Road Trip 2014-Day 10 (July 11, 2014)

The wild rides of Six Flags Chicago!
(click here for today's pictures)
Graham woke up right after Robby this morning.  And the first thing that he said was “Remember, I get to help with the ice.”  That boy doesn’t forget anything at all.  The rest of us were pretty tired this morning but when Robby mentioned Six Flags everyone that was asleep hopped up and quickly put on their clothes.  

At breakfast, we reminded all of the kids that Six Flags today was a super, big bonus.  And we told the big kids (those over 48 inches-Reagan and Anderson) that we would not get to do a lot of roller coasters because we were going to try to stay together as much as we could.  They all seemed fine with that and Robby was still tickled that he found my Six Flags ticket at such a great deal.  Everyone else’s ticket was free through some type of reading program-4 big kids and Robbys.  Other wise we wouldn’t have made Six Flags our stop.  

Our hotel was very close to the park so we were there in no time at all-even after that stop to pick up some sunglasses for Robby.  It helped that it didn’t open until 10:30.  Parking was 25 dollars (ouch!) but we had a really close spot (close in comparison to Disney parking).  We went into the park and stopped at Whitman’s only ride-the carousel.  Keaton loved getting to ride on the “ponies” and Whitman really got into the ride to-about at the end!  He liked looking at himself and Anderson in the mirror of the carousel.  

Not knowing our way around the park made things a bit confusing but we did manage.  The first ride was some spinny ride the the 4 big kids did.  Then we went to the rapid ride-Robby took one for the team and went on that one.  They came off really wet but not wet enough for the kids.  So it was on to the log ride and I did that one.  And if we were not wet enough then, we went to another ride built just like the log ride.  Keaton was sandwiched between me and Campbell and at the final drop of that log ride type ride, there was a wall of water.  I was soaked-soaked.  I have never been on any type of ride where I have gotten that wet.  

I quickly dried off and at the end of the rides, the kids were happy to see that Robby had bought a refillable drink-free refills.  And we certainly put that to good use-refill after refill after refill.  The kids and Robby rode a smallish roller coaster-it was decent sized but still Keaton was able to ride it.  Poor Keaton, at the end of each ride we ask if she liked it and she says no.  But then before she knows it, it is ride time again and we tell her to come with us and she lines up to get on the next ride.  

The next ride was a very, very spinny ride.  Thankfully, Reagan, Anderson, Graham and Campbell were all able to ride that ride be themselves.  Graham changed his mind at the last minute and came back to us but after watching the ride one more time, he decided to jump back in line and ride on the next ride.  The ride was so fast-I could hardly watch the kids as the spun past us.  When Campbell got off, she said with a huge grin “I couldn’t even sit up on that ride, I kept sliding to Reagan’s side.”

The weather all day was pretty perfect.  It had been partly cloudy all morning long and a bit warm in the sun but perfect in the shade.  Towards the end of the day it started sprinkling on us-not enough to mess us up just enough for us to say “hmm, is it raining?” The next stop was a big hilly coaster that Graham was about 1 inch too short for.  I rode it with the big 2 while Robby and the others rode some smaller rides.  They had to wait quite a while on us but my riders really enjoyed the coaster we went on.

The next thing we did was to find a coaster for Graham to ride on-it was an indoor Batman themed roller coaster.  The line seemed to last forever (it even said an hour wait but wasn’t that long)  It did seem to move ever so slowly.  The ride was fun but not amazing.  At the end, I took my hand off of Graham’s leg and he said “hold back on to me.”  I  could hardly explain to him through my laughter that the ride was over.  By this time, Robby, Campbell, Keaton and Whitman were eating their weight in popcorn.  

Before we left the park, we had to find one last ride for Campbell.  They did find a really high and really spinny ride that Robby had the privilege of going on. I think we are both getting skittish about rides-is it because our stomachs are growing weaker or because we are growing wiser?  All of the workers at the park had on buttons saying something about “safe rides.”  Well, I am sure that is supposed to make you feel secure but all it made me do was to think about the person falling off of the roller coaster at Six Flags in Texas.  Anyway, the ride made Campbell happy and Keaton didn’t seem to care that she wasn’t on the last ride.  She pushed the stroller and waited with me in line to get more popcorn before we left.  

Robby and I do not remember going to a Six Flags since I graduated from high school and him from college.  (He liked my friend Christy at the time but that is not a story for now.)  So we were pretty interested to see this park and compare it to our beloved Disney parks.  If you like big, thrill rides then Six Flags is the place for you-they do have that.  But Disney is umpteen times cleaner and well cared for.  At Six Flags, you just get on a ride but at Disney you are immersed in the themeing and experience of the ride.  Now, we had a great time today but it is no comparison to the Happiest Place on Earth.  

Nothing like hearing on the news at breakfast, that 80 people were shot last weekend in Chicago. Those statistics don’t scare us Dennies so as soon as we left Six Flags, on to Chicago we went. We did have to stop and make one potty stop before getting too far down the road.  We were feeling pretty proud of ourselves that all of the traffic seemed to be leaving Chicago and then just like that we were in traffic ourselves.  Even though we were headed to supper, I had to pass back snack after snack to the kids that were still awake.  

It wasn’t too long before made it to our destination and passed it a few times getting there.  Traffic was just crazy and it did take us about 30 minutes to go 4 miles at one point.  We ate a Chicago institution-Super Dawg.  It was a drive in and we found a spot to park so we could eat outside.  The weather was pleasant and the hot dogs were really good but the ice cream sundaes were even better.   It was a pretty perfect way to end our evening.  I managed to find a magnet for a Christmas ornament and soon we were on the road again back to our hotel.

Back in the car, we decided to head towards our hotel.  The kids worked on their daily journals from today.  Gracious me!  I know they are tired but they only have about 2 weeks before school starts once we get home.  Anderson gets mad whenever we say it is time to do his journal.  Graham gets so easily frustrated and then just melts down.  Tonight he couldn’t find an eraser.  I think that my Campbell is the one probably most ready to start to school-when I compare her work to Grahams I see that she could easily do kindergarten this year.  (I know, of course, that Graham is a boy and has a much earlier birthday)  Whatever words I write down for her about our day (like hot dog, ice cream, Six Flags) she will diligently copy on her paper.  Tonight, I wrote her way too many words and she worked forever copying them on her sheet.  Anyway, each day they have to draw a picture as one of their things on their sheet and their pictures are so cute.  It is something to see the things that they remember or the things that were a big deal to them.  

The drive to our hotel went smoothly and thankfully we had enough change on hand for the tolls. (Once in Florida , Robby didn’t have enough cash for a toll booth where there wasn’t an attendant. He just threw a dollar away and sped on-that is the reason we can’t go to Florida anymore!)  Also on the ride to the hotel, I overheard Reagan asking Anderson about the lady who fell out of the roller coaster in Texas.  I guess Reagan overheard my phone conversation with Nonna and Pops!

Actually, what all happens in the car would probably be much more interesting to folks than what we do outside of the car.  The slug bug contest has now become a heated battle.  Any type of car that is a bit rounded causes a huge commotion in the car.  People yelling, shouting and the poor baby, seems like each time he gets to sleep, somebody sees one of those slug bugs and he wakes right up.  And I have one box, right behind me under the seat that has our easy to get to snacks.  I pull this box out frequently-for me a snack, for Robby a snack, for Whitman a snack (who gets more snacks than the others) and for the rest of the kids a snack.  Each time I move that box ever so slightly, Graham turns around and whispers to the others “she has the candy box, she has the candy box.”  I have started trying to sneak the box out of its spot so it won’t cause such excitement.  

Once we made it to our hotel, Robby ran inside to check in and the rest of us worked on picking the car up.  I guess since everyone is a year older this year than last years road trip, our car is staying a whole lot cleaner.  Our hotel room tonight could not be any better-first floor and at the very end.  So we really only have one person that could possibly hear us-though the kids have been really quiet tonight.  Whitman has spent his time moving all of our shoes from one place to another and then he worked on lifting up our packed bins and moving them over.  Then he would climb all over them.  

After everyone had showers, it was finally time for bedtime.  We are about an 30 minutes away from downtown Chicago and tomorrow should be one of our earliest least I hope so! While the kids laid down, they watched Tree House Masters on tv and played on their kindles. Keaton cracks us up because she will just lay and play with her (actually my) kindle until we take them up for the evening. Tonight, Campbell found the notepad in the hotel and spent her time copying words from her kindle onto the paper. And finally, my Anderson's ear is much improved-this was the first day that it didn't seem to be draining (lovely, I know) and that you could touch it without him going nuts! He even said that it didn't hurt anymore (yes, Mom we will keep giving him his medicine!)

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