I was nervous about bringing Norah on a long road trip because our last Utah trip in February was such a disaster. But I've never had the chance to see Andrea run a steeple, and this was NATIONALS, so we decided to take the chance.
Our plan was to drive to the Tri-Cities on Tuesday and stay the night in Kennewick with the Brashears, long-time friends of the Doug and Edie. Then, on Wednesday, we would drive to Salem, OR, to drop off our things at the Petersens' house (Carolyn's in-laws) and then on to Eugene that night for the race.
Lots of driving. And lots of new people. Such a great combination for a two-year-old right. Did I mention that she was getting a couple molars at the time? (I didn't know that until after we got home, though.)
Things actually went pretty well for us, all things considered. Norah was super clingy and took A LONG time to warm up to strangers and pretty much never let me put her down, but it could have been much worse.
The drive to the Tri-Cities was probably the worst part of the trip. We intended to use Doug and Edie's (rather old) portable DVD player to entertain the toddler, but, an hour into the trip, we realized that wasn't going to work. If you didn't hold it at the perfect angle (which I was terrible at finding), the movie would skip non-stop. And then we couldn't get the player to charge. Ugh.
So we took selfies for a good chunk of the drive.
Yeah, I bought a new DVD player in the Tri-Cities. Best hundred bucks I've ever spent. The rest of the drive, Norah was golden. GOLDEN.
I tried to put Norah down for a nap at the Brashears while I went to buy the DVD player, but she wouldn't have it. She talked Grandma into holding her, and somehow Grandma managed this. No idea how. This girl hasn't fallen asleep in my arms for over a year. Lucky Grandma.
The next morning was said goodbye to the Brashears (and Norah said goodbye to Kramer the dog and all of the fun toys) to head on over to Oregon.
She sat like this the entire drive from Kennewick to Salem. I am not exaggerating. She was in heaven, probably because we watched Frozen at least 4 times.
I didn't get any pictures of it, but I fell in love with Portland as we drove through it. We drove right through the city, and it was gorgeous. I don't think I'd mind living there.
After a quick stop and lunch graciously provided by the Petersens, we headed to Eugene. Thankfully, Norah fell asleep for most of the hour drive. We stopped by Andrea and Jed's hotel room and said hi, and then Edie and I got semi-lost trying to find a cheap parking spot. We did get to see some more of the University of Oregon's campus, though. College campuses always make me ache to see BYU again.
Finally, it was race time. And $18 a person, later, we were in the stadium. (They don't give those tickets away. At least Norah was still free.)
I wasn't sure how Norah would handle sitting in bleachers for an hour, but she liked watching the runners. She got excited when all the people around us started cheering and especially enjoyed the slow clapping for the pole vaulters, and she started asking for more each time she saw runners jump over the steeple barriers.
I love the flowers on the side of the water jump. Oregon really knows how to host.
I caught some shots before the race and happened to catch this. I know it's all about the timing, but Andrea almost looks like she's doing some kind of meditation here. Sorry, Dre. I just thought it was funny.
I know the race didn't go as well as Andrea wanted, but it was amazing for me to be there to watch her run. I mean, she made it to Nationals. What an honor! I am so glad Norah and I made the drive over. Way more than worth it!
We went out to eat after the race, and I made sure we got a group shot, since I'm not very good at remembering those.
The next day, Norah, Edie and I headed back home. Again, the DVD player was a lifesaver. We did have a little bit of a freak out about two hours out from Spokane after she woke up from a nap, but it wasn't anything Frozen couldn't solve.
She seriously had this dorky grin almost the whole drive. She loves her movies way too much, I think.
Multnomah Falls, as seen from the freeway. It was such a beautiful drive in Oregon. I'm used to the Spokane to Utah drive, which is rather lacking in beauty once you get out of the mountains. So all of the green was a welcome change. (Although the drive from the Tri-Cities to Spokane is not that great either. It's funny because there is almost literally a line where the trees start once you get close to Spokane.)
I'm so glad Norah and I were able to make the trip. I loved being able to see Andrea race. And I also learned that road trips with a two-year-old aren't as bad as I thought. That's good news because we're going to Utah some time this summer, and that's an even longer drive.