Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Long And Winding Road

Hey, long time no posts from yours truly here.  My apologies.  It's been a busy couple of weeks...where shall we begin?

Howz bout we start with the beginning of the Pescado family Spring Break road trip.  When the Pescado parents moved to Utah last October I told them I'd try to visit them when the girls were on Spring Break.  Before making that promise, however, I told The Better Half I'd take her to see Shania Twain at Caesar's Palace.  I figured I'd take care of two promises I vaguely remembered making with one long road trip.

We left Washington last Saturday (4/6) morning during a driving rain storm that stayed with us all the way to the Utah border.  When we hit Utah all we had to contend with were some strong head winds.  In fact, wind was a central theme of the trip down and back.  The mighty Expedition handled well, but MPG suffered in a big way.  During last summer's trip to California we were averaging close to 15 MPG, this trip I never got higher than 13.8 MPG.  Battling through wind had the engine working harder, the higher altitude didn't help either.

The drive on Saturday took 13 1/2 hours because the girls are quite possibly the greatest road trip kids in existence.  We only had to stop three times on the way down for gas/potty/stretch breaks.  They never really pestered us about when we were going to get there, and didn't ask for anything at the crazy Pilot travel centers.  Now, even I was surprised that they didn't want any toys or games at Pilot.  Those places are nothing but one big giant impulse buy shopping centers.  They carry everything from bungee cords to CB radios to Funyuns to movies starring Kurt Russell you didn't even know existed...basically, everything and anything a homicidal trucker on a three state killing spree needs to keep himself entertained.  The only real moment of concern was when Maddy asked me why the loudspeaker kept announcing that so and so's shower was ready.  I just told her that truckin' is a dirty job...but left out the part about dead hooker blood not being able to wash itself off....

Our drive home was equally uneventful outside of more strong winds that were sometimes accompanied by sheets of rain, snow flurries and blinding dust storms east and west of Boise.  The stretch of highway between the Utah border and Boise, ID is what hell most look like, minus demons with fiery pitchforks running around.  That may be the most singularly unlovely stretch of highway in the western United States...flat, windy, dusty, and nothing to see but tumbleweeds.  Every other portion of our trip provided some scenery to gape at...and occasional wildlife, such as elk heading in Cle Elum, deer in Oregon, and dead coyotes in Nevada.  The only wildlife we saw in southern Idaho were crows and magpies.  That just isn't an enjoyable stretch of highway to drive....

Oh, we did get stuck on Snoqualmie Pass Saturday night, crushing my goal of being home before 9pm (We left SLC at 8:20 that morning and I was pushing the 'long way to go, short time to get there' Smokey & The Bandit meme).  Due to blizzard like conditions, several accidents, and an avalanche, we spent quality time together as a family for 3 1/2 hours near the pass summit.  Luckily, the kids had a movie to watch and were tired, so they fell asleep...TBH and I posted updates to FB and Twitter about our status.  Thankfully, we were in the first group to get escorted over the pass by plows and the State Patrol, so we were home before midnight...but the Bandit would have been disappointed.

Still to come, recap of our Vegas trip, my near disastrous hair of the dog moment at The Palms, a Shania Twain concert review, and more on the greatest 80's cover band I've ever seen in Vegas....!

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