The Last Day (Sunday Nov. 15)

We woke up in Hope, BC once again, this time for the leg home. It is raining here again. I think it rains most of the winter here. There is snow at higher elevations, so we know what we can look forward to on the drive home.

Our first stop was Our Lady of Hope Catholic Church in Hope. It was literally 5 houses from the hotel, but we drove anyway since we will be leaving for home once Mass is done. Mass was lovely, father even gave us a special travelling blessing before Mass was over. This was an awesome way to start our day and our final push to home.

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We grabbed breakfast at Tim Horton’s and got Tim Horton’s tea. Tim Horton’s, how we have missed you! We also changed from our church clothes into our travelling clothes. You want to be prepared for travelling in the mountains and dresses just wouldn’t cut it!

Go big or go home! Our first challenge of the day was the Coquihalla, or as we know it from the show on Discovery Channel – “Highway Through Hell”. The rain in Hope quickly turned to snow as we gained elevation. About 15 minutes into our drive we saw a huge line of trucks stopped in the chain up zone, putting chains on their truck tires. Three police cars were there as well making sure they did it right and checking their paperwork. Foreshadowing things to come!

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The first summit we reached was Coquihalla summit. It was high, very snow covered and slippery. Our range estimate dropped to -5% remaining at our destination, which was still over an hour away. Mike tested our traction and brakes…an important step to understanding the handling of the car in snow, I know, but nerve wracking to say the least!

 

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I probably should have slept through this part of the drive, it probably would have been easier on Mike and me! Dropping back to a lower elevation from the first summit helped regain some energy from regeneration, but then up another summit! Trucks were going very slow (I would have been perfectly happy to go the same speed they were going ;-). Some cars were going very fast and we were in between which, as a passenger, felt like we were flying, even though we were not.

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Much of this road was slushy and icy underneath. Plows had got to some of it, but not all so some spots were very snow covered. We hydroplaned on the slush a few times which was scary. We slowed down even more, which helped with this as well as with our energy consumption. By the time we got to Merrit, I thought we were out of the worst of it, but then you see another chain up location and you know that “here we go again”.

The second leg of the highway past Merrit was the same as the first. At altitude it was slippery and slushy. We saw one SUV spun around and beat up in between the two highways. The vehicle looked beat up, but just on the outside. Plows had not yet made it here, they were still working on the West side of the road.

By the time we got to the last descent into Kamloops, we had recouped enough energy to be at 3% at destination. I have never been so happy to see a Salmon – the Salmon statue at the Kamloops Super Charger. Ever since I saw the weather forecast for today, I had been dreading that leg of the journey, and I was glad when it was over. Thank you St. Christopher!

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We charged to full (about 1 hour and 15 minutes) at Kamloops since our next leg was another long one to Revelstoke. Mike and Samantha walked to the mall to go to the bathroom and came back with Orange Julius’.   Awesome sauce! The snow had turned to rain at this altitude and the cloud cover was so thick it looked like dusk, even though it was only noon.

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Our next leg was through the rain to Revelstoke, although it was nice to be able to see the scenery, as it was dark last time we travelled this road. The kids worked on their homework and reading as we drove today. They have been fabulous! Forty hours of time in the car is a lot! They have been so patient and easy going through all of it. It was funny, as we drove by Skytrek and Enchanted Forest, Amelia remarked that the drive to the Enchanted Forest will never seem long again after this trip! Funny how your perspective can change!

Still raining when we hit Revelstoke and now it was dark as well. We stopped at the Best Western Super Charger here to charge. As we were waiting, three pickup trucks stopped to stay at the hotel. They were carrying two snowmobiles each. All I could think is “where would they be doing that now?” It has been raining on the drive since the Coquihalla, we haven’t seen snow.

On our drive, to Golden, we found snow. In Glacier National Park it started snowing and by the looks of the sides of the road, there has been a lot of snow here! The lines on the road here are not well defined and with the show and slush, Mike said it was the hardest driving of the trip so far (besides the Coquihalla). I guess this is where they were probably snowmobiling!

Down from the summit in Golden it was only rain again. Mike dropped off at Boston Pizza for dinner and then went to the Super Charger to plug in. We ate at Boston Pizza, which was a nice last meal for the trip. The food was good, but they sat us on the empty part of the restaurant and kept forgetting we were there, so the service wasn’t the greatest.

Fed, we decided to walk back to the charger with Mike, but Amelia forgot her coat so Mike gave her his coat. It wasn’t very far, but it was a brisk walk for sure! The temperature here was 3C, but it felt more like -3C! What a nice dad Amelia has <3!

Off to our last Super Charger in Canmore! Hopefully the roads are as clear as they are here in Golden! We have made pretty good time today and did really good on energy consumption considering the weather, so far anyway!

Yoho was our next adventure! As we increased in altitude, the rain turned into heavier snow. The drifts here were the largest so far in our trip! We saw a semi on it’s side in the ditch. The snow started coming down harder and the sign at the summit told the truckers to chain up. As we rounded the corner there were dozens of trucks chaining up. Then as we descended more, we came across more trucks, but these ones were not stopped to chain up…the highway was a parking lot! We got stopped in time, but now we are stopped and we don’t know why. Now we wait on the highway between Golden and Canmore…so close to home and stopped. It is snowing and cold. Thankfully we filled up in Golden, so that isn’t an issue, but we have so many things riding on getting home tonight…but ultimately, safe is more important!

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After waiting in the parking lot on Highway 1 between Golden and Canmore we got some news from a trucker that was also stuck with us. Apparently two semis spun out at the top of the summit where it is very icy and they are waiting to clear it up and investigate it. He also told us to be careful exiting the car as it was even getting icy here.

Shortly after he told us what was going on, a highway patrol truck drove by on the wrong side of the road to go check things out. About 10 minutes afterwards, we started moving in a huge convoy at about 10 km/hr. At least that will be good on energy consumption! We passed a huge construction site on the road as we drove in our convoy. I am sure having the road down to only two lanes also doesn’t help with the slowdown!

As we reached the summit, we saw that they are only letting traffic through one way at a time at the construction site. Behind the traffic waiting on the other side of the road was the plow stuck behind them all. He should be at the front! We never did see the two spun out trucks, but maybe with all the construction equipment they got them cleaned up. Whether it was an accident or the construction, we are thankful to be on the move again!

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Descending the mountain we continued in our convoy. I am thankful for going so slow in these conditions, ice scares me as I really don’t want to become a curling rock on the highway! As we descended, our speed in the convoy increased to 30 km. Slow but steady wins the race.

Most of the trucks have stopped to take off their chains as we cross the continental divide. Now it is mostly cars and trucks in the convoy. Hopefully as we get down to lower elevations the temperature will increase and it won’t be icy. I thought all my friends said it was warm in Alberta today. Apparently Yoho National Park didn’t get the memo!

It is super icy now and the roads are snow covered. Everyone is taking it really easy, which is a blessing. Now I remember what winter is like! Where are the sanding trucks when you need them? Palm trees were much nicer, is it too late to turn around?!

At the Lake Louise turn off, the road appeared to clear up slightly. It didn’t seem as icy anymore and traffic started moving at a rate of about 90 km/hr. The snow has stopped now too. Hopefully that is the end of the excitement for tonight!

Nope! It is still icy, and the more flat road can be deceiving. At one spot we lost traction and started to enter into a skid. Thankfully we were going slow, have winter tires and have all wheel drive. The car compensated and corrected. Mike said it happened faster than it would have in a rear wheel drive car. This is our first all wheel drive vehicle…good to know, but let’s not do that again!

Breathing again, we slowed and continued down the icy road. About 15 minutes later we encountered pink signs along the road. “Emergency situation in progress, please slow down”. What now?!

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Up the road, there was the truck that they had said spun out. His load was spread around the road and the truck was pretty beat up! The clean up crew was there with trucks and cherry pickers. We said a prayer for the driver as we drove by that he was okay.

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Finally – Banff! We were hoping to be home by 9 pm, but this delay has slowed us down considerably! It is now 11:33 pm and we still have a stop in Canmore. At least here the roads are clear. It is still snowing, but barely. I am afraid to say I hope that is the end of the excitement, because every time I do, something else comes up…but I do hope that is it!

Canmore! Yay! Last stop! Everyone is sleeping now, which is a good thing because there is school tomorrow! This will be a quick stop for charging and then home. It stopped snowing now and raining. On the bright side, we did really well on power consumption this leg because of the speeds we were doing.

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Today was the longest that Mike has gone without using auto steer and he said he definitely noticed the difference in fatigue and stress (I am sure the road conditions didn’t help with that one ;-). The road conditions weren’t right and the lines on the road in many places were hard for the car to delineate. He is getting a really good feel for when it is good to use and when it is not as well as how it will behave based on the road contours. It has been an indispensable tool on this trip for Mike, especially since he has done all the driving – over 6,000 km!

It is nice to be somewhere familiar! Feels like we are home already! I wish I could just wiggle my nose and we were there! The hardest part of any trip is the last part of the drive home!

The drive from Canmore seemed long. Mike has driven the whole time, but asked me to drive the last part so he could sleep. He was so tired and he had to catch a flight at 7:20 am to Phoenix, so he had to be at the airport very early! At least the roads were finally dry and the snow was almost all gone from the ground. What a difference a few hundred kms makes!

We arrived home at 1:30 am. It will be a long hard day for everyone tomorrow, but we made it! We made it to Disneyland and back in an Electric Car! We made it through snow and wind and rain. We made it together as a family. We had fun, we made memories and we laughed lots!

I love my family and I love our life! What an adventure!  Here is to the next one!  Go Alpha Team Bravo!

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Drive Home Day 2 (Saturday)

After 7 hours of sleep, we woke up in Mount Shasta. It was a cold night and there was snow on the peaks of Mt. Shasta. The kids got a king sized bed again, which works for them (at least better than a queen sized bed). We had breakfast in the hotel. Amelia made most of us waffles and then Melissa spilled juice on her! Haha – nice way to start the day!

Driving out we saw Mount Shasta. It had a beautiful cloud cap on top of it. I looked it up, it is a lenticular cloud and many high mountains have them. I think they call it the “Mt. Shasta Aura” here. Learn something new every day J!

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Good bye California – we will miss you! We have now moved to Oregon and our next stop was Grants Pass. I have been admiring the beautiful fall colours of Oregon since we entered the state. The mountains here are similar to ours, but they have more vibrant reds and they have maple trees. Crazy that they have maple trees in Oregon, but we don’t have them in Alberta – especially since it is on our flag ;-)! I am loving the reds of the maple trees!

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At Grants Pass we walked over to McDonalds for Ice Cream. The kids love stopping for ice cream (who wouldn’t)! It was very yummy! We looked for a Starbucks, but there was only one in the Safeway here so we decided to wait until our next stop to get a tea. It is sunny here – I am loving the sun for a little bit longer!

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Still in the mountains, we head down to Springfield. It was so warm when we reached Springfield it was 20 C! Awesome! With the sun and no rain, we did awesome on energy consumption, we almost matched the estimate range line exactly! Well done Mike! It was so funny – Mike did an exit shot from the chargers when we were done and he ran over the pylon! It was super funny – check out the video ;-)! After the pylon incident, we went in search of a Starbucks, and it was right around the corner. Hello Chai Latte!

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Driving down to Woodburn and full of tea we had to make a quick pit stop for a pee break. Thankfully there is lots of places to stop here on the I5.

When we reached Woodburn, Mike had a conference call so we waited there and charged to full to continue. This is the charger where we ate at Elmer’s last time. They liked this place a lot because they got to have breakfast for dinner. It was only 4:00 pm so we are going to push forward and have dinner at Centralia when we are more hungry.

As we drove through Portland on our way to Centralia, we ended up in the wrong lane and took a wrong turn. This got us smack dab in the middle of Portland. It is very beautiful and it gave us an opportunity to go over some of their huge bridges to get back to the interstate. We also saw that their stadium was coloured red/white and blue to remember those who died in Paris. Now that we are back on the I5, we are back on target.

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Energy consumption has been a breeze today. We have sailed into each location with lots of energy to spare. The warm weather and no rain has made a huge difference – but that is about to change. On the way to Centralia, we found light rain, which did slightly affect our range.

It was dark and getting colder as we pulled into Centralia. We must be getting tired and in need of food and Mike pulled into a one-way street when we were looking for the chargers. We got out of there before it got too dicey so it was actually pretty funny! We better eat so we think straight! Everyone was hungry and the kids wanted to have a breakfast dinner, so we went to Denny’s.

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The kids were so giddy when we went to dinner! They were being totally goofy! Melissa was pretending she was a Star Wars Cheerleader. She made up a cheer, which was “peew, peew, whoosh, grr!”, complete with actions. It was hilarious. I think everyone is punch drunk from spending so much time cooped up in the car!

When we got back to the car, the red Tesla from Woodburn was charging. They must be headed our way.

As we left Centralia, it started pouring rain!   It is lucky we got a full charge in Centralia because within minutes the rain and cold caused our Range Estimator to reduce its estimation from getting to Burlington with 26% charge remaining to getting there with -5% remaining. This was a bit concerning since we were only 15 minutes or so into our leg of the trip and had two hours to go! If it kept going down that fast, we will never make it!

I checked the weather to find that Washington had a flood advisory in affect for this evening, which means heavy rains until Burlington. Mike adjusted his speed to compensate and before we got to Seattle (which by the way also had a bridge lit up in red, white and blue for Paris), he had conserved enough energy to give us 15% at our destination. I guess I won’t have to push again today! We will have to take this into consideration for the next few legs of the trip and into Canada as it looks like snow.

As we pulled into Burlington, we could see a lit up white cross high above town. It was beautiful so I looked up what it was. Apparently it was put in after a little boy died from the fall from a tree in the 1950’s/60’s. They light it up now at request when someone dies and the family pays a small fee to honour their loved ones. I am sure it is lit up today to remember those who passed away in Paris yesterday. It is very beautiful.

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Everyone except Mike and I were sleeping as we pulled into Burlington.   We were hoping to be in Hope by 12:00 am, but it looks like due to the weather it will be a bit later. We charged at for 55 minutes (longer than we had originally planned to compensate for the weather) and then we headed out. Next stop – Hope, BC Canada. One more charger closer to home!

We made it to the border at about 12:30 am. When we got there, the border crossing guard asked us the usual questions. When we told her we had two more kids in the back, she had us open the back hatch to see them. The cold air and the border crossing guard staring at them was a rude awakening for Amelia and Lissa for sure! Thankfully crossing the border only took 3-5 minutes and was relatively painless. It is always a stressful thing to cross the border – by plane or by car.

It seemed to take forever to get from the border to Hope, mostly because this is the last part of the drive for the night. I always thought the border was right in Hope, but it is more like an hour away. Needless to say it didn’t take us that long to get there.

It was still pouring rain when we got to the hotel. Mike dropped us off and he took the car to the super charger while we got ready for bed. We stayed at the same hotel that we were at our first night, the one that looked like an old lady’s spare room according to Amelia. Tonight though, we got the room be booked – the family room. It was huge – would easily sleep 8 people comfortably. It also had a dining room, kitchen and bathroom. It was clean, but also looked very old fashioned. It doesn’t matter – it is a room and we need sleep!

Checking the BC road cameras, we noticed that there is snow throughout the mountains.   I think tomorrow will be slow going, but hopefully the roads will be cleared by then!

So day two of our road trip home is complete. One more to go!

Melissa – Saturday’s Drive

We got out of the room and had breakfast at the hotel. Then we started driving. Amelia and I watched the same movie at the same time, Inside Out.

Amelia and I played UNO when we stopped and it was really fun. We didn’t get to finish it because it was time to go again.

At one stop we had ice cream and Oreos at McDonalds. We stopped to eat at Denny’s and I had Chicken Fingers and Gold Fish for dinner.

My favourite part of the day was when I was watching movies with Amelia at the same time.  It was a long day of driving and I fell asleep after we ate.

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Samantha – The Drive Home (Friday)

Today we started driving home. I was very tired and I really didn’t want to leave Disneyland. We ate pancakes and waffles with some orange juice at the hotel before we left.

We started driving and I saw a big dam, it was cool. We also saw a roller coaster park. They looked so fun! We got to go to a frozen yogurt place at our first charging stop. I got chocolate with strawberries, cherries, gummy worms, and m & m’s. Then we ate sushi for supper at the Bass Pro Shops charger .It was delicious .

Now we are almost at the hotel. I can’t wait to get in the nice warm bed! For most of the ride today I played games wth Ethan and watched movies.

The favorite part of the day was going to the frozen yogurt place. The least favorite part of my day was leaving Disneyland! It was a good day.

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Homeward Bound (Friday Nov. 13):

It is always harder to begin the trip home than it was to begin the trip here. Today was no exception! We packed up and packed most of the suitcases into the car last night so that we would be ready to go bright and early. It is easier to pack up the room when you have the whole car to fill vs. having a few suitcases to fill everything into!

We ate breakfast at the hotel this morning so that we could get an early start. The weather looks like it has taken a turn for the worst since we left home, so we want to build in some more time in case we need to take it slower on the drive home. Also, it would be nice to make it home before 3:00 am on Monday morning, which is when we made it here! It will make Monday morning and school that much easier!

Since we charged when we were at Disneyland yesterday, we skipped the charger at Culver City and went right through Los Angeles to Tejon Ranch. It was pretty cool to see the Californian mountains on this stretch of road today since it was dark when we drove this stretch last time. They are quite impressive, but so dry and different than ours. There is almost no vegetation, I wonder if they are always like this, or if it is just because of the extreme drought. They are beautiful either way.

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Traffic was much worse this time compared to 3:00 am on a Monday morning though and it took us about an hour more than last time! We saw Six Flags on this part of the drive, it looks like there are over 20 roller coasters! Looks pretty fun and it is only 1.5 hours from Anaheim. We may have to give that a try one of these trips. Some of the roller coasters look pretty epic!

Tejon Ranch is a busy Super Charger during the day. We saw at least 8 Teslas come and go as we charged here. One was black with tinted windows, no license plate and no battery size on the back. A test Tesla vehicle, incognito perhaps? There was also a lady in the yogurt store with a very cool Tesla jacket who most likely worked for the company.

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More about the yogurt store – YogurtLand! Yummy! They had all kinds of frozen yogurt! You pick your yogurt, then your fruit toppings, and then your candy toppings. Once you are done you weigh your beautiful creation and eat! It was awesome! A nice way to spend 45 minutes while we charge!

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Off to Harris Ranch also known as the smelly charger. Well, on our way out of Tejon Ranch, we made a wrong turn. Mike blamed the navigator, but I don’t remember getting a promotion to navigator from back seat driver ;-). Anyway, this took us 20 minutes out of the way through Bakersfield. We were still okay as far as charge and it took us through miles and miles of orchard fields. There were almond, pistachio and olive trees as well as grapes and oranges. The other thing we noticed were signs and signs all over the place with notices about farms equaling jobs and water being needed to farm. The signs also blamed congress for the drought. It seems like there is a bit of a fight for water. Can’t be good – a taste of things to come I am sure. Water is such a precious resource!

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Back onto the I5 like the detour never happened and on to Harris Ranch. As we pulled into Harris Ranch, we noticed an airstrip right up to the restaurant. I never noticed that in the evening last time we were here. Apparently you can fly in, have dinner and fly out. Pretty cool! We stopped and checked out the store and went for a walk while we waited for the charge here. We even bought a bottle of authentic Harris Ranch Chardonnay to take home to try. As we were shopping, we looked up to the balcony of the second floor of the store and saw Mary and Joseph looking over us. I knew they were watching over us on the drive, but now I have proof!

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On our drive from Harris Ranch to Mateca, we drove past the actual cattle portion of Harris Ranch. Over 100,000 cattle!! Now I know where the smell came from the other night at the restaurant! You wouldn’t want to live downwind, that is for sure! It was the biggest feedlot I have ever seen – cattle were everywhere! It was interesting to see such a massive working farm.

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Back to Manteca and Bass Pro Shops. There were only a couple of Teslas here charging tonight, and no Harrison Ford ;-). The sun is gone for the day, so that is the last of the warm weather for us on this trip L. I will miss you sun! We went for supper here at a sushi restaurant. It was fairly close to the charger and when we went in, it was empty (never a good sign for a restaurant). Once we sat down and ordered though, the restaurant filled up so I didn’t worry so much.   It was actually pretty good, but they didn’t have some of the types of sushi we usually have. No worry, we still found enough to eat and left fed and happy.

Next stop, Corning. This is the longest leg of the whole trip, but it is through the valley and flat. On the way here we made this leg with 7% to spare. That was heading to warmer weather and through a traffic slowdown during rush hour in Sacramento, which conserved energy. Well, the trip to Corning was a different story! With no traffic to contend with, we made good time, but with an energy hit! As we drove we watched our estimated charge at destination drop until we had -1% remaining at destination. This meant that we had 45 miles to go and only enough of a charge to go 33 miles! Mike loves challenges and video games, which mean that we don’t need to slow down, not yet anyway! I think he likes to see me sweat too! He said that we would make it one way or another, either on electrons or on the sweat of us pushing! Nice ;-)!

We did slow down with about 5 miles to go when we were on 0% charge remaining, to about 50 mph and continued that speed until our destination. No point pushing it afterall ;-). Well, we made it thankfully to Corning, on electrons! Yay – no pushing! He makes me crazy ;-)! It makes me wonder how we would do on the Amazing Race – it would make for good TV for sure ;-)!

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Bathroom break in Corning at Subway, just minutes before it closed. It was only 8C here – cold compared to Anaheim, and it is only going to get colder! Better find somewhere to change out of shorts back to pants! We stopped here for a full charge since we have an uphill climb to Mt. Shasta and it is getting colder!

Our last leg of the night is from Corning to Mt. Shasta. We will be staying in the wood hotel (as the kids called it) that we stayed in last time. I booked it earlier on our way to Tejon Ranch. I booked it on Expedia and just as I clicked “Book it”, I noticed that I selected the wrong dates! Of course the booking said “no exchanges or refunds”. Really?! Not today!! So I quickly called the hotel, only to hear that I had to call Expedia. Then I called Expedia and they told me they would have to talk to the hotel to see if they would allow the change without a penalty because the room was normally no changes. As I was waiting on hold, I lost them (luckily they had my number and called me back). Well after all of this, they finally called me back to say that they would have to change the room, but they would honour the booking and change it to tonight. Thank you to my Guardian Angel once again!!! Sometimes I am such a scatterbrain!!

So after a 1 hr and 10 minute charge in Corning we were off to scale a mountain or two on our way to Mt. Shasta. There is a 3300 ft elevation change between Corning and Mt. Shasta, which we will feel in range loss. Maybe I should drive since my foot weighs less than Mike’s ;-)?! Here we go to the highest elevation Super Charger on the I5!

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We hit some road construction on our drive, which reduced our speed to 55 mph for a while at Oasis, which should help our usage. Every little bit helps! According to the range calculator, at Oasis it estimated we should have 21% remaining at our destination. When we reached Mt. Shasta at 1:00 am, we had 23%. We actually did better than our initial estimation. Nice work Mikey! You get a gold star for energy conservation J!

So glad to be at the hotel two hours sooner than last time! We even had the same room as before. Everyone piled into the king size bed and went right to sleep. Tomorrow our trip will take us back through Oregon, Washington and hopefully into Canada.

I feel spoiled, tonight we should get almost 7 hours of sleep! Night all!

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Amelia – Last Day of Disneyland (Thursday)

Today we woke up early so we could get to the Rainforest Cafe for breakfast and I got American BACON!

Then we went to California Adventure and went on the Grizzly River Run. I think that me and Samantha got the most wet. Ethan on the other hand got barely got any water on him at all. When we got off we took a picture beside the huge bear and then got a churro by the Little Mermaid ride.

While we were trying to finish the churro we were in the line to go on the zephyr. We went on it second so we would make sure the ride wasn’t closed because of the wind and since it is our last day we want to try to get as many rides as possible.

We want to try to go on Silly Symphony so that’s the ride we went on next. In the middle of the ride Melissa dropped her Minnie pin and it went flying and when we got off the ride we recovered Melissa’s pin.

After the pin incident we went to Mickey’s Fun Wheel and once again we got the rocking gondola but this one moved so much that Melissa offered a barf bag to mom. We got off and went to meet our friends at the roller coaster and went on it once. Next we went on Toy Story I was beside mom and I almost beat her but she beat me by 900 points. Then we went on the roller coaster again with our friends and fast passes.

When we got off the roller coaster, we went to say goodbye to our friends (they were going to supper) and we walked with them until we arrived at Goofy’s Sky School and the Little Mermaid.

Since Sam, Melissa and I were still warm we went on Grizzly River Run with a whole bunch or grownups and we all got soaked! To warm up we went for supper by Soarin’ Over California. It didn’t really work, we were still cold when we walked outside in the dark and we were freezing, so to warm ourselves up some more we went to play in the snow! Then we went to draw Minnie Mouse (her real name is Minerva). Dad thought his was the best but it totally wasn’t.

We went to Disneyland to go on Star Tours, but we couldn’t because of the Star Wars thing that had Tomorrowland closed. Instead we went to the Matterhorn, Pirates of the Caribbean, and our last ride Indiana Jones! Lastly we walked through some stores and went back to the hotel.

I did not like that they didn’t have any thing that was that good in the gift shop so I saved my birthday money for next time. My favourite part of the day was going on Grizzly River Run and getting soaked! I love that ride!

It was a great day!

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Our Last Day at Disneyland!

Today is our last day at Disneyland before we head home.  We were up early enough today for me to finish some rosaries and to grab some donuts at the hotel.  Then off to breakfast at the Rainforest Cafe.
The parking lot was much emptier today, so parking was not a problem and the park will be much less busy.  On our walk to the restaurant, Mike kept picking up pylons and singing “I like to Move It” and “Let it Go” at the top of his lungs.  There was a tour bus of people going by us – they all looked and clapped.  Amelia said – “It is too bad those pylons are everywhere” and Melissa said “just pretend you don’t know him”.  It wa S really funny!
Breakfast at the Rainforest Cafe is always a treat, so it was awesome that we got to eat here again one last time this trip.  The food was great.  The girls drew pictures and Ethan tested us on the Intergalactic Language he just deciphered by spelling out words for us to guess.
The park we are in for most of the day today is California Adventure.  We went to The Grizzly River Run first, while it is still warm out.  On our way to the ride, we stopped by to take pictures of Soarin’ Over California.  The guy there said – “we are opening tomorrow”…I told him that was too late, our last day is today.  I am excited to go on the new version of this ride – it has been closed for the last two times we have been here, but we will have to wait until next time!
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We got soaked in Grizzly River run – especially Amelia and me.  Ethan took off his new hat and narrowly missed it getting a good soaking at the last minute! It is good that it is warm out!
After this ride we had to find some band aids for Samantha’s feet (shoes rubbing on the tops), and then over to Paradise Pier with Churros in hand.  We went on the Zepher – this ride is hit and miss depending on the wind.  Very often it is closed.  We then saw the Feliz Navidad parade with big headed St. Nicholas and went on Mickey’s Silly Symphony Swings.  Melissa got to go on a chair all by herself for the first time ever!  She was very excited!  So excited in fact that she dropped her Plaza Cafe pin while riding on the ride.  Luckily she could retrieve it when she was done.
Off to Mickey’s Fun Wheel next.  The car in front of us stopped after one loop as the little girl was terrified/petrified!  This would have been Melissa a few years ago, but now she wants to rock more on the Ferris wheel carts!
We got off just in time to head over to meet the Grattan clans to go on Screamin’ Over California.  The fast pass time was so short, we got fast passes as well.  So when Clint and Patricia got there, we had fast passes and we got in line – two rides for the normal wait of one!  Awesome sauce!
The kids were happy to see their friends and go on some rides!  We went on Screamin’ and then we went on Toy Story (the lineup was super short)!  Ethan and dad got over 190,000 points, but Clint stole the show with 218,000 – which was also the high score of that hour.  Mike said he must be sneaking in the park and practicing – Patricia said he stole all her targets ;-).
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We then used our fast passes and went on Screamin’ Over California again!  This ride is awesome and we had so much fun!
We then parted ways with the Grattans as they had plans and we continued on rides.  We went over to Goofy’s Sky School and The Little Mermaid.
Next was dinner, but on the way the girls begged to go on Grizzly Falls – “sure” dad said…so they went, on their own!  They came back soaked!!  That will be cold, especially since the nice hot sun has gone down!  At least we are on the way for dinner, and sitting inside where it is warm!  We went for dinner at Smoke Jumpers Grill.  We had burgers with all the trimmings, they were awesome!  This is always a great place to eat!
Dinner done, we headed to Hollywood Tower to use our fast passes that we got this morning.  We walked right on the ride, into the library and into the elevator!  Love it when a plan comes together!
We then took the kids to draw at the Animation Academy (they love this place), but it was a 30 minute wait, we went to Monsters Inc., but it was temporarily closed so we went to Elsa and Anna’s Snow Fest and played in the snow.  The kids wanted to go tobogganing, but they were making snow and grooming the run, so we just looked around and played in the snow for a bit.  Then we went to draw Minnie!
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Everyone did a great job drawing Minnie!  Then it was time to head to Disneyland to go on Star Tours and the Matterhorn.  When we got to Disneyland, there was a sign at the front entrance saying that Tomorrowland was closed at 5 pm.  Boo!  Ethan really wanted to go on Star Tours.  He worked all night on translating the Intergalactic Alphabet, but he was missing J and Q and wanted to figure them out.  I looked them up online for him since he couldn’t get them from the ride and he was happy.
Why was Tomorrowland closed?  It appeared as though there was a private party for the grand opening of the Star Wars/Avengers HQ and Star Wars theatre and Hyperspace Mountain.  There were spot lights and colour everywhere.  It looked cool, but we were not invited, so off to the Matterhorn instead.
Samantha really wanted to do the Matterhorn at night.  Some rides are better at different times of the day, and this ride is one of them.  It is scarier and funner at night, as is Thunder Mountain, which was our next ride.
The lineups were much shorter now and considerably shorter than yesterday, so we took advantage of it by going on a few more rides.  We went on Pirates of the Caribbean first.  Our boat was soaked when we got in – even the seat!  It made it a bit uncomfortable.  We have never gotten wet on this ride, I wonder what these people did do get it like that?
Our last ride of the trip was Indiana Jones.  As always it was awesome!  Melissa even wanted to go again, but it was getting so late and we still had to pack and get some sleep, so we had to say no.
There were some sad faces as we left the park.  It was a short trip and no one was ready to leave yet.  On the bright side, I reminded them we are back in a few months and that this trip was a bonus trip that we normally wouldn’t have been able to do.  We are so blessed!
We went back to the room and packed up to make the morning tomorrow go more smoothly.
Sleep with dreams and memories of today and our trip so far.  Homeward bound tomorrow!
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Wednesday (Nov. 11th)

We woke up and made our way to Disneyland.  If parking is any indication, today will be a busy day!  When we drove up to the Disney Mickey and Friends parkade, it was closed for everyone except EVs, handicap and oversized vehicles.  In we go – scored!  We may make it to breakfast after all!
Nope, no such luck!  It took longer to find a parking spot than we thought!  Even all 20 EV charging stations were full!   Good problem to have I guess – thankfully we didn’t actually need a charge, that would be unfortunate!
We found a parking spot near the chargers and made our way to breakfast…nope, now it will be lunch…boo!
We made our way to Naples for lunch (or as Ethan used to call it, Boston Ghost) for pizza and salad.  Then we made our way to Disneyland to wade through the rivers of people!
Busiest day today by far, but expected.  Whenever there is a holiday here or a weekend, the park is packed!  Also, it is a nice day here too so that also fills the park.
As we waited for the security check out front Mike made up a song about “Ass Pants” – regarding people wearing leggings for pants and it looked like their butts are their pants (case in point – a lady in front of us).  Well, he kept singing it and finally Amelia said “it really is too bad they legalized marijuana”.  It was the funniest thing!  She is very funny and clever!  What a great combination – I just about peed myself!
Our first ride was Splash Mountain – a 75 minute wait!  Everyone worked on catching up on their journal while we waited in line.  Samantha and Melissa got theirs done (with my help).
Samantha sat in the front of the log.  She and Amelia got soaked!  It is nice though because today is very hot!  It is awesome to feel the sun and the warmth!
It is so hot that we stopped for ice cream!  We all scream for ice cream!  I don’t know how they get their ice cream to stay to frozen – it must by liquid nitrogen!  It is so frozen when you get it that you can’t bite it.  After about 5 minutes it thaws out enough to eat!
Next we waded through the crowds of people to get to Thunder Mountain.  When it is this busy we make sure everyone knows the ride we are going to in case someone gets lost.  The kids are old enough now that this works well.
The wait for Thunder Mountain was long – another 70 minutes.  It makes you really appreciate when it is quiet when we normally come.  We may get in 5 rides today when we can normally cover the whole park.
Over to the Matterhorn next.  The wait for this one was only 30 minutes.  Not long at all.  Woah though – I usually sit in the back car, but today I sat in the front … Was it ever bumpy!  My back couldn’t wait for it to be over!
Over to Toontown next and the Gadget Rollercoaster.  I wanted to go on It’s a Small World, but I was out voted by my traitorous family, so here we are in Toontown.  The wait for even this little roller coaster is 30 minutes although the park does seem to be thinning out slightly.

Next we had to go say hi to Mickey!  Off to his house!  We had a chance to take lots of pictures here and have lots of fun!  We also got to say hi to our buddy, Mickey!

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Food next!! The Plaza Hotel for Fried Chicken!  We got a spot to sit inside which was awesome since it is cooling off.  There was a wonderful man working at the Plaza named Moses.  He was so nice – he got Amelia a birthday button, a cupcake and played the harmonica while we sang her happy birthday.  He even gave her a carnation as a present.  She thought it was pretty special.  Gotta love Disney – always going the extra mile!
Our fast passes to Star Tours were finally ready (we got them when we got to the park today), so we went over there next.  Since we were in the area, we also did Autopia.  Melissa drove my car and she did really good.  Samantha got to drive a car on her own ( with dad for autodrive if needed).  Amelia and Ethan got their own cars too.  Quite the little drivers, it must be the trip in the car that helped them out!
Melissa realized when we were getting out of the car, she had forgot her pins in the bathroom.  We ran back there and of course they were gone!  We asked at the store outside the bathroom and someone had turned them in.  She had her pins again!  Only at Disneyland!
Since the park was emptying out, we decided to try to go on Indiana Jones.  We walked over to Adventureland and the wait was only 30 minutes.  Half of us wanted to go to the room and half of us wanted to go on the ride.  Well, Melissa was pretty convincing – she really wanted to go on the ride, so away we went!  The kids got the front row of the Jeep and Ethan even got to drive (complete with his new Indy hat)!
Melissa wanted to go again, but everyone was tired so we decided to pull the plug.  On our way out though we happened to catch the new Light Parade.  It was awesome!  So colourful and full of energy!  We were glad we caught it!
We then caught the tram back to the parking lot.  This is the first time we did this ride ;-).  It was much easier on the feet than walking!  It was fast too.  When we got to the parking lot, the fireworks were on, so we stopped and watched.  They were amazing too!  The parking lot is so close to the fireworks that little pieces of fireworks fell all around you.  They also make the car alarms go off, every night.
I was so happy to see the car and be able to sit down.  It was a great day!  Hello bed!!  Good night all!

Ethan – Tuesday November 10th – Disneyland Again

Today we ate at the Rain Forest Cafe and almost missed breakfast. I ordered the waffles, they are so filling.

We left and went into the California Adventure, the first ride of the day was Hollywood Tower the wait essential to long, after that we got churros they were very good. When we left I gabbed fast passes for it so we could go again later.
Then we went on cars, the wait was very long and Amelia kept bugging me but when we finally got on it was worth it.
We walked to Toy Story and on our way we got fast passes for the Rollercoaster and a giant turkey leg. On Toy Story I was only 5,200 points behind dad (he always wins).
Then we went to the Rollercoaster with our fast passes but it was closed so we went on the Ferris Wheel. Well we were on it the Rollercoaster started up again, so we went on that when we got off.
Then we ran to Hollywood tower so we didn’t waste our fast passes, we made it with 2 minutes to spare, it was awesome and in our picture there was a petrified little girl.
We were on our way to dinner when we saw a sign for a trailer to the “Good Dinosaur”. The trailer was good and it made me want to watch the full movie, I guess that’s what the maker people were going for.
Then dad, Amy, Sammy and I went to get me a new hat so I have one that fits while mom and Lissa went to gab a table for supper at La Brea.
We ate and left for the hotel. Everyone’s feet really hurt but when we got back we felt very tired, or at least I did.
My least favorite part of the day today was when all my sisters would take turns hanging on the back pack I was carrying, but my favourite part of today was the toy story ride ( it’s always super fun).
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Melissa (Monday Nov. 9) – Amelia’s Birthday

We went to Goofy’s kitchen and Amrlia got a birthday cupcake.  We went in Disneyland and we went on Splash Mountain , I didn’t like getting wet!  Then we went on Jack’s ride.  Then we went on Pirates of the Caribbean.  Then we went on Indiana Jones with Ashley and Heidi.  I really liked that Heidi went with me because I haven’t seen her in a long time.  I liked the snakes on this ride.

After that we went in the treehouse.  We went on lots more rides too.  My favorite part of the day was Thunder Mountain because I really, really, really like that ride!  I thought the new Matterhorn is scarier than before.  I was sad on Buzz Lightyear because I lost my best friend Emmet on that ride, but later we went to the Lego Store and dad got me a new one.
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