We left Illinois on the Thursday before Christmas, right after Kendall got home from work. We left about 2:30 in the afternoon. The kids were so excited to get to Utah that they got into the van about an hour before we left. :) So we started our very long journey. The weather worked out quite nicely (which I spent about a month stressing about) and we didn't have to make any stops until about 6:30 or 7:00 when we stopped at McDonald's to let the kids play and have some dinner. Then we got back in the car and got ready for bed and settled in for a long night of driving.
The trip was going exactly according to plan until about 3:00 am. We had made it through Illinois, Iowa and all of Nebraska and were into Wyoming at this point. This is always the scariest part of the trip in the winter because it is SOOO cold, always windy, no cell coverage, and the gas stations are few and far between. But when we passed one gas station we still had about a quarter of a tank of gas and we didn't want to stop and wake all of the kids up. So we figured we would wait until the next station. Little did we know the next station wasn't for quite a few miles. So we drove, and drove, the gas light came on, the needle dropped below empty, still driving...
I knew that if we ran out of gas we would all about freeze to death in our car waiting for daylight and someone to stop and help us. So the prayers started. I know that the Lord basically pushed us to the next gas station - the only one in miles. We got off the freeway and found the station, only to find out that it was closed. The pumps actually did accept credit cards, but there was a gate that was padlocked, keeping our van about 50 feet away from the pump. Kendall walked all around the station looking for an empty gas can or something that we could use to put gas in to get to to the van. Keep in mind it is only 10 degrees outside and we didn't have coats or gloves or anything. The largest container that he could find was a Gatorade bottle. :( So he started filling the bottle and running the gas, one Gatorade bottle at a time to the van to pour it into the tank. I Felt really bad that I wasn't doing anything so I went in search for another container. All I could find was a 12 oz Sobe bottle, but that was better than nothing. So between the two of us we ran back and forth, over and over again trying to get enough gas into the van to at least get us to the next gas station. I was literally colder than I have ever been in my life, and I was convulsing as I tried to pour the gas into the tank. After about half an hour of this we had about 1 1/2 gallons in the tank and we decided it would probably be enough to get us to the next station. I would have loved to have watched the security cameras the next morning. When Kendall got into the van his fingers were white from frost bite and we hear from the back seat Talmage's little voice, "Mommy, what are you doing?" What do you reply to that?
Needless to say, we learned our lesson. Fill up when your tank is about half way! Especially in Wyoming!! The rest of the trip went smoothly and we even made the trip in record time! The last time we drove this was when Rigdon was 8 days old and it took us 24 hours on the road with all of the stops that we had to make. This time we managed to make it in 18 hours!! We got all the way to Lehi (only 5 minutes from Kendall's parents' house) when both girls started puking in the back seat. I guess they either both get car sick, or else Sadie can't handle the sound of someone puking right behind her. haha. So we had a big mess or clean up when we got there.
We pulled in about 8:30 in the morning, which was a few hours earlier than we had expected; so we all had a chance to get bathed and even take naps before the family reunion that we had that night. We got to spend a lot of time with Uncle Aaron, who left to go on his mission right about the time Sadie was born. So Talmage and Avri were basically babies the last time they saw him.
We also got to meet Melissa, the kids' soon-to-be aunt. She is such a doll and we all just love her and can't wait for their wedding in May!
Then that night we went to the Family Reunion. The kids didn't hardly remember Great Grandma Brady, but it was a good reunion with lots of family that we haven't seen in years! The girls still had their curlers in at this point, but I promise I took them out before the party started.
See? Curlers all out.
We had a delicious dinner, karaoke, and a white elephant gift exchange.
It was so good to see so many cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents and be able to catch up with them a little bit. We were really glad that all the planets aligned in order for us to leave one day earlier than our original plan so that we could make it to the reunion.
6 months ago