I woke up and looked out the window. We were in a parking lot, at a university, somewhere near Pueblo, Colorado. The university swim team had come at 6 am to swim with us, but we were late, so they left. This was embarrassing on our behalf. We thought that we had someone that was in contact with the state ambassadors, but apparently the ambassadors had no information from us whatsoever. The ambassador chewed us out, and frankly we deserved it. The swim team had shown up at 6 a.m. on a Sunday morning, and we had completely ditched them. It was so rude that we had shown up several hours late, not letting anyone know, when they were expecting us. The ambassador offered us the advice to get a hold of the next state’s ambassador the night before we would be arriving. We needed to let them know when we were leaving the previous state, and what time we were actually going to arrive. We took that advice from thereon out, and Casey was the guy who took on this responsibility.
Kyle had his 2 older boys with him, and they were loving this RV. It was his last day for this part of the journey, and these boys were begging to stay. They couldn’t believe how lucky our kids were to spend the whole summer in the RV! He was extremely nervous about heading home, knowing that we still didn’t quite have everything organized. He had done a tremendous job getting us organized, and had he not helped, we would have been in big trouble!
It was a Sunday and we had to beg to get the pool back opened. They had been there at 6 to open the pool for our special request. Since ditching them, they had no desire to come back and open the pool back up for us. Fortunately, someone took pity on our souls, and they opened the pool so that James could swim. When he began prepping for the bike, it was hot, and we needed to come up with a solution inside the RV. We got the generator going and realized that we could pop out the side of the RV! After cramming 12 people in this RV for a week, we realized that it could get bigger. We had no instructions on this RV before we started driving it, so we had no idea. Talk about a miracle, this thing got wider!
James was off on the bike, and we needed a plan. We were informed the the AirBnB host was wondering when we were coming. “What do you mean they are wondering when we are coming?” I could not figure out why they were ‘wondering’ when we were coming. I thought that we would be coming and going and it would make difference whatsoever. Apparently this lady had waited to hear from us all night, because we were staying WITH her in her house. She lived an hour away, and I had no intention of ever going to the house. I was ticked, “Her house is an hour away?!?!” With some pressure from our AirBnB booking crew mate, we were obligated to drive another two hours to appease a stranger that I didn’t know, and to whom I made no commitments. How is this my problem? I was really upset. I was trying to figure out how it became more important to fulfill our crew mate’s promises, than it was to make sure my kids enjoyed the state. It was going to be another state where we didn’t get to see James, and that we weren’t able to be there to support him when he needed us.
Dallas and I felt like we were trapped in a corner, like we had no choice. We started the engine of the RV and headed toward Colorado City. We stopped at a gas station, in the middle of nowhere, hoping to dump the septic, as well as have the kids pick up their souvenirs. We knew our stop at the gas station would be brief, and thought we could send the kids in while we filled the gas and emptied the septic. The kids picked up their treasures, but there was nowhere to empty the septic, all the way to Colorado City. We took a million wrong turns and eventually found our way to this old house. Within half a second of showing up, our hostess was standing on the porch waving. I said to Dallas, “Has she just be staring out the window for 2 hours watching for us????”
We filed out of the RV, one-by-one to meet our hostess, I was so upset, and made the conscious decision to not take it out on this sweet lady. It was like we were in the early 1900’s; this lady was even dressed like she was from that era. Her house was creaky, old and the smell reminded me of visits to my great-grandmother’s home when I was a little girl. She showed us where we could shower. Dallas went first, while I went down into the basement to do laundry. There were several old washers and dryers down there, but only one worked. I started laundry and looked around at this basement. It felt like it was straight out of a movie, with water leaking in from the walls and the smell of moist cement. I pulled the chain on the light bulb and headed back upstairs.
After quite some time, Dallas came down and joked about the shower. Apparently it took him 10 minutes to figure out how to get the faucet to switch to the shower; I had wondered what was taking him so long. He had to pull on a piece under the faucet, where the water was coming out. Our hostess laughed, “Oh yeah, I should have warned you.” It was a good thing that we talked to him before we all started to shower, or we would have all had the same problem trying to figure it out.
She asked if anyone liked horses, of course Lily and Daisy were thrilled. She took them out on the horses while the rest of us had our turns showering. She told us to help ourselves to the snacks on the table. I went to the kitchen, just to see what it looked like, and there were packaged snacks on the table. I had a flashback of visiting James’ grandma Lily. So many things about her house reminded me of grandma Lily’s house. Oddly enough, this lady couldn’t have been older than 50.
I waited impatiently for the laundry to finish drying. I was wondering how we ended up with another ‘room for rent’ with this booking. This woman wanted to spend the whole day with us, and we are rushing around like crazy people trying to get things done. We hadn’t even emptied the septic tank, and we had only 1 hour to be back to the 5k park. Our ‘booker’ for these houses was about to get punched in the face!
The girls came in from the horses. It was so kind of her to take them out to ride the horses. She insisted we stay longer, but we just couldn’t. Lily and Daisy quickly showered together while she introduced us to her husband. He was a local pastor and almost could have passed for an Amish man. I found it fascinating that this is yet another culture inside of our own country. These people are just country folk, and just living a simple life. It turns out, they had only been in this house for a few years, since they had retired.
The girls got out of the shower and we HAD to leave! I grabbed my damp clothes out of the dryer, as she continued to invite us to stay. We mentioned our hurry and asked about a location where we could empty our septic. We felt God’s love when she said, “We have a septic tank, so you can empty it on the side of our house into our septic tank.” I almost started to cry, because this was such a huge deal, and sometimes this task seemed impossible! Today it worked out and we were able to empty and rinse it out without having to hunt for a location! This woman and her husband just wanted to be the best host and hostess they could be. As annoyed as I was to have to drive all the way out there, I was so grateful to meet more good people in this world. They were simply there to serve us. Dallas and I talked about it on the way back to the park. What a blessing to cross paths with them.
We arrived at the park and James had already been running. Pueblo was absolutely beautiful! The downtown by the river was breathtaking! I was so disappointed that we didn’t get to experience this beautiful city. It took us some time to find a place to park the RV, a common hangup, but we soon parked and were trying to get organized.
The Mazda was packed with shirts. There were other things in there that we needed, so we would have to dig through all of the boxes to find other things that we needed. We were planning to leave earlier than James that night because of a long drive, and changing time zones, but Lucy needed to do the 5k. We waited for Lucy to do the 5k, and were ready to leave town right as she finished. Like every other night, it was late, close to 10:00 p.m. Casey and I realized that we hadn’t had dinner yet. On our way out of town, we looked for a place to grab food, and there was nothing. Aaron was behind us and we told him that we would leave town and find something on the way.
About 90 min out of town, we came into a little town. There was a Sonic and that was it. Ugh, I never eat fast food and was so annoyed that this trip had turned into indigestion! We stopped and they were closing; we knew this was our last chance to eat. They literally said, “We will wait for you guys to order before we close.” I was so relieved, it was 12am, and the kids hadn’t eaten. We got our order and headed back to the parked RV. The kids were all sound asleep. Now I had all of this smelly fast food, the kids didn’t get dinner, and we had a long drive ahead of us. I shoved the smelly bags into the useless fridge, at least that was air tight. I dropped my head, in shame, for being such a crappy mom. There was just so much happening, more than I could handle, and I had no choice but to take it head on. I wasn’t going to quit, I wasn’t going to pout, I was going to just keep trying. I knew that I would suck at it most days, but the great days would be bright enough to keep us afloat.
Casey Robles was tired that night, so we took turns driving. He was good at staying up late, and I was good at getting up early. He drove first until 2 a.m., then I drove the rest of the way to Kansas. I felt so bad for Aaron, driving the Subaru behind us. He was on his own, and had only one choice, stay awake all night, or crash the car.