The Great Migration | My Family Travels
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It was cool, quiet, and except for the light from the moon, it was dark. It was, after all, the wee hours of the morning. After loading our pets into the Suburban, my mom, my little brother, and I began our journey to our new ranch in Northern Texas. My Dad, my sister, and my other brother stayed behind in California to finish the packing details. They would meet us at our new home.

Who knew what two days in the car with five dogs and a very old cat would bring? I suspected the worst and I was right. At first, all seemed fine. My mom had warned me that the cat would probably cry all the way to the Arizona border, but the old guy was suspiciously quiet. The three large dogs (and I mean large!) and the two small dogs settled in surprisingly nicely for the long ride. I leaned my head against the pillow to finish my night’s sleep.

Then reality hit. Only thirty minutes into the trip, I heard a gagging noise. Was it coming from the puppy in my lap? Great. We had packed towels for such incidents, but it was so dark I couldn’t find them. In retrospect, I’m sure it wasn’t really his fault after all, but I was so mad at the thought of spending the next ten hours in damp, smelly clothes that I told him off. I don’t think he understood a word I said, but it sure made me feel better.

I took a short nap and awoke with the desert sun in my eyes. Once my vision cleared, I was able to see the magnificent landscape. Since the terrain was flat, I was able to see for miles and miles. I’ve never been a fan of cactus, especially after I fell into that darn plant at my Aunt Janet’s house, but the desert cactus really looked picturesque. Although it was June, there were still remnants of spring wild flowers dotting the sandy horizon. I began picturing myself in a type of desert oasis spa. In my daydream, I was getting the royal treatment: mud pack, pedicure, steam room — wait! That’s not steam! I was jarred from my peaceful state by the hot breath of Bridger, our 120 pound beast.

Bridger was awake and wagging his 18 inch long tail. For you math majors, that’s a semi-circle with a diameter of almost three feet!  Nothing in the Suburban was out of his reach. No matter which direction he faced, he was whacking something with his tail. If it wasn’t the cat’s kennel, it was the back of my mom’s head. Now, the cat was awake. Everyone was awake.

My organized mom had packed a plentiful cooler. That first afternoon, we drove up to a rest stop to eat lunch. Whoever named these “Rest Stops” has not tried to eat his lunch while holding a frantic cat and the leashes of five anxious dogs trying to track scents in five different directions. Nor has he tried to “rest” in a car with dogs who think that anyone else who pulls up is invading their yard.

After another eight hours through the hot Arizona and New Mexico desert, we reached our hotel. We ate again from our cooler, took a shower, and settled down for a nap. After only five hours of sleep, we hit the road again, knowing that our new home was just nine hours away. We began our second day’s journey content with the fact that we would soon be approaching lush green pastures, oak trees, and fields of livestock.

As we continued driving, I thought about our trip. It was actually not as bad as I assumed it would be. I learned patience and that being prepared is key to a successful trip. We were prepared for the good and the bad. When unpleasant situations happened, I cleaned them up and I learned to do it with a good attitude too! The concept should carry over into life. If you are prepared and have a good attitude, you will pass the test, get the job, and succeed.

The hours passed quickly this second day and as I looked out the window and saw the evening sun shining on a small rustic church at the top of a hill, complete with black and white cows grazing below, I thought to myself, “Ahhh! It’s good to be home.”

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