Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Off to Texas, Day 1

 We like to start every trip singing, "Off we go, into the wild blue yonder...." Sometimes we're riding high into the sun, sometimes we're not.  This trip -we were.  This trip started later than I intended because my back just doesn't want me to pack and load like I want to do.  But we finally got moving.  We hit the road about 10:30.

Daddy did me a favor and snagged this picture as we headed out.  
Well, he did a lot of favors helping us get on the road.  I imagine it was weirdly quiet, after we left.  
Weird for a Saturday.  

Our first stop was Casey, IL - site of the World's Largest Wind Chime.  
And apparently, they are building the "World's Largest Rocking Chair" right across the street, and somewhere in town is the "World's Largest Golf Tee".  So you see, we had to stop.   The kids liked it, and we watched as some young adults pulled a rope, and rang the chime.  We stopped to powder our noses, really the kids had done quite well, making it almost 2 hours before we hit the road. We'd had snack bars as soon as we got on the highway.  Then they played with all their screen paraphernalia.  

I had made little goodie bags for the boys.  They didn't even look inside them until we stopped.   
There were brand new sunglasses in each boy's bag.  And they couldn't wait to put them on.   After the stop.  I know, a little weird.  But they loved them.  And keeping them happy, kept me happy.  

But of course, we can't be happy forever.  
So I'm very Thankful that I packed THIS.  
It's my Travel Diffuser.  I loaded it up with Stress Away and blasted it on the windshield as I mowed down the highway.  They started getting really ootsy, so I thought, when in doubt, feed them.  

We stopped for a late lunch at the Cracker Barrel in Effingham, IL.  
Because Effingham is just fun to say.  
The kids really just wanted to go to Cracker Barrel so they could play checkers.  But Chris and Sam broke out in a fight at the inside table, so we had a little 'discussion', and things perked up by the time we left, they approached it better, so round 2 of checkers went better, with the exception of Sticky Fingers McJakers stealing all Sam's game chips.  

Sweetboys playing games in the sun. 
I think that's one of the major problems with road trips in this era.   The kids are so buckled in, they miss out on a lot of the fun by only being able to play with screens in their laps.   We're lucky that Chris and Sam are old enough now to unbuckle if they drop something instead of just being s.o.l for the rest of the trip.   But I think it helps to stop and let them have a little fun.   

I had wanted to stop here. 
The Arch.  
The Gateway to the West.  
Chris had ridden it once, in 2007.  But he took one look at it, and said, "No.  I can't do that, I'm afraid of heights."  Oh man!  But then there was also the fact that it was 2 o'clock when we crossed into Missouri, and we still needed to get across the whole blinking state before we could stop and crash for the night.  

We stop for Gas in Missouri, just outside St. Louis.  
Since Jake sits behind me, and that's the side the gas tank is, normally, Jake gets locked in when we stop for gas.  By mid-afternoon this was bugging him.  He wanted out.  So I let him out while we filled up.  Chris was my special helper in filling up, and Sam helped with doing windows.   But really, Sam could only do the back windows.   Still, every stop became a family effort to get the car ready for another leg of the journey.  

And the sun went down after we finally turned off I-70.  
We crossed Missouri, and then at Joplin, the last city, we turned south to go into Arkansas. 
My Dad's cousin Judy lives just across the border, and we invited ourselves to visit, and crash with her for the night.  And we watched the sun set as we geared up to find her place.  

It was 8:30 pm local time by the time we found her place.
The boys were so happy to get out of the car.
Cousin Judy had prepared a spaghetti dinner for us to enjoy as soon as we got in. I was so Thankful for that, a nice hot meal that wasn't deep fried, I'm sure we'll be doing plenty of that.  We sat and ate, then got the kids ready for bed before the Butler Game started.  

Though I'd said the big boys would share this bed, Jacob climbed in too, declaring it was bedtime. Chris had been so excited to start ready the 5th Harry Potter, but he didn't start it until I brought it inside for his flush the next morning.  Then he decides at bedtime he wants to read.  For some reason, I didn't get any pics of Cousin Judy with the kids when we got in, but the boys were cute, cute and exhausted.  They didn't fight me much on bedtime.  Chris had had an accident, he said before we left home, Grr.. so he got a shower, and we did our first load of laundry.  How Handy to stop at a home!