Saturday evening was Papa’s last night in his home as he knew it and we were all relieved to sit back and spend some family time together before everyone went his or her separate ways the next morning. Typical to the Marocco family, we ate pizza. I am not sure if we will miss Little Bite of Italy more or if they will miss making pizzas for our hungry family.
Sunday morning came bright and early and the slumber party of everyone sleeping in Papa and Nana’s small home was over. Doug and Allison left at 4:30am to catch their flights to DC and NY respectively. Tiara took off at 6:30am for her flight to MI, which sadly ended up being delayed for days due to the snow and cold weather hitting the rest of the country. Daryl, Lisa, Tati, Tessa, Tyler and Thalia were eating and packing up their car to head back to CA. That left Christina, Papa and I to set out on our week long, 2700 mile cross-country trek.
Before we could leave, Papa took one last walk through his home making sure he had everything he needed. A Mercury Marquis might look like a big car but after spending two days filling the trunk like a large Tetris game and we did not have any more room. The trunk was packed, half of the back seat was loaded and the car was definitely riding low. Every item he touched on his final walk through was “good” and he asked us if we wanted to bring them. Look at this drill, should we bring it? Here is a good air compressor or hammer or screwdrivers. Do you need a vice; it is a good vice you should bring it. Did you pack some of the boxed paper towels; they are good paper towels. What about this magnifying glass, it is a good one. My mom painted this Christmas tree; does it fit? Of course we found room for another box of towels, we fit the magnifying glass and several more screw drivers and anything else we could squeeze into an already packed car. We left the ceramic tree and a few other items to be shipped so he has it next Christmas. Papa had an extensive set of tools and it broke my heart to not be able to bring everything. Two hours after we had expected to leave we were finally able to get into the car and start driving off.
Christina helped me plan a detailed route; each day was planned highlighting a few short stops at various points of interest or restaurants that we had researched. Her meticulous map put my countless lists to shame. We were ready and just hoping for good weather for our adventure. We did all the driving while Papa sat comfortably in the back seat. He shared the back seat with an end table, a TV, 3 suitcases, a bag of meds and toiletries, a backpack, a computer bag, two pillows and a box with cans of spray paint, and of course an extra box of paper towels. It might sound crowded, but he had more room in back than we did!
Our first stop was lunch in Flagstaff, a mere 2 hours and 6 minutes from Sun City. We were hungry and ready to stretch our legs and eat. Just before we arrived, Papa said, Are we there yet? We should be in Canada we have been driving so long. Christina and I looked at each other, laughed and thought it could be a long trip. Luckily it wasn’t, we all had the trip of a lifetime. Here are a few pictures of places we stopped along the way.
Since we have been home Papa has asked us every day if we brought the vice or where it is. I hope who ever gets that vice knows how much it meant to him.