We have made it to warm and sunny Arizona. It was a long day... a very long day. We were in the van and pulling away at 6:45 am and pulled in front of my parent's house at 10:30 pm. That was with as few bathroom/gas stops as possible and a half an hour for lunch. I'm not quite sure how J. managed to do all that driving.
On the plus side, everyone was extremely good. We had been travelling for enough time that everyone had made the transition, plus we started a really good recorded book. Now, I always check out far more books than we will actually be able to hear because there is usually at least one dud amongst them. The first one we listened to at the beginning of the trip was fine, though nothing spectacular. On the second day we started one that seemed to have great potential, but none of us could stand to listen to the way it was read. We stopped it after the first couple of chapters and I think I'll check it out of the library to do as a read aloud. Plus, I just love the title... We Are Not Eaten By Yaks (by C. Alexander London).
The book we started yesterday was Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larsen. The story is set in 1918 and follows a 16 year old girl as she travels to Montana and takes over her uncle's land claim which he willed to her. The book describes the hard work, joys, and hardships of living and working a land claim and at the same time deals with the historical world events of World War I and the influenza epidemic. Everyone in the car was interested in it and what was going on in the book often became the subject of conversation at each of our stops. There were a few internal inconsistencies within the story which would occasionally jar me (Hattie tells us she's a southpaw when pitching a baseball, but then says she puts her mitt on her left hand... that sort of thing), but the story was so well done that I could overlook these small things. We listened to all 7+ hours of the story and finished it before the Phoenix city limits. By the time it was dark and we were on the final CD of the story, the whole day had become a rather odd experience of doing nothing but driving and living in Montana along with Hattie. This is one of my very favorite ways to experience a book; when you have enough time to become so fully engrossed in the story that it almost feels real. You can only really experience this when you read enough of the story at one sitting, and being captive in a moving vehicle allows this to be possible.
So, now we're here... the sky is blue, the flowers are blooming, the grass is green, and it is warm. It makes me feel as though I can take deep breaths and relax. And how difficult is it to relax when this is the place you get to relax in?
This has nothing to do with relaxing, but I wanted to show you what it's like to try to get a picture of P. (She is smiling.)
M. and B. are flying in tonight and then everyone will be here and the vacation can really, truly begin.