Monday, July 20, 2009

The Journey West

Well it has been a long hard road, but I’ve managed to keep things together. I made a lot hard decisions and conquered a few battles and now we are here at our new home. It was costing too much to stay in New York. I should have left sooner. The Army was giving my final pay in pieces and at unpredictable times. I wanted to make the move and be able to get a stable income going for my kids.

We left New York at the end of April and made our way home on the west coast. It was a beautiful trip and vacation at the same time. I wanted the trip to happen quickly, but did not want to pass up the opportunity to let my kids see and learn a few things. Stella hadn’t been on a trip like this before. We started our first day with Niagara Falls, New York. We got there late, but were still able to enjoy the sights.

Then it was on to Pennsylvania, Ohio, and then Kentucky. (Sturgis, Kentucky to be exact) My plan was to get into Sturgis with enough time to see Linda and we made it by dinner time. In fact, we ate at Pizza Hut. Not feeling right about dropping in on Linda, and with Keri feeling nervous about meeting Linda and her house, we made our way back to Morganville, Kentucky. There we were able to rent a motel and rest for a few minutes. I called Linda after a bit and made arrangements for her to come to the Motel for a visit with Stella. Keri was still nervous, but not as bad. Stella was a little nervous and excited at the same time.

Linda arrived within about 30 minutes with Aunt Barbara and Uncle Bill. It was very tense at first. Bill and Barbara made it at little more tolerable and help to keep the conversations on topics that were safe. In other words, that would not create arguments or bring the stress level up. Linda was not so good, and liked to make snide comments about everything. We concluded to visit and made arrangement to travel out to Bill and Barbara’s house on our way out, for a final visit. Linda was more worried about a ring that wasn’t on my finger anymore then she was about anything else.

The next day, I had to convince Keri that going by their house wound be that bad and that it was important for Stella. We were running a little late, Linda called to make sure that I was still coming by. So maybe we woke up later then I thought. When we arrived out there, Bill and Barbara were happy to see everyone. Those two are really good people, I wish I had better news for them. Even though Bill and Barbara tried to keep things on a cheerful note, no one was going to make it past Linda’s attitude. Maybe she doesn’t even know what she did. But she had asked to take Stella for a short walk, and I said it would be okay, so long as she stayed in sight. Linda even took Storm for a short walk. I do not know what was said or what happened, but we hadn’t been there more then 30 minute’s total. Stella just came up to me and said “Daddy can we go now?” I asked her if she was sure and she just clung onto my arm and said “yes”. At my request, Stella went into the house to collect Keri. She had been talking with Barbara this whole time. We loaded up and left. When I asked Stella what was wrong and why she was so anxious to leave, she just told me that she didn’t feel comfortable there. I just don’t know, but hey I tried.

We headed out of Kentucky. Keri did not want to attempt to try and find her birth Mom while we were there. Not after what happened in Sturgis. She said she wasn’t quite ready for that.

So it was onwards to Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, and Colorado. We brief stop at Washington County, Illinois and enjoyed a break at the park there. Can you imagine two girls, two dogs, one cat, me and all our stuff in one Dodge Caravan? Thank the makers for the luggage rack on top. While I am on the road like this, I am one of those people that can drive forever. But, I need to remember the kids and animals need a break. Rest areas were frequently used in route, but a good walk and fresh air was occasionally needed. I kept his in mind for the next big jump. I drove from Kentucky to Colorado. If you have ever been through Kansas, you know how boring it is for kids. We made Saint Louis during rush hour and the kids got to see the sights from the freeway. I wasn’t going even try and get closer!! By the time we hit Kansas, Stella was asleep. That was good, because then I could drive longer. When she finally woke up and claimed she needed to use a restroom, we were in Colorado.

We still joke with her, about how she slept through the whole state. And I even stopped to get my sister Dorothy a post card from her home state. Just don’t ask her were Toto or Tin Man is. LOL.

Anyhow, Colorado has really changed, I couldn’t find were Denver ended and the old home towns began. My Mom is from Fort Lupton area and has or had family all over the area. We checked into a motel room for the night and arranged to visit some of my Aunts and Uncles. A lot changes after 9 years and so does families. My Uncle Chuck had passed away along with my Uncle Jesse. My Aunt Fannie was in a home and Aunt Janet (Chuck’s wife) was the only one still where I expected her. Everyone else was gone. This was a lot to take in. I vowed never to loose contact with my family again. I dropped by Longmont Cemetery and paid my respects to my Grandparents. After our visit with Janet we headed for the Rocky Mountains and Utah.

The Rocky Mountains are getting easier to get across and on the 3rd of May there was plenty of snow. Just what my kids didn’t want to see. “No more snow!” On the other side of the Rockys we ran into a big hail storm that was exciting for me, but shocked my kids and dogs and the cat. It was getting really late when I stopped for a motel in Utah. I wanted the girls to have a good rest in order to see the canyons. We even stopped by a museum just for a change of pace. The Prehistoric Museum of Utah is great if you ever have a chance to go see it. Lots of bones, too bad we had to leave the dogs outside.

From there we saw the not so nice Salt Lake City. We didn’t even stop to take pictures. The kids agreed that if we needed to remember then we could always grab a salt shaker and download pictures from the internet. Nevada wasn’t much better. The girls were happy I bought them a DS system and plenty of games. They didn’t get excited until Reno and the lights at night. We stayed in Carson City which is where I use to live when I was 16 and 17. The next morning I showed them where I went to High School, worked, lived and then I took them up to Virginia City and toured the area. Keri hated the trip because in her book, curvy roads and heights don’t mix. Just like my Mom. But they were able to see a little bit of what the old west looked like. The trip down was a lot worse for Keri. Stella didn’t mind though. She walked right out to observation post with me as brave as ever. From here you could see all of Washoe Valley, Reno, Sparks, and the mountains leading to Lake Tahoe. Yeah, I guess we were really high; explains why Keri wanted to stay in the van. Once we made it down, Keri got out and kissed the ground.

Reno was our next stop and our next night stay. We visited though the night and more the following morning with my sister Dorothy, her son Alton, his wife Fay, their son Richard and Fay’s sister. Was that confusing for you too? Well anyhow, Keri and Stella spent time with their cousin Alton, wife and child. Keri was so happy to see Alton again that she wanted us to get an apartment and stop our travels. Fortunately, she’s well grounded and realized we had to move on; but not without a trip to the local mall and Build a Bear.

We travel up through those mountains I spoke of earlier and found Lake Tahoe, right where I left it in 1990. It hadn’t changed much either. Side note: If the Indians keep opening Casinos in all the states like the have in California, then there won’t be a Nevada left. If you think the economy is bad where you live, check out the state that has vested all its resources to gambling. We traveled through California and into Oregon. Of course we took in the sights all the way through.

I will continue this story in the next couple days.
If you have a myspace page please feel free to contact me. http://www.myspace.com/kennethcartlidge
All my pictures are there for the protection of my girls.
Ken

1 comment:

Tabby said...

Hi Ken,

Wow you and the girls and the pets have sure been busy. It is good to get updated I was wondering if you where every coming back to blogging. I am glad the girls got to experience traveling across the country. I hope where ever it is that you settle into works out great. I take it you are now retired military? I am sad to hear of Linda's behaviour but I am sure it was kind of expected. You are a great dad I am glad your girls have you :)
Tabby
www.tabathamax.blogspot.com