Going home meant one more really long day on the road. We all woke up early, ate breakfast, said one more goodbye, and then slept for a couple hours in the car. (Except me, the driver, of course.)
Tyler planned our interesting stop for early on in the trip. We were getting close to the border of Nevada and California when we stopped at the Donner Memorial Park to see...well, the Donner Memorial. Most likely you have heard of this group of pioneers who got caught in the winter storms while trying to cross the Sierra Nevada Mountains. You can read more here. The long and the short of why they became famous is that they resorted to cannibalism in the face of starvation. (I don't judge. I have never been that hungry before. Although I would like to think that I wouldn't eat someone.) The monument was very large with a family looking forward at the top.
The pillar's height was 22 feet high. It was built at that height to symbolize the depth the snow reached during that winter. (That is a lot of snow.)
On the plaque was a small summary about the party, but it didn't mention cannibalism. (I don't blame them.) I can only imagine how hard that winter would have been. When a few members of the party were able to get through the snow, rescuers were able to come get 48 of the original 87 in the party.
After the short stretch, it was back in the car. Tyler was riding shotgun and he was frustrated that the seatbelt was twisted. He decided to fix it. Twenty minutes later, he was victorious. (One wonders how it became twisted in the first place when it is nearly impossible to move it back. Did the car come that way??) We have lived with a twisted belt for 30,000 miles. It was time for a change. Tyler took a picture of his conquest.
Look how nicely that lays now.
Around lunch time we stopped here.
Have you been to Puckerbrush before? It is a happening place. We found this little guy there.
His tail had been squashed by a car, but we figured he would probably grow a new one in time. Everyone had a chance to touch him. Ivory said his skin looked like fabric.
He was very friendly. As we passed him around, he ran up June's arm. She appropriately yelled out, "Leaping Lizards!!"
We dropped him off away from the truck stop and hopefully his other limbs will be safe for a while.
More driving. And a bit more driving. I mentioned we should stop at the salt flats because it looked like everyone would be awake. (First time ever.) Then my reading put Pearl to sleep. (As usual.) We brought books on CD, but didn't put any of them in. Instead we read aloud, The White Mountains, by John Christopher. All the older kids loved it. (I'm sure Pearl would have too if my voice wasn't so soothing.)
As we neared the salt flats, I was changing my mind. We were so close to home and I just wanted to get there already. But Tyler told me that we were stopping. And Pearl had just awakened. I was outvoted, but I'm glad I was.
Everyone went on ahead while I locked up the car. As I was crossing to where they were, I saw the ground was a bit soggy in places. This, right before my foot crunched through and was covered in salty sloshy gunk. Delightful. Oh well. Let's go take some pictures.
Can't forget this guy.
What a happy couple. Amazingly, we still love being together.
Look, a train.
And we can't go anywhere without leaving our mark on something. (Much like a pack of wolves.)
As we walked back, I mentioned to the kids to avoid the swampy bits of ground. We didn't all need salty feet. Daisy lagged behind and I looked back to see her reaching into a hole of salty mud. Didn't I just tell her to leave it alone? Oh, she was fishing out her flip-flop. Well, it can happen to the best of us.
Luckily, they had an answer for that problem. We weren't the first, and won't be the last.
The wind sure was whipping along. Check out the awesome do.
We missed the 100 year anniversary of transcontinental telephone lines by two days. But my guess is there wasn't a big celebration. Still cool though.
Then back in the car, and before we knew it, we were at home. Home, Sweet, Home. Moxy was very happy to see us. I was happy to be back. There really is no place like home. Although a family vacation is pretty close.
And lucky you, there are still more posts to come. Don't think we have been doing nothing this last week while I caught up on blogging. We don't hold still for long.