We’ve been here a week now. Already, the trip up here seems like it was months ago. I guess that’s what happens when you are stressed beyond all reason. You want to just forget about it and go on as if if didn’t even happen. But it did. And this is what happened…
We woke up early Monday morning. Eric’s graduation was Sunday evening. I came down with the flu about 4 hours before graduation started. Stomach cramps, vomiting, yup, the whole nine yards. And I was last to get it. Between all 10 of the cousins that were present for grad, most of them had gotten it. It seemed rather mild, 12-24 hours. At first I thought it was just from eating a huge Cinnabon roll and drinking a soda for lunch. That’s enough sugar to make just about anyone sick. But after about an hour, I was rolled up in a ball sleeping. I’m not really sure what all happened that afternoon. I am so thankful for our family that was there to dress my children and get them all ready for and to graduation. I had worked so hard to have everything perfect for that afternoon, but would have never even made it if it hadn’t been for everybody helping out. I ended up taking a phenegren from a previous round of flu so I wouldn’t be puking during the middle of graduation. Side effect, being so tried and drowsy I don’t even remember half of what went on. Oh, and my eyes were closed in almost every picture afterwards.
After graduation was over, everyone (24 people) headed back to our house to celebrate with Eric. I curled up in the corner of my empty living room and passed out. Sometime in the wee hours of the morning eric woke me up. Everyone had left and he wanted to move me out to the motor home. Our plan had been to leave at 4:30 the next morning to Oregon. His Dad would be driving our van towing the trailer and Eric would drive the motor home. We were behind schedule because of me being sick. So after a few hours of last minute packing and cleaning we were finally ready to get on the road. We stood in a circle and prayed for safety for our trip. Then after hugs, everyone parted ways. Ken (Eric’s Dad) climbed into our van with Ben, his Mom took Laura, and Eric and I got in the motor home with the other children.
We were only on the freeway one minuet and I heard Eric say in a voice filled with terror…”Oh, Dad, OH, DAD!!!”. I spun around and looked out the back window to see the trailer fish tailing one second and the next the van was sideways on the freeway headed for the concrete medium. There was black smoke pouring out from the rear wheels on our van and also from the semi’s that were desperately trying to stop from smashing into our van and trailer. This moment is forever burned in my memory. I screamed out to God. Not just a prayer, but more like a Mother who is desperate to help a child, but is completely helpless. All I could think about was that Ken and Ben were in that van. I never once thought about all my worldly possessions exploding all over the freeway. Or the trailer that the boys loved so much. Or even our van. In those split seconds, it was only for the lives that were being thrown around an eight lane freeway like a spinning top. Eric was pulling over and in doing so, put the horrific scene behind us around a bend. I continued to cry out to God. Eric jumped out of our motor home and ran back down the freeway to find them. He called me a few minutes later and said they were safe. They were parked on the side of the freeway as if they had needed to pull over without a single injury. (Well, our bumper has some nice big dents on each side from the fish tailing- a good visual reminder of the miracle God gave us) Nobody is really sure what happened. Ken and Benjamin can’t remember exactly what happened, and Eric and I lost sight of them as they were headed for the other side of the freeway. No other vehicle ever pulled over. So, what do I think? Definitely a miracle. Somehow, with 4 lanes of traffic right during rush hour barreling towards them, while they were headed for the other side of the freeway, I think God just lifted them up. Put them safely over on the side of the freeway. Just like that. No one actual saw it happen, but then, I didn’t need to, to believe it was God.
So we took the very next exit and headed to a big parking lot to evaluate the situation. Why had it happened and how to fix it. It was figured out pretty easily. Someone (no child will own up to it) had undone the trailer breaks. And the weight was not distributed correctly. So after an hour of rearranging some stuff, trailer breaks connected, checked and rechecked, we were back on our way. Same drivers in the same vehicles. Only this time, all our nerves were severely frayed. It seemed as if the trailer was still fish tailing too much to be considered safe and Ken felt like after what had happened, he was just to stressed to drive the van anymore. So he and Eric swapped out. Eric’s brother and his family had met up with us in the parking lot, so Steve (his brother) joined Eric in the van. About an hour later, after many phone calls back and forth and lots of white knuckles form those of us falling the trailer, Eric asked that we drive up ahead and meet him at the truck stop. He was driving much slower than the rest of traffic, but felt like he had control over everything. So we did. And just after we passed, the rear wheel on the trailer blew. Not just went flat, but blew to shreds. So Eric and Steve had to unpack some of the trailer to get to the spare (which thankfully was a full size spare) right there on the side on the freeway with cars flying by. So, new tire on, they started on their way again. This time, the trailer seemed to finally be tracking correctly. So, after meeting up with us at the truck stop, we started on our way again.
The next 25 hours were uneventful. Slow, hot, (no AC in the motor home) and still stressed out from the start of our trip, we trucked on. This drive normally takes us 15 hours in a car, 20 hours if we are towing or driving the motor home. Total time this trip…31 hours. Our last excitement was about an hour from Grandpa’s house. We were coming out of the mountains and the van breaks over heated. It happened right next to a beautiful field. So we unloaded all the children and went exploring for an hour. It was a nice break from the hot motor home. The children found all kinds of treasures. A centipede, flowers, moss, and lots of sticks. Papa gave the children a quick lesson on the different species of Oak trees. Then, we loaded up one last time to finish the journey home.
We all made it in one piece. All 16 of us. No accidents. 31 hours. And one Miracle.