After our great trip to Australia, it was time to head back to real life in the US. There isn't really an easy way to fly to the east coast from Australia. We boarded our flight on Delta Airlines in Sydney and flew for half a day to get to LAX. From there, we couldn't get a direct flight to Norfolk, VA so we had to fly through Detroit and deal with another layover. Then, after 3 planes and about 24 hours of travel, we finally landed in Virginia. I'd spend time telling you about all of the interesting stories we lived through during this trip, but there weren't any. Get on a plane, sit, wait, get off the plane, look for the next plane. Not exactly an exciting tale.
It did feel good to be on the ground in Virginia. Melissa's mom Chris was waiting for us at the airport. Jack ran over and gave her a huge hug as soon as he saw her. We collected the bags we'd been living out of for the last 3 weeks from baggage claim and piled into the the old red truck we've owned since before Jack was born.
We had a great time staying at Melissa's parents place in Virginia. My favorite part of staying there is that the Bar & Grill they've been building for the last five years is finally open. I essentially had my own bar for watching the World Cup this summer.
The Old Firehouse is a great place on the Eastern Shore of Virginia to grab a beer and burger for lunch or have a nice dinner with a glass (or bottle) of wine. With 8 different beers on tap, I spent more than my share of time sitting at the bar every day.
Unfortunately, I was only able to stay there less than a week. We'd arrived on a Tuesday and I had to start work in Houston the following Monday. Melissa and Jack were able to spend some extra time there after I left, but for me, it was time to start packing again.
Melissa's mom had been keeping two things for us while we were in Singapore. One was the old red truck I'd previously mentioned. The other was our dogs, Milo and Pepper. My job was to take both the truck and the dogs back to Houston.
We took a trip over the bridge to the mall in Norfolk during the middle of the week to stock up on things I'd need for the trip as well as leave the truck at the Toyota dealer for the day for some much needed maintenance before the long drive. We were able to find a good travel kennel for the dogs while we were shopping. It fit perfectly in the back seat of the truck and would hold both of the dogs for the drive. I was also able to replace the charger I'd lost for my Blackberry and get Melissa and new phone for the US.
Of course, the truck wasn't ready when we got back to the dealer and we ended up sitting around for another two hours waiting for it to be finished. We should have just gotten an early dinner in Norfolk instead of just sitting around and staring at each other for two hours. At least ($1800 later) the truck was now in great shape. We headed back to Cape Charles and had a great dinner at the Firehouse. Always a better idea than Chili's.
On Friday afternoon, I kissed Melissa and Jack goodbye and started my drive to Houston with the dogs. I got about 6 hours in on Friday and called it a night around 10pm. Between walking the dogs every few hours and needing to stop for gas, I didn't feel like I was getting very far, but at least it was a start.
Saturday was my big day on the road and I got in a good 14 hours of driving. I made it all the way to Louisiana and left myself a short 5 hour drive for Sunday. Unfortunately, after checking into the hotel the night, I found out (from a sign near the entrance) that they didn't allow dogs. I thought that their website had said they did, but trusting Travelocity isn't always the best option. Regardless, I wasn't moving after I'd already checked in, so I snuck the dogs in through the back door and did my best to keep them quiet.
We were able to sneak our way out successfully in the morning and get back on the road. Finally, after 24 hours driving over three days, Milo, Pepper and I made it to our temporary apartment in Houston on April 20th. We've been staying there since and Melissa and Jack arrived in the middle of May after vacationing with family and friends in Virginia and Chicago. The house hunt started in earnest after Melissa arrived and we've finally got a place contracted to close at the end of August. But that's another post.