http://pleasantonweekly.com/print/story/print/2007/08/24/driving-cross-country


Pleasanton Weekly

News - August 24, 2007

Driving cross country

Second in a three-part series of a 10-year-old's experience moving from Connecticut

by Katie Lyness

The first day of traveling we drove through Pennsylvania. There was not much to look at out the window so Jenny and I read books, colored, and watched (twice!) the first season of "Full House" on the DVD player that came built into our GMC Yukon. "Full House" was supposed to be set in San Francisco, so watching all of the episodes was extra interesting. At night, we stayed at a dirty motel in a bad neighborhood because we forgot to call ahead to make a reservation anywhere else, and that bad motel was the only one with vacancies (no surprise there).

The rooms smelled of mold though, and my dad's room smelled like smoke on top of that. It was a creepy night and I barely slept. Instead I stared at the wall next to my bed, wondering why the lumpy wallpaper did not cover the whole wall. I stared at the carpet too, which was a stained, dreary brown, and also at the ceiling, which had cracks in it that reminded me of the veins in my mom's hands.

We had planned to get up at 5 in the morning, and be on the road 15 minutes later, but we hated the motel so much that we quickly packed up all our stuff and left an hour earlier than that, while it was still dark outside. We drove through the rest of Pennsylvania (boring with a capital B), through Ohio, Indiana and into Illinois. We had wanted to make it into Iowa, but with lots of bathroom breaks for Pixie and the rest of us, we only made it to Princeton, Ill. Since the motel allowed only one pet per room, we waited until it got very dark outside, and then we snuck all of the cats in. It was fun being so sneaky, and I knew our pets wouldn't do any damage to the room, so I didn't feel bad about breaking the motel's rules.

The next day we got through the rest of Illinois, through Iowa, through Nebraska and into Laramie, Wyo. where we stayed at a Ramada Inn. Our worst part of the day was driving through Nebraska because it smells like cow manure, yet you can't even see any cows from the highway. We aren't used to farmland and so we felt as though we were in the middle of absolutely nowhere, except for when we crossed the Mississippi River, since we had all heard of it before, even Jenny, who can spell M-I-S-S-I-S-S-I-P-P-I really fast.

The next day we drove through the mountains and it was much more interesting, except my dad had to drive slowly because of the windiness of the road. He did most of the driving because he is a "terrible passenger," according to my mom. After Wyoming we got into Utah.

As we approached the Great Salt Lake the ride became way more interesting. From the highway we could see the Salt Lake. And people had carved words into the mountains and in the sand. I liked driving close to the Salt Lake because there was no town there, and no gas station, and so it felt like we were driving on a highway in outer space. Everything around us was just mountains and the Salt Lake.

That same day we drove into Nevada. We stayed at a Holiday Inn in Reno, and there was a casino right inside the hotel. The dog was allowed, but my mom had to sneak the cats in on a luggage cart. She covered their crate with a giant towel so no one would notice them, and when Daisy started to meow in the lobby while my mom was waiting for the elevator, she pretended to have a sneezing and coughing fit so that no one would hear the cat.

When Katie Lyness's dad was relocated to California, the family chose Pleasanton and loaded up a car to head west. Here Katie recounts her travel adventures and first impressions.

Comments

Posted by Barbara Gruda, a resident of Ruby Hill
on Aug 27, 2007 at 7:04 pm

Wow. Now this is a great way to engage children in what matters most to children; other children's thoughts and ideas! I can certainly rememember my parents trying to get me to read the local newspaper and frankly there was NOTHING that was interesting enough to keep my attention for even 2 minutes. Had there been something written by someone close to my own age and written as well as this article I likely would have enjoyed the paper every day!


Posted by Dina Cox, a resident of Ruby Hill
on Aug 29, 2007 at 10:39 am

What an awesome and well written journal by Katie. Being originally from the Midwest, I loved the way she described the different states and added humor as well. It is refreshing to hear the perspective from a 10 year old and it brought out the inner child still in me.


Posted by Martha Grill, a resident of Bridle Creek
on Mar 23, 2008 at 9:17 am

That was so great and very well written. I think the thoughts of a 10 year old are from a different perspective than an adult. i enjoyed reading this article and would love to read more.