Road Trip 2013: Day 16, September 14, 2013

(click here for today's pictures)
Spray painting at Cadillac Ranch!

Right before Gallup, we lost an hour last night so that made getting up a bit more difficult-well, the late night swim didn’t help much either.  We barely made it to breakfast before they shut it down.  Now the one thing that I noticed about breakfast was that everyone put green chilies on everything they ate-we must be in New Mexico.  

Graham said that the first thing he was going to do was lay in his bed when we got home.  Anderson has said that he was going to play with all of his toys.  We let each kid bring a
cup full of toys but since we have so much else to bring into the hotel room, those boxes have stayed in the car.  Now they have played with some of those toys in the car but not too often.  

This leg of the trip was spent searching for trains.  Campbell has seen so many trains today that when Robby told her about a train out her window, she said “stop telling me that.”  She isn’t interested in the movies really but she does just stare at those trains.  Robby said that we will have to take her back to the B and O museum in Baltimore.  

We drove what seemed like forever and had only gone about 2 hours!  Right past Albuquerque is a place called Tinker Town.  It basically was one mans junk that they turned into a collection/museum.  It was oddly interesting.  The kids of course loved it-there was so much to see.  Whitman’s head was swiveling from side to side.  They had buttons to push that made miniatures move.  Reagan spent a quarter to squeeze Abe’s hand to see what her personality was-she was deemed “hot stuff.”  Graham put a quarter in to see a one man band and he also received his fortune from one of those fortune tellers.  It was fairly accurate-said something about him exhausting others, his family has caused him some uneasiness and a trip that brings him great deal of happiness.  And all the kids bought a rock from a vending machine-it even said where the little rock was from.  
Not only did we leave lots of quarters at the tourist trap, Robby also bought the boys something since they didn’t get jewelry like the girls.  Now of course this didn’t go over at all with Campbell or even Reagan who at least understood.  Robby found the boys a grab bag of stuff and also picked up one for Keaton.  Of course, Keaton’s bag wasn’t really for her, it was for the girls since Keaton was thrilled with her rock from earlier.

As soon as we climbed in the car, the boys and girls ripped open their grab bags.  There was quite a bit of loot in there but the highlight was what was in the boys bag-whoopie cushions!  The kids had seen them in stores and Anderson thought that you blew it up and it said “whoosh.”  We explained what it was supposed to do and they spent 15 minutes planning who is going to be their first practical joke victim.  

I let the girls open up Keaton’s bag and it had bracelets and necklaces and a bunch of stuff like the boys that will end up in my special box (trash can) or in my other special box (garage sale box).  Despite this, the kids were pretty happy and had something new to look at for a few miles.  

The TinkerTown museum was a good and a nice stop to stretch our legs before we got back on the road.  We drove for another stretch and then it was nearing our lunch time-2ish.  Of course we had competing thoughts on lunch.  We had picnic stuff so we should use it but there was a dairy queen ahead inside of a gas station.  Hmm, travling decisions.  Part of the debate was if we stopped first and bought Robby and me Dairy Queen to eat while the kids were eating lunch, then mine would melt as I made lunch.  What to do? What to do?
We eventually decided that I would make lunches in the car while Robby took the kids in to potty.  I ran in and pottied first and then came out to stay with Whitman and start making lunches.  I made sandwiches, passed out the chips, opened cheese sticks, talked to Pops, cut grapes, took the crust off of sandwiches, picked up the car, put the food by the kids seats and they still had not returned.  I was beginning to wonder but after a few more minutes of trying to pick up the car they finally arrived with drinks in hand.  

Robby bought them all slushys-and those cups had the widest holes in the lids ever.  A 3 year old in the back of a van with a grape slushy and a plate of food is never a good idea.  Robby announced every turn that he made until he got to the interstate “hold on to your drinks, I’m turning.”  After most had finished their drinks, we pulled off at a rest stop to clear out some trash-more of it being those sandwiches I had worked so hard on.  

The kids are still laughing about their whoopie cushions.  Robby said that was worth the 10 dollar admission fee just to hear them giggle about that.  Meanwhile, there was little laughing in the front seat-we were fighting a host of flies from our lunch stop-at least 15.  Since the van really only has two windows that open, getting the flies out was quite the ordeal.

But that wasn’t what was making the front row sad-our trip is almost over.  I mean, I know this is day 16 but it has gone so quickly.  I told Robby that I was already feeling the pressure of what all had to be done this next week-starting school, Reagan’s birthday party, grocery shopping, getting kids uniforms for first football games, blah!  He agreed citing the realities of work as his stressor. I guess all good things must come to an end and though we aren’t really to come home, by Monday we will have prepared mentally to come home-maybe.  Or maybe we will just run off and open up a motel in the middle of New Mexico.

Speaking of running off and opening something, we stopped at the midpoint of Route 66 between Chicago and Los Angeles.  They had the stripes down the road separating the two sides.  So on this trip we have seen the end of Route 66 in LA and plan on seeing the start next year in Chicago.  Oh, yes, we also met the man that owns the little diner that is at the midpoint of Route 66.  He just up and moved from Nashville to own the diner.  I don’t think I want to own a diner though, too much cooking.  Probably don’t want to run a motel either, too much cleaning.  

It was a good little picture stop but we couldn’t stick around too long because the sun was going down and we still had a few stops to go.  We probably drove a bit slower due to drag on the way because all of the windows were open.  When we stopped at the midpoint, a swarm of flies came upon our vehicle.  I have never seen anything like it-probably 20 on our windshield and at least that many in the car.  It took forever to get most of the flies out-Graham was back there counting how many he had killed.  Gracious, I will have to hand sanitize everyone’s body before we eat tonight.  

We made it just in time for the next stop-Cadillac Ranch.  We have hauled spray paint for over 2 thousand miles and tonight we were able to use it.  Reagan and Anderson were really the only ones who could use the spray paint.  Graham could a bit but ended up spray painting his hands mostly.  I forgot to bring Pops’ spray paint gun thing-can’t remember it all.  I did grab one of Robby’s t shirts as a smock but just chanced it and I think most of our clothes survived-Campbell may have a bit of spray paint on her shirt.  Keaton just enjoyed holding the paint can to the car acting like she was painting.  

Whitman was happy to be out of the stroller and seemed to like spray paint fumes.  I haven’t seen him happier all day long. We wrote our names, we wrote lines, we did write Dennie Road Trip 2013.  It was pretty entertaining and we handed out our spray paint to people as we left.  It was 2 couples and they were both pretty tickled to have spray paint.
From there we just had a few miles to our hotel.  It was a Staybridge Suites so a pretty massive room.  Of course we spread out all over this room and were just in it for about 5 minutes before we left again.  Robby had to have himself a 72 oz steak at the Big Texan Steakhouse.

On the way there, we told the kids about the steak and that you could get it for free if you ate it all within an hour.  Reagan said that she had a Sunday school teacher that could have done that.  I was pretty intrigued by who it could have be but she couldn’t tell me who she was talking about.  We looked at the steak and fixings that you had to eat for the free steak and my hat would be off to whoever that Sunday school teacher is.

Well, Robby opted not to have the steak and just split frito chili pie and a hamburger with me.  The kids split chicken fingers and we all had rolls.  The kids were excellent while eating and we even received a few compliments.  They might have been excellent because it was around 9 when we sat down for supper and everyone was starving.  This time change hurt us today so we were the loser parents with their kids out and about so late at night.

The restaurant was fun-big gift shop with even a live rattlesnake, slot machines, arcade, live music-lots to see.  Robby and I were surprised at how good the food was.  I am not that much of a meat eater but the hamburger was really excellent.  

Back at the hotel, we had ourselves the rest of Reagan’s chocolate birthday cake even though it was 11.  Tomorrow we have a shorter driving day--around 4 hours so we can sleep in a bit.  Right now everyone is laying down-Keaton can’t be in the closet tonight because there isn’t one so she is in the other room, Whitman is beside me with his eyes rolling back in his head he is so tired, Reagan, Anderson and Graham are in their sleeping bags and Campbell is also in her sleeping bag but she is working hard at trying to get into Robby’s bed.   I am pretty sure that she will make it there in a few minutes!

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