We have arrived.
What an interesting journey. I don’t really think there is a better word. First off, I would like to send KUDOS to the Drury Inn & Suites. We had to be holed-up in Phoenix for a week and they were awesome! Free breakfast and dinner. Drinks available until midnight. Pool open till 10. Comfortable, convenient, great customer service. I will do a full write-up on them in our reviews section.
While there waiting for the drive train to be fixed on the rig, an infection developed in my jaw. Anyone who has ever had an infection in their jaw is now most likely wincing. Ya. Fun. Turns out all those long days of working in the 100+ heat in Tucson made me a bit dehydrated. I neglected my self care, while obsessing about my husband and son getting enough water. The result – inflamed and infected submadibular glands. Hit me hard on Tuesday night with fever, chills and pain. I took Tylenol and kept working with fluids and by Friday, I felt O.K.. Ready to drive in any event – still in pain but no longer suffering the chills.
Thursday afternoon, we got our repaired rig back. Thursday night, Daniel was outside working on the trailer lights. I had told him that they were flashing irregularly so there was a short somewhere. While he was outside in the cool of the evening (it was only 95F), he met a scorpion. A big black scorpion! Pincers up, it chased him around the trailer. Too funny! Daniel did manage to fix the trailer lights but with no thanks to the scorpion. You should see him tell the story in person as he mimics the scorpion chasing him. I had tears I was laughing so hard!
Friday shone brightly and we hit the road. Dogs and kid settled, we were off! There is a wonky wheel on the trailer so I tend to follow closely to make sure I have eyes on that wheel. We have been assured it’s OK but it wobbles a bit between 20 and 40mph. We were driving North through Nevada on State Hwy 93 and there was a ton of truck blowout debris. Daniel was able to avoid a large strip, but I was not. A large chunk flew under Princess and the next thing I heard was metal scraping on the road. I pulled over to see a metal plate bent irregularly behind the driver seat under the car. It looked like everything was still basically attached except for the damage to this plate. It looked like I could just bend it back. Sadly – the metal was not bending and I didn’t have any tools to take it off. Daniel was finally able to turn around, bringing the tools to remove the plate. He tied up the whatever and off we went!
We were tired and needing to rest, so we stopped not much farther ahead for the night. My throat was bothering me a lot, the pain radiating from my jaw into my skull and ears. I needed to rest, drink more fluids and hope this got better overnight. The hotel we stayed in was retro and fun. They put us into the ‘Dog’ room. Dog curtains and dog stickers decorating the walls. Little statues of dogs here and there. Retro movie posters in the hallway of some of my favorite movies. A fun place. The price was a bit higher than I was expecting but otherwise very nice. Down side of being in a pet room, is all pets share the same rooms. Usually, I don’t notice cats have been in a room we are in, but here – my allergies went into overdrive. Then the fan in the shower started pulling in smoke from the smokers outside so it was either turn the fan off and stay in the oppressive heavy air, or turn on the fan and bring in the smoke. My throat was already hurting and now I had allergy issues making everything worse. Another highlight though, before sleeping we all went out as a family and looked at the Milky Way. No light pollution and clear skies made for wonderful star gazing! Large bats flew around making sure we weren’t bothered by any bugs. We had fun identifying the constellations we knew and then made up some of our own. Another sweet night bonding as a family.
An early start the next day, and my throat was on fire. It hurt to swallow, I couldn’t stop producing saliva and was exhausted. We stopped in Ely, NV to try and find out if maybe some warm tea would help at all. I was downing extra strength Tylenol in an unhealthy amount and not finding any respite. Finally, to the point of tears, we looked for an ER. Turns out, Ely just built a beautiful new hospital. The only thing available for miles around. It sits up on a hill next to a large green park. How perfect is that? My son and husband were able to wait out my ER visit in this wonderful park. The Ely ER was clean, and quick. I could feel something was swollen under my jaw and I guess, it was pretty visible to the doc as well. He had me diagnosed quickly with infected submadibular saliva glands. He could see the line of red from under my jaw and up my jaw line. Then came the issue that I couldn’t have anything that would cause drowsiness. We would run out of funds if we had to stay in any one location. We had to drive. Problem was solved after the ER crewe did some research. Two shots later, and a prescription for a strong antibiotic for me to pick up in Boise, we were off! Xander had a great time at the park. Other kids his age showed up and they had a lot of fun playing. Even our pups got to enjoy the soft grass and the cool sunny air.
The ER trip took some time so we ended up stopping in Twin Falls, ID instead of Boise. Feeling better because I had the shots, I was still in a lot of pain. The Tylenol was not cutting it but I wouldn’t be able to drive with the prescribed pain med. Swallowing was getting easier but still painful and the allergies now would not stop. We stopped in Boise to visit with our amazing niece. She is studying to be a doctor and has a lovely home. We stopped by for a quick visit, and of course, she checked out my swollen glands. She also got me setup with some protein drinks so I would finally be able to get something in my system, and gave me some Advil which worked out better than the Tylenol that I had been using. We picked up my prescription and were off again. Our goal was to make it to Spokane that night but we were so tired. I think we got about 4 hours away and had to stop at a Walmart. I just couldn’t keep my eyes open. We parked out of the way, cleared off the bed – set the alarm for 2 hours and grabbed some shut-eye.
A bit refreshed, we headed out again. We went about an hour and a half before again, we had to stop from exhaustion. We found a lovely spot off the road, cleared off the bed again and crashed for the night. We were somewhere in the middle of a large windmill farm and fell asleep listening to the wind blowing, the cows in a nearby field mooing and the sound of the windmill blades wooshing. Another beautiful night of stars but we were too tired to appreciate them. We just went to bed.
We woke up when we wanted, not tied to some hotel checkout time and had an easy morning. We also got a bit of a better look at where we were stopped. Lovely location!
We were driving through Colfax, WA looking for some quick and easy lunch when Daniel and the rig went one direction, and one of the wheels from the tag axle went another. It was like an old cartoon where the wheel just takes a trip of its own, miraculously missing pedestrians, cars, rivers and other obstacles. Daniel hadn’t noticed and I was busy trying to chase the wheel. It rolled merrily down the street, up on the side walk, away from windows, back to the street where it said “Hello” to a semi coming up the road. It kept rolling and finally came to a stop in a parking spot, neatly parallel parking next to a curb. I quickly parked the van and got out to collect the wheel only to see a tow truck stopped and a guy picking up the wheel. Where the heck did he come from? I ran up to him, “That’s my wheel!” He was surprised but helped me get the greasy wheel into the van with the pups. I am sure I looked quite the sight, I was still in my night clothes and hadn’t brushed my hair yet!
Now I had to find Daniel and the rig! There were a couple tire places in town and the easiest for Daniel to get to was the Les Schwab so I met him there. The wheel had lost the cotter pin and the bolt unscrewed itself with the spinning of the wheel. One comment from the Les Schwab tech was that perhaps our brand new axle had been installed backwards? ARG!!! They recommended a new axle. Since that was not going to happen, we asked them to remove the other tag axle wheel and we would just go forward with the dullies only. We already knew we were well underweight and only had 72 miles to go to our destination. We wrapped the two wheels with bags, shoved them into the van and made our way North.
We got into the beautiful hill country of Washington. Golden hills of cut wheat. Green valleys – beautiful skies. We arrived at our friends house – yup – the same friends we spent all last summer with – around 2pm. They miraculously have invited us to stay with them while we find local work and a home of our own. I was feeling human with two days of the antibiotic in my system and Greg made a wonderful dinner he knows is a favorite of ours. His 100% from scratch chicken dumpling soup. Soft enough for me to eat, nutritious and delicious! They were happy to see us.
Some random favorite shots I took while we drove …