Traveling West – day 17 and 18, the end game

She's too young for a mirror selfie, so I did it for her.
She’s too young for a mirror selfie, so I did it for her.

Day 17 (June 17) – Cheyenne, WY to Des Moines, IA (652 Miles). Finally out of the mountains and into the flatlands. As nervous as the mountains made me, I’d rather have the scenery and excitement than the boredom that hit me driving through Nebraska and Iowa. There was some amazingly safe driving going on in these states, but myself and others, but the boredom was incredible.


Janelle, letting me sleep.
Janelle, letting me sleep.

Day 18 – Des Moines, IA to Erie, PA (765 Miles) HOME! It was a great trip and we saw some friends, and I’m no longer scared of another trip west, because I have been indoctrinated into mountain driving.

So there it is.

Our trip there:Screen Shot 2015-07-04 at 1.15.21 PM

Our trip home:

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5504 miles plus just over 300 miles of driving around towns and such, 5800 mile journey total.

It is hard to drive home after an experience like that. Somewhere in Idaho, I started getting sad our trip was coming to a close. But it’s nice to get home.

Traveling west Day 16, aka “Smells like butter”

Day 16 (June 16th) – Boise, ID to Cheyenne, WY (736 Miles) – If I had to pick one day where we were all cranky, travel-weary, and frustrated, this (Day 16) would be the day I pick. IMG_1340

It was 98 degrees (F) for most of the drive. About every 20 minutes, we thought we smelled baby poop, and we kept pulling off the highway at rest areas and checking Amelia, and she was always clean. A couple of wet diapers, but no poop.  We’d get back in the car and be on our way, and we’d smell it again, strongly. We’d pull over, check her again, look through the car to see if we had left a dirty diaper in the car – all negative. We’d drive, we’d stop. It was a long process.

IMG_1324We stopped at a big rest area/motel “oasis” in Wyoming called Little America. This is where we found the source of the problem. But there are two things that you should know before I tell you what I’ve learned.

1. Our daughters poop smells like butter, or buttered popcorn, about half the time.

2. While we were in Victoria, we went grocery shopping for the week, and I bought butter. While packing up to continue our trip, I saw that we didn’t use all the butter so I put it in a Glad plastic container (poor man’s Tupperware?) and put it in a bag with the food.

You can probably guess that the butter melted and leaked out all over the food bag.

Don’t keep butter in the car on a very hot drive through Wyoming, especially if your baby’s poop smells like butter.

It’s pretty specific, but it’s good advice.

We booked the hotel in Cheyenne while we were a couple hours away. Our GPS told us to take the I25 exit to get to our hotel, and when we got to the exit Continue reading “Traveling west Day 16, aka “Smells like butter””

Traveling west – the digital humanities tour day 14 and 15

Screen Shot 2015-06-23 at 1.56.40 AMDay 14 – Boise, ID – This was another two nights of rest without driving at all. Anywhere. Just hanging out at a really nice house with a really awesome family. On day 14 we had a spectacular salmon and rice dinner with salmon caught by a friend in Alaska. There was so much that it was all-you-can-eat with no shame involved. I performed a few card tricks just for fun, and was then excluded from the card game that happened afterwards. I did not consider this a problem.

Day 15  – More of the same, but Mexican for dinner. I worked on a writing job both these nights. I had been conducting interviews for a book that needs to go to press by the end of the month.  Janelle was an invaluable help, because she saw that I was stressed out, and told me to relax a little, and she would transcribe the interviews while I was driving us the rest of the way home.

[All of the pictures I took involved this family – and the children. They do their best to keep pics of their kids off the internet, so, not many pictures here.]

I did get to work outside a little bit
I did get to work outside a little bit.

Traveling west – the digital humanities tour day 12 and 13

Through all the bugs on my windshield!
Through all the bugs on my windshield!

Day 12 (June 12, 2015) – Victoria, BC to Portland, OR (254 Miles) took the Port Angeles ferry to get back into the states, and we ate lunch at the diner on the ferry, which was pretty fun for me. I love being on a boat. I stopped at a few gas stations when we got back in the USA looking for Monster Java – I had been without it for the week in Canada. Couldn’t find any near the border either. We stayed at a hotel in downtown Portland – it was old and crappy, but it was cheap, and we only slept there.

IMG_1131Day 13 – Portland to Boise, ID (429 Miles) – We went to meet a friend at the Original Dinerant in Portland, where at 8 in the morning I was able to get a Cheeseburger with feta and a shot of the house cinnamon whiskey. And a beer. We took a walk to the Saturday Market – shopping is always kind of fun, and the carnival-like atmosphere is always exciting to me.

We caught a blues cover band that was pretty good, and fun to watch. IMG_1126

During this leg of the journey, we stopped at a sign for Multnomah Falls in the Columbia River Gorge, and though we should check it out. It was pretty cool, but living near Niagara Falls makes any other waterfall a bit less impressive through the law of diminishing returns.(the social one, not the economic one)

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I may have said this before, but this was the most nerve chilling drive of the adventure so far. And I’m not the only one who thinks so. (Link to a news article about Interstate 84 through the Blue Mountains, with it’s signs telling trucks to only go 18mph.) I remember going up and up and up, and then it stopped and I waited for it to go down – but it got flat for a mile, and then went up even more. Some people’s conception of hell may be fire, but for me it’s a continually rising highway with a drop-off 15 feet away and a guard rail that wouldn’t stop a Schwinn. My worst nightmares will include that highway now.

Fortunately, we stopped and visited some friends in Boise, ID, and stayed for three nights, so I got some rest and relaxation before driving through the rest of Idaho and all of Wyoming. I also got a chance to do some work on a current project for the Magic Firm. More on all of that soon.

Traveling west – the digital humanities tour day 8 through 11

IMG_1041Janelle started her Digital Humanities class at the University of Victoria on Monday. This was a one-week class that ran Monday-Friday from 8am to 4pm. The whole time was nice, but a blur for me because I took Janelle to school, hung out with Amelia, took Amelia to school at lunch so Janelle could feed her, and then back to the school when class was out.

It was a lot of fun discovering different parts of town while wheeling a stroller, and I met a lot of people that I normally wouldn’t have met because I become less threatening when I’m carrying a baby.

I did meet one woman in her 70s that told me to have many more babies because the white race was dying out and we needed to keep it going. There were so many things I wanted to say, but I figured if she’s been here 70 years talking like that she must have heard it all before and it had no effect, so why bother…


aea4f-11352308_409153475942973_1934917485_ne7ce8-11380092_410925335763470_1395719103_nWe visited downtown a couple of times, and I already posted a couple of the photographs, but I’ll put them here again, in better context.

While we were eating at a restaurant downtown, I had to do the Heimlich Maneuver on a choking victim, and that kind of stuff always puts a damper on dinner, but other than that it was a great time. Victoria is a beautiful city and I would love to go there again to explore it even further. I loved the AirBnB rental, so we would probably stay at the same place.IMG_1036

I highly recommend Victoria as a relaxing getaway. If you don’t have a college class and an 8-month old baby.