This summer our family had a couple of little trips planned but there was one HUGE one that we had planned that would take 12 days. To some, a mere 12 days might seem like nothing, but for our family of 6 who is use to weekend getaways, the week and a half + seemed daunting. Oh, did I mention it was in the car? There were pros and cons to driving vs. flying but really it came down to time vs. cost. 20 hours of driving was going to be loooooooooooooong, but the cost of buying 5 tickets, then hauling all of our luggage and renting a car, ummmm no thanks, we decided to endure the drive.
Well I am pleased to report the car ride was actually the easiest part of the whole trip. All 4 boys were all stars. No joke! It was seamless. 20 hours one way, CHECK!
The landscape along the drive was uneventful.Oh sorry. Eric's feet really can detract from the view.
There, see. Pretty flat, really straight, that's about it. The only awesome part was the clouds. If you know me, you know how much I love clouds and sunsets and colors in the sky. It is my thing and always had been. And you can't find thunder clouds anywhere like you can in the mid-west. They are AMAZING. Oh so so pretty. So I really enjoyed watching the clouds as we drove. About 2 hours into Wyoming there was the most incredible cloud in the far east sky. It looked like a fountain shooting up out of the ground. You couldn't tell where the cloud started as it was shooting up into the sky. We chased the cloud all the way across the state and every time we thought we would catch it the road would turn just slightly and drive us just out of reach. As we entered South Dakota the ground was damp and we knew the storm had just passed through just before us. We were so close. Oh no.... now we have to go straight north to hit our destination. The cloud is right in front of us and soooo dark. I just wanted to see the storm that I had been watching for the last 4 hours in the distance. Bummer. North we went. The road started winding and the hills began to roll. The kids became a little restless as our 20 hours destination neared, and frankly, Eric and I were done as well. We came around a bend to get hit head on with another HUGE FREAKING BLACK CLOUD.
And in case you didn't catch the seriousness of my all caps, I'm talking, can't see blue sky left right front or back on this monster. At that moment it was exciting. We actually were going to see one of these awesome storms from this massive midwest rain cloud. Whoo-hoo. We headed in (as if we had a choice). Right as we were directly under the edge of the cloud we could see the cloud just above our heads and instantly all the excitement vanished. You could literally feel the pressure in the air and an almost evil presence. Eric and I could actually see the clouds begin to swirl above us in a circular fashion and the kids began to scream. It was intense, but that was just the start. I took a breath only to be shocked by the sudden down pour of rain. I have been in heavy rain storms, but this rain was so thick I couldn't see the hood of my car. Tree branches started hitting our car being blown off of near by trees. Then the hail joined the party. The cracking sound that happened as the hail made contact with our car and windows was deafening. As the wind got stronger Eric demanded that I drive and do my best to get us out of what seemed to be a potentially very dangerous situation. I couldn't see but feeling the urgency in my husband's voice I slowly started driving trying to stay on the road. With in a few miles (but it seemed like it was a day long journey) we found the street to turn off onto and it was as if we turned right out of the storm. Clear skies greeted us as if it was all just a dream, but my shaking hands and sobbing children confirmed it wasn't. We arrived at my sister-in-laws within minutes and although we had to pry the kids from the car we all were so glad to be inside and felt relieved to have put that little show behind us.
With in no time at all the kids were distracted by cousins upon cousins. I don't even have a picture of Ty the night we arrived because he just disappeared.
Tanner made quick friends with "the girls" as Eric and his siblings call them. They are the youngest 4 of the 10 and from his dad's second marriage. Chambrie became the object the kids used to jump, roll and flip over.
Austin wasn't shy showing his new friends his favorite games on the ipad.
And Brodie, well, he is always such a love.
It was the first time Eric had seen his family in 5 years. He settled right in and was so happy to see all of them. The oldest of "the girls" was at BYU so we didn't see her here in SD but we were able to catch up with her on our way home. Eric's family was so welcoming and kind, it was nice to be there.
We unpacked and got ready for a week of fun with the Lawrence fam.
And with every storm is light on the other side. Like I said clouds and sky are my thing, so even though we fought the storm of the summer, look at the view I got to see later that day. So worth it. Beautiful. It was a lovely end to a very long drive.