So we were a little late leaving town. Like nearly a full day late. Ok, I chalk this up to having to put my car in the shop after having gotten rear-ended over the weekend, and the fact that the ONLY thing I asked anyone at school to do to help me prepare for this trip did not get done and I had to spend 2 hours when I was ready to leave town to do it. And I just have to mention that this anyone who said they would take care of that project was badgering me with phone calls and requests for help with her issues while I was trying to get out the door. So instead of leaving at 3 pm (my original worst-case scenario), we left home at 7 pm. We pulled out of St. Louis at 9:50 pm. That was AFTER convincing the people at REI to actually fit Lee for hiking boots when we arrived at the store only 10 minutes before they closed. While he tried shoes, I picked up hiking socks, stuff sacks, aluminum cookware, and waterproof matches. I'm kicking myself for having forgotten the water purifying pills (a worst-case backup for the filter), and long underwear. And that was also AFTER eating at St. Louis Bread Company, which we also convinced to feed us after we arrived 10 minutes before their closing. All I can say is REI is probably the best place I have ever shopped when it comes to quality service.
We only made it as far as Springfield, MO the first night. (A mere 313 miles from home.) Really disappointing. But I had been up since 5:30 am that morning. It was all I could do. In any event, we made up some time today. I drove from 9:50 am. until 1 am. We only stopped for gas, an oil change (1 hr) and dinner (1 hour). Which is how I came to be in Albuquerque tonight. I had hoped to be in Flagstaff, AZ, but that's how it goes.
Lesson #1 from the road. Never count on someone else to do what they say they will do, especially when that someone has a history of dropping the ball.
Lesson #2 from the road. Never listen when someone at the rental car agency tells you to "not worry about oil changes".
Lesson #3. Sleep is a necessity, not a luxury.
Lesson #4. When you are running late, in a hurry, and virtually panicked about the time you have to drive to California, THAT's when you'll forget the cord to download pictures from your camera.
So sorry folks, there will be no pictures from the road. You will all have to wait.