Our son was two months old the next time we set out for adventure, we set out a few days before Halloween 2012. We were heading to Las Vegas to attend a tradeshow that goes on each year.
We were anxious about this adventure since we had never traveled with a baby before. Everyone told us horror stories about how bad it was going to be; people even called us crazy! This trip I like to think of as the maiden voyage for the Mead Family. We loaded our little Toyota Corolla to the brim and we were off…or were we…okay eventually several hours later we were off.
We got a late start that day but learning lessons from our first road trip, we had decided that our half-way point for the trip would be Reno, Nevada. It was just over 9 hours from where we lived, we booked a room a few nights prior (another lesson learned) and knew we had to make it to Reno.
The first few hours of the trip went smoothly, despite leaving late we were making decent time. The baby was mostly sleeping and we stopped often enough for the baby to eat and be changed.
At some point we cross into California the sun has set and darkness is upon us. Now if you don’t live in a place with deer you probably haven’t experienced the paranoia that comes with darkness and deer jumping in the road. Because we were traveling in an area with a deer population we slowed our travels to be safer.
Everything was going fine until we hit, what we now call, “Deer Alley”. Short of a stretch of road from Kanab, Utah to Page, Arizona this is the most terrifying stretch of deer infested road I have EVER been on and remember I grew up in Montana.
Let me paint you a picture of Deer Alley. Imagine a dark two lane road in the middle of no where. No one around for miles and miles, no lights, no moon, nothing. Now imagine that road lined with tall trees. As you drive down this road everything is black, blacker then the darkest night. It is as if the lights from the highlights are being sucked into another dimension. The only thing you see are little eyes glowing around you as you drive. Did anyone ever see Are We There Yet? It is a movie where a crazy deer attacks the main character, this is what I imagined the deer of Deer Alley to look like. It wasn’t one or two or even 10 deer, that stretch of road had hundreds of deer. Below is a terrible illustration of my version of Deer Alley!
Some of the deer were tucked back into the trees just enough so you could see their eyes glowing. Like they were contemplating a full scale attack on the humans. The deer that were visible by the headlights were even worse because you know that any second they could get a notion to just jump in front of the car. Even though our Corolla handled all our trips like a champ, running into a deer would’ve been the end.
Eventually we make it out of Deer Alley somewhere near Eagle Lake. This is just north of Susanville, California. Which by the way would have been a lovely town to stop for the night had we not made reservations in Reno. This trip is the reason we never make advance reservations anymore, but that is a story for another time.
As we are passing by Eagle Lake, we are talking about the time we lost slowly making our way through Deer Alley. Suddenly, we almost are almost sideswiped by what we think was likely an owl as we are catching our breath no more than a few feet down the road we find ourselves swerving around a turtle that is walking up the road. We end this lovely trek through Eagle Lake with a few more deer sightings and we were on our way.
By the time we factor in pit stops for feeding and changing the baby, Deer Alley, and Eagle lake we were WAY off schedule by HOURS! We didn’t end up arriving to Reno until 6 am! Now as more experienced travelers we would have just stopped off in the first town we could to get a room in or sleep in the car. But remember we had made reservations and who wants to lose that money?!
We get a few hours of sleep and we’re somewhat ready for the next leg of the journey. Onward to Las Vegas! This portion of the trip wasn’t really eventful just the usual road trip happenings.
By nightfall, we pulled into Beatty a town a few hours outside of Vegas as our last gas stop before reaching Vegas. For reasons I don’t remember James had to do some rearranging with the bags while we stopped for gas. This doesn’t seem important now but it will.
Finally, after another late night we settled into our condo in Las Vegas. The baby was hungry wanting a midnight meal, I needed a new can of formula, so naturally I go looking for the bag that had all the cans in it. It was NO WHERE to be found! We looked in the car, we looked in the room, it had vanished. I was near tears, realizing we must have left the formula, bottles and other stuff at the gas station in Beatty, yep the one about 2 hours away.
Being tired, new parents it didn’t occur to us to just buy new bottles and formula. No we were panicked and James was ready to drive back to Beatty to get our bag. Luckily, right before he got in the car he took one last look at the bags. For some reason at the gas station he had put the baby supplies into a different bag, in our tired traveler brains we never looked in that bag!
We all slept peacefully that night, glad we had survived the first trip of our Family Adventures.
Stories for another time from this trip include: San Francisco, Redwoods, Crazy baby eating Lady at Round Table, Experiencing California Coastal Fog.