Saturday, January 5, 2019

Bye New Jersey

Yesssssssss last time over the Delaware Memorial Bridge!

No more New Jersey for us!  We made our final trip out to Las Vegas and moved into our new house.  I'm glad that drive is over.  Though it went a little faster driving a car versus hauling horses, it's still a very long drive and we had some unnecessary excitement with weather.  I'm just incredibly glad we didn't get into that kind of weather with the horses.

It took us four days.  We could have done it faster with the cars but we had our two cats and didn't want to have them in the car for and entire day.  They were great travelers but I still worry about them getting dehydrated or UTIs from not using the cat pan from stress.  We had the throwaway cat pans in the cars to stop and let them out to use them if we thought they needed it but they never did.  They did use their cat pan in the hotel rooms though and they ate and drank normally.  Also, being such a long trip, that's four days of stress for them so they needed their nights to stretch out and relax.  They treated the hotel rooms like playgrounds at night too so they got their energy out at night...while we were trying to sleep of course.  Has anyone seen the video of the rabbit doing laps in the bedroom at night while its owners are trying to sleep?  Yeah.  That was us with our cats.

A friend suggested Feliway for them too.  One of them doesn't care about anything and thinks everything is a big adventure.  The other one gets stressed easily.  She just likes things the way they are.  She is very social and cuddly when at home with us but is understandably stressed when out of her comfort zone.  I got a Feliway multi-cat diffuser for the hotel rooms and spray to spray on her blankets in her crate.  It helped A LOT.  By the second day when was sleeping in the position she normally does and taking baths in her crate like nothing else was going on. 

You can use it for all kinds of different situations from cats that are tearing up the furniture and going outside the litter pan to trips to the vet to help them not be so stressed.

 The reason we need a king size bed.  

The first day we had nice weather the whole way from Medford, NJ to Nashville, TN.  The second day we got into some nasty storms.  We hit a red cell that was coming down I-40 out of West Memphis.  I got extremely windy and the clouds in front of us all of a sudden looked very threatening.  I actually took a picture.  There was a diesel pusher a short distance in front of us right in front of the ugly clouds and I saw him hit his hazards and that is when I knew we were about to get it.

I have never in my entire life driven in rain where it was a complete whiteout, but that is what happened.  I couldn't see ANYTHING all of a sudden, and blindly pulled over on the side of the road hoping I wouldn't go off the side, down into the embankment.  It thankfully was short lived and we were able to get going again but we pulled into the next rest area to check the radar because if there was more of that coming down the highway I was going to just wait until it passed.  That was dangerous.  When we pulled into the rest area several other people did as well and were making comments about what we just drove through.  There were broken trees all over the place in the rest area too.  That storm was borderline tornado weather. 

The wall.

The radar was clear so we got back on the road.  A short distance later we saw a truck in the median that had clearly run off the road in that storm.  

What we drove through.  Ignore the Nashville part, it was west of Memphis, I just had Nashville selected on Weatherbug and then zoomed into where we actually were. 

 Just a fat cat enjoying his road trip.

We stopped in Weatherford, TX that night.  The local news had a lot of warnings about a big storm coming to the north eastern part of Texas and DFW area that was going to coat the area in ice.  If we would have left one day later we would have been in the direct aim of that thing.  We knew something was up when we crossed into Texas in Texarkana that day we started seeing brine on the road and that only means one thing.  Significantly bad weather is inbound.  That storm would explain it.

The next day we thought we were good to go and that we were so smart because we were ahead of the ice storm.  Wrong.  We got into part of it thought it only was freezing mist and fog.  The roads were fine thankfully.  The worst that day was heavy freezing fog from Pecos, TX to Van Horn, TX.  There was one point where everything but the highway was COATED in a layer of ice and it was 25 degrees.  I was not happy. I really hate stuff like that.  I knew the road was fine.  There was brine all the way out there too and I could see water coming off of the tires of the vehicles around me but being that everything surrounding me was coated in a ice and we were in dense fog, it worried me.  There was an RV that had rolled over and disintegrated in the median on that stretch too.

Shortly before Van Horn I saw the end of the storm and the sky cleared to beautiful, blue, sunny skies and the temperature went up by over 30 degrees.

The rest of the drive that day was easy, thankfully.  We thought that would be the worst of it.  That night we stopped in Lordsburg, NM.  We were relieved to be so close to home at that point.  We were only 546 miles from home at that point which was easy compared to the 850 miles we did on just the first day alone.  We found a great restaurant down the road and had dinner.  Meanwhile, Woodward continued acting like he was Undercover Boss of the Hampton Inn by fully inspecting the hotel room.  BTW, in case you don't know, La Quinta Inn and Hampton Inn hotels do not charge pet fees.  Some hotels wants $20 extra per pet.  Those two hotels have no extra charge.

The microwave?  Seriously?  Is that necessary?   Cats use the microwave?!

I don't have any pictures of Snickers from the trip.  Her crate was in the back seat in my car and in the hotel room she was either eating or curled up with us.  Woodward is always the explorer.  Snickers wakes up when we turn the lights off and then the both of them run around like they're on a playground.

We had heard that Phoenix had some uncharacteristic weather and that it was possible Tucson was going to get flurries.  No big deal.  The next morning there was a light dusting of snow on our cars but nothing on the ground.  It was windy and cold with some flurries but nothing sticking to the ground as we drove out of town.  That all changed 14 miles down the road.  14 miles down the road it was a blizzard and the highway was becoming covered in snow.  The problem with this is that my Cadillac is NOT an AWD Caddi, it's RWD.  In addition to this, it has all season tires.  It was HORRIBLE in the snow.  Why do I have a RWD car with all season tires?  Because I also have a 3/4 truck so NORMALLY I wouldn't drive my Caddi in that kind of weather. 

The Caddi started slipping and went fishtailing.  It was at that point I pulled over.  I know better than to pull over on the side of the highway but I didn't really have a choice.  At that point we were in the middle of nowhere just before the AZ state line and the only exits were those with nothing on them so the plows had no reason to plow them.  No one was using those exits obviously because there was nothing there so the risk was higher for me to try to exit on one of them.  I'm fairly certain my ice skate of a Caddi may not have stayed on the road.  

I pulled over and waited for it to get light out, the plows to make a few passes, and for it to let up a little.  I checked the radar and to my disappointment, I saw that the storm was not going to cross the highway, more like sit over it and follow it east.  Eventually I felt like the plows combined with the traffic and a period of lighter snow made it to where I could at least get back on the highway and just take it easy.  So, that's what I did, for another 130 miles.  There was snow ALL THE WAY INTO THE SOUTHERN EDGE OF TUCSON.  That is almost unheard of.  The weather just HAD to get one more punch in before we got away from it.

The spot I was in when I took this wasn't even in the frame.  I was still to the right, not even in Arizona yet.  FML.

In those 130 miles there were numerous vehicles spun out on the sides of the highway and in the median. There was also a jack knifed tractor trailer in the median, and a 40 car pile up going the other direction.  The only way out was through though.  It actually only got worse in that area too so sitting there or turning around would have done us no good.  A friend in Tucson had 4" of snow in his backyard yesterday.  If I had horses with me, I would have turned around and stayed in Lordsburg as long as I needed to.  I wouldn't have taken any risks.  The Other Half never stopped, but his car is much better in the snow than mine.

At the south edge of Tucson I finally passed the back wall of the storm and I saw blue skies and sun again, though there was still snow on the ground.  North of Tucson the road was dry and the temp climbed again to almost 30 degrees warmer.  The rest of the drive was FINALLY in the clear.  

I got into Vegas in the early evening.  After I got Snickers home we went to see the super mares of course!  I am SO HAPPY TO BE HOME WITH THEM!  I missed them SO MUCH!  My BFF that has been visiting them daily has told me Klein has been throwing some hissy fits lately.  That is Klein code for she's bored.  She doesn't like to be unemployed for long.  She's always been a workaholic, and I love that about her.  Well, wish granted.  They both went back to work yesterday!

Though the weather got rough, we couldn't have timed this trip any better.  Our house had already arrived in Phoenix the day before we drove through it.  That meant it was able to be delivered the next morning after we got there.

Look closely and you will see them bringing out an orange barrel aka one of my skinnies.  I had them pack all my jumps : )  I always do, unless they are starting to fall apart, then The Other Half builds more when we get to our next place.

Part of the beautiful area we live in. 

Klein and Super B look absolutely amazing like always.  Super B has gained the weight back that she lost from pain/stress with her monster abscess.  Even riding her last night I could see the gain in her neck.  I would say she approves of her new home.  

Finally, everyone and everything is where it needs to be and this chapter has officially started.


  1. Hell yes. Marathon driving OVER. Home at last. I hope this next chapter is magical for all of you.

    1. Thank you! I am SOOO happy to see the mountains every day again!

  2. Woohoo! Congratulations on making it safely there. I’m so excited for you :)

  3. all I was thinking about reading that was thank freakin' god you didn't have the horses in that.

    1. I'm so glad we had perfect weather for the trip with the horses. That was part of the reason I wanted to take them first, the sooner the better, even if only by a few weeks!