Scottsdale AZ to Sulpher LA
My alarm went off at 6:45am so we could make it to breakfast at Dad & Heather's by 7:30am. We turned into the Thunderbird Adventist Academy campus at about 7:40am and parked in the shade (the cats we left at the motel). Heather had prepared eggs, and pancakes with strawberries or an assortment of jams. Just before we sat down to eat Dad opened the last two years worth of Christmas presents: a foot massager for Heather, Pooh and Tigger jumpers for Makayla, and a new watch for Dad, along with an M&M scrapbook.
Dad handled the requisite interrogation of Scott's worthiness while I watched and took pictures of Makayla enjoying her breakfast. Her clothes enjoyed it, too.
After breakfast we took pictures of me and my little sis and Makayla and I opened the goodie bags Dad had brought home from his trip up north on Southwest Airlines: plane shaped cookies and a set of honorary pilot's wings for each of us.
We headed back to the Motel with the intention of taking a nap before getting back on the road. When we opened the door to our room, Chou was there waiting happily to greet us, so I put food in the dishes for the cats' "second breakfast". Chou remained alone at the buffet and our concern grew as we searched the suite for Minx and Maui. Not in the closet, not in the bathroom, not in the sitting area, not in either of the windows, not behind any of the furniture, and not even meowing. When we left for breakfast we had left the "do not disturb" tag on the door to avoid an escape courtesy of Housekeeping. Scott and I went downstairs into the courtyard and I searched in the plants while Scott notified the manager of our situation. The manager informed us that there IS a way to get under the bed (the bed frame from all appearances is solid), and he would come help us look in a couple of minutes.
Back upstairs, the mattress and the box springs were dismantled to reveal two very guilty looking beasts. They were pulled out, the bed was put back together and we napped until about 1:15pm.
Loaded in and ready to go, I had found Chou and Maui and deposited them in the crate, but couldn't find Minx. We ensured that the bed hidey-hole was not accessible and finally discovered her behind the dresser.
The 101 loop south took us to 202 south and then back to 10 east. We got off on the Baseline exit and found our way to Duff's office, where Duff and Denise were waiting to visit for a little while before Denise had to go let the kids in the house after school and Duff had appointments.
We were out of Tempe by 4pm and headed east. I was driving for this leg and made it for about an hour and a half and didn't feel so hot, so Scott took over.
Just above Las Cruces, New Mexico, we pulled into a rest area to shuffle some things around, feed and water the cats, relieve ourselves, take pictures of the city lights and switch drivers. While Scott was searching for the flashlight, Minx managed a daring escape (maybe she sensed that we were near the state prison) and took off toward a small building. Scott hollered at me and took off after her. I shouted "don't chase her!" so he stopped, went back to the car to shut the door so the other two hooligans wouldn't get out, and I followed Minx around the building for two laps before Scott came back and went the other way and caught her.
I drove as far as Van Horn, Texas and we switched again so I could take out my contacts and try to sleep. I had pulled the down comforter out of the trailer and tried to fashion a bed in the back half of the car, taking care not to put my feet in the litter box. By this time Minx had decided that it was well past everyone's bedtimes (something she's always kept track of at home) and became very agitated. It was pretty hard for me to sleep on an incline that was much less than comfortable, and it didn't help that Maui wanted to snuggle, Chou kept standing on my chest to look out the window, and Minx was still yowling.
Around 6:45am (now Friday morning) we stopped to rest at a lonely gas station in the middle of nowhere. We slept for two hours after I sprayed more Feliway (a cat pheromone that has a calming effect) in the back of the car and Minx calmed down and went to sleep,
At 8:45am we got back on the road, Scott still driving, and I managed to sleep for another two and a half hours. We stopped for brunch at a McDonalds, had salad and continued on our way. Side note: my two cheeseburgers-without-the-burger had meat in them the first time around, and my Bacon-Ranch-Chicken-Salad-without-the-chicken-but-with-the-imitation-bacon-bits-that-were-NOT-imitation-bacon-bits had to be dismantled to get all the icky bacon off it.
We had discussed taking Highway 290 to bypass San Antonio, since Highway 10 takes a pretty deep turn to the south before heading back up to Houston. At the appropriate junction we headed off onto a beautiful country highway 290. I don't know if it was any faster overall, we ran into traffic in several small towns and some construction. We made it into Austin and through and then into Houston and got back on the 10.
After hour upon hour of driving and short naps, we decided to spend the night somewhere where we could all stretch out. My legs were feeling crampish and Maui was acting lethargic, not wanting to eat or drink in the car.
5 attempts at motels that apparently don't take pets, and we finally found a La Quinta in Sulpher, Louisiana. Everyone is resting and comfy and we're going to spend a relaxing evening. We only have 18 hours left to Key West of driving time