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5:50 PM We're on our way across the country! Yesterday was a somewhat stressful day, getting everything loaded in the car--worried that it all wouldn't fit. One of our cats (Turtle) found an excellent hiding place and we couldn't find her for hours. I was just miserable that we would have to leave her behind. (She was in the silverware drawer of the china cabinet.) Elisabeth had her piano recital at 3:00 yesterday. She was the second to play and did great. She had her music up there with her but didn't need to use it.

We took off right after Elisabeth played and drove to Asheville last night. I had the girls, and Randall had the cats. Randall accidentally made a reservation for a smoking room, so we were all a little miserable in our stinky room (and now Sophie's blanket reeks of smoke). We slept in until around 8:00 this morning and had breakfast out before we loaded up the cats. Today was my day to have the cats, and we were going along pretty well until I hit something in the road and the engine started sounding funny. I was able to pull over to the rest area, but Randall didn't see me, and I didn't have a cell phone signal. I looked at it and couldn't see anything, and it sounded okay when I revved the engine, so I pulled back on. I could tell right away it didnt sound right, when I accelerated, so I just accelerated as little as possible and drove until I had a signal. I told Randall to get off at the next exit so I could catch up with him. He drove it and said it seemed good enough to drive--no real loss of power and the engine lights weren't coming on. We pulled in to his dad's house around 2:00 and have had a nice afternoon. A little while ago, they put the car up on a jack and could see that a plate had come loose and a hose was disconnected. They tightened everything up, but a screw had come out, so we will probably try to stop somewhere tomorrow to get it fixed.

Lots of Randall's family are coming over for a cookout tonight. It's a beautiful day, and we're all just hanging out on the front porch, where there is a nice breeze. Elisabeth is hanging out with her cousin, and Sophie is being all cute with everyone else. Randall's sister Sabine is here visiting too, so we're just having a wonderful reunion. I wish we could stay a little longer. Tomorrow we head to Randall's mom's house to stay for a couple of nights. The girls have an appointment on Tuesday at the children's dentist where she works.

Happy birthday to my mom!


Thank you! It has, of course, been a wonderful day, even though I had to work. I insisted on everyone taking due notice, and smiled all day.

I am so sorry you are having car trouble, but glad it seems fixable. Sure hope all gets fixed and ready for the trek! It is so great you are getting to enjoy family tonight -- and that you will have time with Karin. Tell everyone hi for me.

Hugs and kisses to all!