Dream Shard Blog: The Scintillating Adventures of Our Household

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Aug '14

Vacation July 2014: Day 1

Day 1: Wednesday, July 16, 2014

We packed up our car, packed up our kids, and stuffed everything and everybody into the car. This was our first road trip as a family.


Wes is 6, Carissa is 3, and Elizabeth is 20 months. John and I typically dislike spending time in the car and dislike driving, so we were planning for the worst when it came adding three young kids to the mix. John found some TVs we could attach to the car seats so the kids could watch DVDs. That was a major lifesaver again and again during the trip, at least for the older kids. There was not much that would keep Elizabeth entertained for long.


The plan: to leave in the mid-morning and drive about 10 hours to West Richland, WA.

The actual: We left around 10 am and got as far as southern Idaho when this happened:


I was driving and ran over some debris from a semi-truck tire. It was a HUGE piece and even though I tried to miss it, I didn’t. A few minutes later an alert came up on my dashboard indicating low tire pressure. We were about 8 miles from the next exit, and we took it.

Where were we? The middle of nowhere. Really! Look at the window of the gas station we stopped at:


Our flat tire happened in the most sparse portion of I-84 in Idaho. It’s desert. There’s nothing for miles and miles and miles and miles. We were truly fortunate that we were only 8 or so miles from a service station, and we were even more fortunate that our tire lost air gradually instead of blowing so we could make it to the exit instead of being stranded on the side of the road.

As we drove home after our vacation I took a picture of the exit with the gas station. Can you see it?


The gas station had a sheep and some llamas in front that the kids watched while they ate snacks.



I started out optimistic with the flat tire but with each passing minute and each additional thing that went wrong my hope gradually faded. We found out when we got to the gas station that we didn’t have cell service. There was a number posted at the gas station of a tire repair service but no way to call it. The gas station didn’t allow phone calls. There weren’t many people coming in or going out of the gas station (“middle of nowhere”), but I was able to ask an elderly couple if we could borrow their cell phone. John called the tire repair shop and got directions. It was in Burley, 45 minutes away. John had to change the flat tire and put on the spare. Did I mention it was about 1:30 in the afternoon, sunny, and 100 degrees?

He tried to take off the flat tire but the lug nuts were stuck. For a while it seemed hopeless we’d ever get that dumb tire off the car. Finally in desperation I stopped a man who seemed to work at or own the gas station. He was feeding the llamas, and I asked if he could help my husband. He went out and was able to help get the nuts loose so John could get the tire off.

He put the spare on, but then he had to find a place for the flat tire. It didn’t fit in the same space the spare had been. He had to pull out everything in the trunk and repack it around the flat tire. I think John should get a gold star.

Finally, finally, after a couple hours, we went on to Burley. We spent a couple more hours at the tire repair store getting the valve stem fixed ($100 for that tiny thing) and figuring out what to do next. The kids watched PBS Kids on the TV and ate free popcorn. There’s a golden lining to everything.



We had lost so much time we wouldn’t arrive at our destination until after midnight, and that’s if we didn’t stop at all. We pulled out a tablet and booked a hotel via Priceline.com in Twin Falls, ID.

It was the Red Lion Hotel, which isn’t really a 5-star place (really a 2.5 star that calls itself a 3-star joint), but it was a place to rest for the night. We took the kids to dinner at an OK Italian place next door to the hotel, and then we drove over to the welcome area by the bridge that leads to Twin Falls from the freeway. When you’re on I-84 driving past Twin Falls you have no idea about this river here. It’s totally hidden until you’re on top of it.


We stuck around to watch a couple people who were preparing to jump off the bridge. But they had parachutes. Even so, it was kind of nerve-wracking to watch them. Poor Wes couldn’t see but I took a video so he could watch it later.

Walking back to the hotel from dinner:


Elizabeth grabbing a cold one before bedtime:

Statue of the founder of Twin Falls. And Carissa:


Preparing to watch the parachuters:


I actually had wanted to stop at Twin Falls sometime during our trip to show the kids the waterfalls, which we had the opportunity to do the next morning before continuing our journey. It just happened differently than I had planned. And thus ended our first day of vacation.

Aug '14

We finally did something fun

We finally did something fun together.

After dragging my three kids to my physical therapy appointment I took them to a splash pad to play.

The personality of each kid is apparent:

1) Carissa: Put on eye protection and stay to the edge of the water.




2) Elizabeth: Run like a crazy woman through the water and get as wet as possible, as fast as possible. And then retreat to Mom for a snuggle in the towel.



3) Wes: Drink the water.