito fingers looks so happy right?!

He thought those earphones were fun.

At one point during the movie I noticed all the kids had their Legoland keychains souvenirs hanging above their heads. Batman for Ezra.

Sharkman for Noah (and another one that he traded at Legoland). Notice how much his face is peeling? We were all pretty burned. 

Evie with her little fairy.

Samuel with his Ninjago figurine. Hey, he's even wearing his Ninjago shirt!

Here's that first picture again, this time in order. Sometime mid-afternoon Ezra AND Evie both fell asleep. Poor Evie doesn't usually do that but felt so sick she couldn't help it. 

It started raining shortly before Casper, WY, where we ate McDonalds for dinner. The clouds, rainbow, and rain was such a lovely change after all the desert and heat.

There was a small fire outside Edgemont, SD, but I was pretty sure the rain must have put it out. From there it was a short drive home and we were finally home. We unloaded and went right to bed!

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