Road Trip 2012-Minneapolis, MN to Des Moines, IA (5/31/2012)

Riding the Rails in Iowa!
(click here for today's pictures)
The plan was for Robby and I to wake around 6:30 and get moving.  The hotel last night even had a complimentary delivery of the complimentary breakfast so we even did that to save a few minutes.  We didn't hear Robby's alarm (good thing we weren't catching a plane) but we did hear the man knock with breakfast-us Dennie's don't miss meals.  Of course, the delivery of the breakfast didn't feed 7 people so Robby had to run downstairs to supplement.  The goal was for us to be on the road at 8:30 and we nearly made it.  We ended up leaving at 8:40 a.m. and drove 130 miles yesterday.
We had 3 and a half hours to drive to make it to Boone, Iowa.  Our hotel last night was a downtown hotel and we had the hardest time finding our way to the interstate.  The buildings made the gps act a bit crazy but we finally made it.  And in a few miles, Robby had to quickly pull over to plug up one of his cords that he unplugged last night.  Robby has enough cords with him that he could probably circle the globe-though he has narrowed them down very much for this trip.  I guess I can't complain since some of them are mine-phone and computer.  
The next stop was at a rest area.  No one had said anything about needing to potty but we thought it was time.  So the 3 big ones got out while I changed Campbell's diaper.  Keaton was sleeping so she missed out on that diaper change.  I briefly thought about trying to get in the roof bag to get my pants out.  We had all put on shorts this morning and the weather leaving the hotel was cool but sunny.  The weather started out so promising but before we had driven too far it started sprinkling and rained like that all day long.  And yep, my new shoes just soaked up the water again and I spent the day walking around in wet, cold shoes.  Those were going to be my "wear everyday of the summer shoes" but I guess I will have to find some more when it is wet outside-which may not be too often.  And we had one other stop at McDonalds too but only for drinks so it was a quick stop.  
We rushed the kids this morning telling them that we needed to hurry so we didn't miss the train and when we drove up to the station in Boone they saw a train on another set of tracks.  The questions immediately started flying "is that our train?" "did we miss it?"  Robby and I weren't as worried about that but were more worried about the train station being open!  No one was around.  I was beyond relieved when Robby walked out with tickets in his hand otherwise we were going to have to hijack a train for the kids!
We walked through the little museum and there was really not much to it at all but there was enough for the kids-a train table.  I will never understand it but when they see a train table they are drawn to it-like to a magnet.  Funny thing is that we have a train table and they play trains often.  But why is it so special to them when there is one some where other than home.  We had to drag them away from that silly train table to look at the real railroad items in the museum.
Anderson had seen an open air car that he wanted to go inside of and since it was drizzling, Keaton and I opted to stay at the car and make sandwiches for lunch.  We didn't have too long so I quickly spread my peanut butter and jelly ones for the kids and made Robby and I pimento cheese.  After dividing the chips the crew was back and everyone piled into the car to eat.  
Within just a few minutes it was time to board the train.  We kind of waited until the last to get on the train but it worked out well because we had pretty good seats near the back of our train car.  The kids were so excited and everyone was so proud to give their tickets to the conductor.  It was the Boone and Scenic Valley Railroad and we passed over one very scenic valley.  We were on this crazy super high bridge.  Kind of gives me the chills just thinking about it and in a few minutes, we were traveling slowly over a river.  The rain and clouds didn't really prevent us from seeing the landscape today but this ride would be beautiful in the fall. 
The whole ride was about an hour and a half.  After going halfway we stopped and they moved the engine to the other side of the train.  This was fun to watch it go by and Campbell kept shouting "train! train!" at least she didn't shout "train tracks" repeatedly on this trip.  As many train tracks as she has pointed on this trip, this outing was done especially for her.    
The kids did really well on the train ride-of course the juice boxes, cheese and crackers and fruit snacks probably really helped with this.  Keaton got pretty fussy but she was exhausted and eventually went to sleep.  The others enjoyed looking at where the two train cars meet and wiggle as we traveled.  And of course, they all had to go potty on the train-who doesn't want to go and potty on a moving train!  How fun to any child!
When we made it back to the car, we moved along to Des Moines.  Robby had read about a soda fountain in a pharmacy called Bauder's.  It looked fun enough so we went there for supper.  We all sat at the bar and the kids just lined up and sat so well.  (The bribe of ice cream probably helped.)  We had supper there and then shakes for Robby and I and ice cream cones for the kids.  Reagan had chocolate, Anderson had mint oreo and Campbell and Graham had vanilla (sorry Pops-Pops doesn't like vanilla!)  It was just teenagers working the counter and they really didn't have any personality so we couldn't break it to them that Robby didn't order two of his sandwiches.  Robby and I snickered through out the meal after they put two sandwiches in front of him.  I am pretty sure he only ordered one but Campbell and I did help him eat the second so nothing (well, not much) was wasted.
Our hotel was only a few blocks away and we unloaded for our earliest night in a long time.  This might have even been the kids earliest to go to sleep since the trip.  It isn't even 9 and 4/5ths of them are sleeping (yep, Keaton is up-she is going to have a rough few nights when we return home and I make her return to her normal routine).  When we got to the hotel, the girls and then the boys had a bath.  They played cars and then we watched a movie.
Robby found a Yellowstone documentary on Netflix so we watched that.  Reagan and Anderson really listened to it. Campbell would name all of the animals that we saw "buffalo, bird, duck, peoples."  Graham tried to watch some of it but quickly became board and started playing with their sleeping bags and mats.  He would pick up 2 or 3, put on a hat and look at himself in the mirror and just grin.  He did this over and over but picking up different and more stuff each time.  
Before too long it was time to get ready for bed.  The boys have a new thing-they will potty at the same time.  I am not a big fan of this at home but since we are at a hotel I let it slide-because I don't have to clean up the mess!  Keaton had actually had a nap during the movie so she is now up and going strong.  I hope her benedryl will kick-in in a minute!  Ha!
As soon as the lights were off, Campbell started fake snoring.  That child is something else.  She is two and a half and can keep up with everyone else.  We are always impressed that she knows exactly what the rest are doing and mimics it so well.  The other night I caught her coloring on the wall in the hotel and when she saw that I was coming for her-she covered her eyes with her hands.  I spanked her and then she started a fake cry which lasted until she had finished scrubbing the walls!  She is such a con artist-but not many 2 year olds can eat an ice cream cone as well as she can!
Robby just mentioned one reason that our kids sleep so well in hotel rooms.  Since 4 of them sleep in one room at home, they are all used to falling asleep with a bit of noise around.  And Robby and I are just so exhausted that we don't even notice the wall to wall kids snoring away when we fall asleep!
Tomorrow is another big day-Kansas City and the baseball game.  

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