How a long drive turns into an even longer drive. Then add in two kids under 2, snow, and two tired adults. A long drive...from Utah to New Mexico became an adventure beyond even my wildest imaginings. Christopher & I happen to be friends with this really great NCO in Christopher's Reserve Unit, John. They went on a tour of duty to Iraq back in 2005-2006, and got to be good buddies. Tragedy struck John's family back in March, when his kid brother, Ben, died. Ben was also in their Reserve Unit and so I'd met him a few times. He was a really nice kid and I was heartbroken when my husband phoned me to say he had passed away. In that moment in talking to my husband, I felt that strong desire that we needed to do whatever was necessary to get to New Mexico that coming weekend for the funeral. Christopher felt the same way.
We scrimped and managed to pull the money necessary together, because Johm & his family needed our support. Not to mention being there to honor the life of this young man. I worked diligently to plot out a route for us to get there, trying to find ways to help us get there on $300 cash. We have family in Grand Junction, CO, so instead of taking the shorter route through Southern Utah, I made arrangements with my family for us to stay the night at their place. This would give us a free place to stay and a free meal. It only tacked on an extra few hours and it didn't seem like a big deal.
We made good time getting to Grand Junction and enjoyed free food & being with family. Unfortunately, since we had to be in New Mexico no later than one, we had to get up and leave at 4AM. We got up having had very little sleep, we loaded our kids in the car and began the trek down south. That's when our trip to an expected detour. We reached Red Mountain Pass, to find that it was closed! Great. The gas station attendant told us that there had been an avalanche and then gave us directions to take a different pass. She told my Hubby that it would only add like an hour to our drive. Yeah, right!
This pass had the most snow covered and icy roads, and we had brought our inexpensive gas car, not our RAV4 with snow tires. This forced us to go well below the speed limit down this crazy & twisty mountain pass. This little detour added like 2 1/2 hours to our drive. When we finally got out of the passes and actually started hitting the warmer weather, we were super behind on our driving time frame. Christopher had only planned for so many extra hours and we had already eaten into a large chunk of them.
To make matters worse, once we got into New Mexico we found that the speed limit changes like every 10ft in some places. This made the drive horrific. All the while we were thinking that 'Oh, my gosh. We have to get to the church before one." Christopher had been asked to be apart of the Honor Guard and pallbearers. My poor kids all the while were still in their PJs and hadn't gotten diapers changed since we'd left. We finally got out of all the towns and onto a long stretch of road before our destination, but that stretch still was going to take 2 hours.
My Hubby was going pedal to the metal literally. We stopped once so he could change into his Class As while I was driving and I changed after we switched back. We even saw a Highway patrolman while he was going like 80 MPH and all he did was flash his lights at us in warning! Thank Heavens. We did finally arrive at our destination at about 1:30PM and I sent my Hubby racing inside so that he could be ready when they needed him. I set to work dressing and changing diapers on my kids, who were not happy about having been in the car so long.
I missed the services inside, but we did make it in time for Christopher to help carry the casket to the gravesite and be apart of the Honor Guard at the cemetery. I'm glad we made it! I couldn't have imagined beforehand that our drive would turn out quite like it did. I'm glad we were there to support John & his family when they needed it most. I wish there was more I could have done for them.
So, that's how our Long Drive became even longer! We took the shorter route back, avoided all the snow and made sure we picked up a dual screen DVD player to keep our kids entertained. The drive home was far less exciting (not a problem for me) and my two kids were way happier!
I hope you enjoyed this. This was another one of Mama's Losin' It's Writer's Workshop prompts. I sure had fun with this one and I can't wait for next weeks prompts!