what kept me going, though, through all of it, besides the idea of family waiting for us on the other side, was the planning and dreaming of the big cross country road trip home. portland, oregon to atlanta, georgia, by way of the 101 south down through california then across arizona, new mexico, texas, oklahoma via old route 66. at the end of my longest, most emotionally brutal days, this is the thing I curled up with. two weeks on the road, with nothing to do but stare out the window as the landscapes gradually, magically change. the actual planning began the minute we knew atlanta was a real live happening thing. can I tell you? nothing makes me happier than planning road trips. if I could do this for a living, in a second, a nanosecond. I love to coax out the plans, hash out the possibilities, to research, calculate mileage, determine budgets. I am that girl that falls down internet rabbit holes and does not resurface without gems of information. I leave room for spontaneity but admittedly, am hardcore with the planning. I have orchestrated many a road trip in my time but this one. this one is my magnus opus. steeped in greatness from beginning to end, save for the occasional hiccup (i.e., fairly tame backseat arguments, soggy breakfasts eaten from coolers most mornings and the time we learned spicy cheetos and windy roads do not mix). I don't even know where to start. so much road magic, it doesn't feel real. did it really happen? did we actually do it? yes, we did. we did. and already, I want to do it all over again.
so, if you don't mind, I'm going to share the ever-loving heck out of it here. I'll take my time with it, as I am wont to do, but it might get old. there's a lot, folks. a lot. there are pictures. there are so. many. pictures. and words, good lord, there are words. and now finally, there's time.