Day 4 - Wednesday - July 26, 2006
0807 - leave Grandma's house
0818 - Caught by the train signals. A few cars in front of me hurried through before the gates came down. I could have made it as well but decided to stop and let the kids enjoy watching the train from the front row, something we never do at home. I counted (Ryan was counting most of the way but got tired. Or Bored.) 66 cars to the train. And of course no caboose. :( I loved watching for the caboose when I was little and waving to the train engineers. But not anymore. Not in the day and age of technology and price cutting. No more cabooses...
0828 - gas, $2.92/gallon and coffee. Snacks for the kids - Felisa chose a granola bar, Bella chose oreos, Felisa chose oreos. I have learned over the last 2 and a half years that Felisa will always want what the other kids have so I purposely didn't open her granola bar until after she saw what Bella was eating. I knew she would want that instead.
0829 - I have no sooner pulled out of the gas station (where we were for several minutes!) when Ryan says he has to go potty. WHAT?!? Are you kidding me? You couldn't have mentioned this 60 seconds earlier when we were already stopped?!
0830 - After giving Ryan a piece of my mind, I pull into the McD's down the street. Man, this place is packed! The entire parking lot is full. Kind of like the Starbucks parking lot at home in the mornings... Inside McD's are all the local retirees gathered for breakfast and coffee with their buddies.
0842 - Back on the road. With breakfast. I wasn't going to have a McD's breakfast today but if you make me stop and go in, you have to expect me to indulge.
0903 - Reflecting on how much more courteous and friendly people are here. Yesterday at the town square, the lady parked next to us came back to her car while I was loading up the kids. She actually waited for me to buckle Felisa, close her door, and get into my seat BEFORE she pulled away. Something no one seems to do anymore. I was always taught growing up that you should not get in or out of your car if someone is pulling in or out. I was also taught to not pull in or out of a parking spot if someone is getting in or out of their car. Apparently that is a custom not taught anymore. It aggravates me to no end that people just can't seem to wait 10 seconds before they going flying off. A second example is the older gentleman at the gas station. He walked in right behind me. I got a cup and was at the cappacino machine which takes a minute to fill the cup. He was standing back, waiting, so I assumed he wanted a cappucino also. I finally filled my cup and stood to the side to add a bit of creamer so that he could access the machine. He stepped up and asked if I minded if he grabbed a cup from near where I was standing. I said, please do. Then he filled it with regular coffee from the coffee pots on the other side of me. What? You mean he was actually waiting for me to finish so he wouldn't be rude, reaching in to grab a cup. Amazing. Again, would never happen at home. The best you could hope for would be an "Excuse me" as someone reaches in to grab a cup. Which is actually okay for me but I was struck by the incredible courtesy shown once again.
0935 - the DVDs have begun...
1006 - Missouri and the Mississippi River!
1008 - stop in Hannibal. Take a picture by the river. Climb the hill to see the lighthouse. Check out the gift shop. Play dress up in the gift shop. The kids are too young to really understand the significance of the place but had fun running around. Next time we come through here, we'll visit the cave.
1109 - Back on the road.
12:11 pm - Macon, MO. On a different note... What is it that makes people sleep with their mouth hanging open?! And here's another thought for you as I pass the millionth corn and bean fields... apparently the only thing we eat in America is corn and soy. Which is more true than you would think. In all my thrush research 2 years ago, I also learned about some food allergies and how pervasive corn and soy are. If you are allergic to either of those, or heaven forbid both of those, there isn't much you can eat. They have secret names for all the different forms and derivatives and they are in EVERYTHING!
2:01 pm - Kansas and the Missouri River!
2:21 pm - stuck behind a tractor and there is no food in Troy. Kids (meaning Felisa) are getting antsy.
2:45 pm - Hiawatha McD's for lunch. Way too many flies hanging around in there. At least 2o at the window next to our table. Uck.
3:20 pm - pay 4 girls at the lemonade stand $1 for directions to a playground. I would say in general, kids know where things are but they sure can't give directions like adults do!
3:30 pm - We found the playground without much trouble. The kids decided it was too hot to play after all and Ryan said "Can we go? It's too quiet here." The playgrounds we have found so far on our journey have been desolate and definitely lacking in shade.
3:38 pm - gas, $2.99/gallon for plus and $2.04 for regular. Huh???
3:50 pm - Doodle book crisis - pull over to the side of the road to find the water pen Felisa dropped since my plan of "just do something else" was met with hysterical crying.
3:51 pm - Pass a disgusting cow mudhole. At first it looked like a nice little pond where they could swim and cool off. When I got closer I saw exactly how disgusting it really was.
4:24 pm - Hit a bird. Or rather, a bird hit us. VERY loud thunk on the windshield. Looking in the rear view mirror, it seems to be flying off okay. That's one way to break up the monotony of the northern Kansas highway. We are following 36 rather than the interstate and it is quite lonely out here.
4:34 pm - Reflecting on how driving through the "heartland" makes me re-evaluate what living simply and having enough really means. The definitions of these can become very skewed living in a big city. I saw an ad in the paper at Grandma's house for a 2 bedroom, 1 bath house listed at $14,900. That was the lowest price but none of the houses listed were over $30,000. Which is about how much we paid for our minivan last year. We won't even talk about how much our house cost or is now worth.
4:45 pm - stop at the Pony Express museum. The museum was scheduled to close at 5 but the lady working there told us to take our time, she didn't mind staying a few minutes late.
5:17 pm - leave the museum
5:20 pm - looks like one hour to Belleville or two hours to Smith Center. Want to call Ron to check on the hotel situation but there is no cell phone service. Huh? They had a walmart in the last town but no cell service?
6:36 pm - halfway to Smith center. The road has been so empty today. Talk about wide open spaces... there is still no cell service so I am forced to "live in the moment"
6:40 pm - Today's roadside signs theme has been Choose Life.
6:45 pm - passing the geographic center of the united states.
Ryan - We're in the middle of the united states? Wow!
Bella and Felisa - silence
6:46 pm - Ryan continues to pester the girls by messing with their armrests. How many times have I told him not to do that? Grrr....
7:21 pm - leaving Smith Center. Another crappy playground with no McD's in sight. This would be the down side to wide open spaces. And did I mention that I'm done "living in the moment"? I want my cell phone back!
8:14 pm - leaving Phillipsburg. No room at the inn, no cell phone, and I just paid $3 for bread and cheese at Subway. Ask the kids to be tough and go 2 more hours to Colby.
8:20 pm - at the gas station. The water bucket with the window squeegee that I must use to wash dead bugs from my windshield is filled with swimming and floating dead beetles. Eeeewwwww! We're not in Kansas anymore, Toto. Oh wait - we are! :(
9:30 pm - DVD player batteries die. This is just about the worst thing that could have happened. We are in the middle of nowhere, 30 minutes from the hotel, it's dark, and we're headed into a thunderstorm. We're not going to make it....
9:56 pm - Quality Inn - an oasis in my Kansas Hell. The pool is open until 11 so I can let the kids burn off some energy before bed time. Unfortunately the thunder and lightning gets closer so we are only able to swim for 20 minutes. I get completely soaked unloading the car. No one wants to sleep. Felisa spills go-gurt all over my bed and her pajamas. Calgon, take me away. Please let this day end!
Day 5 - Thursday - July 27, 2006
0942 - going to check out after a leisurly morning of swimming, cartoons, and sleeping in until 8 am.
0952 - Sonic for breakfast! Yum!
1006 - Walmart for replacement sippy cups (two have disappeared into the car and can't be found), bug spray (almost out!), and a new movie to entertain the troops. Felisa chooses Tom and Jerry. Not too many good selections available but this'll work. I hope.
1043 - gas, $3.04. Colby smells like cows. We are headed back to the interstate. Mileage for yesterday, 562.7
1102 - DVD starts.
1104 - now 1004 Mountain Time
1007 - Hysterical crying (Felisa) because the DVD player won't work.
1017 - Felisa is asleep. Guess my threat to pull over and throw her out if she didn't stop crying worked.
1033 - Colorado!!!
1150 - Limon. Found a great playground at the school. There were actually some other kids there when we arrived (first time this whole trip we have seen other kids at a playground) but they soon left.
12:45 pm - leaving the school after 2 trips to the potty and one boo-boo. The DVD is working now.
1:02 pm - I saw a mountain!
2:30 pm - Arrive at Emil and Imee's house. Enjoy a nice relaxing afternoon.
8:00 pm - Ron calls. He has already landed and de-planed! Just as we were discussing whether we should go inside to meet him or pick him up at the curb. Guess that answers that question. Hurry - everyone to the car!
9:30 pm - arrive back after a roundabout journey through Denver. Ron wasn't lost but I sure was! Melissa and Ron have now officially joined the journey...
A review of the trip after our first driving days............... The whining was much more constant than I thought it would be. I figured that if I stopped to let the kids play, that I could get an hour down the road before the whining resumed. I was very wrong. It took Felisa about 10 seconds down the road before the whining resumed. Overall though, they were all good travelers. My first cross-country drive, solo with 3 littles, was a success.