Sunday, June 25, 2006

On the Road - Day 6 The Final Day

Well, this is it. The final day of our looooong road trip. I can't believe it is coming to an end. We all thought it would be good to sleep in some and get some rest since we did not have much driving to do today. As we hit the road, it is starting to set in that we will not be returning to California....that this trip was more than a vacation and served a purpose. Even though it is exciting to travel across the country and move your family to a new state, some of the pain of saying goodbye returned today. On this leg there would be no landmark or monument to see. Everything was now behind us. It made me somewhat sad. Also, the anxiety of starting a new job in a few days and meeting all kinds of new people started to hit me. But, I know that good things lie ahead and I will do what I always do......just be myself, put my faith in God and everything will be fine. It may not be easy, but it will work out.

We arrived at my cousin Doug and his wife, Dawn's home around 2:30. During the drive there, we missed one severe thunderstorm and got in just before another one got in. The storms out here are something to behold. It can be sunny in the morning and turn dark and stormy in the afternoon. It was good to get to Doug and Dawn's place. They live on a lake outside of Darwin, MN. The kids got right to doing what they do best, playing. Cameron and his second cousin, Jared started fishing right away off the dock. It made me happy to see them out and about and not cooped up in a car. It took me about an hour to unload the van an get ready to leave, I still had a two hour drive ahead of me. I was bringing Pat, Sarah, and Carl to their home in the Twin Cities where I will be staying during the week so I can be closer to work until our home is done in August.

If you have been reading all these posts, I just want to say thanks for checking in and sharing in our journey. It has been a blast! As I have been saying to a few people, we have seem more things on this trip than most people will ever see in their entire lifetime. What a beautiful country we live in. So rich in history and landscape. We are fortunate to be living in a place that is so varied and interesting. This will be a trip I will never forget.

As we settle in to life here in Minnesota, please think of us. Keep us in your prayers as we adjust to life. Pray for my family as we will be separated during the week. That is the part I am not looking forward to...not seeing my wife and kids every evening as I get 'home.' It is only for six weeks, but will be hard none the less. Pray that our home will be done in time and that our move into it will go smoothly. I am already missing my friends and family back in California and they will be in my thoughts over the next few weeks.

With that I will close the book on the 2700 mile Cloyd family road trip. It won't be the end of the blog though. Keep checking back and please use it as a way to keep in touch. I will look forward to hearing from all of you from time to time.

See ya!!!!

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Detour- Life on the Road

  • My butt hurts even more
  • All I am eating is junk food
  • Scanned the radio for FM stations. Wtached the radio go all the way around to find nothing......NOTHING!
  • Discovered it IS fun to Wang Chung tonight
  • National Public Radio is EVERYWERE
  • Feeling a pain like no other in my lower right back-can't make it go away
  • Watched gas get cheaper as we traveled east
  • I'm sick of driving
  • Still waiting for Christie Brinkley to pull up along side of me in a red Ferrari

Day 5 Pics

On the Road - Day 5

Day 5..........OK then. Got up, had breakfast, and left for Mt. Rushmore. It was a bit stormy when we were loading up the car to leave. The skies were dark and murky and it was really windy with a dash of rain. First real weather of the trip. Cameron was none too happy about this. We made the 1/2 hour drive to the monument. On the way, you pass through a town called Keystone. By the looks of the town, I can imagine that Keystone would have never existed had it not been for Mt. Rushmore. A real tourist trap of a town. After Keystone, you start a gradual climb towards Mt. Rushmore, and there it can't really believe you are seeing it in person. It really is quite a sight. As a whole, the National Park Service has done a great job with the whole place. It felt like a National Monument that you would visit in D.C. It was fitting for the four men depicted on the mountain.

After spending a few hours there, we departed and continued our journey. We decided we would make a stop for lunch in Wall, SD. at the infamous Wall Drug. It wouldn't be a problem if one did not know how to find Wall Drug. They woud be able to find it and make it there OK due to the numerous signs on the side of I-90 posted about, hmmm...let's say, every foot of the way! We arrived and I quickly determined that Wall Drug would fit in very nicely in the town of Keystone, SD. This place is one HUGE tourist trap. They sell every knick-knack you could imagine as well as serve up food and free ice water. (Did you hear that? FREE ICE WATER!!! Why didn't we come here first?)

After lunch, we marched on. We drove for a long time and then stopped in Mitchell, SD. to see the Corn Palace.........
Yep, you guessed it, that is all corn. Nuff said. Moving on.....

We made it to our last hotel of the trip in Sioux Falls, SD. which is not very far from the Minnesota State Line. This place also had a pool and I opted to pay a little extra and upgrade to the executive suite. It was nice. Julie and I had our own room and put the kids in their own area. It was the first time that we did not have one of the kids in bed with us. Prior to bed time, Chelsea had a MAJOR meltdown beacuse of said separation. Julie and I stuck to our guns, but expended a great deal of energy trying to get her to go to sleep. Which is why I am posting this update a bit later than the others. I didn't have it in me to write anything after that.

Next up....the final day of the trip.......

Friday, June 23, 2006

Thursday, June 22, 2006

On The Road - Day 4

Has it really been four days? Its all starting to blur together in my mind. Even though it was a good day, I'm feeling a bit tired and grumpy right now. I guess four days on the road will do that to you. Here is today's recap.....

Woke up this morning in Cody, Wy. at the Super 8 Motel. Got out of bed to take a shower only to discover that there was no hot water. T-Bone's not very happy. I mean, c'mon! This is the Super 8....the lap of luxury! I mean, why else would you put the word 'super' in your name? Anyway, at least we had water pressure. Pat and Sarah had none, so I guess I will stop complaining. Well, I was glad to leave the rodeo town of Cody, which was actually founded by Buffalo Bill Cody. In fact, there was a rodeo going on when we got into town last night. We left town at 8:30 AM to head out to Devil's Tower National Monument, which is in the northwest corner of the state. I was fully prepared to completely trash the state of Wyoming (except for the part that contains Yellowstone) in this post. Just look at that picture was a whole lot of that for a while. I looked out the window and kept expecting Kevin Costner to come walking over the hill with that wolf of his as they looked for totonka. Yep, wasn't very impressed with the state until we got to Big Horn National Forest in the Big Horn Mountains. AWESOME. This mountain range just rose out of the plains and looked like it was the home of some mythical Greek god. We hit the highest point of our journey when we reached a summit of around 9000 feet. You could almost touch the clouds.

Later in the afternoon, we reached Devil's Tower National Monument. I have always wanted to see this place in person after watching CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND. It was cool getting to the site as you could spy the tower in the distance rising out of the forest. We decided to make a picnic lunch at the monument which was nice. We then made the 1.3 mile hike around the tower and then observed a prairie dog colony before leaving. It was a very enjoyable stop. I have only one complaint....where are all the UFOs?? I wanted to see me some flyin' saucers. Stupid aliens......

We arrived in Rapid City, SD. around 7 PM. Much to our delight, our hotel had a indoor swimming pool! Joy! I had been promising to take the kids swimming, only problem was that none of our hotels has had a swimming pool so far. I guess I should check in advance next time. We had pizza delivered to our room and then went swimming. A good time was had by all. Tomorrow we are going to see Mount Rushmore as my family and I recreate the climax to NORTH BY NORTHWEST. I get to be Cary Grant! YAY!

Yellowstone Pics

On the Road - Day 3

Hello from Cody, Wyoming! I am pleased to report that today's travels went much smoother and the whole gang seems a bit happier due to getting into town at a much more reasonable time than 1:30 AM. We traversed through four states today; Utah, Idaho, a sliver of Montana, and part of Wyoming.

We left Salt Lake City at around 9:30 this morning and headed north into Idaho. I could feel a definite climate change as we went from state to state, which was a bit of relief from the 110 degree temps we experienced on Monday. After going through Idaho for a while and then a bit of Montana, we reached Yellowstone National Park. What an awe inspiring place! Absolutely beautiful and fascinating at the same time. You see, Yellowstone is actually one BIG volcano. Throughout the park are numerous geysers, mud pots, steam vents, and other evidence of volcanic activity. Add that to the many rivers, streams, trees, and wildlife and you have yourself one cool park. After entering the park, I saw a bald eagle fly over head. We also saw bison, elk, and two bears! One of the bears was just yards away from our car. I think my jaw was on the floor all day from seeing one amazing thing to the next. We could have easily spent a couple of days here instead of a few hours.

I have been enjoying hanging out with my bro, Patrick, and his family. It has been Pat and I driving my car. Julie and Pat's wife, Sarah, have been driving the van with the kids. (Hey, the girls haven't complained yet and we have offered many times to trade with them, so all you ladies out there can just hold those comments, K?) We have been passing the time by having some good conversations, listening to the ol' iPod (I don't think Pat likes my taste in music choices...oh well), and searching for FM radio stations when one goes out of range. I downloaded the latest Dane Cook comedy album and gave it a listen, which has been hilarious.

Well, I should hit the sack. Still have a lot of driving to do......

T-Bone go sleepy night night zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz (drool)

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Detour - My Point of View

Location: Somewhere in Idaho.

Notice the bugs on the windshield. Mmmmmmmmm.........bugs.......

On the Road - Day 2

Greetings from the road. I mean that literally. I am writing this in my car on I-15 at 10:40 PM. Hang on….gotta change lanes here……no, not really. My brother is driving right now. It has been a heck of a day. Currently, we are running behind schedule. We should have been in Salt Lake City by now, but have run into some obstacles. More on that later.

We woke up this morning in beautiful Flagstaff, AZ. I had no idea that Arizona had forested mountain areas. It reminded me of Northern California. Anyway, we made the 50 mile trek to Grand Canyon National Park. All I gotta say (clears throat and tries his best Keanu Reeves voice) ‘whoa.’ Freakin’ amazing! I won’t even attempt to put into words what it was like. If you have never been there, make it a point to go sometime!

The only downside was that my 1 yr. old nephew, Carl, had been running a temperature the last couple of days and it hit 103 today. So, we stopped at the clinic that was located in the park to get him checked out. That took about an hour and then another hour at the Wal-Mart in Paige, AZ., near Lake Powell, to fill a prescription to help the little guy out with an ear infection.

So, we are hoping to get into Salt Lake by 1 AM and hit the sack. The plan is to get into Yellowstone National Park in the afternoon. I am really looking forward to seeing that. But, I just have to say how awesome the scenery was coming out of the Grand Canyon and into southern Utah! It was like we were on another planet.

See ya!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

On the Road - Day 1

My butt is sore......

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Saying Goodbye (Walk on.....)

And I know it aches And your heart, it breaks You can only take so much......walk on....
- U2's WALK ON

That lyric pretty much sums up how I have been feeling this week. The time has come to say goodbye to the people in our lives here in Southern California as we prepare to make the move to Minnesota and leave family members, friends, and co-workers behind. It all started last week when our friends at our church (Canyon Hills Church) threw us a going away party last Saturday. I wasn't sure what I was expecting. Would it be sad? Was it going to be hard? It actually turned out to be the perfect day. We hung out, watched our children play, ate, played volleyball, and had some good conversations with about 100 of our friends at CHC. It was really great. We left that afternoon and I thought to myself 'well, that wasn't so bad.' The next day we had a small birthday party for my son at our community pool since we wouldn't be here for his actual birthday next month. It was a blast. I enjoy getting into the pool and letting the kids beat up on me and then throwing them all over the pool. That night, I played poker with some guys I have had the pleasure of getting to know this last year. [For the record, I have no poker face and it was my goal to play as conservatively as possible to make the funds last as long as possible (along with some friendly 'donations' of my fellow players).] Overall, it was a very good weekend. One that I won't soon forget.

Then Monday morning hit. I was listening to my iPod on the way to pick up my friend Mike (one of my best friends that also happens to work with me) on my way to work. I started reflecting on the past weekend and thinking about how it would be my last week at work. Certain songs came on and these feelings started welling up and taking control of me. I realized 'this is it.' This would be the last week that I would get to spend with the people in my life on a regular basis. I lost it. Images of everyone and past experiences flashed in my mind. Yep, this one is gonna hurt......

The pastor at my church has done an object lesson a couple of times that demonstrates the idea of community and investing in each other's lives. He'll take two balls of PlayDoh, each a different color, and put one in each hand. He explain how each represents a different person. He'll then take each one and start smushing them together, rolling them from hand to hand as these two people get to know each other, spend time togther, and make impressions on each other's life. After a while you can't tell where on color begins and the other ends and it is now one ball. They are intertwined....inseparable. To take them apart is not easy. You can't separate one from the other. When you do, parts of one color are stuck with the other and there is no longer clear distinction of the individuals.

Trying to separate ourselves from everyone this week has been a painful process, but one that is needed. As I have told others, I wanted to mourn the 'loss' of my family, friends, and co-workers. (You know what, I don't know why I keep separating co-workers from friends...they are the one and the same to me.) Most of them I am not losing....they will still be there. We can come back and visit or vice-versa. But, I have to face the fact that I might not see some of these people ever again. That bums me out. Also, I will deeply miss the presence of these folks in our daily lives.

And now the process is almost done. We have almost said all of our goodbyes, with the hardest remaining tomorrow as we say goodbye to our parents. I could write four more pages on this whole thing, but I think I'll spare you further depression because we have to finish packing. As we head out on the road, know that all of you will linger in our thoughts, provoking one more tearful moment, burst of laughter, or fond memory.

Moments I will not forget from this past week:
  • An awesome BBQ/Party from CHC
  • Final dinners with our closest friends
  • Good healthy cries
  • BLOG
  • Great laughs
  • Final carpools
  • My boss reciting 'You betcha' numerous times
  • Being sung to by a friend
  • My going away lunch at work
  • Having fun with my kids and their friends at the pool
  • Tearful goodbyes
A heartfelt thank you to everyone for making the Cloyds feel loved, cared-for, and special. I will never forget it.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Minnesota or bust.....

Yeah, I's been a long time since I have posted and to all two of you who read this I say 'sorry!' I have been preoccupied with other matters over the last few months. Julie and I have had a desire to move to Minnesota for a few years now. Minnesota?? It gets COLD there. Are we insane? Possibly. I hail from the Land of 10,000 Lakes (even though I was born in Iowa and grew up mostly in California....shhhhh! Don't tell anyone) and I have lots-o-family back there. It is also a beautiful state with a lot to offer in my opinion. Slower pace of life, cheaper cost of living, four seasons, and super friendly people. Even with the desire to move, we have just been too chicken to do anything about it, until this year.

Events occurred earlier in the year that put things into motion. We felt that if we were ever going to pull something like this off, we needed to do it soon or never go down that path. We did not want to do this when our kids were older and would possibly resent such a major life change. The timing was ripe and we decided to go for it. I started looking for jobs back there at the end of February. I would spend at least a hour on the computer every night after work, scouring the job boards, which is why I haven't posted to the blog. Finally, things started coming together in May. Julie and I went back to Minnesota to look for homes and I had a final interview with what seems to be a great company. They offered me the job and Julie and I found a home in a new development! That is us up there putting the sold sticker on the plot map. We also sold our home in just 3 days! We will be living in Shakopee, MN. which is a suburb of the Twin Cities of Minneapolis/St. Paul. Our target moving date is right after Father's Day. Our home will be done Aug. 15th and we will be staying with family in the interim.

We are really excited about the move and sad at the same time. We will be leaving Julie's family out here, my Mom and Dad (until they move back too), my sister, and some really good, good friends. People that I can't imagine doing life without. It won't be easy. There is soooo much to say about this, one post can't contain it all. So, keep checking back as I post updates about what we are going through during packing up and getting ready to leave. I also hope to post updates on the road back to Minnesota.