Monday, February 20, 2012

chapter eight: on the road again

my parents, in front of the house they've lived in for 33 years

The last chapter. Finally.

(The other chapters are right here in case you're interested.)

We've been home from our summer vacation for six and a half months. Better late than never I guess. Sheesh. Next time I'll blog on the go. I don't know what's wrong with me.

I don't remember all the good stuff anymore. Thankfully, I don't remember the bad stuff either. Good thing for me, I brought a spiral notebook along and took notes. That's something I learned from my grandma. She kept notes on road trips. It's true. She'd write down what times they stopped for gas, how much was pumped, the price per gallon and their tab. I've seen the notebooks. She even wrote little notes about the places they passed through and other little bits of useless information. I love it.

So here we go (according to my little spiral notebook and really sloppy riding-in-the-car handwriting):


9:04 a.m. Pulled out of the driveway. Knock-knock jokes begin immediately. Knock knock. Who's there? Tato. Tato who? Tato it's raining outside! Search for my earplugs.

10:29 a.m. Eat some chocolate.

10:42 a.m. Potty break in Birmingham. Dan's turn to drive. Bought Skittles and a Blow Pop sucker. Saw trees broken by the recent tornado. Dixie's Diner. Sneaky Pete's. Corky Bell Dance School. Winn Dixie.

"It'll be hard to find the mountain because of this whole big jungle of trees!" Kids aren't used to all the foliage. Utah has trees but nothing like the green jungles of Alabama.

"Are we home yet?" The first of many times that is asked.

12:40 p.m. Potty break. Grandpa pumps the gas. Fishy crackers, veggie straws and pita chips for lunch. Promises of ice cream for supper (because Grama Bama calls it supper instead of dinner).

1:10 p.m. Welcome to Mississippi, Birthplace of America's Music

3:00 p.m. Holly Springs, Mississippi, Home of Rust College and the Bearcats. 100 degrees outside. Grama Bama asked if I wanted to switch spots (I was in the way back of the van with Danny). I told her no way. She does a good job of taking care of Cate's every demand.

3:33 p.m. Tennessee. Oswald DVD for Cate and Plants vs. Zombies on Grama Bama's iPhone for Danny.

3:43 p.m. "I don't see a single mountain! When will we be at the hotel?"

Do you want some lotion? No, I'm just itchy. The lotion makes you not itch. Well, I just have to itch myself. 7 mosquito bites on one leg...and that's not even the leg he's itching.

4:07 p.m. Cross the Mighty Mississippi River. "Why does the daytime go on and on and on and on?" Entered Arkansas.

5:08 p.m. 101 degrees outside. Potty break at the gas station. Cate ran her finger along the rust at the bottom of the stall door. "It's dry!" Wash hands.

Pass a cotton field. Grandpa says probably soy beans and peanuts too.

5:59 p.m. "When will we be at the Not Far Away Hotel?" Pass the Pig-N-Out BBQ restaurant. Pig on a motorcycle. Dianne's Beauty Training Salon.

Ravenden, Arkansas. Wully Bully Cycles, Western Wear Store with 2,000 pairs of boots. Rone Valley Hillbilly Homecoming. Price Chopper grocery store.

6:54 p.m. Pass the Missouri Welcomes You sign. Too slow to grab my camera.

7:35 p.m. Arrive at the hotel. Grama Bama tells Grandpa to grab his pocket book as they get out of the van. Grandpa says, "I've got the money if you've got the time."

Swimming in the hotel pool. Cate screaming instead of falling asleep. Dan on the floor on the inflatable princess bed. Finally asleep. Grama Bama and Grandpa vow secretly to never share a hotel room with our little family ever again.


West Plains, Missouri.

Hotel breakfast. Country Corn Flakes for me. Biscuits and gravy for Dan.

8:54 And we're off. Cate's crying because she wanted to swim in the hotel pool some more.

9:24 When will we be at the second hotel? About 10 hours. 10 hours!? Is that like 10 minutes?

Pass Lazy Lee's One Stop. Cheap beer. Cheap cigarettes.

10:42 "Mommy, when will we see mountains?" (I told the kids to be on the look out for mountains. That's how they'd know we were almost home.)

Potty break. Collins, Missouri.

Ate lunch at Subway. Cate sat on the side of the table that had a small handicap sign on it (letting people know that they could comfortably scootch their wheelchair under that side of the table I guess). She pointed to the little blue sign (you know the one, looks like a little stick person sitting in a wheelchair) and said, "Go potty." Like she was reading it and that's what it said. It was funny. Maybe you just had to be there.

Hot outside. Less humid than the day before. My back felt like it was cooking.

Sugar Foot BBQ restaurant. Passed an Amish horse carriage (with a driver and a horse).

12:44 Truman Lake Reservoir. A pond where ducks live (according to the kids). Dan tried to scare Grama Bama by telling her the bridge was shaky. Grama Bama has an intense fear of driving over water. Big time. Dan's a meanie.

1:54 Into Kansas. Cate sleeping finally.

2:33 Kansas Turnpike. Cate woke up when we slowed down to take the ticket thing. Back to sleep.

3:00 Potty break. Somewhere near Topeka. Ring pops and Diet Rite Cola.

Paid the toll. $2.50. Drove away and Cate said, "See, that wasn't so bad, Mom!"

6:01 Potty break again. 89 degrees out. Still in Kansas. More knock knock jokes.

6:32 Hays, Kansas. Golden Corral for dinner.

Swimming in the hotel pool. Grama Bama and Grandpa get their own room. No surprise there.

Legos, sticker book and computer to pass the time before bed.


Obama's birthday. Only know that from watching the news in the hotel dining area.

Yummy eggs and ham and a cinnamon roll for breakfast at the hotel.

8:58 And we're off again. Headed west. 75 degrees.

10:23 Potty break. Across the parking lot from Prairie Dog Town.

Grama Bama went inside to investigate. She asked the guy working there, "Is this for real?" It's been there 40 years. They have a 6 legged cow, a miniature donkey and a golf cart to tote around people who can't walk so good. No mention of prairie dogs though.

Costs $50,000 a year to feed the animals.

$4 for kids. $7 for adults. We decided to pass. Danny said, "You never let me do anything fun!"

Where are we? We're in Kansas. Does this look like Kansas? Well, kind of.

And then Cate gave her baby doll a bath, kitty cat style. Lick lick lick lick lick lick lick.

Grama Bama laughed until she cried watching that little bath scene. I was worried she'd wet herself too (Grama Bama, not Cate). I asked Cate why she was doing that. Her reply, "Guys! Hers got dirt in her hair!"

Then Grama Bama wondered out loud where on earth this kid came from. I told her I'm not sure but she's not one to talk since she's the one who wanted to see the 6 legged cow.

10:51 Entered Mountain Time Zone. Grama Bama's observation: Oh, we lose an hour today. (funny because it's pretty much the opposite of that)

11:20 Grama Bama waves goodbye to Kansas.Hello, Colorado.

12:16 Potty break at the Conoco. Grama Bama bought Cate a stuffed animal. A fish that Cate named Ryan Goopy. Also, it's a princess.

12:53 For the first time in a week I felt like my lips were dry and had to try to remember where I put my chapstick. Goodbye, humidity. You make me sweat like a pig but you are so good to my lips and skin and hair.

1:28 Danny: Maybe we can't see the mountains because we're on top of the mountains! Is it only 142 miles to our house? Me: Something like that.

Cate's sleeping. Dan's talking Grandpa's ear off.

1:43 Out the front window Grama Bama points to mountains. Danny smiles and says, "Looks like we are in Utah already!"

1:59 Texting with Arlene. She reminded me that Dan and I were in Colorado 10 years ago today for her wedding.

3:00 Leaving Chick-fil-A. Cate's scared of the guy walking around in a cow costume. Too many screaming kids in the play area. Wash my hands in the bathroom and realize I need lotion for the first time in a week too.

Pass a Budweiser factory.

3:59 Cross into Wyoming.

4:26 Potty break. Buford, Wyoming. 72 degrees.

I hold up one finger because the population is one. Cate holds up two fingers because she's two.

5:06 59 degrees and raining.

Happy Jack Road.

Abe Lincoln and Territorial Prison State Historical Site.

Ate at McDonald's for dinner. Swimming in the hotel pool. Stickers before bed and play do in the morning.


8:37 Pulling out of the parking lot. A new book for me. The Hunger Games.

8:54 Crossed the Continental Divide. 7,000 feet.

10:30 Potty break at a gas station with black toilets. Cate thought that was weird because she couldn't see her poop.

Passed a big rock (kind of like a mountain!) in Green River, Wyoming. 74 degrees out.

12:something Lunch at Wendy's in Evanston, Wyoming. Yummy berry salad.

2:00 Notice we're in Park City because I recognize the outlet stores. Wonder why nobody bothered to make a big deal about the fact that we had crossed into Utah. Cate's DVD ran out of power. She's asleep and doesn't notice. Thank goodness.

2:40 Danny: Well, this certainly isn't a long day.

Home at last.

I told everyone to act like they're super tired. That wasn't a stretch for some of them. Of all the pictures I take of Grandpa, this is the one he chooses to smile in. Every other time I tell him to smile, he won't. But now, a smile. He's happy to get out of that van.

I know this was long and possibly boring. I don't care though. It's for me. I want my kids to remember their first super duper long road trip.

The part I almost left out because I didn't write it in my notebook: Dan speeding to get to a bathroom for Danny because he needed to poop. Getting pulled over by a policeman who looked very much like Matt Damon. Dan telling him his son needed to poo. Thankfully, the officer took pity on us and we were off without a ticket. Too bad he didn't give us a police escort to the next rest area.

It was a long trip. I mostly enjoyed myself since all I did was sit in the back with Danny reading my books. Danny played Angry Birds pretty much the entire trip. It's the most relaxing I've done in a very long time.

And Cate is a good little traveler long as she's got something to watch on her DVD player and a continuous supply of apple juice.

Let's do it again soon!


Marisa said...

That was a LONG trip. All those people in that van? I'd go crazy. You must really love each other. :)

Sell...Party Of 4 said...

The poo story almost killed me. Hilarious.

I need a spiral notebook. This is an awesome post.

Dan said...

I'd like to add that I did all the driving from Birmingham, Alabama to Lehi, Utah. At the first stop we made, I offered to take my turn at driving. I didn't realize that the driving turns last for 30 hours!