Travel Update

Well, the great American Anthrofamily trek is well underway. By the grace of God.

Of course, the final packing and truck loading went as well as can be expected. Which is to say, like hell. Our wonderful next-door neighbor (who happens to be moving into our vacated house) was kind enough to help load the truck for several hours on Saturday and Sunday. But the process of packing, loading, and cleaning has reminded me of some moving wisdom.


  1. Sure, that will be enough boxes/packing tape/garbage bags/room in the truck.
  2. We’re almost done packing! Let’s take a break.
  3. This should only take a few hours to finish up.
  4. I’ll just quickly dust/vacuum/sweep/mop/scrub the kitchen/bathroom/floors/top of the refrigerator. It will only take a minute.
  5. All that miscellaneous crap still unpacked and strewn about the house? I can just sweep it all into a box in no time.

So, things ran overtime. We planned on finishing up loading the truck and cleaning the house on Saturday and hitting the road early Sunday morning. Ha! We didn’t get on the highway until about 1 pm Sunday.

But, that said, the trip so far has been pretty smooth. (Knock wood. Oh, I’m in a cheap motel surrounded by plastic wood-like veneer. Guess I just jinxed us completely.)

Even though we have been driving each day for 8 hours or more, the kids have been really quite good. Barring today’s tantrums, of course–there are limits to how well a four-year-old can act in a situation like this! What in particular has saved our sanity? Two things have been most popular: the anthro-approved Stockmar modeling beeswax, and those awful, yet we’ll make an exception for cross-country peace Color Wonder pens and coloring books. Tomorrow I’m busting out the potholder loom for SillyBilly. Ya gotta hold things in reserve, you see.

And how are the cats, you ask? How are they, being cooped up in little plastic carriers all day in the noisy back of the minivan, and then dumped into strange motel rooms each night?

By God, they are FINE! And why, you ask? I have two words for you, oh my bloggie friends:

Valerian and Feliway.

We ordered a huge bag of catnip, a smaller bag of valerian, and a can of hormone spray. The two herbs were put in small amounts into old socks tied with knots at each ends–we call them “happy socks”. Evidently valerian calms cats right down, as it does humans.

Feliway was new to us–it’s a spray used either for stressful situations or for curbing unwanted urine spraying. It’s got “analogue of feline facial pheromones” (say that five times fast!) which makes the cat think that where he is is just groovy.

Between the herbs and the hormones, our cats are completely mellow. They cry about five times right after we put them in the car, and they hide under the motel room beds when we first arrive, but otherwise they are completely normal. Contrasted with the time we drove these two plus another cat from Los Angeles to Sacramento–a chorus of kitty yowling for 7 hours straight!

Well, I have a few photos that will go up in a future post. We’ve driven through five states, crossed the Mississippi River, and seen way too many corn fields and freight trucks to count. Tonight we’re in Iowa, tomorrow we’ll be in Nebraska, and after a fun-filled day through Wyoming, we’ll finally be in Idaho, our new home.



Filed under Family, life, Napoleona, Parenting, Silliness and Mayhem, SillyBilly, travel, waldorf toys

12 responses to “Travel Update

  1. Well done, you pioneers! I laughed at the bit about the cats, and empathised about the cats. Hope you arrive at your new home safely.

  2. I was just thinking about you yesterday, wondering how your move was going. I shudder when I think back on how much work moving is. 😉 That’s a great trick for keeping your cats calm. Have a safe journey the rest if the way, and I hope you will be very happy in your new home.

  3. Thanks for the update, I just read the book “Walk Two Moons”, about a 13 yo girl who rides from Ohio to Idaho with her grandparents; great book, but also sad. But the idea of this long road trip made me think of you.
    Too bad they don’t have some sort of spray for kids like you have for your cats, something for parents, too (maybe Rescue Remedy would be our equivalent).

  4. Nana

    Westward Ho, The Wagons!

    I am picturing you and Pa on the front of the wagon; he is handling the horses and you are singing happy tunes while waving to the friendly Indians you pass by. The kids and the cats are, of course, in the the covered part of the wagon – also singing and hanging onto the nearest heavy object for dear life- especially the cats.

    Please remember – you can’t roller skate in a buffalo herd!

  5. That was a great post! I’ve been thinking of your family and wondering how the move is going….sounds like it’s about as good as any cross-country move can be. Hey, from one Californian to another, I say, “At least you’re out of NY!”

  6. I’m so late catching up…so, didja stop at Wall Drug? Devil’s Tower? Little Bighorn? Or were you farther south…Ames Monument? Snowy Range? Wherever you went, I hope you had good travels and a safe arrival.

  7. Charl: The cats are being just amazing. I was truly afraid we would have to bury one of them on the side of the highway after too much trauma.

    Dawn: I always forget how much work it is too! Must be that selective memory like birth pains.

    Lisa Anne: I gave everyone a shot of Rescue Remedy on the first day, and even brought drops to put in the cats’ water bowl. But it has seemed unnecessary, thankfully.

    Nana: It does kind of feel like a one-family wagon train. And there has been some singing of happy songs!

    Goodwitch: Well, I’m a California native, but I did like New York!

    Papa B: None of the above: we have stopped for nothing! Not even the Cabela’s outlets we keep passing, which has pained Anthropapa. And not even for the “Wyoming Territorial Prison State Park”, which totally stumped us until we saw the billboard showing that it was where Butch Cassidy was imprisoned.

  8. I was wondering how things are going. Exciting that the time is now, and you are almost there! Can’t wait for photos.

    I’m inspired by your move and driving with kids and cats. We almost moved to Oregon 2 years ago but the whole kid/pets/moving/chaos seemed, well, crazy. But the boys are older and sometimes we feel that itch…

    I have moved in a van with cats 3 times across the country (before kids) and it is hard! I have used rescue remedy to help calm them down which seemed to be very good. I’ll have to remember the other tips – sounds like good options.

    Ah, Cabela’s outlets – sounds like Iowa! 🙂

  9. Alida

    Cool! We are going to be neighbors. Let me be the first resident of Oregon to welcome you to Idaho.

  10. Let me just say…WIKI STIKS!!!! I’d never heard of them but I gave them to Lo on the plane the other day. She’d never seen these things so the novelty of it worked wonders. But they’re kinda cool! They’re like peices of string covered in a tacky wax so they are flexable, moldable and can stick to windows and such. When they are done just pull the peices apart for the next time.
    i know you’re not on a plane but making barf bag puppets was a BIG hit as well. Just cut out stuff from mags to make eyes, nose, mouth, etc.

    Your 5 moving tips are bringin’ back some BAD memories!!!!!

    HAPPY travels!!!!

  11. Heh heh, I remember cleaning out the fridge at 1am before our moving day a few months ago! That certainly wasn’t to schedule! I hope you all arrived safely and are settling in. Viewed from afar, your moving journey sounds very exciting!

  12. I haven’t moved for 12 years, and when I look around this place the very idea gives me cold chills. I hope neither of your children do to you what I did to my poor parents when I was seven and we were moving from California to Boulder, Colorado. I broke my arm at the dinner stop outside Colorado Springs. Thereby hangs a tale, of course.

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