Getting a little backed up on the blog here, but I want to do my best to catch you up! We are trying to make the best of things…and we’re certainly still having some fun…but there has also been a ton of coordinating to do, which has been eating up our free time.
By Saturday, the plethora of pieces of paper and maps and schedules were looking like something out of “A Beautiful Mind.” Our rental car was due back in New Mexico on Monday morning. The RV shop assured us that there was no way we could drive Eleanor home in her condition. All of this was communicated to the RV owner and he released us from any further responsibility. Anything (work, etc.) from here will be decided between himself and the shop in NM.
One one hand, we could put that to rest in our brains…but on the other, it creates another huge problem: getting The Raab Four home to Monkton.
When we broke down in Nashville, Joe decided to upgrade our AAA membership to RV AAA. This has turned out to be a blessing, as things have continued to develop. On the phone, they told him it would take 7 days from the time he upgraded for the services to be accessible…who could have believed what we would be dealing with 7 days later!! And at this point, any assistance – no matter how small – is helpful!
Obviously, the only options are to fly home or drive home. Flying would accomplish one goal, but it would cut our trip even shorter! [broken heart emoji] Plus, what in the world would we do with all of our stuff?? So that option was out. Joe contacted Cruise America (one of the larger RV rental companies) to see about renting something to get us home. Unfortunately, it is very rare to find a one-way rental…
He was working with a sweet woman named Lisa, who was very compassionate towards our story. She was so helpful in laying out the options and offered to try to get approval for a one-way trip. The trip from Alberqueque to Maryland was expensive, but at this point, we didn’t have many other options. Obviously, there are a lot of other factors to consider here: returning the rental car to Albuquerque and getting the rest of our stuff from Eleanor at the shop lot. But we are seeing that – even though the future of our trip is uncertain – God has been helping us each step of the way.
Even though the thought of another big bill was hard to swallow, it was a safe way home and that was the priority.
A few hours later, Joe checked back in with Lisa at Cruise America, to see how it was going with the approval for a one way trip.
It was denied.
Lisa felt terrible about it, but there was nothing she could do. She stayed on the phone with Joe for a while, talking about other creative solutions (buy a tent and keep the rental car, rent a trailer for all of our stuff, etc). It was a huge sock in the gut. Back to the drawing board…
But life in Vegas goes on. We weren’t going to let the stressful circumstances ruin an opportunity to be together as a family in an awesome city. So we started to think up a plan for the day.
Several hours later, Joe got another phone call. It was Lisa again. She had not stopped researching and thinking about our situation. And she found something…
She found an RV that needed to be delivered from Arizona to Virginia. The situation came with certain (but very reasonable) restrictions and timelines, but it was a life line. This was far and above Lisa’s job…and anything we could have imagined. Thank you Jesus. And because it was a delivery for the company, it was a much better deal than what we were originally quotes! Joe jumped at the opportunity! Thank you, Jesus! And thank you, Lisa!! ❤
One MAJOR change in plans was that we would not be able to pick it up for another 5 days.
But more about that later. Back to Vegas.
As you can imagine, the weekends are CRAZY in Vegas, particularly on the strip. TONS of people start flooding in. It also started to rain, so we were looking for something to do outside of the city.
One of the many heartbreaks of this whole situation is that we were not going to complete a big section of the trip we planned with the boys. We were so excited to take them to California, up the coast, and over the top, to the many National Parks (and see the Grapes!).
When we were making our plans that morning, Joe said, “I want to at least stand in California!” After looking at the map, there was a quick route out of town, on 15, that could get us to the border in 45 minutes. Yes!
Remember how we had to find a rental car that was larger to fit most of our stuff? Well, this Explorer had a third row! (I love this car so much, I could do a commercial!) We obviously had it folded down when we packed, but for this little excursion, it was the perfect amount of space for all 6 of us! An unexpected blessing!!
On our way out of town, Grumpa wanted to show us Battlefield Vegas. (An actual free attraction!) You can walk around and check out the many military vehicles and read about their history, so cool!!
From there, we set out on Route 15. It is long and flat, with hardly anything around…after you get out of the city. We had a peaceful drive through the mountains and just enjoyed taking in the scenery. I can’t say enough about these mountains!! However, when we started getting closer to the border, all of these little treasures starting popping up! We decided to let the road take us where it wanted…
First stop: California!
We made it! ❤
Then we turned around on 15 to check out some of the places we saw along the way. We had to check out this Casino Hotel that we saw from the road. It’s in the middle of nowhere…and look at that roller coaster! This is the kind of place that makes you feel like you’re in a movie. It’s either going to be really cool…or really creepy. But we were all together, so what’s the worst that can happen?
It was actually pretty cute inside. It had a rustic lodge theme. We walked around to check the place out. There was a big arcade for the kids, among other things. My mom took the boys there, so Grumpa, Joe, and I could play a couple of machines. We only play the penny slots and we stay together, so it’s more fun…and it lasts longer. 😉 Not always the case, but this time we actually won something! It’s much easier to win at these out-of-the-way places, than on the strip. I love Buffalo Bills! 😉 We cashed out and left for our next stop.
Yeah baby… We weren’t exactly sure what this was from the road. What is it, you ask? Uh, it’s every guy’s dream. It’s a race track where you can drive luxury cars. The packages are VERY expensive. But I’m sure it’s SO worth it, if you have the money. We didn’t realize, but we walked up to the door at 6:03…and they had closed at 6:00. Bummer! But someone saw us standing there, and came and opened the door! So sweet!! They let us come in and look around, check out the cars, and even watch the last driver from the outdoor observation deck. Even though we didn’t actually do it, we still had SO much fun!
I wish these pictures had sound! You can’t believe how loud it is…heart-pounding and SO exciting!!
It was hard to top that experience, but the next attraction, that sat right on the road, was for the ladies. 😉 It’s an art exhibit that is only on display here for two years. And we happened to catch it! It’s called Seven Magic Mountains. Seeing it from the road, you can’t tell exactly what it is. These bright colors are just there in the distance, with NOTHING else around.
It turns out, they are these enormous painted rock structures! They are so beautiful, up close! We obviously took a ton of pictures, and the boys had fun climbing on them.
By now, it was getting close to dinnertime. We saw one more stand-alone, hokey casino. Could we have as much luck there as Buffalo Bills?
But we had fun playing, anyway. 😉 They also had an arcade that was fun for the boys. But the real gem of this place was a display they had in the back, on the first floor. We had NO idea about this when we pulled in!
Cars, cars, cars…what a day?!? We were fascinated looking at them. They also had many from the Off-road Hall of Fame. Sweet!!!
But I was completely star struck over this one:
I stood there, forever, staring at it. And it was fun to talk about the movie with the boys.
After pulling *all* my boys away from the exhibit 😉 we ate dinner and then headed home.
It was another full day…but something we don’t experience often – a completely open schedule and a completely open road. I highly recommend it, if you have the time. Thank you, Lord, for the many beautiful places you have created on this earth…and for the time and space to enjoy them.
|Psalm 121:1-2 |
“I lift my eyes to the mountains –
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.”