Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Westward Adventure Edition 1

Trust me I have been wanting to update the blog for a LONG time...who wouldathunk it would be that hard to get a decent wireless connection this day in age! Several of our hotels supposedly had "free wireless" but it would have taken approximately 2 weeks to finish uploading pictures and now that we are all settled into our lovely abode on base we don't have a good enough connection to even get on the internet! Alas I am sitting in the Starbucks on base (which is actually cheaper than any other Starbucks) and beginning to update you all on our travel adventures. This post will just have the first part of our trip and then hopefully sooner rather than later I will get to post about the rest of our trip and our first few days in Cali!
We had a GREAT trip…everything went very smoothly, weather was great, and we had the opportunity to so much of this beautiful country!

Last Thursday we headed out of Little Rock and it was truly a weird feeling! We were leaving everything we have known pretty much for our entire marriage and heading out across the country to a place of many unknowns…we are excited but there was trepidation for sure!
Here we are all packed and ready to go…Kadie kindly hogged the camera and put her cute face in front of Hank’s!

We made it to Dallas…saw my parents…hung out with friends…had some great Mexican food and hit the road the next morning for Kansas!
Guess where we went through in Oklahoma on the way?

We stopped in Norman, Oklahoma for some Taco Cabana and were back on the road. Originally we had planned to stop in Wichita but we drove through at 3:30 and decided we could make much more headway so we kept going. We thought we might stop in Salida, KS but decided we could make it even further. We did stop in Salida for some Red Lobster but kept on and spent the night in Hayes, KS. Some of our friends had teased about how there would be nothing to see in Kansas but I have to admit that I found beauty in the rolling hills and flat plains of Kansas and was intrigued with the numerous wind turbines that we saw. Perhaps it was the fact that we went through as the sun was setting that made it that much better of a view. I laugh now, however, because while I took in the beauty of Kansas I had NO IDEA how beautiful the next few days of driving would be!

I have to say we were amazed by how windy it was in Kansas…and we were told by the locals that this is the norm for that area. At one point I stopped to get gas and could barely even open the door to get out of my car…it was pretty crazy! Jason really felt it since he was pulling the U-Haul and since we were going against the wind it greatly affected his gas mileage…mine too but with a hybrid I was still getting 33 miles to the gallon…he was getting 8..haha!
Saturday morning we got up early thanks to Riley not having the best sleeping habits so far on this trip and decided to have breakfast at IHOP before we got on the road…Riley had her first funny face pancake and LOVED it!

Even though Riley had not been sleeping great at night she was AWESOME during the day…she was taking two naps in the car

...and then switching between our cars during her awake time…when she was with me we would sing songs and dance to music..when she was with Jason she watched movies and played with the doggies!

She tried to share her binkies with the doggies and that led to the death of 3 binkies so far…poor binkies!

We headed out to finish our drive through Kansas and make our way into Colorado…there were many lush green fields as we drove and while they were all pretty at first it got old and we were ready to see some mountains!

We stopped close to the Colorado border for a bathroom/diaper change/doggie walk stop and found this great field to let the dogs loose and play fetch with them…they loved it and were worn out!

As we made our way into Colorado it was fairly overcast and even when we arrived in Denver we could not even see the mountains because the clouds were lying so low.

We spent the weekend with Jason and Christy…Jason was in the Air Force with Jason…and now he is out in the civilian world and they moved to Denver last summer and are loving it there! They were actually in the mountains fly fishing when we arrived so we got settled at their house and headed out for dinner…they drove in late that night and we spent all day Sunday with them!
Their house was three stories (one of them being a basement) but it actually had 5 levels and LOTS of stairs so guess who was in Heaven?

Christy fixed a great breakfast for all of us Sunday morning and then the boys headed out to a gun show while the girls went shopping…they had a brand new outdoor shopping mall that was great! After we all played we met back up at their house for a wonderful meal! Jason is an avid hunter and has a freezer stocked full of all kinds of game. We had the privilege of trying bear sausage and eating moose for dinner…it was all fabulous! Christy even packed us some moose sandwiches for the road...scrumptious!

We went to bed that night and I checked the weather before I nodded off and saw that there was only a chance of rain…but when we woke up this was the view out of our window!

It was beautiful and I think it was a special gift from God just for us…I was hoping we would see snow and Riley could play in it for the first time but I didn’t want to have it interrupt our travel plans either! This was a perfect snow…enough to cover the ground…great for snow balls…and it was just around Denver and was 55 degrees by the time we left so we didn’t even have to drive in the snow at all!

Here’s some pictures of Riley playing in the snow…you better believe her daddy showed her how to throw a snow ball at me…we had a lot of fun!

On a funny note…here is a picture of this Texas girl dressed for the snow..in my flip flops!

I packed all of our shoes in a rubber tote and there was a slight miscommunication between the packer of the U-Haul and myself and the shoe tote was nicely packed away in the very BACK of the U-Haul so Riley and I were stuck for the whole trip with the shoes we wore on our way out of Little Rock…me with these flip flops and Riley with her pink crocks! I'm happy to report that we both survived that potential fashion catastrophe!
We hit the road after breakfast Monday morning and had the most beautiful day of driving…it was breathtaking. I have not road-tripped much in my life…I am more of a jet-setter! However, this drive was so much fun and I could drive all day surrounded by some of the scenery we have seen!
We headed due north out of Denver into Wyoming and drove the entire southern portion of the state until we crossed into Utah and ended up in Salt Lake City for the night! We crossed the Rocky Mountains and thanks to the snow we had that morning the mountains were all covered and it was so cool to see! I took all of these while driving...I'm talented I know...or dumb...you decide!

At some point Riley got a hold of the walkie talkie…uh oh!

We stopped for lunch in pretty much the only town we ever saw in Wyoming…Rawlins! In an attempt to stay away from fast food we ate at a local diner and it was in this historic house and the food was great! After lunch we were back on the road and we crossed the Continental Divide at 7000 feet elevation! It was amazing how much the terrain changed once we crossed…it went from snow covered mountains to more of a desert look and the rock formations were beautiful!

We even drove right through a mountain via this tunnel!

Most of our drive involved being able to see for miles and not seeing much civilization at all…just raw beauty!

We also came across more wind turbines…these pictures don’t even begin to show how huge these things are!

Once we crossed into Utah the terrain changed again and there was more color in the mountains!

We drove through Park City…I wish we could have stopped and skied!

Finally we made the steep decent out of the mountains into Salt Lake City!

Well that sums up the first part of our trip but there's more to come later! We did receive some great news on our drive up...our house is rented out...woohoo! It only took 5 days...such an answer to prayer and one less thing we have to worry about! Let's hope we have good tenants!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Texas...here we are!

We made it to Texas tonight...more specifically Fort Worth! We had an easy drive today and Riley did great! She started riding with her "DaDa" and watched some movies and took a nap and then she rode with her "MaMa" for the last half of the trip!
We met my parents at a U-Haul because they are kindly gifting us a great king size bed and a great antique dresser as they have too much furniture once they move into their new lakehouse this weekend! I'm so happy for them and we can't wait to visit once they are all moved in!
After the U-Haul swap we headed to the Walker's house to hang out with them! We had a great dinner at Joe T Garcia's...amazing atmosphere, great food and margaritas, and lots of fun! We even had a few other college buddies join us for dinner and it was like the old days!

All us Aggies!

Me and Ashley!

Riley being serendaded by mariachies and LOVING it!

We have a guest appearance on the blog tonight...the one and only Ashley Walker...here she is!

It sure is an honor to be able to type on the Purcell blog. We had a fun time taking them to Joe T Garcia's for a Tex Mex dinner. Riley was so sweet and loved listening to the band and Mariachi's! She sure is a party animal...I think she could stay up later than me if she wanted! I wish I could continue the venture to CA, but we should be able to visit soon! Until then...I'll be missing them!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The last few days...

These past few days have been lots of things...busy, hard, stressful, fun, sad...you name it we've felt it. Since Saturday we have had lunch and dinner plans every single day as we try to spend as much time with family and friends and say our "see ya laters" since I don't believe in saying goodbye! It has meant lots of eating, lots of tears, yet very good times with some very special people in our lives. We have been in Arkansas for four years and have made some of the best friends we could ever imagine and I know that our friendships will not change, but it is still hard to leave.
Our friends from church threw us a going away party Saturday and it was just great to hang out with everyone and let all the kiddos play together...when this group started there were no kiddos and now we have a whole slew of kids...such fun!

Me and Megan
The kiddos playing and checking out Kylee....Scott and Laurie's sweet puppy!
Riley was mesmerized playing with the ice chest full of ice and eventually she started feeding Kylsee ice cubes...it was so cute!
Me and Laurie...thanks to Scott and Laurie for hosting such a great party!
Sunday we went to church for the last time at New Life...where Kris Allen is or shall I say was on our worship team! He's obviously kind of a big deal now! Church was great as always and we will definitely miss that place and all of Rick's messages! After church the gang went to eat at Olive Garden!
On Monday I went to lunch with some girlfriends from my previous employer at Fantastic China...the place we lived off when we first moved here! It was great to see all of them one

more time!

After lunch Riley and I stopped by Megan's school and hung out with her during her lunch...that was fun and an unexpected visit which is always exciting! Riley had fun playing with all of the erasers and school supplies in all of Megan's student's desks...poor kids probably spent the afternoon figuring out where their things went!
Here's Riley playing in Megan's classroom!

Riley got a good afternoon nap and then she and I headed out to hang with the Baker family...and Riley even got to hold Reed! When we found out about our move I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to be here for Reed's arrival but I'm so thankful everything worked out and I was able to be here and share a couple of weeks with him...he and I got some good cuddle time in before Riley got jealous!

After our time with the Baker's we met up with the Burns family for our usual Burns/Purcell dinner at PF Changs...Riley and Kaleb got in one more date before the move! They both had fun playing on the stairs while we waited for our table!

Tuesday was a crazy day of getting things done...weighing vehicles, cleaning up the house and touching up paint, packing up our last few things, getting our house up for rent, getting power of attorneys...we were busy! We divided and conquered since Riley spent the day with her DiDi and Jason and I met up for his going away lunch for work! He received recognition for his accomplishments during this assignment and had a great turn out!

Me and Sarah

After our busy days we had a wonderful dinner! Our friends...who are the best by the way...got us a gift certificate to the best steakhouse in Little Rock...it was the first place we ate when we moved here and they felt it should be our last too! We decided to get a babysitter and have Jason's parents join us and it was WONDERFUL! It was a great way to end a crazy day...a glass of wine and an awesome meal! Thank you guys for treating us to such a special dinner!

Jason's Porterhouse!

My Chocolate Creme Brulee

Today we ran tons of errands getting some last minute things for our trip and then met up with Sue and Ryan (my boss and coworker) for one last lunch together! I can not say enough about Sue and how great she has been to work for...it has been such a blessing to work for her!

After lunch Jason headed to out to get our U-Haul loaded up and Riley and I stopped to visit someone very special to me...Mr. Lloyd...I will miss him so much! He was so happy we came by and it was great to catch up with him!

After our visit with Mr. Lloyd I made one last stop by my office and then we were back to the house to get ready for family pictures and a great meal with family for our last night in Arkansas! I know the pictures turned out great and I can't wait to see them...Riley was hamming it up for the first 30 minutes and then we had to work to get her to smile...she did great though!

DiDi cooked a pot roast that was wonderful and we had a chocolate ice cream cake for dessert...there was even some dancing that happened mid-dinner as we watched American Idol and disco music was the theme! We will definitely miss being so close to Jason's family!

We are pulling out in the morning and it is a weird feeling...sadness and excitement all rolled into one! Our road trip should be an adventure...2 cars, 2 dogs, a baby, a U-Haul and 2500 miles...California here we come!