Friday, October 26, 2012

Traveling The Oregon Trail

Hello world,

If I sound different today lean a little toward the northwest.  There, sound clearer?  Good.

During the (incredibly long) break since I last posted, our family decided to pretend we were settlers of yore.  We packed up the old homestead, crammed it all into a rental wagon and followed the Oregon Trail from Missouri all the way to Oregon.

Remember when your elementary school teachers tried to impress upon your young mind what a long journey that was?  She wasn't kidding.  No ma'am.  It's looooongggggg.  Wanna hear about it?  I thought so.

So in the spirit of the pioneers and discovery, here's our trip:

Is there a doctor in the house?
TWO DAYS before we pick up the moving truck, Medman gets the stomach flu.*  This is not good.  I'm clearly the brains of this operation, but he's the brawn.  And moving requires brawn. (Brawn and an ability to puzzle oddly shaped objects into a smaller box than they can ever fit into while positively refusing to think about how many more insurmountable tasks are before you.)  But he was down for the count.  He slept for HOURS during the day and only roused himself so that I could go enjoy one last Girl's Night Out.  (To My Girl's Night Out friends - I miss you already.  I know you haven't met again and laughed until you cried over the horrors of motherhood, but I'm missing it preemptively.)
*Medman will not sign off on "flu" because he says that blames our puking on the Influenza Virus.  I admit it is possible this was one of the hundreds of other viruses which cause vomiting.  Perhaps ours was named Helga.  That's sort of the noise that people kept making into the toilet.  So let it be known that my use of the word "flu" is referring to the Helga Virus. 

Discovery #1:
It takes the flu one day to travel from Medman to Liam. This begins to chip away at the belief that I am fiercely holding on to that maybe Medman just ate something that disagreed with him.  Our family hasn't been sick in...maybe forever.  Absolutely no way are we getting the stomach flu while we are moving.  I will not allow it.

Traveling like pioneers #1:
Screw hygiene.  The day Liam started puking, our geriatric washing machine (which broke the spin cycle's equivalent of a hip recently) became incontinent.  Leaking water all over the concrete floor of our basement laundry room - no biggie.  Taking that same old timer to our new rental with a finished laundry room on the main floor - not a good idea.  So we bid goodbye to her, not sadly at all since for months she's sounded like a rocket taking off in our basement any time the spin cycle started.  And all this turned out to be a good thing because there wouldn't have been room for her in the truck anyway. 

But in case you haven't made the connection...PEOPLE IN MY HOUSE WERE PUKING AND I HAD NO WASHER.  This is where our situation became closely related to those pioneers of yesteryear.  Very few clothes (not packed) and no real way to clean things that got grossified.  We started not smelling so great pretty early on.  I'm not even going to talk about how the car smelled. 

Discovery #2: 
It takes two days for the flu to travel from Liam to Belle.  I admit defeat.  It's really the flu.  It's really going to nail every single one of us in turn.  While we are moving across the country.

Traveling like pioneers #2: Dusty floors.  The LAST evening in our home, my vacuum stops working on thick carpet. I've commented before that my vacuum sucks.  And it did.  But could it not have lasted a couple more hours?  Lisa, I'm so sorry the main level of the house is not vacuumed for you when you move in.

Traveling like pioneers #3: 
Cozy travel arrangements.  With the truck loaded, we leave despite Belle still looking a bit wan and myself fighting off some serious nausea.  Medman had to drive the truck while towing his car - which had decided to break down that week, of course.   That left me in our car with all three kids.  Thankfully Dalton is incredibly helpful and Belle is pretty self-sufficient.  We won't talk about Liam right now because if I don't have anything nice to say I'm not supposed to say anything.  But I feel deeply for mothers of 1-year-olds who actually walked the 2000 mile Oregon Trail. 

Traveling like pioneers #4: 
The Long Slow Journey.  We'd mapped it out and it was a THIRTY-TWO HOUR DRIVE at normal highway speeds.  That is intimidatingly long, but we'd squared with the idea.  Oh wait, what does that sticker on the tow dolly say?  Speed not to exceed 55 mph?*  There may have been tears shed. 
*I'm not saying we kept the speed to 55 mph ALL four days, but for quite a bit of the drive we were pretty conscientious about it. Now that I think of it, you probably could have gauged our state of well-being by whether we were sticking close to the 55 mph mark.  The amount we strayed from that speed was directly proportional to our disgust at STILL being in the car.

Traveling like pioneers #5:  
Sickness. We drove slowly for days upon days.  Belle threw up in the car.  Liam threw up in the car. Belle's turn again. (I have no more towels.  We cut up towels, gave them to kids for catching whatever they could, then threw them out at rest stops along I-80.  Sorry trash collection people at those rest stops.)

Traveling like pioneers #6:  
Scarce food. The upside of all the hurling was that no one wanted to stop for food.

Discovery #4:  Budget Truck Rental can't do math.  We discovered that on a rental truck the first 3/4 of a tank of gas lasted 350 miles.  The last 1/4 of a tank of gas means you have 20 miles to go before you run out.  As in RUN OUT OF GAS.  Clearly Budget does not understand the concept of quarters.  Insert hour long break, praying for our own safety on the shoulder of a highway in the mountains, swearing at containers filled up and slippery with diesel fuel as we try to pour enough gas into the truck to get her down the 5 miles of 5% grade into the next city without her running out of gas and losing power breaks and steering. 

Traveling like pioneers #7:  
Four days and two thousand miles later: We reached our new home.  Isn't it lovely?  Everything here is quite beautiful.  I'm positive the pioneers felt as happy as we did to arrive in a beautiful, fertile land after traveling through so much barrenness. This tree is in front of our house and we can see it out our bedroom window.  The picture does not even begin to do justice to how beautiful it is. And there's the stupid broken down Jetta.

This is a view of the parking lot where I got coffee. Look at all the pretty trees and flowers!

So how are we now?

Well I have a lovely new washer and dryer. And new towels.

I don't have a vacuum but there's no carpet in this house, so I'm ok for now.

My car may never smell good again.

We are settling in for a fun new life in the beautiful pacific northwest.

Thank you to the pioneers who made a path out here and the vast number of asphalt layers who created roads on top of the wagon ruts.

And Budget Truck Rentals - may everything you own run out when you think you still have a quarter of it left.  


  1. Oh.My.Goodness! I'm so sorry about that trip but the way you wrote about it gave me a good laugh (laughing with you ;)). I'm glad you all made it safely and are feeling better.

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  3. You need to write a screenplay but people would not have any willing suspension of disbelief. You left out the Budget Rental part that made this story scale from epic to horrifying when we talked. I am nauseated just reading this.

  4. Oh my gosh, NO WONDER you were wiped out after moving. That is the worst moving story I've ever heard. You are a pioneer women to have made it through all that with your sanity intact and a good does of comedy left. Where are you in Oregon? I live in Bend! We need to get together in real life sometime.