I am pleased to say that the trip across country went well. Quite well, actually. I dreaded the idea of it -- four people plus dog in the cab of a pickup truck (pulling a trailer with another vehicle on in) for three days and nights, pushing through the night and resting only briefly one night with my step-grandma. Fortunately my fears were unfounded, for many reasons. Will is good at long-distance driving, and prefers being behind the wheel, so my anxiety about driving with the trailer was unnecessary. In fact I did little driving and the rig handled quite well, so even when I did drive it was without problems. The dog settled in happily, alternately sitting on the floor and on the seat, occasionally resting her head on a child's leg and in turn serving as a pillow for a tired kid. Will was pleased with my selection of audiobooks and we happily listened together while the kids, overjoyed at the very unusual prospect of unlimited movie watching, put their headsets on and fell mesmerized by the DVD player.
That's not to say we didn't have a few minor issues. Before we even got out of Colorado the door on the Land Rover we were hauling popped open and we had to pull over. Will fixed that and we all had potty breaks, the dog cheerfully obeying my request that she stay away from the highway, and I enjoyed a sense of familial purpose and unity that our daily lives rarely afford. I even took a picture of a cactus flower growing beside the highway.
Somewhere in Nebraska we ran out of gas -- the warning light didn't come on and we were about a mile short of an exit. Fortunately we had both a bicycle and a gas can readily available, so Will rode to the nearest gas station and returned not much later. We drove through the night to Chicago (a move I think we're both getting too old for) and were fortunate to have breakfast
with our friends Trish and Scott, then on toward Cleveland, only to run out of gas, again! This time it was too far to bike, so we called the auto club (Better World Club - even better than AAA) and they brought us five gallons of gas. Finally, to Granny Phyllis' house where we were met with hugs, birthday presents for the kids, hot stew, baths, and beds. We all collapsed, tired from two days of car-sleep. When we awoke, Phyllis had made us a breakfast feast, and both children were delighted to play with their gifts. Soon we were on our way to NY, where we were to drop off the Land Rover.
Thank goodness for my "smart" phone, because I was able to update Facebook and, more
importantly, get maps to the Land Rover destination. After unloading and seeing the delighted owner drive his new toy around, we stumbled back into the car, relieved to be almost done with the journey. We arrived at Dingley Dell in the dark, unloaded some bags by flashlight (we'd forgotten to get the electricity turned on), and headed off to a nearby motel to get some rest. Unfortunately, both places on the island have been shuttered, and at midnight I told Will to turn around; we slept in our sleeping bags on the beds we had cleared.
Monday morning we hung blankets to air out and once again hopped in the truck, this time to visit some long-lost Canadian cousins of the Bakers, who had invited us up for a mini-reunion three weeks after a grand affair which we missed. It was great fun to meet everyone and they were lovely hosts, even down to finding us dog-friendly lodging with a friend. After another wonderful shower and sleep in a real bed, we returned to the States to begin the task of opening up The Camp.