A Moving Story

Earlier this week/month (I seem to be losing track of time this summer) I promised more stories about our cross country move.  Well, I already told you that the final preparations were up to me and that we made a stop in Moab, Utah for some quick, quality time with our extended family, and that we arrived safely in our new location.

What I haven’t told you is everything in-between.  I’ll spare you most of the boring details, but I have compiled a list of the  unpictured highlights.  (Unpictured because I was so tired I couldn’t even pick up my camera for the first three days after the moving truck left.)

  • Not knowing when the moving truck was going to be able to deliver our household goods and realizing that our things could possibly be in storage indefinitely, I overestimated the capacity of our Toyota Sienna and small trailer and kept WAY TOO MANY THINGS out of the moving truck.  Thinking I could fit them all into our trailer, I had boxes of food and spices from our kitchen, cleaning supplies, tons of clothing and blankets, and all kinds of other things I didn’t want to part with.  In the end, most of it didn’t fit, and we recreated a scene from our pioneer history by handing out all kinds of freebies to our Indiana neighbors and friends that were there to see us off.
  • Day 1 of driving ended in Kansas City.  A huge thunderstorm/tornado warning chased us into our hotel room, a fitting send-off to our life in the Midwest.  We watched buckets of water pour from the sky.  Ironically, that may have been the last real rainstorm the Midwest has seen since we left.  My apologies, Middle America, for starting your drought.  If you’d like to pay for our family to come back for a few days so you can have some rain and a few tornados, we will oblige.  We like you!
  • Day 2 of driving took us across Kansas and most of Colorado.  Thus fulfilling my vow to “never drive across Kansas again unless it is in a moving truck.”  Well, sort of fulfilling it–I was in a Toyota Sienna towing a trailer.
  • Day 3 took us to the family reunion in Moab, Utah.  After leaving the gorgeous mountains and canyons of Western Colorado, we spent the remainder of the drive peering through the haze of a dust storm.  Seriously.

Like I said, we enjoyed a brief reunion in Moab with most of Bionic Man’s siblings and parents.  The dust storm subsided soon after we arrived, so we were ready to do some sightseeing.  Trouble was, everyone was hungry.  Well, in the aftermath of a dust storm, where do you go to feed a hungry group of 21+ people of varying ages, palates, and budgets in Moab, Utah?  Considering what happened later, I think it is best that I don’t name names.  But I will give you a big hint:

Now, I’m not being a food snob, here.  But I am going to say that there are certain signs the Bionic Man and I have learned to watch for before sitting down at a restaurant that help us decide whether or not we should actually eat there.  The signs weren’t good for this restaurant.  The signs were very bad.  But we were with a big group, we were tired, and we decided not to rock the boat.  I didn’t let my children order anything that would be raw–including fruits or vegetables.  Unfortunately, I did not pay attention to what my husband ordered.

And so it was, after a 24 hour period that included a gorgeous morning hike to the famed Delicate Arch and a last minute decision to drive from Moab to Northern California on a very long stretch of road dubbed, “America’s Loneliest Highway,” that the Bionic Man began to experience some stomach pain.  We were almost to Delta, Utah–one of the towns you likely have never heard of that exists mainly to provide a gas station for The Loneliest Road in America–when the first wave of nausea hit my husband.  He spent an hour in a McDonald’s restroom and declared he’d “gotten it all out of my system” and we headed down the road again, making it to a hotel in the very small town of Ely, Nevada for the night.  But it wasn’t out of his system…and instead of driving to our final destination the next morning, I was driving my very, very ill husband to the pint-sized William B. Ririe Hospital in Ely, Nevada.

Now, I’m no stranger to emergency rooms and hospitalizations.  I’m a veteran when it comes to bedside support.  I’ve learned over the years to be calm and unflappable in the face of catastrophe.  But, oh boy, did I ever feel sorry for my poor husband!  And man alive, was I ever worried about getting medical care from a hospital in the armpit of America.  (We’ve gotten used to some world-class care, thanks to our beloved Riley Hospital.)  And don’t even get me started about what a horrible feeling it was to drive away from THE HOTEL MY CHILDREN WERE STILL IN with their ashen-faced daddy crying like a baby.  (That’s the daddy who was crying in pain, not the mommy, even though she might have felt like it.)

But, you know what?  I was reminded of something that I’ve learned before:  miracles can happen anywhere (even at hospitals that are smaller than our former pediatrician’s office).  The doctors and nurses we worked with were so caring and professional.  Even if it was the first time I’ve ever seen a nurse in cowboy boots, they had the pain medication and IVs that Bionic Man desperately needed.  They quickly located two members of our church who came and gave Bionic Man a blessing of healing, which was a great comfort.  The hotel staff at the Ely La Quinta Inn were so unbelievably caring and helpful, reassuring me that they would do everything they could for our family while I was at the hospital.  Later in the day, when Bionic Man was stable and I brought my children to the park outside the hospital to play, another woman heard me updating family members on my cell phone and came over and asked how she could help.  People in Ely were just so nice to us, and I was so impressed by their kindness to strangers.

Ironically, while Bionic Man was in the hospital recovering from severe dehydration and possible pancreatitis due to food born bacteria (the final diagnosis), the children and I ate the best meals we’d had THE ENTIRE TRIP right there in Ely, Nevada.  The french dip sandwiches made with genuine fire roasted beef were insane at The Silver State Diner, where we had an amazing lunch.

And the only other non-casino restaurant in town, Twin Wok, served the best Chinese meal I’ve had since visiting Chinatown in Los Angelos.  In Ely, Nevada.  Who knew it was such a dining destination?

Thankfully, the Bionic Man made a quick recovery, and after an overnight stay at William B. Ririe, we finished the last leg of our cross-country move.  With the GPS informing us that we had 1 hour, 48 minutes to our destination, we  crested a hill to see this

and it finally hit me:  I get to live here.  Well, not there exactly, but within driving distance.  And suddenly all the stress and worry and crazy cleaning and giving away my spices and even food poisoning seemed worthwhile, if it had brought us to mountains and lakes and incredible vistas that were just a short drive away.  We’ve dreamed of being able to take our children hiking and camping and biking in places like this–not just when we’re on big vacations, but whenever we feel like it.   With the asterisked side note to our dream that it couldn’t be too far from a children’s hospital that would have all the services Superkid needs.  And that dream finally came true.

So, over the course of the next few months when you read me whining about California real estate and how hard it is to downsize and all that, just remind me that I’m living the dream, will ya’?  And that miracles can…and do…happen anywhere.

The End



  1. Chris Kitchen says:

    Loved this experience that your family enjoyed. Sorry Ben was sicker than the average bear as you headed to Jellystone, I mean the other part of California. Hope all is well now. Love Always, Aunt Chris

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