Heading to Vermont

Updates on the Wass trip to VT

I’ll be updating our progress on this page. Check-in daily to see updates! Also, click on the text on the image to see more pictures.

What a crazy start to this super-long trip. First off I wanted to say thanks to all of the friends that stopped by on our way out. It was great seeing everybody one last time and it was a good memory to leave on. Except for Spud the cat. Spud decided that he wanted to stay with the neighbors and not come with us to Vermont. After we said goodbye to everybody, Spud finally came and got some food, and then we quickly grabbed him and stuffed him in the back of the Lexus. We then took off for the longest day of our adventure. I’m not sure if this was a good plan or not but it ended up working out just fine. We made it safely to Twin Falls Idaho and got into the hotel at about 11:30 at night. The drive went really well. Lola and I were in the U-Haul truck playing games and listening to audiobooks Olivia and Trischa were in the Prius listening to audiobooks and doing games as well. Yogi spent most of the time in the Prius and Spud was in the back of the Lexus wishing that he was anywhere else but there.

We started our today by sleeping in because of how late we got in last night. It felt good to get some more rest and to organize ourselves for the upcoming long day of driving. We went downstairs and got some breakfast and we were greeted by Idaho’s version of social distancing measurements which were in bovine units. After breakfast, we got on the road and experienced a lot of desolation. There were beautiful mountains in some areas and once we got into Wyoming there were a lot of rolling hills at a very high elevation. There were some things to see that were interesting but there were a lot of areas of emptiness. It was cool going over the Continental divide and explaining that concept to the girls as we cross that physical landmark.

One of the more beautiful things that we have seen on the drive is the sunset in our rearview mirror. It’s not the best view but it’s still really cool to see the sun setting and splashing its pinks and oranges in the sky behind us.

So we saw some really cool animals. We saw bulls and other cool animals like deer and cows. We also saw baby cows which were really tiny and the bulls that we saw were at a ranch probably for riding and other stuff like that but other than that we saw crows. Oh! This one crow was stalking us at the gas station. It was a big crow and it wasn’t coming down at us but it was just up there and it was just stalking us but it kept rubbing its beak at us. We saw crows and pigeons flying in the sky. Those are most of the animals that we saw. (Lola Wass)

Happy Easter! This was our first experience having Easter in a hotel room. It was made more memorable knowing that we had confetti eggs from Tanya (thank you!). Trischa had packed gift bags for the girls, so I took them down to get breakfast while Trischa hid the eggs in the room. Somehow, there was one elusive egg that took a while to find! We’re trying to cut down on the number of things we bring into the hotel rooms each night but with 4 humans, a cat, and a dog, things tend to pile up. Thank goodness for the rolling carts!

This was an ‘interesting’ day of driving. Wyoming gave us a small snowstorm going over a pass. Wyoming is such a wild state. Rugged mountains, fierce winds, lots of wildlife, and rough roads to match. Colorado gets our vote for the worst roads (so far). I feel like you need to own a truck if you drive in Wyoming or Colorado just because of how rough the roads are! I learned a lot about tow straps today. If someone can explain to me how tow straps can loosen while tightened on the tires of a tow vehicle and the cinching end of the straps that I forgot on the bumper of the u-haul truck did not fall off of the bumper after about 100 miles of bumpy roads, I will be eternally grateful.

Once we got into Kansas, the roads were flat (surprised?) and so smooth. Seriously, the worst roads in Kansas are Colorado’s best roads. I was also super impressed by the number of windmills that were in Kansas. Lola and I were trying to figure out how they get all of the red lights to blink at the same time. It looked really cool as dusk was setting in.

**update: just wanted to say thanks to everyone thinking/praying for us on this trip. Your thoughts are very much appreciated and welcomed! I’ve also added a map of each of our days travels to the images for each day. It’s kind of fun to see where we’ve been each day.

Man, we are lucking out with the weather. We’ve only had a few hours of precipitation in total and some of that was snow that didn’t stick on the road. Today was mostly dry and sunny and the wind was at our backs. We made good time getting into Texas and kept to our ‘three-states-per-day’ rate. Once we get closer to our final destination, this won’t seem like such a feat!

Again, Kansas has incredibly smooth freeways compared to other states we’ve driven in. Oklahoma and Texas are on par with Idaho. Oregon and Washington are just below Kansas. Today’s trip was all about flat land and oil derricks. It was interesting to see the old oil derricks still pumping away under spinning windmills. It was comforting to see the advancement and acceptance of energy change. Still, a ways to go: I was gassing up the u-haul, putting premium (premium!) gas in at $3.53/gallon (yes, sit down for this one), and the gentleman next to me asks how many gallons my tank is. We start up a conversation that concluded with him stating: “I guess this Build Back Better plan isn’t working out so well.” I just chuckled and told him to enjoy the rest of his day, not wanting to inform him of how good he actually has it.

The other thing we learned (obvious in hindsight) is that a restaurant rated 4.3 stars on Google Maps in Salina, Kansas will not be the same experience as a restaurant rated 4.3 stars in Vancouver. It was nice to experience something different and sit down for a meal. Plus, Olivia got a new set of teeth at the restaurant.

We made it to Denton, Texas, and are really happy to have a few days of downtime at our family’s house. Both sets of cousins are really looking forward to hanging out together. Today was officially labeled, “Pre-cousin day”. 😄 Lola is excited to see the armadillos on their property. Olivia is excited to catch up with her cousins and swim in their pool. Then having a pool makes so much more sense being in Texas than our (yet to be seen) pool in Vermont.

I’ll keep updating this page during our stay in Texas. For those of you who are more interested in our travels, we got on the road again on Sunday, April 24th.

Today was a quick trip to Trischa’s sister’s house which was a welcome change. Our day starts out with grabbing a cart to put all our stuff in. The girls enjoyed a ride on it this morning. I’m getting used to driving this massive truck in tight spaces (like gas stations). In all, I’m 56′ long.

The cousins had a blast playing together. A swimming pool, bike park, and hopscotch kept them busy. The hopscotch wrapped around the sidewalk and driveway and was near 85 squares! Tons of fun things to keep the kids busy here. We even found fossils in their backyard! Lola was over the moon. Olivia is excited about the pool and since tomorrow is going to be 91F, we will get to try it out.

Andrew and I took a walk around his bike park, tested what he currently has, and made plans for modifications and improvements.

Trischa and Mallory are enjoying catching up with each other since it’s been nearly 4 years since the last time they got together.

Day 6 was surprisingly hot! So we decided to go fossil hunting in the blazing heat. 🤷‍♂️ It was neat to see all of the small fossils just on the top of the ground. After the heat, we found a fun shaved ice place in Mineral Wells to cool off.

Yogi has found a friend in Isla because she likes to carry his Chuck It stick and ball around and thinks it’s funny that he follows her wherever she goes. The kids spent most of the afternoon/evening/night in the pool splashing anything and everything around them.

Andrew and I worked on some bike park improvements. We extended one jump and built a small gap jump followed by a berm. We got a chance to test it after dinner and will be making some more improvements tomorrow.

Today was a relaxing day. We traveled to Fort Worth and did some shopping. Before heading out, I called U-Haul to have them check the front tire on the truck. There was a piece of metal in it that didn’t look like something I wanted to drive another 2,000 miles on! A mobile repair company came out and replaced both front tires.

Once we got to Fort Worth, we had good food at Torchy’s Tacos and dinner at Hat Creek Burgers. Torchy’s has some hot sauces! All very good, but pretty spicy. Not surprising here in Texas. 🙂

The kids were very excited to get home and jump in the pool. A toad had beaten them to the punch and we had to rescue him from the pool. Lola was all too happy to grab him out!

While the kids were in the pool, Andrew and I took an opportunity to go work at the bike park. We wanted to shoot some video before it got too dark. We both ended up crashing the bike getting used to the changes. We also both realized we’re not as young as we were when we last rode together in Bellingham and rode this style of jumps.

We went into Weatherford to get some home paperwork completed. We had to have a notary observe us signing some documents. Afterward, we had a sweet from Back Home Bakery (yum!) and some coffee from Ironworks Coffee. The farmers market in Weatherford had a lot of fresh vegetables and plants. Mallory (Trischa’s sister) picked a few plants for her garden and some fruits and veggies for us to eat.

Again, the kids were dying to get back home so they could swim in the pool! Fortunately, the weather has been warm enough for them to spend time in the pool each day. We keep telling Olivia and Lola they’re going to have to wait a while until the weather is warm enough to use the pool in Vermont.

The day ended with us making s’mores inside because it was too windy outside. The kids played Mario Kart to end the day and had quite the giggle-fest doing so.

Our last full day in Texas started out with Yogi getting some early morning Chuck It in courtesy of Olivia. The kids had a fun breakfast: pancakes with Nutella and sprinkles. We know how to vacation!

We went to Weatherford Lake in the afternoon to see if we could spot turtles and birds. When we arrived, the water was much lower than we expected. This area of Texas hasn’t received much rainfall lately. Fortunately, we were able to see some turtles on some distant rocks. Not up close like we were hoping, but still fun to see. We also saw the big beaver lodge in the picture.

We ended the day with kid-made board games, design magazine reviewing, and some more Mario Kart. Lots of fun was had in Texas with family and we’re going to miss them.

Back on the road again. No one was really excited to leave Texas and our family this morning. We had a great time visiting family we hadn’t seen in 4-10 years (depending on which one of us you’re asking). Fortunately, the drive today was another smooth day on the road. The worst of it was the humidity and lack of air conditioning in the truck. Yogi and Lola started out with me in the cab and switched a couple of hours in to the Prius. It is funny how this U-haul truck makes the Prius seem like a luxury vehicle with its smooth ride, technology upgrades, and climate control.

In Arkansas, we stopped and walked Spud. He’s been doing surprisingly well on the road. He was our number one concern heading into the trip. The only other experience we had with Spud in the car was taking him to the vet. After being force-driven across the entirety of the US, I think he’s getting used to being in the car. I guess there’s always a solution. 😉

Arkansas was a nice change of scenery. Texas was flat, dry, and dusty. Arkansas had slightly more terrain variation and a lot more water and greenery. Our travel days are getting shorter on this leg of the trip and we were only in the car for a total of 9 hours today. It was nicely odd to get to the hotel and have time to unwind.

There had to be one hard day, right? Today was that day.

We finally got back to our ‘three states per day’ routine getting through Arkansas, Tennessee, and into Kentucky. Driving through Tennessee and Kentucky had been welcoming. There is greenery and hills which is nice to look at since that’s about all we have time for. Trischa and I talked about going back to Memphis (which is probably the name of a song) at some point to actually spend some time exploring it. Sitting right on the banks of the Mississippi and all that musical culture and history seems like a fun time.

We stopped for gas and lunch in Jackson, Tennessee, and wound up losing a wallet. We discovered that we had lost the wallet within twenty minutes of losing the wallet. The fast food restaurant that we lost the wallet in just happened to have let us in to use the restroom despite their lobby being closed. We stuck around long enough for the area manager to review the camera footage and confirm the wallet wasn’t carried out. We dug through the car 4 times to make sure we weren’t overlooking it somewhere. Fortunately, we have our passports so that we can sign home documents in Vermont and we still have cash from asking things off that we haven’t been using yet.

It was one of those frustrating moments when, initially, you think, “This better all be worth it.” But it was also a good reminder that life happens and you get to choose how to respond to events in your life. Yeah, it’s unfortunate, but nothing really bad happened. No actual money was lost (no cash in the wallet!), no person was hurt, and I still have all the things I need. I figure as long as we get to Vermont with two running vehicles and six living things, anything else is just icing on the cake.

We got to the hotel late as a result, got some dinner, and then I went to check on the oil (burned about three quarts of oil this trip so far) and straightened out the Lexus on the trailer. The passenger strap continues to hold just fine but the driver’s side strap keeps loosening because that wheel is about an inch away from the stops. I was able to get it on the trailer straight and hope that today is the day that the straps do not loosen!

Day 12 was a nice day. I’ve been genuinely surprised at the lack of bad weather we’ve experienced across the US. We’ve only been driving in the rain for one day (yesterday) and the rest of the days were 90%+ fair weather. The biggest challenge had been the variation in temperatures. We’ve had 31F degree mornings in Wyoming and 92F degree days in Texas. Thank goodness we packed mostly appropriate clothing!

Today was also our first ‘four-state’ day having gone through the rest of Kentucky, all of Ohio, a bit of Pennsylvania, and a little of New York. Trischa and I called today our ‘Josie and Jon’ day because they grew up in Ohio. Unfortunately, we didn’t take any time to stop at any of the recommendations they had.

Also, sorry for the lack of pictures today. We don’t stop that frequently and when we do, we’re at a gas station frantically looking for a restroom or snacks. We’ve gotten used to eating lunch on the road to save a bit of time. It’s not as fun during the day but it makes the evening much more enjoyable. Having time to unwind from 9+ hours of driving is appreciated. Most of the pictures were driving through Cincinnati and Cleveland. Once we got to the hotel, the girls and I ran across the street for some after-dinner sweets and road snacks. It was a brisk walk!

We’re all really excited to be in Vermont tomorrow. It’s been a long journey and we feel the excitement building as we get closer to the end. We will stay in Brattleboro tomorrow and Springfield the next night. Friday night, we’ll be in our new house!

Holy cow, we’ve made it to Vermont! We’ve driven 3,736 miles so far according to Google Maps. Somehow, it feels longer than that, though. We’re all very much ready to be in one place which is probably a good state of mind to be in when you’re moving into a house you’ve never actually stepped foot in. 😄

Speaking of, we’re going to be seeing the house tomorrow at 9 AM. I’ll take a walk-through video of it and share it so that you can see what it looks like, as well. The last couple of pieces are coming together to officially close on the house. We should have everything wrapped up by midday Friday.

Not sure if it was the anxiousness of just wanting to get to our final destination or not, but as we were leaving northeastern New York and looking at the hills of Vermont, it felt good like we were coming to where we needed to be. The mountains looked welcoming, the creeks and rivers looked fishable, and the meadows on the hillsides looked calm. I know there’s a lot of bias in the feelings, but we couldn’t help but feel settled when we got into Vermont. Here’s hoping that feeling lasts…

Finally! We saw the house. There are a few videos in the link above with me walking around the house so that you can see it, too! Not all of the worries went away, but as a homeowner, they never do. There are things that we will need to improve, change, and update to make it feel more like home. We’re all looking forward to it. The girls are (right now) excited about potential changes. Yogi got to run around the property while we were walking around. Our realtor’s comment was, “He’s pretty fast for a little guy!”

We went into Hartland after seeing the house and stopped by the town hall. What a fun experience! We spoke with three people who were there working and they filled us in on a lot of details about the town. We did a drive-by of the elementary school so that the girls could see where they will be going to school. We stopped by the local library and got our library cards, too! All in all, a pretty productive morning and afternoon.

We’re excited to finally move in tomorrow. No more hotels and no more eating out. I’m really looking forward to eating something at home. And having a place to call home!

So, the main event has come! What a wonderful feeling to be moved into the house fully, not have to sleep in a hotel, to have a home-cooked meal, and not have to drag around an enormous U-Haul truck and auto transport trailer!

Today was a beautiful sunny day. Couldn’t have asked for better moving weather. We got to the house at 9 and I backed the truck up the twisty, tree-lined driveway, narrowly missing a tree thanks to Lola! She’s become a great copilot! We had help unloading the truck and we were able to get everything unloaded in three hours. That was just in time for some lunch: sub sandwiches from Smitty’s in Chester. Apparently, the tourists don’t know about this place which means we must be locals now. 😉

I focused on bed assembling after lunch. Figuring it would take me about 45 minutes. Except that you have to find everything to get started and then you get distracted and soon enough you find yourself out getting the mail from the mailbox when you were supposed to be getting a battery for the drill to finish a bed. Both girls are asleep in their fully assembled beds and mattresses. Finding the sheets took another 2 hours! The good news is that we opened plenty of boxes. Good thing that there is a recycling drop off on Saturday (tomorrow). I’m going to have a bit of cardboard.

We shopped in Lebanon, New Hampshire this afternoon after dropping the u-haul off. Tax-free shopping definitely reminded us of Oregon. It felt odd and exciting to get off the freeway and see signs for Dartmouth college! Didn’t realize it was so close. Also, I’ve never spent so much money at Target. Their checkout lines were not built for that many items. We made it work though.

I’m going to end this chapter here. I appreciate everyone who has been following this page and our story. I hope that I’ve provided enough information about each day to keep you informed. It’s fun being able to share what’s been going on in our lives in this crazy adventure. It’s interesting to think back to two weeks ago when we were chasing our car around the neighbor’s yard and crying over saying goodbye to friends. We still love and miss all of you and appreciate all that you’ve done for us. Tanya, thank you for getting to make our house smell good with a Scentsy! Aimee and Aaron, thanks for your generous housewarming gift and Olivia’s new bed! Thanks to all of you who attended our Adventure party and signed our picture. We’re excited to find a place to hang it.