Monday, June 19, 2017

Tallulah Mae's first offical maiden voyage: Part IV

Our final destination was Cheyenne Wyoming. This is a special place for Tallulah Mae's inhabitants. It's like a second home. Sis has a unique bond, since mom and dad used to ship her off here during the summers of her youth. Sis and Grandma are tight, yo.  Grandma is now 95, mostly blind, lives in an independent senior housing complex, and is feisty as ever. She is also the mother of dad, his sisters (Aunt1 and 2), and brother (Uncle1). She shall be heretofore, Gutsy Granny.

First order of business was to move into our new home for our stay. We put dad in Aunt2's guest room, and sis, nephew2, and I slept in Tallulah Mae in Aunt2's driveway. Aunt1 from Florida, beat us to Cheyenne, so she got the prime spot of Gutsy Granny's guest room.

Floofy puppy loved trying to catch all the bunnies in Aunt2's neighborhood. They are overrun by bunnies. Bunnies, bunnies, everywhere.

Second order of business was a birthday party for everyone. Because when you're 95, you celebrate all things, all the time, so why not?

Gutsy Granny met floofy puppy and fell in love.

Later on in the evening, Gutsy Granny beat us all at cards, even setting her precious first born (dad). My streak was over.

We took Tallulah Mae to Uncle1's house so they all could meet her and we had a great time catching up.
Floofy puppy finally met his doppelgangers (other white floofy older puppies). Uncle1 and his lady AuntL have two white floofs.
Their son, Cousin1 also brought his BIG floof. His name is Little Bear. Floofy puppy loved that there was a big friend to play with, since the white floofs were not interested in playtime.
We had a great time eating brownies and ice cream and drinking coffee. We showed everyone Tallulah Mae. But soon it was time to leave. Cousin1 and 2 and the mini cousins needed to get back home to their crazy busy lives. Mini cousins aren't so mini anymore. Mini cousin1 just finished her first year of college and mini cousin2 is taller than everyone, plays football, and is not even 16 yet!

It was then time to visit with even more cousins at Aunt2's house. Her daughter, Cousin3 and her mimi cousins drove up from cow town (Greeley Co.) Her other half, UncleE took off of "work" (he's a volunteer) and came over for lunch. So nephew2 got on the riding mower and helped Aunt2 get the place ready... for the "severe storm" that was rolling in.
We were constantly watching the weather. It's not an official trip until you experience Wyoming weather! Even my phone was telling me about the "extreme weather" coming. It never did hit Aunt2's house.

Mini Cousin4 waiting patiently for sis to finish sewing the buttons on her new giraffe dress
We did what every family does: bond in front of the t.v.

UncleE went to back to "work", and after went to check on his horses and batten down his place. When he came back, he said there was a tornado that had touched down about 6 miles from his place. So of coarse we all go outside to watch.
Uncle1 calls to mach sure Gutsy Granny is with us, since Aunt2 has a basement, and Gutsy Granny doesn't. He also felt bad for us because we had no where to put Tallulah Mae to escape the hail... if it came. But that is what insurance is for. Uncle1 said he put his truck in his barn, and his cars were in the garage. Mini cousin3 didn't like the lightning and thunder, but mini cousin4 was outside with us crazies watching the clouds.

Aunt1, 2, and I discussed how you can tell a Wyoming native from everyone else. The natives are out on their decks, like us, nonchalantly gazing out at the clouds discussing the days events. Everyone else is in their basement worrying about their food stock and cars.

Mini Cousin4 sure loved floofy puppy!

Well, like I said, the storm passed us right on by, hardly any rain, and only one little hail ball. However, Uncle1's house got hit by 3" hail and took out his skylights in the kitchen and barn, steel gutters, his truck that was in the barn, the hot tub cover, irrigation system, and made his lawn look like the surface of the moon, plus a car plowed into the telephone pole outside his house. It plowed into the pole because the windshield got shattered by the giant hail balls from the sky. So they had an exciting evening. However, everyone in Wyoming has hail insurance, so they are covered. Their only dilemma is which insurance to use for the truck. The trucks insurance or the home insurance. Since the truck was in the barn (which is covered under the home insurance), do they use the home insurance for the truck or not.

The next day it was time for Aunt1 to fly home.
We hung out at Gutsy Granny's, ate food, played games, ate some more.
Gutsy Granny's complex has a pool table!
And so the days passed. Nephew2 got a hold of cousin5 (Aunt2 and UncleE's sons son) and he came by Gutsy Granny's and hung out. He showed us videos of him bronc riding. He rides for LCCC (Laramie County Community College), he also just finished his freshman year of college. You know you're in the "wild west" when the schools offer rodeo as a sport. He then invited nephew2 out to a bonfire. When nephew2 came back, he said they never made it out to the bonfire. Instead they went fishing at a pond by the side of a road, and then met one of cousin5's friends at a gas station and just hung out. Wow, the youth of Wyoming sure need a nightlife. But in his defense, his dad is a cop, and works the night shift, so the last thing you want is to get caught by the cops doing something stupid, who also happens to be your father. Talk about a double whammy.

Pretty soon it was coming time to get ready to head home. Nephew2 got his girlfriend Wyoming gifts, we got our house sitters thank you gifts, and nephew2 bought fireworks. You can buy fireworks in Wyoming 365 days a year, at least in Laramie County. I think it's state wide though, but I'm not a local. So if you hear anything coming from sis' house, it's just nephew2 setting off his blackcats and smoke bombs.

Dad spent our last two nights with Gutsy Granny which meant I got to move inside to the guest room! Woo-Hoo! I didn't have to wear my ear plugs for two whole nights! Sis snores like a freight train! We decided to leave really early since our first drive day back home was going to be 600 miles, and dad thought it would take us close to 10 hours to get to Wendover Nevada/Utah. East Wendover is in Utah, West Wendover is in Nevada. However the entire town has decided to stay on mountain time since Nevada is in the Pacific time zone and Utah is in the Mountain time zone. So we all packed up, and got over to Gutsy Granny's by 6:45am. Said our tearful goodbyes and vowed to see each other again soon. And before we knew it, we were off traveling west bound on Interstate 80. Past the tree in the rock, Lincoln's head, and Vedauwoo, and into Utah.

We pulled into the Wendover KOA at 4pm. Of all the KOA's, it was the least attractive. But it's hard to be a lush oasis in the desert salt flats in the middle of nowhere. Floofy puppy got a lot of stickers in his paws and didn't care much for the place. Despite dad's worrying, we made excellent time. So we set up camp, and watched some Tom and Jerry cartoons and The Adventures of Tin Tin.

Back on the road the next morning again on west bound Interstate 80. Through Nevada, over the sierra mountains that still have snow in June, and into California.
There's just something about crossing into your home state. Even though you aren't quite home yet, there is a comfort in knowing you're almost there. Floofy puppy was over the roadtrip. He was ready to be home and see his "sister" Sura. Got into Sacramento and turned left onto I-5 south and down to Santa Nella and hung a right onto 152 and home. We got into town just after 9pm and passed the long line of cars heading east on 152 for the weekend.

We unpacked the essentials and perishables. It was good to be home. I thought my kitties would be so happy to see me, I was happy to see them. But they were not. They were mad and a bit hesitant. I think I left them for a bit too long. They warmed up to me eventually, and I got to say, there's nothing like your own bed. I had the best sleep in weeks.

And so, Tallulah Mae's first official road trip was over. We survived. We still like each other.

A few other things of note:
We saw a bald eagle in flight in California.
Tallulah Mae has a few quirks like turning off her AC when you need it the most.
A bird flew into Tallulah's window while parked in the KOA.
Invest in ear plugs when you have to sleep next to a freight train.
Packing for an RV trip is different than packing for a car road trip.

And Tallulah Mae got her first bath!

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