Well our little Family Adventure 2013 was quite the adventure!! 10 days, 1 RV, 1 mom, 1 step dad, 4 sisters/daughters, 1 fiancée to one of the sisters/daughters, and a total of about 2,300 miles!!! yup it was an adventure all right!!
This is the first time my hubby has "vacationed" with me and the girls! and to make that a road trip to California's Central Valley with all the girls and the Fiancée of my oldest daughter ... pretty much states how wonderful he is! that's a LOT of personalities in close quarters for 10 days!!
We left the Thursday night and after stopping State side for groceries .. we had to load up on snacks! ... and dinner, we hit the road with myself driving the first leg... I made it until 12:30 am when we pulled over for gas to fuel up before we started up the passes ... then my hubby took over and he drove until 5:00 am when I finally said I CAN'T TAKE IT please stop so we can sleep a little ... so we slept for 2 hours and then we were on the road again ... I don't remember when I took the wheel again but I ended up driving on the worse roads we have ever seen! like we are talking NARROW!! and bumpy and when you hit a bump in a RV with front wheel drive .. YOU FEEL IT! and it pulls you to the side... NOT FUN! I was a sweating stress mess! We finally found a safe spot to pull over and then Paul took over... I had hit the wall in a big way! exhausted and stressed is a great combo! um yah! so anyway I can't say I highly recommend the driving straight through thing except for the fact that the girls slept almost the entire way ... thank you gravel, words cannot fully express how much I love you!... I swore we wouldn't drive straight through on the way home ... but we did! a little side stop visit that was longer then anticipated, but very good, and we ended up driving straight through to make up the time and get home at a decent time ... needless to say we were all a little ripe when we got home yesterday! ;)
We stayed on a dairy farm/ranch ... like a 3,000 acre dairy ranch complete with a camel and a zebra :) .. what a way of life! I have to say that I would have loved to raise my kids on a farm/ranch like that! you can see the value of the lifestyle of chores, responsibility, always something to do, and the general bliss of mostly outdoor living! my girls LOVED the ranch! they got to ride horses, drive around the mule ( a little 4 wheeler ), go hunting, explore the ranch, and they had a total blast with their new cousins! there was always something to do or something to see or an animal to feed! Even though the girls have been "city raised" they fit right in to the country life!
His family and friends came together on the Saturday night to welcome me and the girls into the family! it was so great to meet his friends that were not able to make the trek to our wedding! to see where he lived for about 10 years, meet his family on their turf and meet his friends was like putting little pieces of the puzzle together in what makes Paul .. Paul! they are all great people! like really great! he comes from great stock! and his friends were amazingly kind and hospitable! It was great to put faces with the many stories he has about his time down there! We also went to his old church and one couple was talking to him and said well then, the move away was a good one for you! ... yes I am soooo thankful he listened when he heard God say " it's time to move " ... :)
Mid week we packed everyone up and headed to Morrow Bay and Pismo Beach (about a 3 1/2 hour drive each way) ... I forgot that the girls and I had been to Pismo in 2011 when we went to Disney Land! what a beautiful place and driving through the wine country made me want to do that trip again .. without kids ... one day! We shopped until the girls said ENOUGH ... and that's quite the accomplishment! it was my oldest daughters fiancée's first time to California so we were so glad that he was able to see some of the amazing coast line. I think the girls were anxious to get back to the ranch, they really loved it there that much! and we were all a little RV stir crazy! you got the part about 7 of us in it right?! yah! that's a lot for a 26' 1977 GMC coach!
We had so many great conversations and times with the family and friends! We had a few hairy sisterly love moments :/ mmmmm yah that was not so fun ... but all in all we just had a great trip full of great memories and our little "circle of community" got a little bigger and for that I am truly thankful! The girls proved entertaining :) and the Californians got to see why our lives up here never have a dull moment! one of my favourite laughs I had was when we were meeting the cousins the first night and it's all awkward how it is when teenagers meet new teenagers! and my baby girl who has NO qualms about meeting new people or creating conversations looks at the 1 boy cousin, (14 year old), and after drilling him with a lot of questions about his school and what he does for hobbies she asks " so what does the fox say?" and the emphasis on the wording and how she said it was absolutely priceless ... we all bust a gut laughing! sometimes she is so random!! They really are a lot of fun, my girls, they keep us laughing a lot!
We did a lot of shopping .. I know shocking!! probably more shocking is I didn't buy a single pair of shoes!! and not cuz I didn't try but just didn't find what I was looking for. It was a bit of a challenge to find places for all the purchases to fit in the RV ... it looked like a shopping mall had thrown up in it for a lot of the time .. and then I would clean and organize it and then we would go shopping again or they would be looking for something I had put away... keeping that RV clean was an ongoing task! we discovered Hobby Lobby via one of my new niece in laws ... and OH MY GOODNESS I have found my new favourite store! finding out there is one within 2 hours of me was equally exciting :)
Now we are home and the laundry pile is massive and the readjustment into our crazy routine has begun! nothing like driving through all night (18+ hours) and finally getting home and having to alter uniform skirts and help with homework projects :) and my week has a crazy load and then this weekend Paul and I are off to Cancun!! a week with my sisters and their hubbies and my parents! I have never travelled so much as I have this year!
I am so totally blessed! ... and that's an understatement!!