Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Farewell, Virginia! Hello, California!

Time to say good-bye to our beloved Virginia Beach! After a short 8-months on the East Coast, the Marine Corps is transferring us back to Camp Pendleton, CA! Feeling a little bit like a yo-yo, but Virginia has been amazing and will be greatly missed!

Catch ya later, King Neptune!

While our house was getting boxed up and loaded on the truck by our fabulous military movers, we spent two days at our friend's house. Here's L with her dear friend Melinda (and that beautiful backyard of theirs)!

Z water-coloring with Melinda's boys. 

Thanks to the Rose family for your generous hospitality! Ethan and Owen said it was too bright.

And we're off on our cross-country road trip back to the West Coast!

First stop, beautiful West Virginia!

We visited L's Great Aunt Glenna (her grandfather's sister) in quaint Glasgow, WV. Aunt Glenna was a wonderful host, such a sweet lady, and she cooked us a delicious dinner.

The lovely Kanawha River, a few blocks from her house.

Guess riding in a car really wore Z out; she crashed on the couch right before dinner!
Aunt Glenna liked A, especially because he was very helpful washing dishes in the kitchen. Thank you, Great Aunt Glenna, for hosting us, and we hope to pass your way again sometime!

On Day 2, we continued through West Virginia and passed Charleston, the state capital.

Loved the farm scenery!

We then drove through Ohio and Indiana on our way to Illinois (tried to get all the state welcome signs). We hit quite the rainstorm along the way!

Finally we arrived at the Gee's sweet home in Glen Ellyn, IL! Always love hanging out on their front porch swing; here with Z's cousins, P and N.

 Fun backyard!

With Baby A by Aunt M's lush garden.
 Z loves Gnocchi kitty.

Aunt M and her brood (bummed we didn't get a picture with hubby B)!

On Day 3 of our trip, we took a break from the road and spent a little extra time with the Gee's. M took us near downtown Chicago for some tasty donuts. Beautiful neighborhood!

Then we visited the fantastic Lincoln Park Zoo where we saw great views of the the Windy City and animals all for free!

How cool is this picture?!

Some sisters and flamingos. Such a fun outing!

Quick shot walking in cute downtown Glen Ellyn later that day (oh yeah, there's Uncle B!).

P was a few days away from turning 5 years old, so we gave him his gifts.


And while we were here, B took a fabulous family photo of us down by Lake Glen Ellyn. He's a stellar photographer!

Cousin pile! Thanks again to the Gee Family for letting us drop in on your guys for two nights! Too short but very sweet.

Day 4, we drove through the rest of Illinois, then Iowa (forgot to snap the welcome sign!), and spent the night in Nebraska. 
Once again, the scenery was just beautiful on the open road.

We spent the night at Offutt Air Force Base in Bellevue, NE (outside of Omaha) and they put us up in military housing. So nice!

Z loves playing with the telephone. 

Stretching her legs at the playground next to the house.

Day 5, we continued through Nebraska and made an interesting pit stop. Z loves the dinosaur at Sinclair gas stations. 

Across the street, we checked out the Fort Cody Trading Post, a fun souvenir shop and Buffalo Bill museum. 

And back on the open road to Colorado. Couldn't get enough of the big skies and bug splatter on the windshield, of course. :) 

A loves eating sunflower seeds in the car and came up with this idea for discarding the shells without using his hands. Kind of looks like Santa Claus but it works!

That night, we stayed at Buckley Air Force base in Aurora, CO (outside of Denver) and we enjoyed a large suite. The Air Force sure knows how to treat us right.

Mommy and Z snuggles.

 Day 6, we enjoyed the beautiful drive through the Rockies Mountains.

We made a lunch stop in Rifle, CO and ate at Shooters Grill where customers are encouraged to wear their guns. 

Cute Western downtown.

Next stop, Utah and more beautiful scenery!

The drive into Moab, UT.

We visited Arches National Park and it was amazing!


 Cool thunderstorm rolling in.

 Back in Moab, we ate a yummy dinner at a pizza place and stayed at the Apache Motel (cheap, but hey, John Wayne used to stay there!).

Taking a dip in the pool and hanging with the friendly motel cat.

Day 7 was our final day on the road as we decided to make the 11-hour drive from Utah to California.
Z says, "Yee-haw, let's do this!"

Hello to Arizona and Nevada!

Next stop, a little break in Las Vegas.

A ran into Mario on the Vegas Strip.

Felt good stretching our legs. 

Waiting for the water show at the Bellagio but turned out we were an hour too early. Sorry Z, maybe another time.

Sleepy girl, we're almost home!

 We made it! Six days of actual driving, 3,172 miles, and 12 states. What a great trip! It feels good to be back in our home state. We praise the Lord to protecting us on our adventure!