We just got back from a trip to Oregon to see Russ' family.
A lot went on. It was Garrett's first road trip for starters. He was amazing. The ride up took twelve hours the first day and eight and a half the second. We stopped over in Redding
. It was very different from our road trips in the past, as we had to stop an average of every 75 minutes to either change or feed Garrett or just to let him get some fresh air or crawl around.
I have to say, all the stopping made it even more enjoyable than usual. It gave us a chance to breathe, look around, have an iced coffee and take in life off of the 5 freeway. There are some very "Lynchian
" towns off the 5. My friend Max would love it.
The first day would have only taken us 11 hours, but we got a little sidetracked. Russ and I decided to play a game where we quizzed each other about how much we know about each other. He was amazing. He knew stuff that I couldn't even believe he remembered I had told him. I didn't fare as well. But I SWEAR I listen to him! He just has a lot more to say than I do.
Anyhow, we were playing this game and laughing and such and then we noticed all of these windmills on the side of the freeway. "Look at all of those windmills", I said. "Yeah", said Russ, "And they're all just for art's sake". "No they aren't!", I protested. "I know. I was just kidding", says Russ, "Wait a minute. There are no windmills on the way to Oregon!"
We had gotten off on the 580 somehow. And even though we only went 10 miles out of our way, it happened to be during rush hour and it added an extra hour to our trip. It was funny right when it happened, not so funny in traffic, and funny again the next day. It was a good lesson in not getting too stressed. Within 24 hours you'll be looking back at whatever is bothering you, wondering why you let it bother you so much.
We also managed to eat at practically every Black Bear Diner along the way. It's this great coffee shop with large portions of high-cholesterol food and unbelievable service. The one in Shasta, where we ate on the way home, is the original Black Bear Diner. And it feels like it's been there since the early seventies, even though the diner originated in 1993.
Oregon was a blast. We got to see our beautiful, smart, and wonderful niece graduate from High School. We also got to share in Russ' grandpa's 90th
birthday. Grandpa Scott is 90-years-0ld
, walks two miles a day, is sharper than a tack and better looking than Paul Newman. Unfortunately, he's Russ' Dad's step-dad. So, there's not one shred of DNA linked to Russ. DAMN! Gramps
also happens to be step-dad to Aunt Linda, an avid reader of this blog and a fantastic lady. I was very excited for Garrett to meet her, as she knows everything about him and has imparted some great advice via the comments section.
Garrett got to meet all of his Oregon cousins, aunts, and uncles and play with his grandma a whole lot. He also got to sleep somewhere new for a week, acquire his first cough and out-of-control runny nose, deal with some cold weather, and fall off a bed.
That's right. One night Garrett and I slept for maybe a total of three hours. He had been coughing and sneezing and wheezing all night, and I was doing my best to tend to him. Finally, around 6:30, I brought him into bed with me to feed him and he and I fell into a beautiful, deep sleep. About 45 minutes later I awoke to a loud thud. One of my nightmares had come true: Garrett fell off the freaking bed. According to Russ I screamed, "Oh my god!" I know I had him scooped up in my arms within three seconds of it happening. He cried for about a minute and was, thank God, totally fine. But I couldn't stop thinking about it and picturing it. I felt horrible. I still do.
Toward the end of the trip, Garrett's cold was all but gone. It never dampened his spirits, though. He's such a happy kid and I truly pray that's always the case. The ride home was even better than the ride there. Garrett seemed like a seasoned traveler. He slept more in the car, needed to stop a bit less, and laughed a lot more. I sat in back with him on the ride home which made it better for both of us.
We stopped in Willows, where Russ was born and where we used to stop on all our rides to Oregon. We had some decent Mexican food, a really good night's sleep, and Black Bear Diner fare in the morning. We got home in nine hours and they seemed to fly by.
So, that's the short version of our first family road trip. I feel so lucky to have gotten to do it. And I can't wait for the many trips we'll go on in the future.