Friday, May 11, 2012

Road Trip Diary: Day 3

The Navy is moving us from Waukegan, Illinois, to San Diego, California; driving across the country with a three-month-old baby and a cat who's afraid of the world is quite an adventure!

Look at those eyes!!  Perfectly content in Daddy's arms.

One thing I forgot to mention about Colorado: thus far on our trip, my primary impression of the state was that it smelled like manure.

Seriously. We drove past several CAFOs (concentrated animal feeding operations... essentially industrial cow farms) on Day 2, and the air was ripe with the smell of their feces. The combination of nasty smells plus lack of suitable hotels means that Colorado and I were not off to a good start.

When we left our hotel at around 0630 on the morning of Day 3, we were immediately hit with the smell of manure. Again. There was no way around it; we just hoped that we'd get past the CAFOs soon and on to fresher air.

Unfortunately, driving through Denver did little to improve our shaky relationship with the Centennial State. The morning commute traffic was awful, and as we slowly inched through the busy city Little Bug woke up and demanded to be nursed. No quiet grumbles this time; instead, Little Bug woke up wailing, hungry, wanting food, starving, DYING!

Soothing a baby this far gone into a fuss fit is a challenge but, thankfully, I managed. AND we made it out of Denver in one piece. Bonus points for us.

D and I continued to be unimpressed by this state until we reached the Rocky Mountains. By this time, we finally started to appreciate the beautiful sights this state had to offer. Gorgeous mountain peaks! Amazing rock formations! Vibrant colors! It was a feast for the eyes, and D and I (and even Freddy) gladly partook in it.

We stopped for gas somewhere shortly after we started ascending, expecting that fuel and refreshments would be hard to come by once we got further into the mountains. D picked up some cookies and trail mix for us. (I loved that he found trail mix that had dried blueberries and apples in it, but was confused at why the makers felt the need to add high fructose corn syrup. Because dried fruit isn't sweet enough on its own? At least it was delicious!)

As we continued, we found that, in fact, there was plenty of civilization to be found throughout the mountain pass! Nearly every exit boasted gas stations and mini marts, restaurants and ski lodges. (Duh... skiing... of course there would be plenty of places to stop!) The most well-populated stop was in the town of Vail, Colorado, where the elevation was 8150 feet.

The view passing through Vail, Colorado.
Also up in the mountains, D & I pulled out our digital camera for the first time this trip. (Delayed apologies for low-quality camera phone pictures...) We let Little Bug breathe in the clear, fresh mountain air and marveled at the amazing views before us. I had vague aspirations of getting someone to take a family photo for us, but never really got a good opportunity to.

After the Rockies, the drive was much better. The landscape was more interesting, there was no more manure smell, and we made good progress. And yet, driving through the mountains is significantly more taxing than traveling regular country highways, so we decided to end earlier than usual that day. We ended up stopping in the town of Fruita, Colorado, that night, relatively close to the Utah border. The Super 8 we stayed in here had one GIANT bed, which was a nice change from the night before! D happily spent some time swimming laps in the indoor pool, while Little Bug and I enjoyed just cuddling together.

One interesting thing about driving across the country is that Little Bug isn't adjusting to time zone changes the way D and I are trying to. So we were in Mountain Time by the time we got to Fruita, but Little Bug was still on his sleeping schedule from Illinois; thus, he was ready to pass out for the night at 1900 (2000 back in IL). I figure I'll work on acclimating him to Pacific Time after we're settled into San Diego.

D and I are also getting better at keeping Little Bug happy during the day. Rolling down a window slightly makes for a fabulous white noise that helps him to sleep, and we're resigned to the fact that we rarely can go for more than two hours without having to stop and nurse. We're actually more likely to stop every hour, whether it's a bathroom break for one of us or a stop for snacks and drinks from a mini-mart or a stop specifically to let Little Bug nurse. It makes the trip take a little longer, but it's a worthy investment of our time if it keeps him from having full-on fits. He (thankfully) mostly sleeps during the drives, although he usually doesn't get into a nice deep sleep. And the most invaluable toy we brought along? A little penguin rattle that D bought from Babies 'R' Us. Little Bug finds it almost mesmerizing at times, and sometimes simply holding it in his line of vision will help him drift off to sleep. And when he's starting to fidget, I shake it at him and say “Yay! Penguin rattle!” For some reason, this usually works to quiet him down.

We're managing.

Disappointing results in the license plate game for Day 3. We only saw six new states, plus an official US Government plate.

Kansas       Massachusetts       Montana
Nevada      New York            Washington

The adventure would continue on Day 4.

1 comment:

  1. whew ... stopping every 2 hours or every hour ... that will slow the trip down alright, but what must be done - must be done! On our trip in to Virginia, the last stretch of driving was eight hours without any stops! So I can only imagine how it must feel to stop every hour - "Didn't we JUST stop!?" ha ha
    SO excited that you aren't going to be homeless any longer .....!!! :)