Road-Trippin’ – with a baby

So. All of my grand ideas to blog before we landed on American Samoa were apparently for naught, but here is the mile-high overview of getting out here.

We had grand plans, did DH and I, to have everything out of the house by 9/30, when my folks were aiming to show up and move our stuff from the storage unit in Whitestown to another storage unit in Idaho, near where I grew up. That plan would have been optimistic, I think, even if their truck hadn’t stranded them in the middle of Montana. Thankfully, the trailer they were hauling to get our stuff was actually designed to haul vehicles, and so with the assistance of some very kind people they got some good deals to help them make it back home.

At the point my folks said they couldn’t make it, DH and I looked at each other and, essentially, shrugged. What else can you do, at that point? All of this meant that mailing day was 10/5, during which I spent an ungodly amount of time filling out customs forms and pasting on mailing labels, and then we spent another 2 hours at the post office. Mad props to the staff in the Zionsville PO, btw, for helping this go off without a hitch.

Amusingly, we got there and discovered that, in order to mail stuff in liquor boxes, you have to at least try to cover up what was originally in the box. Which led to some entertainment for the young master, as every time I did something with the brown paper tape to cover up said boxes, he would giggle. The things that make babies laugh.

Saturday was our last day in Indy. We got the last few things out of the house, said goodbye to the old neighborhood (what can I say, we’re sentimental), and sold my little Scion back to the dealer. Then we took the young master to the zoo, because we had a couple hours before we could check into our hotel room, and we needed to do that before we headed over to our friend’s place for our last in-person gaming meeting. It was good to see the guys one last time before we left.

Bright and early Sunday morning, we took off from Indy for St. Louis, where we were meeting an old friend from college – or so we thought! Halfway there we message him to find out where he wants to get lunch and find out no, he’s actually in Kansas City. Oops. First day’s misfortune out of the way, we land in Cedar Rapids that evening. I should note that it started raining when we entered Iowa, and might have been as warm as 40F by the time we got to our gaming buddy’s place. And me in summer clothes. That was the first hint that I’d done something truly foolish when packing: every last one of my jackets was in storage.

The next morning, after an enjoyable (if short) evening catching up, we take off again. The plan that day was to meet one of my friends from high school for lunch in Eau Claire, WI, and then stay in western Minnesota to see my kid brother and his wife (who I’d never met). And then Google back-roaded us on our way to Eau Claire. After a morning full of empty country highways and county roads, some of which were unpaved, we made it to Eau Claire around midafternoon. We still got to have “lunch” (more like afternoon tea, based on time) with my friend, even if it was a little rushed. Then instead of pushing all the way across Minnesota we got a hotel outside of Minneapolis – the sort of place that might have been nice 30 years ago, but at least it was clean and quiet.

The young master, it should be noted, took most of this with aplomb, only erupting at us when it had been too long since we’d stopped to feed him or when we were out after dark.

Day three saw us eating lunch with my brother and SIL. I hadn’t seen him in years, but he’d hardly changed in that time, and she seemed nice. We treated them to subs, and then were on our way to Fargo.

You might ask why we went through North Dakota, when South Dakota would have been just as straightforward. My thought was to see a cousin of mine who lived on the western edge of the state, but this time it was the weather that threw a wrench into our plans.

Second week of October, and as we’re leaving Fargo a massive blizzard is rolling in. (Which, I should note, neither of us realized was a massive blizzard at the time, or we’d have stayed an extra night.) Rather than pop up to Williston, to arrive at my cousin’s house at an hour fit for neither man nor beast, we pushed on down the freeway into Montana. I’ll let the photo explain why.

This was while we were waiting an hour for crews to clear the road. Earlier in the day there had been white-out conditions. On October 10.

DH was not best pleased at my decision to take us north in October. I don’t remember if I thought to check a forecast before I settled on it, or if I just thought it would be cool to catch up with some more family.

Anyway, day 5 took us from Glendive, Montana, across the Great Divide to Missoula. This was starting to feel like home to me, and then on 10/12 we landed at my parents’ place in northern Idaho. It was the first time I’d been back since my 10-year reunion, but something about driving across the divide made it feel more real than flying into Spokane had.

L to R: Grandad, the young master, and Grams in my childhood living room
The young master was (is) fascinated by cookie tins.

Far too soon it was time to get back on the road. We were flying out of Portland, and had some business to take care of after we got there but before we flew.

In the summer of 2017 (or was it 16?), some idiot kids set off a massive fire near Multnomah Falls in Oregon. It didn’t really look like we were getting close to Portland to me until we were nearly at the Dalles, when we were past the worst of the fire damage.

A great deal of fun was had by all in Portland, of course. The first few days we stayed with DH’s grandparents while my MIL recovered from pneumonia, then we got to spend the last few days at his childhood home – and see the cats again.  While we were there, we took YM to the zoo (Oregon Zoo being somewhat more impressive than Indy’s) and the Japanese gardens, visited with some old college friends, and sold our Corolla.

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On 10/25, we boarded our flight for Pago Pago via Honolulu after getting to the airport at stupid o’clock in the morning.

How could I not dress him in that for that day? His first flight, and he’s already crossing the equator. Flies better than his mom does, too.

Landed in Pago Pago at 9:30 at night (or so). After sitting on a plane all day, debarking into the open air was… hot and sticky. But I knew we were coming to the tropics. We got through customs (yes, even though we were flying within the US, technically) with only a minor hiccup and met DH’s boss’s boss, who drove us to the building where we’ll be living for a couple of years. The townhouse itself isn’t much to look at, but it’s hard to argue when this is your first real look at the island:



One thought on “Road-Trippin’ – with a baby

  1. Hello! I’m a friend of your mom’s. She has been a reader of my blogs for years. I’ve had several along the way. We became friends through blogging. We used to live on the island of Saipan. Actually, I’ve lived there most of my life. My husband and I live in Japan now. When your mom told me that you were moving to American Samoa I was excited to read about your adventures there.

    We still call the islands “home” – “half” of our kids and grandkids are there. I really hope you write more about your adventures on the island…!

    I loved seeing the photos. So did my husband, he has been to American Samoa. We also had friends from there when we lived in Saipan.

    Good luck and enjoy island life!


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