Well, this was the day that I hoped would never come, though it was prolonged so we could stay another day. The line came in and Roland would get started on the van after his shift was over.
The yard sale started at 9:30 am and went until 12. We are not much into doing yard sales, so the shorter the better, as far as things are concerned. My mom, my daughter, Brenda and Susan took care of the yard sale and I stayed with my two sons. My youngest slept til 10 after the traumatizing night before. When my oldest got up, I made him some pancakes. I made chocolate chip pancakes for him and some blueberry pancakes for me. When my youngest woke up, he had some of the pancakes that were already made.
My brothers were in the softball tournament still. They had games starting at 10 am. They were on different teams. We didn't make it until the 1 pm game that Bob was in. They won that game which was nice to see. I was making chicken salad for sandwiches when we got the call that he would be starting a game in 10 minutes. So, we packed up the bread, cheese, chips and chicken salad and headed out the door. It wasn't far away, thankfully, so we didn't miss much as they were only 5 inning games. That would be the last softball game of the season that we would see.
Roland called and let us know that he was on his way home and would arrive around 4 pm. I always get teary-eyed when it is time to say goodbye. Today was no different. I had been crying in spurts all day. If I could possibly stay there, I would have, but my husband wouldn't have appreciated it very much.
We had everything packed by the door, all the laundry was done, except for my youngest son's shirt from the night before that he fell to sleep in. That got packed to be washed when we got home. I was with my mom getting last second things together when Roland pulled up. This was the least excited I was to have him come home, I wouldn't have cared if he had taken a few detours. I heard later that Bob had said, "I have never been so upset to see Roland get home as I am now." I thought that was cute :)
We all said goodbye, gave kisses and hugs, and then I ran back in to use the bathroom after the kids and Brenda were in the car. I guess being almost 31 weeks pregnant would do that to someone. So, of course, I gave everyone their hugs and kisses again, then jumped in the driver seat. Brenda took a picture of the family standing outside the van and then we departed. I drove to the Country Fair at the end of the block with tears in my eyes. I bought 5 gallons of gasoline, because once we hit Ohio it would be 40 cents a gallon cheaper. I went in and got a case of water, a 12 pack of Coke, and Nutty Bars. Brenda realized we didn't have the cord for the cooler, so she called Roland and Susan and they ran it down to us. That was the final goodbye.
I drove well into Ohio. At the second gas station we stopped at in Ohio, Brenda jumped in the driver seat and she started. We called Mom around 9:30 pm to have her start looking for a hotel for us. We were hoping to be sleeping by Toledo. As it turned out, the nearest hotel where we could use our points for a free night, was 225 miles away, in Elkhart, IN. We drove until after midnight, and were very happy to see the hotel. Then we walked into the room. It was a sauna, and the A/C didn't work. We didn't waste any time calling the front desk. By the time they brought us one fan, we found that there was a dirty towel behind the bathroom door, so we had her take that also. The fan didn't help much but it was better than having nothing.
I have to admit that the children did amazingly well on this first round of the trip. We were in the van for over 8 hours and there wasn't much commotion at all. They kept themselves occupied playing their DS games and talking. The youngest was in the middle row by himself and the two older were in the back with a space between them. Once the youngest finally fell to sleep about 11 pm, he would wake up frequently crying. He doesn't generally do this, and we realized that it is because he doesn't like the dark. By this time, we were close to the hotel and decided that we would turn on his overhead light next time so it wouldn't be as dark.
I was happy that the children didn't waste much time going back to sleep once we were in the room, even with how hot it was. I was nervous that they would have had a nap and want to be up for several hours. We were planning to take off by 8 am Sunday morning.
Sunday morning rolled around, I got up at a little after 7 am and got ready to head out. I got everyone else up about 7:30 and had them get ready. We headed down with all of our stuff and stopped for breakfast on our way out. They only had 3 tables at the breakfast area, which didn't make life easy, since they were all taken. I got my youngest a bagel and some eggs. He ate the hard-boiled egg and then wanted an orange and an apple. So I grabbed those for him. I had half a bagel with cream cheese and hard-boiled egg, my children grabbed what they wanted, ate and we headed out.
We headed out at 8:20 am, not too far off schedule. I almost left a suitcase next to the car, thank goodness Brenda saw it. The seating arrangements were the same. I thought the children would fall quickly back to sleep, I was mistaken. They started getting cranky around 11 am, so I told them that whoever went to sleep would get to have a Dilly Bar from DQ. You would be surprised how that would encourage them to sleep. They were all to sleep within minutes, and slept til about 12:30 or 1 pm. This gave Brenda time to get a nap too.
At about 1:30 we stopped for lunch, which was at McDonalds Drive-thru, and Brenda took over at the wheel. I ate my food, and then took a nap. At about 4 pm, we stopped at a DQ and everyone got a Dilly Bar. This was when I realized that the microbead pillow that was in the backseat had ripped. You don't know how many beads one of those pillows have until something like this happens. There were hundreds all over the backseat. Thankfully the pillow still was full, because if all of those beads had come out, I would have cried. The pillow was thrown away at the DQ. Dilly Bars are a bad idea in a hot car. My daughter had it all over her. I have not yet figured out how it was down her arms, on her neck, and so forth... perhaps she was really hot and just started rubbing it all over herself. It took a few wet wipes to get cleaned up. Wet wipes are a wonderful idea on any trip... I have to remember to buy more to keep in the van. I can't remember what was for supper that night, but I know it would be something fast food.
We started the ABC game around 8:30 pm in the middle of Nebraska. There aren't many signs so it lasted into Monday. We got to letter X by Sunday night. The children fell to sleep during the game when we had to find the X. We started looking for a hotel that evening a little earlier. I think it was around 8 pm. We found one with a vacancy in Ogallala, NE. We would arrive there a little before midnight. We had hoped to make it to Sidney, but they didn't have the hotel chain that we needed there. Sidney would be another hour down the road anyway. The younger children fell to sleep around 10:30 pm. Caleb fell to sleep shortly before we got to the hotel. He was in a deep sleep when I was trying to wake him up to go in. It took a while to rouse him from his sleep, but he finally got up. We went into the hotel, and they were back to sleep within minutes. I set my alarm for 5:30 am, and went to sleep within minutes.
Monday morning came, we had found out upon check-in that the hotel didn't offer a breakfast, although the chain advertises free hot breakfasts. So, we got up, got the kids ready and to the van. We drove the hour to Sidney, NE, got breakfast at McDonalds, stopped at Wal-Mart and got some wheat thins and other snacks, bought 5 gallons of gas because it was $3.89 a gallon, then got back on the road. We hit the road again. We thought that gas would be cheaper when we crossed into WY. We were right, it was $3.29/gallon. I drove most of the day. We got BK for lunch and that was the last stop we made for food. We had a gift card for $10, so it came to $3.23 after that. Pretty good deal for lunch!
We finished the ABC game by the time we got home. There was a Bar X Road in Wyoming, so we got every letter of the alphabet. We arrived home a little before 4:45 pm. Keith was off getting groceries for supper and we didn't have a key to get into the house. We unpacked the van and had it all in front of the door by the time he came home. He didn't get home for about half an hour and I had to go to the bathroom pretty bad. I was glad when I finally saw him!
We had Shake N Bake chicken, potatoes and salad for supper. It was sooooo good to have regular food again. I don't know when I will want fast food again. The kids spent a few hours outside playing and I couldn't blame them at all. They had been cooped up in the van for about 36 hours. The trip took 51 hours, we spent about 15 hours in the hotels. The kids were remarkable. There were moments of unhappiness, but that can be expected. The moments were very short and far between. I know I couldn't have been so well behaved as a young child and hardly getting to move. Neither of us made it home in time for our appointments on Monday and I didn't make it to work. I would have to start work on Tuesday. Thank goodness for a wonderful supervisor who understands that life doesn't always go as planned. The van will need a good vacuuming!
School and work would start Tuesday... the trip is over and I am thankful for all the memories and the good times.