Death Valley and a Drive across California: February 11, 2011

Across the desert!
Highlights from today: (click here for pictures)

I actually don’t even remember this morning.  Oh, yes, Graham was standing beside me at 4:30 holding his taggie and foxie.  I put him bed with us and he must have fallen back asleep (I did) because Robby didn’t even know he was there at 5 when he woke up briefly.  Graham finally woke up ready to get up at 6:30 and he told me to lay on his sleeping bag-I declined and headed to the other bed.  Soon everyone was up and it had been another restful night.

The sicklings are doing much better.  Graham’s nose has stopped running.  He did have his taggie and foxie over his ears at one time today-we didn’t know if it was because he was tired of hearing the movie, if his ears hurt or if they were just popping since we were on a mountain pass.  Campbell is feeling much, much better too.  She is back to her normal self-she was pretty pitiful the day we flew out here.  Her nose is still running but she doesn’t sound nearly as congested.  She does have coughing fits every once in awhile but has just now stopped fighting me on her breather that we do every 4 hours.  She definitely has her spunk back-she crawled on top of every piece of furniture at the hotel tonight, unrolled the toilet paper and stood up to grab (and spill) Robby’s coke. 

Back to the morning, we loaded up fairly quickly and picked up breakfast on the road-McDonalds again.  We are pretty good at eating in the car-it helps that we all have plates and I can just pass their food out.  Campbell would become irate with me every time I would take her plate to refill it-she though I wasn’t going to give it back.  The drive to Death Valley was about 2 hours.  The kids did really good and we were there in no time.  Well, we almost made it to the visitor center before having to stop to find a bathroom for Anderson.  Thankfully, we were in the park and there was a bathroom beside the road-otherwise there would have been a puddle beside the road. 

Once we made it to the visitor’s center, the kids played chase and races on the grass while Robby and I took turns going inside.  Robby came out with Junior Ranger books and Reagan was all about it.  (We didn’t get their badges because you had to attend a park program but they didn’t care).  Reagan took filling our her book very seriously (hopefully, she will stay this way and school will be easy for her).  Graham was interested in the fish pictures in his but Anderson just wanted to run, run, run. 

When we pulled up to the visitor’s center, Robby started pulling out papers and checking for cell service.  I knew he was up to something.  We would have originally gone to Hoover Dam first today (if we hadn’t had the extra day) and then would have been at the park later in the day.  Anyway, we were only about 35 miles from our hotel and it wasn’t even lunch.  So he decided to just press on today and make our drive across California today rather than tomorrow.  That would give us an extra day in the LA area and any guesses what he wanted to do?…yep, the Reagan Library is on the agenda for tomorrow.

We walked over to the nearby tractor and looked at it and then drove about 10 miles down the road for a walk.  The ranger had told Robby that we might see fish on the 1/2 mile boardwalk trail-she apparently hadn’t been there in a few days because there wasn’t much water….but there was just enough for me to almost all in!  We were going to do a back picture so I got off the boardwalk and was going to jump over the 2 foot wide water which was about 3 inches high.  I put my feet near and then I started sliding.  Oh, I was sliding ever so slowly but sliding too quickly to stop.  All I could think about was my rear end landing in the water.  Luckily, my bottom landed on dry ground and all that was muddy were my shoes (and they were pretty muddy-so much so that Robby was concerned about me walking into the hotel). 

After I finally made it over the little ditch, Robby started handing me the kids.  Of course he had to swing them out for me to catch and each one of them panicked a bit.  They had all seen/heard me fall so they thought the same would happen to them.  All of them made it across without incident.  Then we all posed for our back picture like pros and then had to get back across the water.  We threw everyone back and started back towards the car.  By now, Anderson had realized that there weren’t fish and we weren’t going to see any.  And he was mad!  He crossed his arms and marched off.  He probably thought that we would try to stop him but we just let him march on-really, where was he going to go?  We had another quarter of a mile to walk on a boardwalk trail.  When he saw other people coming down the trail, he quickly turned and started marching back towards us.  Now, Graham was just beside himself that Anderson was leaving us.  He kept yelling “Anderson stop, Anderson I put you in jail”-putting people in jail is his new obsession.

There were picnic tables at the beginning of the trail and we drug out all of our stuff and had our picnic lunch.  The kids weren’t too hungry today but they sure were thirsty after the walk.  It was near 70 degrees so it was a little warm but still cool due to a nice breeze.  Perfect for a picnic.  After lunch, we got in the car and headed out of the park.  There really wasn’t much to do at Death Valley but it was beautiful to see.  We had to cross the entire park  which meant crossing over 2 mountain ranges.  I personally think that they did not have enough guard rails on the mountain tops.  It was a pretty interesting drive-below sea level, up to 4,000 feet, back down to sea level, up to 4,000 feet again and then back down.  It was stunning but I do like the flat ground very, very well. 

It was very, very deserted on our drive.  We would drive for 30 minutes and not see another car.  Sometime on the way, Robby told the kids to be on the look out for a 7 Eleven for slurpees.  Well, probably an hour later, I commented on what a good traveler Anderson was.  Robby looked back, agreed and said that he was just staring out the window.  A few minutes later, we did hear from Anderson when he said “Dad, is there EVER going to be a slurpee place?”  He had been staring out the window looking for slurpees.  Well, we never found those slurpees-not until we made it to the town we ate supper in and by then it was too late.

We stopped once to potty and once for gas on the 4+ hour drive.  The kids watched movies and played mostly.  Campbell and Graham did have a few naps along the way.  I mostly picked up toys, passed out drinks and snacks and tried to keep Robby awake (who gets very tired driving after lunch-so I turn the air down, feed him, give him something to drink, talk to him-pretty much just annoy him.  Anything so I don’t have to drive!)  Robby was able to cancel tonight’s hotel back in Nevada and find us an Embassy in Valencia, California-makes me want some orange juice.  We saw a Chipotle grill nearby and decided to try it since we had never been to one.  It was good and the kids really enjoyed sitting up on the stools while they ate.  We were sitting beside them with Campbell in a high chair between us and she spent her time waving at people outside the window. 

Our hotel was only about 2 miles away and it is very nice.  Our room is huge and it had a huge shower.  Since Campbell had poured her last cup of milk all over her, we did showers tonight.  Well we actually just let them play.  Reagan went in first and Campbell was banging on the door until I threw her in too.  They had a blast-Campbell will probably have bruises on her ankles from kicking her feet.  The boys were next and I let them take in their new cars.  They could have stayed in there forever.  We had to pry them out with a night time treat.  Robby had bought them ice cream dips since he felt bad about never finding a slurpee.  They ate some but then decided that they just wanted their milk. 

Campbell is sleeping in the shower that she loved so-it is that large that the pack n play can easily fit inside.  Reagan, Anderson and Graham are all in the front room in their sleeping bags and have all fallen asleep-we will just see how long everyone lasts there.  We have about 40 miles to Reagan’s Library in the morning and then who knows where we will end up!

No comments: