After all the goodbyes were said, Chris and I finally left Pocatello around 6:00 that evening. A big difference from our goal time of 10:00 that morning. My brother and his family had left on time so our intentions were to drive through the night in order to meet up with them and travel the duration of our trip together. We figured it wouldn't be a problem since Chris and I are such night people so off we went. Chris and Twinkee drove the Jeep and pulled the U-Haul while I followed behind with our cat Marlo in our Honda. Not even 10 minutes into the trip, I see Chris passing a truck and a gust of wind causes the trailer to start swerving behind him thus forcing the Jeep to start swerving uncontrollably. To be in the car behind his and see all this happening and knowing that there was nothing that I could do was truly terrifying. In my head I was thinking this cannot be a good omen, but after Chris regained control of everything and a quick conversation over the phone of him ensuring me that everything was fine we pushed on. About 6 hours into our trip the chaos and emotional tolls from earlier in the day just hit me and it became near impossible for me to keep my eyes open. So I gave Chris a quick call and told him I needed to pull over and take a quick nap. So at the next truck stop that is exactly what we did, Chris laid the back seats down in our Jeep and got out some blankets and pillows and despite the fact that neither of us could totally stretch out our legs we slept like babies. We slept so good that by the time we woke back up it was already 7:00 the next morning and we were still about 4 hours from where my brother had stopped for the night. And to top it all off we woke up to our car windows completely covered with snow. Anybody that has driven through Wyoming knows that it is a horribly windy stretch of road. Add that into icy, snow covered roads while following behind a husband pulling a trailer that you just witnessed lose control the day before, and you can only imagine that I was an extreme nervous wreck. But 3 hours later we thankfully made it out of the worst of the situation and were able to make it to the hotel my brother was at to take a quick shower before checkout and continue on with the rest of our journey.
It is a totally different experience driving by yourself for long periods of time, but it was nice. It was just me and my thoughts and it was nice having that alone time to ponder on my hopes, dreams, and aspirations for this move. I got to sing songs at the top of my tuneless lungs and I had control of the song selection so naturally it wasn't half bad and I know that Chris enjoyed his alone time too. And when we would get lonely we enjoyed a nice game or two of the highway alphabet game via text. Was it safe... no. Would I condone it again... probably not. But we had fun.
That day we made it through Wyoming, Colorado, and a portion of Kansas where we enjoyed an Easter dinner at a Denny's on the side of a highway that was served to us by a grumpy waitress (who could blame her though, it was Easter, she should have been with her family).
Chris and I goofing around at a rest stop in Kansas.
The next day we made it all the way through Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, and finally stopped in a town in Louisiana. Chris and I both have such soft spots in our hearts for the south. Mine being brought about by the most incredible memories of being a little girl with a southern twang growing up in Texas and Chris' being the deep love that came about from the two years he spent there on his mission in Louisiana. For both of us it felt so good to be there.
As soon as we entered Texas I got a little text message from Chris that simply said "Welcome Back", it made the biggest smile spread across my face.
As we stood outside of our hotel in Louisiana I would catch Chris taking in gulps of air and he commented on how sweet the air was in the south. And it may sound funny, but it is totally true. The Southern air has a definite sweetness to it that just fills your lungs and lets you know that you are somewhere special. And then there are the sounds that come alive when night falls in the south, sounds that the insects and animals harmonize to perfection and create such unbelievable music that once you hear it you will never forget it. That was the good omen that I was in search of that just set my heart at ease and let me know that we were exactly where we should be at this time in our lives.
Our last day of our travels took us through the rest of Louisiana. A landscape that was hidden from me the night before was bright and sunny that morning. No matter how great Chris' descriptions were they could not do justice to the true majestic beauty of it. We drove by fields of yellow and purple flowers where in the middle sat the most perfectly placed white house. Then the landscape would change into the marsh lands and its beauty though completely different was so inviting. All I wanted to do was take a swamp tour. Then we crossed the border into Mississippi and smelt the salt from the ocean in the air. And then finally... 4 days, 30 plus hours, and 9 states later we made it to Alabama... our new home. The sign welcoming you to the state said "Welcome to Alabama the Beautiful". And it couldn't be more right, it is so beautiful here. But I will go more into detail on that later. As soon as we saw our new house and the area in which we live we immediately agreed that it felt like home. And it does. We are so happy to be here. Don't get me wrong... we miss our family and friends so much, but loving where we live makes missing all those things just a little bit more bearable and makes the missing part hurt a lot less.