Relocation With Family: Days 2 & 3

EDITOR’S NOTE: We arrived Monday, July 31 but because of time and WiFi constraints I wasn’t able to write, so now you’ll get the backdated version of Days 2 & 3, followed by Days 4 & 5 tomorrow – maybe. Now let’s return to the original post written Saturday night.

“Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” (Romans 12:12, ESV)

Time and WiFi service are hard to find when you’re cruising America’s Heartland, making it hard to describe what Day 2 & 3 are like for relocation with kids.

We spent roughly 23 hours staring out the windshields of the minivan and U-Haul. That’s a lot of time when you are traveling with three kids … and my parents. They’d likely say the same thing about me but alas, I’m the only one with a blog!


Day 2 took us through the rest of Montana before capping it off with a 9:30 p.m. swim at a hotel in Casper, Wyoming.

We finished off Wyoming and drove through Colorado, before rolling our wagons into Dodge City, Kansas at midnight of Day 3.

In between rolling hills, Rocky Mountains and corn fields our patience, boredom and bladders were tested. And that’s what makes this worth writing about!


The second day of our trip was a little more stressful than the first. (You can read Day 1 by clicking here.) That’s what happens when I watch my dad conduct and run his business from the driver’s seat of a moving U-Haul van.


It may look like he’s sleeping, but he’s just looking down at his phone.

Not sure why he didn’t want me to drive (maybe that is more stressful for him) while he did business. He told me not to worry as this is normal for him. Way more easier said than done as I doubt he usually has his son and granddaughter strapped into the seats next to him.

For seven hours I kept quiet and attempted to sleep, while calmly asking him if he wanted me to drive.

That all came to a halt when I mini-snapped after receiving the international sign for “GET THE F**K OVER!” by a passing Ford pickup truck, and in the symbol of the driver’s middle finger pressed firmly against his window.

We had let a semi-truck pass us on the right, I told Dad that the lane was now clear and that he now had two bogies on his rear. He didn’t hear me as he was mid-order for fuel for one of his job sites, we waited and then the bird.

For those of you aware of my classic trigger episodes, this was far from one. So relax, you won’t be able to get that thrill here.

It didn’t help that U-Haul had graciously given us a truck whose rear-view side mirror (the one on the passenger’s side), would be pushed in by a fart from a squirrel, making it impossible to see anything on the right side of the truck.

No worries, Dad redeemed himself when he fixed the mirror in a Wyoming Walmart parking lot. I knew we brought him along for something!


Clark Griswold has always been one of my all-time favorite movie characters. Actually let’s go ahead and secure him at No. 2 behind Luke Skywalker.

Though a fictional character, I see myself a lot in Clark’s antics. This time it came to fruition when I realized that the ‘fun ol’ fashioned family road trip’ that I had planned both on Google Maps and in my head, wasn’t going to happen. (By the way Dad, I do know how to use Google Maps.)

IMG_3188I know, I know, hard to do when you are relocating with kids and have a U-Haul full of your crap, your parents and your daughter, and are chasing it with a minivan with the rest of your entourage.

Still I had a plan and aspirations and well …

TIP OF THE DAY: Make a Plan but Know It Won’t Be Executed As Planned

My quest to be like Clark came to a halt when I realized I was stuck in between my dad’s need to run his business and my wife’s desire to arrive yesterday. It frustrated me, especially since we had to drive off the path I had designed to run an errand. (Who am I kidding? It’s been nearly 40 years and every trip with my dad involved the word ‘errand’ – I knew better!)

It shouldn’t have mattered but it did (and now that I’m proofreading before I post I realize it didn’t matter at all. Everything that I wanted to happen, happened.)

IMG_3242Turns out my sucked-the-fun-out-of-it emotion was wasted as we still had time to visit the little town my grandpa grew up in, along with the tavern he told us to visit.

A tavern he and his siblings spent time hanging outside of while my great-grandmother spent time inside of it back in the 1940s.

And this is what a family road trip is all about. Visiting places that defined not only the countries’ history but defined my family history.


Blowing up a Ziploc bag and then popping it so it sounds like something just fell off the van, while Dad is driving down the Interstate in the middle of a thunderstorm is never, EVER a good idea. Thanks Lukas!

Montana is long! Beautiful, but long.


The Johnson Five somewhere outside of the Middle of Nowhere, Wyoming.

Wyoming is just as you’d think of it … I’m sorry I think I just fell asleep thinking about what Wyoming is like.

Despite Kansas not being the flattest country in the union (Florida is, we looked it up); Kansas was pretty darn flat.

Of the states we visited, Colorado intrigued me the most. Looked like a nice place to live. Give me three years and we’ll be packing up to try out that place. NO!

Driving through America’s Heartland I was reminded of the following two things:

But more importantly, “America the Beautiful”.

It was neat to think about our forebrothers and sisters, and how 100-plus years ago the Native Americans, cowboys and buffaloes roamed these lands, and about how pioneers and prospectors took an incredibly hard and almost unimaginable route to make it out west and shape the future of our great country.

In this time of disgruntled patriotism, sometimes a road trip full of stress and boredom is what you need to realize that this country called America is pretty darn beautiful.

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