Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Wild, Wild, West

We have been back home for almost two weeks from our trip out to the Wild, Wild West. We spent the first weekend back at home relaxing and recovering from severe allergies from the dryness, sagebrush and high altitude.
I wanted to remember all that we did, so here's a little recap;
We left for our trip the weekend after Easter. We flew from Charlotte, North Carolina to Portland, Oregon without any layovers, and although it was a five hour flight, we had three hours of sunsets along the way as we travelled backwards in time.
(Cell phone moment)
 (Cell phone moment)
We collected our hire car, and checked into our hotel, the Days Inn in Clackamas.
On Sunday morning we took a little trip down memory lane. This year is the 10th anniversary of me living in the USA. For the first two years from 2005-2007 I went to Spokane Falls Community College in Spokane, Washington before transferring to Marylhurst University, in Marylhurst Oregon from 2007-2010. We met just two weeks after my graduation. I moved home to my dad's from here... townhouse at number 10.

My college was less than a mile away.

Attending Marylhurst was different than your typical "college experience" it is a small Catholic Liberal Arts college. It was founded by the Sisters of The Holy Names of Jesus and Mary in 1893. Today, it's about eighty percent female.

The Chapel where I had my graduation ceremony.

After lingering in times gone past we had breakfast at St Honore Bakery in downtown Lake Oswego. My thesis interior-architecture project was across the road, so I've spent many hours having coffee (even with my mom) in this idyllic little bakery.
(cell phone moment)
After the bakery we went to the Oregon Zoo and met up with Cory's older brother, niece and nephew. It has been about fifteen months since we last saw them, so we were surprised at how tall they've gotten. 

After we left the zoo we headed on the four hour drive along the Columbia River to Kennewick, Washington where Cory's parents live. We've driven the route together a few times, and I've also driven it many times when I would go back to my dad's for holiday's or summer break.
We visited his parents for the evening and had chicken enchiladas for dinner.
On Monday we visited our friend, and lawyer Judy to talk about my dad's probate. She has been so helpful in walking us through the process, so we took her out to a Mexican lunch near her office. We caught up on her upcoming wedding in September to her beau and all the changes in our lives since we last met.
After lunch we drove around and did a lot of paperwork, with the licensing office, etc. then we drove by my dad's lot we sold just over a year ago, and saw that the new owners had already built a house.
Then we drove past our first home together. Cory bought this as his first home in 2007. When we moved to the South in 2013, we decided to rent it out.
After driving around we went back to visit with Cory's parents and had lasagna for dinner. Then after dinner we took back the hire car, and took Cory's mom for dessert at Cousin's.

Like mother, like son?

On Tuesday we collected the U-Haul and went for lunch at Rosy's our old hangout along the Columbia River.

 (Cell phone moment)

 (Cell phone moment)
Afterwards we met up with Cory's dad to load the U-Haul with everything that was in our 10x10 storage unit. Surprisingly, we got everything loaded that day.
In the afternoon we all met up with one of my dad's old friends; Frank to visit over cheese, crackers and a veggie platter.
Afterwards, we went for soup and salad at PF Chang's with Cory's mom, and took dinner to Cory's dad (although he didn't care for the soup).
On Wednesday, we met up with Felicia and sat outside to visit with her daughters. These girls are pretty adorable and are always willing to give us big hugs.

 After hanging out we went back to Cory's parents to visit and have curry for dinner. Afterwards, we all went to the movies to go see Cinderella.
On Thursday, our last full day there we got dressed up, in black-and-white ready for our family pictures. We treated Cory's parents for a lunch/brunch at Anthony's, an old favorite of my dad's and I's. The restaurant is on the Columbia River at Howard Amon Park where we used to spend our summers unloading the boat. Also, across the river was my dad's lot.
 After brunch/lunch we met up with Felicia, Cory's previous co-worker from Jones Custom Photography and she took our family pictures.

That evening, after a change we went to visit with another previous co-worker of Cory's, Becky and her family.
We got up early and said goodbye to Cory's mom before her flight, then visited with his dad over breakfast.
Then we left for Twin Falls, Idaho. Thankfully, got there that evening without a hitch. We had dinner at Applebee's just a stroll from our room that evening.

The Infamous Saturday
We were on our way to Grand Junction, Colorado via Utah.
The car then started s-h-a-k-i-n-g and so Cory got in the slow lane, I proceeded to ask him to pull over. Just as we did we saw the rubber from our tire on the road.
We had a blowout at exit 282 in Salt Lake City.

So we called our insurance...who called roadside assistance.
We got told to wait over an hour for not one, but two tow trucks.
As we were there a Patrol officer and then a BYU student stopped to ask if we were "okay". At that point we said yes, because we anticipated roadside assistance to be there any minute.
The tow truck arrived, charged us $61 to tell us he couldn't tow us as he didn't have a jack?
So we called roadside assistance again, by this point we'd been there almost four hours, and were switching seats to stay out of the direct sun.
As we were on hold...another patrol officer approached us, probably wondering why we'd made home on exit 282, and we explained.
He was pro-active, and resourceful and together with Cory they changed the tire, as the other supported the U-Haul. All while I was on hold.
After it got changed, I got put back on the line and I explained after four-and-a-half hours, we got helped by a Utah Highway Patrol man.
And off we went to Les Schwab, to get them to test our other tires, and to buy a spare.

Thankfully, they assured us and we finally arrived in Grand Junction around midnight.
We woke up, realizing that sitting on the side of the road, inflamed my allergies, especially the sagebrush. It was the day of Cory's cousins wedding so we checked into the hotel, and I tried taking more meds to ease the uncomfort.

We went to the wedding which was beautiful at the Church of Christ, followed by a reception at Two Rivers Winery.
Today, we drove to Albuquerque, New Mexico where another one of Cory's cousins and her husband live.

Everything was sunny until we got to the San Juan mountain range where it proceeded to lightly snow. I have never seen Cory's face so white as he clung onto the steering wheel for dear life. You see we were over 14,000 feet in elevation, going up mountains with no guard rails with roads as small as a pencil.

Funny thing is Cory was joking around at the gas station before he knew what was coming; "wouldn't it be funny if we have to drive all the way to the top of the mountain?"

I reminded him when we were back on level ground, and he said it wasn't funny anymore.

That evening Cory's cousin and her husband treated us to an authentic New Mexican dinner.
I awoke on Tuesday morning with no voice, I could only whisper (for about four to five days), this made our time ordering in restaurants amusing, as Cory would instinctively also whisper.
We spent the morning in old town Albuquerque with Cory's cousin visiting all the little stores and we treated her to lunch before we headed on the road to Amarillo, Texas.

(I was looking pitiful)

I had been using a few allergy meds, so when we got to the Holiday Inn Express in Amarillo, Texas and I saw a Texas Roadhouse, I just started laughing uncontrollably for the rest of the evening. We ordered dinner from there and brought it to our room, and it was probably the best Roadhouse experience we've had.
We spent the day driving through the North Texas.

We were surprised how the landscape changed
We welcomed the clouds and humidity as we spent the day driving through Louisianna, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and into the Carolinas. We got home around 2-3am in the early hours of Friday morning.

We are blessed to have arrived home safe and sound after quite an eventful two weeks on the road.
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Coastal Charm #260
Imparting Grace #153
Share Your Cup #148
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