Friday, June 12, 2015

I was texting with various children this evening as they were making their way from the Gateway Arch in St. Louis to find the trailer (????) and then find ice cream (!!!!) and then have dinner in the trailer.  Anyway.... somehow in the midst of the text conversation, I received this:
Naturally, I responded with:
What I got back in reply -- as texts!!-- was AWESOME...

"Meet georgie. He was a cool guy, but then something made him sad. His friend Phillip made a joke and that made georgie happy again. Then Georgie got a turban and met kazookie, a bad guy. Kazookie burned Georgie to a crisp and so he was dead. Now we see a troop of dancers who danced at Georgie's funeral. Two or these dancers, Malinda and Malone met (they were from different dance troops) and fell in love. The monkey saw and was so astonished that he told all of his animal friends and they had fruit to celebrate. The moon also saw Malinda and Malone and was happy for them, but he was also a bit embarrassed and so turned his back. He didn't forget about them though and sent some yummy corn, apples and pineapples as a gift of good heartfelt wishes to the happy couple. In his will Georgie left all that he had to his good skiing friend freekazinksky.  freekazinksky used all that he inherited to buy a bunch of things for charity. First he found a bunch of taxi drivers who all had hidden talent and made them into the number one world class basketball team. Then he took ambulances and made them into trains as well as just cars. Then he repaired all the roads in the world so that people didn't have to fly helicopters to get to their apartments and hospitals. Then freekazinksky went to a foreign country and made even more money which he used to make a new brand that made clothing, accessories, and medicine. Then he was quiet when he was supposed to be and so therefore started a revolution of loud noises and weird symbols. freekazinksky did all of this in memory of his dear departed friend, Georgie. The end."

Can't forget the epilogue...

I love my family.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Day 2 - Destination Van Wert, Ohio

After having tire issues on Day One, Day Two was bound to be better, right? I left the kids at the campsite and ventured into Zanesville to get gas for the Suburban, affectionately called Lizzie by our family.  The campground was on the top of a steep, curving road. Every time I navigated around the turns, a rubbing noise came from the front tires.  Great, exactly how I needed my day to start, before my coffee had kicked in.

Nothing obvious was stuck under the chassis, so I proceeded to the closest gas station every nerve on edge. I inspected each tire, checked tire pressure, checked oil level and even peered into the depths of the engine while filling up at the gas station.  Again, nothing obvious stood out as the cause of the rubbing. I began the return trip to the campground, nearly certain our Epic Stringer Zoo Road Trip 2015 was doomed before it really got started.

It wasn't until I was halfway up the winding road to the campground when I happened to glance at the dial that shifts Lizzie into 4 wheel drive. How had she been shifted into four wheel, front wheel drive? I shifted over to 2 wheel drive and every turn was silent! Somehow in the stress of driving through mountains in Ohio during horrendous thunderstorms, I must have shifted into four wheel drive when I intended to turn on the headlights (an identical dial right next to the four wheel drive dial).

Mystery solved! Onward the Zoo continued to Van Wert, Ohio, where we spent the evening with Eliah's buddy from Ethiopia, Kuchman, and his family. It was an amazing night to say the least. After some initial shyness, Eliah and Kuchman picked up where they left off and were quickly playing together. Val, Nick, Caitlin, Gabe, Lilly and Kuchman were a blessing to our nomadic family! I can not wait until we can see them again! Our visit with them deserves a post all of it's own...

Monday, June 08, 2015

It could have been better

Today began the Epic Stringer Zoo Road Trip of 2015. We left home at 10:05, only 5 minutes later than planned! Definitely a minor miracle for us.  It was a gorgeous day in southern Maryland, blue skies and sun accompanied us into the mountains of western Maryland. (Note to self: check GPS routing against Google and an atlas BEFOREHAND departure.) We stopped at a rest area for lunch and there I noticed it... A less than fully inflated tire on the trailer. Grr. After attempting and failing to inflate the tire at the closest gas station, I decided to put the spare tire on instead.  Praise God for his provision and protection! It turned out the flat tire had a large bulge on the inside wall. I am so thankful that we did not experience a blow out on our first leg of this trip! I'm a bit gun-shy with the other tires now though, as all 5 tires were replaced only 3 days ago. Now we are camped at Wolfie's Kampground in Zanesville, Ohio.  It looks like a nice enough campground, but we arrived at dusk, so we were unable to enjoy the pool or playground. I'm exhausted, between the tire, Wyatt's nervous whimpering from the back of the Suburban ( and the torrential downpours it has been a much longer day than I had anticipated. Here's hoping for an uneventful and restful night!

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

T minus 5 days

Here we go again!  

The Zoo is gearing up for another cross-country trek.  This time the kids, dogs and I will head to Ohio, then pick up Route 66, visit the Grand Canyon, admire the trees in Sequoia, enjoy a brief visit with Nana and Papa.  Next a visit with my extended family in South Lake Tahoe, and back to Lake Almanor to enjoy the Fourth of July with the Stringer Clan.  Next on the itinerary is Yellowstone, Glacier National Park, the Wisconsin Dells, Ohio and home.

All in all, this trip will cover 21 states, over 7500 miles and seven weeks.

This will be the 4th and 5th coast-to-coast trek for our trailer.  It is showing it's age, but after new tires and an inspection, we should be good to go.

Katelynn has found many fun little stops along Route 66, and we are all excited to explore our country through Eliah's eyes. He has no idea how large and diverse the United States is. I can not wait to share some of our favorite places with him.

Over the next two months, my plan is to spend a few minutes each night updating the blog, much like I did in 2007 when the girls, goldens and I drove from CA to MD and back.  Join us in our adventure!  We're glad to have you.