Farwell Washington, Farwell Wyoming
I was once told that every good slide show/series of photographs ought to end with a sunset. I have fondly thought of this as a charming and fitting notion…Our nearly three month summer odyssey has come to an end.
After our vacation without the children, we visited briefly with our dear old friend Brother Gabriel. We have not seen him in two years since he entered the Dominican Order. In some ways, it was like old times—eating hot wings and playing games. In other ways, we saw the man who we knew well blossom into much more. It was always there, but had yet to reach full potential.
We attempted to catch up on sleep during our childless trip, however cursed pregnancy hormones and third trimester discomfort kept me from achieving full rest. On our venture back Wyoming to retrieve our children we blew out a tire. We ended up stranded in a stinky, sub par, expensively-priced hotel at the edge of the Crow Nation Reservation (What can I say, we’ve been spoiled on nice hotels). We did not sleep well that night either.
As we sat beside the road that twilight, feeling a little helpless and stupid, changing the tire—my husband changing the tire, his first time, as I read him the instructions from the owner’s manual (I’m sure it was quite a sight to passersby)—a nice, young, big and strong, Native American boy stopped and offered his services. We had been fooling with the darn thing for a forty-five minutes and probably would have been there another forty-five. The young man had the tire changed in less than five minutes. I guess it doesn’t take a PhD to change a tire, just 220 lbs of young muscle. It was certainly a God send. We thanked him and offered him money. He refused the money, but took the offer of my husband’s remaining 10 cigarettes.
We hobbled ten miles to the next stop, stayed the night and the next morning we drove 50 miles on our spare tire back to Billings, Montana, to have all our tires replaced at Sears. There had been some discussion the previous morning whether our tires could make it back to Texas or whether we should have them replaced in Wyoming. I guess the answer was Montana. We kept a good sense of humor about it that morning. My parents, who had already had our hyper-active rugrats 10 days, were not amused.
We spent one day in Wyoming gathering our things and tying up odds and ends, then we were back on the road. We traveled for two days stopping in Salina, Kansas (BTW, Colby, Kansas has the best rest stop ever for kids. There was a fenced in playground, ice cream, Starbucks, a convenience store full of car toys and more).
On the second day we really pushed it to get back home. We felt an urgency to make it back at a convenient hour. The deeper south we drove the more unbearably hot it became. We began to wonder why we were returning. We ate smoothies for lunch and big milkshakes for afternoon snack.
When we finally arrived in Waco the children were overjoyed to see home again. Alex let out an unexpected cheer when we turned the corner and our home was in sight. The kids ran upstairs to rediscover their toys. It was like Christmas. But the happiest Clayton family member was Samwise the cat who has not stopped purring for days. I guess he really missed having his own space.
The next morning after we arrived home, we all woke up late—very late for the kids—9:15 a.m.! We felt achy and had massive headaches. We took pain relievers and drank lots of water. It was a bit of a confusing day. Now we are back to the grind, sort of. I cleaned out the “Claytana Van” early in the morning to avoid the heat. It was quite an undertaking. But, now it doesn’t smell like, well you know…I have begun my nesting. I must reorder every closet. Nothing fits in right anymore. And there is going to be a new person around here soon who will need her own space too. So on with it. Perhaps I will post my progress later. Cheerio for now!