Relocation With Family: Day 1

If you’re looking for a nice read about the Great American Road Trip … well, then check out Mom blogger Lauren here. If you’re looking for chaotic tales of relocation with a family, you may have come to the right place.

BABY BOOK FIRST: For the first time in my life I’m writing from the passenger seat of a U-Haul. What will come first, my battery dying or me getting motion sickness? I’m thinking the latter.

My buddy texted me late yesterday saying “It set in today that you will be gone.”

My reply, “Right now it just feels like vacation.”

And right now it does.

Seven states in just over three days. The kids, my folks, sandwiches, donut holes, lots of open road. It’s kind of fun.

Welcome to Day 1 of Relocation with a Family!


It started with U-Haul screwing up our order. Always a nice way to start a relocation! We asked for a 26-foot. They didn’t have it. I thought, “Maybe we’ll roll with the 20-foot.” We did, and hours later we were questioning this decision and I was getting a little stressed and frustrated with myself.

Thanks to my dad’s expertise at Moving Van Tetris, we were able to fit everything into the 20-footer and were headed out.

Earlier in the day we said goodbye to some of our closest friends. Lis even shed a tear. This is a big deal. So big that when I mentioned it to my daughter hours later she said, “What? Mom doesn’t cry!”

John Hughes’ References

When you’re traveling with the Johnsons you’re bound to hear a few references to some of our Johnson Family classics. National Lampoon’s Vacation and Planes, Trains & Automobiles, both John Hughes creations, are two that we quote regularly when we road trip.

Calling for a hotel?

“You called home…I called the Braidwood Inn.”

“Oh, I missed that one.”

Referencing how we’re going to pay for the hotel.

“No worries, I sold the owner some shower curtain rings.”



Turns out any hotel or motel on I-90 throughout Montana is booked during the summer. We ended up in a little town called Drummond, in a hotel that was less Braidwood Inn and more El Rancho Motel.

The kids took the bed, we took the mattress on the floor (it’s fine Lis prefers her sheets over the bed sheets), and after Levi snuggled in between us (a la Uncle Buck – another Hughes’ reference), everyone fell asleep.

Until the first train passed by from about 25 yards away, wailing on his horn and Levi shot up out of bed. It was something straight out of My Cousin Vinny.


Most of our travel was in Montana, a state my daughter declared, enamored by the mountain range and the sky, “Beautiful.”

Clark Fork was all over the place. I think we passed about a dozen “Clark Fork” signs. Turns out the Clark Fork River, named after the Clark in Lewis & Clark, is the longest river in Montana and expands 310 miles. Bet you didn’t think you’d learn something here did you?

Texas Caviar is a mix of black beans, tomatoes and corn and is now the CB handle for the minivan. The U-Haul handle is Cracker Jack, a name my dad has used since he was cruising Valley Parkway in a ’62 Buick Skylark.

May I take your order?

And finally, Dad was pretty sure the waitress that served us the Texas Caviar was Leela from Futurama. Don’t ask.

That’s Day 1 in a nutshell. We’ll be back for a likely Day 2 and 3 combo.

2 thoughts on “Relocation With Family: Day 1

  1. We know Drummond, but have not had a need to stay there. 😳
    Always had a bed awaiting us in Butte❤️
    Safe travels my friends. 😇


  2. Sounds like everything is going okey. Everywhere we stayed when traveling in the moho cross country there was always a train so get used to it. I remember one of our trips to Monroe, stayed in a motel, yep the train came wailing by. Have a safe trip, watch those Beans, you are in close quarters!! Love you all.
    Aunt Jo


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