After we got back from South Carolina, the apartment complex came up with a 4-bedroom unit, and we moved from the back of the complex up to the very front. It was good to have the extra room!
We made new friends, and started attending a new church...one that was JUST around the corner from us. One of our new neighbors went there, and the Protestant lay-leader from the ship (and his lovely wife) also went to our new church home. This was a new experience for us... New Community was definitely NOT your normal, traditional church. The church was pretty new, many of the members were affiliated with the Navy, and the worship leader was a rocker. It was a learning/growning experience.
Jason got back from deployment in August, 2002, and less than a year later he got off the ship, on his way Independent Duty in Helena, Montana. Before we left Texas, Jason had to go to school in New Orleans for several weeks, while I was getting the house, the kids and I ready for the move. At this point, I was about 4 months pregnant with baby #6....and there was some concern, because my PAP smear had come back as abnormal...but nothing could be done about it until after the baby was born.
The movers arrived on July 29th, and I sat and watched them pack everything, and then cleaned the house the day after everything was loaded on the truck. Jason got back from New Orleans, we spent the night with some friends, and left, headed to our next adventure in Montana.
Our last stop, before leaving town, was the gas station...where I remember remarking how expensive gas was getting....it was $1.45/gallon.
The first leg of our journey was all in Texas. We were in deep southern Texas, and had some friends living in the panhandle of Texas where we were supposed to be spending our first night. The trip from Portland, TX to their home was 14 hours. We were driving two cars, and were already exhausted. Sometime around 2:00 in the morning, we found a gas station parking lot, and slept for a couple of hours. We woke up and drove the rest of the way, arriving at our friends' house in the early afternoon. It was good to see them, and see how much their children had grown. We spent the night with them, and took off early the next morning.
The next day's travels took us from Texas, through a piece of Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Colorado, and into Wyoming. That leg of the journey was pretty uneventful. We spent that night in Cheyenne, Wyoming.
The third day, we left Cheyenne, and were planning to get into Helena, MT that night. We were making pretty good time when one of the little ones had to take a restroom break. We tried to find an exit with a gas station, but there were none to be found. Finally, we got off and stopped on the side of the road, by a field. After taking care of business, we tried to get back on the road, but had two problems. First, my station wagon wouldn't go back into gear, and then his Mercury Tracer wouldn't start. His problem was easily fixed...a half bottle of Coke over the battery connections, and he was running again. My car problem was a bit more involved...it seems the transmission had died, and we were STUCK.