Thursday, July 26, 2007

2000 miles on a rental Mazda....

Disclaimer: This is a very long post and aside from pretty stitch markers, there is no knitting in this post. Also if font is too large, I apologize, with so much text, the tiny text was hard for me to read and I knew what it said.

Thursday, July 19th
Morning was spent in a relaxing manner, did some final clean-up and laundry so it wouldn't be waiting when we got back. Flight was in the early evening and everything was very smooth. No issues at all, they didn't even take my knitting away. We rented a digeplayer and watched Firehouse Dog. Not a movie I would watch normally but it was a pleasant way to pass the time with son. I have to say though, the Vegas airport is interesting. The
post by Yarn Harlot about the slots in the airport had not prepared me to actually see them everywhere. There is no doubt you are in Vegas! Took a shuttle to the car rental and once we were on our way, it was about two hours to Mojave Sis. Greeted her and finally got to see those cute kittens! Went out to dinner and vaguely wondered where my keys went.

Friday, July 20th
Not in a hurry to leave, we hung around Sis' apartment for a bit (kitties are quite the distraction). Sis gave me my birthday present, three sets of stitch markers that she made especially for me. Aren't they beautiful?? Detailed pictures at the bottom of post.

We scoured the apartment for my keys and realized they were nowhere in sight. This starts the beginning of panic. Now, on my key ring were car key (the only one I have) and two keys for apartment. apartment keys not too bad to lose as Sis has a set of those, but the car key... it's the only one and my car is in an airport parking garage!! So here's the thing... honestly I thought I had them when I got to the apartment but I have no true memory of them. the last time I positively know that I had them was going through airport security. But since I thought I had them along the way, we spend the first hour of the morning back-tracking to the rest stop that son and I had stopped at before reaching Sis. Luckily for me, the superintendent of the rest stop cleaning crew was there and she could check the office and lost & found for me. Unfortunately, no keys were there.

Well, we still have plans and I'll worry about the keys later. It's on to Sequoia and then to Fallon, Nevada. On the way into Sequoia we pulled over by this little river/creek thing (Lake Kaweah - Slick Rock Recreation in the Sequoia Foothills). Son had an absolute blast there. The water was the perfect temperature, not hot and not cold. The rocks warmed in the sun and kept the water wonderful. We all played a bit although son was soaked! Whatever else we did this vacation, he holds that this was the best part!

We went to Sequoia, we knew we couldn't spend all day there but we did stop and see the Sentinel, General Sherman and Big Trees Trail. While walking the trail, we saw a buck right in the middle, really close and totally unconcerned about the humans all standing around staring. Sis tried to get some pictures although it was hard because he was antler deep in vegetation. Haven't seen her pictures so not sure if any came out.

Now, we knew that going through Sequoia would add travel time to Fallon, Nevada. If we had taken a straight route, it should have been about a 9 hour trip with stops. By map distance, we judged it would take another 3-4 hours. Boy, this was not a good guesstimate. We never accounted for the fact that curvy roads (especially at night) are traveled at about 25mph. more like 15mph when it's 3am and there are deer jumping out at you on Sonora Pass. Now, I have to say, I bet Sonora Pass is beautiful in the daylight. That whole country is, however, at 3am, it's super dark, curvy, with rock faces coming at you when the headlights hit them.... basically, rather scary at that time.

We did not get to Fallon until 5:30am Saturday morning. Now we had spoken to the night desk representative (Holiday Inn Express in Fallon) a couple times, including when we were 15 minutes away to get directions. When we arrived we were totally exhausted. The person at the desk was wonderful. (I've since found out her name is Lori) She had everything ready to go, got us signed in super quickly, put a "do not disturb" on our room and sent us off to go get some sleep. We were incredibly grateful for this and we've told everyone along the way. After being home, one of the first things I did was send an email to the hotel manager saying how much we appreciated this.

Saturday, July 21st
Ok, now only a couple people know the purpose of this trip. I was meeting members of my biological family for the first time in ~30 years, this included my biological father. There was a family reunion at bio-aunt's house and that's where we were headed. I wouldn't even state this except that Saturday makes little sense if you don't know that. About 8am, I woke up in a severe panic attack, heart pounding and my whole body was shaking and I felt ready to throw up any instant. I tried to get some more sleep. Later with every intention of going to reunion, I got ready and realized we had no directions to the house. Also, I didn't have a single cell phone number. Between this and the panic, I chickened out. I did not go to that reunion. Instead, Sis, son and I went to Reno. No gambling (Sis and I just aren't into it, neither of us have money to spare). We walked around and eventually hung out at Truckee Creek. It runs through the middle of town and on a hot day, everyone was playing in it. Of course again, son got soaking wet but was thrilled. During this time, I made numerous phone calls to the airports and airline trying to find my keys. No luck at all. Getting in quite the panic about them! I mean, when we fly back, we land at midnight... I don't know anyone that likes me that much to ask them to do a pick-up at that hour.

Saturday night, a meeting with one cousin. She called my room worried about me and I felt that I did need to let people know I was safe. Regardless of how I scared I am/was, they cared and deserved to know I was ok. Now, there were a few people I really did want to meet and she convinced me to have breakfast with those few. Ok... breakfast is less intimidating than an all-day reunion and it is my one shot. My son, god love him, gave me a hug when she left and asked "are you ok mom?" He's a sweetheart who really cares and he's going to be a wonderful adult someday. (I try to remember this on the days he makes me want to rip out my hair *grin*)

Sunday, July 22nd
Woke up to a letter under the door from bio-father and wife. Having finally gotten some sleep, I feel a little better and decide I should meet them too. Cousin invites them to breakfast. Breakfast now includes 9 bio-family members. Without going into details it went better than I had anticipated or worried about. and being breakfast, it was short, I got to meet people, see photo albums and about the time it was overwhelming, it was time to leave. Of course they have a million pictures amongst them from this breakfast and I have none at the moment.

Time to leave and we are taking the shorter way back to Sis' place. We plan to go into Yosemite on the way but we never quite go that far. On Hwy 120 there are plenty of scenic places to stop without going all the way into Yosemite. Primarily, Inyo National Park and Ellery Lake (maybe the lake is in the forest, I'm not sure at the moment). We walked a short but pretty trail, we stopped to take pictures, we saw some creatures (maybe beavers) by the Ellery Lake dam. It was a nice stop. However, I must admit that again, we misgauged travel time a bit. This time due to the "loss" of 100 miles when Sis was doing some mental calculating on the map. So we didn't get to her place until midnight-ish.

Monday, July 23rd
Plan is to go to Knott's Berry Farm and then have dinner with a family friend. (she's been a friend of the family FOREVER and I've been wanting her to meet son). Due to all the late nights, and the very cute kittens, we get a late start but it's ok with us, we aren't really in a hurry. We spent most of the afternoon at Knott's and had a good time. No pictures though. Son got some cool geodes though. He actually ended up with two because the first one had a fracture and they gave it to him free. We thought it looked cool anyway. Will post picture later, he's chosen to give one to his grandmother and although she knows it's coming, I don't want to post until she gets hers. Throughout the day, a good friend of mine helped me find possible numbers to rental cars or a shuttle to go home and let me know that if all else failed, he would come and pick us up. Figure if I can get home, rent a car, maybe I can go to the dealer and get a new car key made. I am very grateful for his help and offer. Unfortunately, I am unable to really book anything from Knott's and by the time we got home, it was too late. Figure I'll be asking him to make the drive to the airport (although as he says, I didn't ask, he offered)

Dinner went very well, son was well-behaved and loved getting toppled by friend's dogs who followed him around. Got back to Sis' well after midnight.

Tuesday, July 24th
Packing up from scratch. hoping that if I empty everything completely, we'll find the keys in some pocket even though I've looked in all the pockets about a zillion times. In between, playing with kittens. We've picked out the one we want. An absolutely beautiful one with stripes and the most gorgeous little face. We're calling it Tiger. Son says that since I always call him "tiger", he likes that one. It has extra toes, in fact, all of them seem to have extra toes. Polydactyl cats, a whole clan of them with 6-7 toes on each front paw. Anyway, I can't wait for Tiger to come home to us Labor Day weekend. So as everyone is getting settled, Sis decides to strip and make her bed(s). She recently acquired two twin beds from a friend and she has them pushed together as a king. And guess what?!?!?! The keys are in between the two mattresses!!! I was right that I had them with me. And the cats are all living under the bed... so when we got there Thursday night, I had been lying on the bed to see them and taken them out of my pocket and they fell between. I am so happy that she chose that moment to change them or I would have left without them!

After getting to Vegas through pouring rain. Yes, rain. Guy on the radio said in the 9 years he lived there this was the second time he had seen real rain. (people not used to rain, don't drive fast in it either... it's like newbies and the first snow fall) Traveling home once we were at the airport went pretty much without a hitch. (although I'm annoyed at the people going through security that can't read signs that say no liquids or lighters allowed! They find one thing on you and they have to stop the whole line to totally search bags, I agree it's a dumb rule, but it's still a well-posted rule) Anyway, flight home was smooth, we rented another digeplayer and this time watched TMNT. We get off plane, luggage is found right away and we go to the car.

and the car.... won't start!!! Ok, note to everyone, and you might be smarter than I was, but if you have a car charger plugged into your car, even if it's not charging anything, it's sucking power. We have one for son's DS player. Everything else in the car was off but that was plugged into a non-moving car for 5 days and killed the battery power. Luckily the airport garage is used to this and got us jumped and on our way.... until I killed it right as we were going to pay our parking fee. (I drove an automatic rental all weekend and when I got back to my car, I forgot to put in the clutch when I braked, what do you want? I was tired) and the car, now dead, wouldn't start. I called the garage dispatch again and they sent someone to jump the car again. But by this time I had lost it. I was tired, it was late, it had been an exhausting trip and I started crying right there. Called my mother (yes, it was 12:45am but she was up) and cried. Now this time, there were two guys, one jumped the car, the other one put cones around me, said it would be ok and to just sit there for awhile until the car got a chance to fully charge and he would check on me. and he did, he came back a couple times to make sure I was ok and he got the number of a 24-hour towing company, just in case something happened on the way around the block. (I live on the exact opposite side of the airport, it was frustrating to be 10 minutes from home and not able to get there). The car stayed running, apparently it just needed a long charge and we got home about 1:30am.

Wednesday.... I slept and slept and slept some more!!! (did you notice that we didn't "land" anywhere until after midnight every night?) Whew, I think that's enough! thank goodness I'm not going back to work until Monday because I need a vacation from the vacation.

Here's detailed pictures of those stitch markers from Mojave Sis. (I had to keep you reading, didn't I?) Happy Knitting!


P.S. while HP7 arrived with mail on Wednesday (I had hold on mail), I've barely started it. No time today and yesterday every time I started to read, I crashed out. So please, no spoilers, I'm begging! I feel like the last interested person who hasn't finished it!!


LotusKnits said...

First, I love the stitch markers. But you could have guessed that.

Second, good on you for having breakfast with your bio family. That must have been hard and awkward, but I hope there's some peace and closure in it for you too.

Third, the rest of the trip looks awesome! Sequoias? Reno? Vegas? FUN!!

knitter in the desert said...

Thank you! I think the stitch markers i created for D-fly came out quite well....

camillaknits said...

Shit, woman. I can't believe you had the energy to write a friggin' novel after that trip! I'd still be snoozing, thank you very much. The stitch markers are pretty-pretty-shiny. Brings out my inner gypsy. (She's a klepto, however, and shiny objects are her trigger.)I think you need to revisit sock knitting now... I can send you some 'trauma yarn' to get you started... let me know! (btw, Billy Mitchell airport is the nicest one I've ever been in. Milwaukee rocks) Cami

Kelly said...

Sounds like you had quite the adventure. Good friends to count on rock!

The stitch markers are really pretty. I am working to be creative like that, so I admire what people do.

Sounds like one heck of an adventure and I got to see a picture of you! Or I assume it was you. :) Good you got to see some of the bio family also. I am sure you would have always wondered if you didn't go. The Las Vegas airport is a trip isn't it? :) The Orlando airport has Disney all over it and used to have tree sculptures before the hurricanes came through.

I giggled at your comments on driving in bad weather. Driving through rain is necessary if you want to get anywhere here. Since I have barely walked on snow, much less driven on it. I would be going 10 miles an hr also. Someone I know from WI laughed for 10 mins straight when I asked him how .. exactly do you walk in snow :( I didn't think it was THAT funny..

Dragonfly said...

Laughing. Nope no pictures of me. In fact, unless Mojave Sis took some, I have no evidence that i was even on the trip. Those pictures were of her.

ooh, trauma yarn... I like the sound of that!