The reason: Our primary purpose was to get Brad and Laura back to Ohio as quickly and inexpensively as possible. (Hence, #bringthekidsback, our Twitter hashtag for the journey.) He was set to start a new job in Solon, and she was preparing to return to school, as well as fix up the house they'd be renting from her parents.
Both had been in California for more than three years, having left Northeast Ohio separately, then meeting through mutual friends out West. Now they were coming home together.
It was our version of the Great American Road Trip, but in a big hurry. Seeing the sights was mostly through the windshield, signposts of the possible -- both there and back.
Making the 2,400-mile, 40-hour drive out took the two dads only 57 hours and a single, overnight stop in a hotel. Coming home in the caravan of three vehicles took the four of us nearly three full days -- with two overnight stops -- or about 63 hours.
In each case, that left little time for sightseeing, but the sights and peculiarly American spectacle of this infinitely interesting country kept calling out to be seen anyway, even if it was often obscured by a mostly brown and gray land of winter unfolding before us.