Road Trip 2014-Day 13 (July 14, 2014)

(click here for today's pictures)
We woke up about an hour later than planned-Robby set the alarm for pm instead of am. That was fine though because we had built in lots of extra time.  He woke up the kids that wanted to go to breakfast (Keaton, Campbell and Anderson) and as they got ready we tried to repack.  I told Graham and Reagan that they had to get ready when I got out of the shower. When I went into the bathroom, I had to move Whitman out of the shower-we were in a handicap room so the shower was a walk in shower.  Whitman’s pack n play slid right in the shower and with that curtain closed he slept soundly through my teeth brushing last night.  

After I moved him out of the shower, he still slept soundly through my shower.  That boy was exhausted and even slept until Robby and the kids came back from breakfast.  Robby quickly got ready while the girls and I went to empty the ice machine of ice.  By the time we were back from the ice run, the cart was loaded and we were ready to go.  We really did well-leaving the hotel within an hour of waking up!

Greenfield Village was our first stop today.  We realized a few days ago that we should have planned a few more days for the Village and the Henry Ford Museum so we decided that we will squeeze in some extra time tomorrow so we didn’t have to rush today.  The Village was about 5 minutes from our hotel so we were one of the first ones in the parking lot despite our late wake up time.

When Robby approached the ticket window, the nice lady helped him figure out the best option for us. We wanted to do the Village and the museum and we also needed a ride pass for the village so that would cost us this much and but the annual pass would only cost us 30 more dollars.  So after spending over 200 dollars for tickets-what is another 30 bucks!  Ha!  We might go to Niagara next year so this would be on the way or maybe we will just make another trip to Dearborn in the next year.  

Here is a bit of history on Greenfield Village:  Henry Ford created the Village as a school which operated until 1969.  He felt that the best way to learn history was to be immersed in history.  So Ford, having plenty of money, bought historical buildings and when it was time to learn about science you went to Edison’s lab, or when if was time to learn about flight you went to the Wright Brothers home and bicycle shop.  Eventually, the school closed but is now a charter school for local children on the grounds.  But for the public, Greenfield Village has become almost like a historical Disney World.  

The first thing that we did was to ride the steam train around some of the park.  They have 90 acres that are developed and 90 more that are undeveloped.  The train ride was a perfect start to get our bearings on where to go next.  It was so pleasant riding the train and the weather was perfect for July weather-it was warm but still comfortable in the shade.  And the crowds were perfectly manageable.

After the train ride, we walked to the carousel-not knowing about the crowds caused us to think we needed to jump on the carousel before the lines were long.  The carousel was 101 years old and the kids loved riding on it.  My Whitman has become a carousel expert and though he doesn’t smile, he loves sitting on the horses.

Beside the carousel was a playground that the kids could not wait to go on.  We knew we didn’t really have much time for that, so we told them that we might could do it at the end of the day.  And that was all that they thought about all day long-getting to that playground.  Those silly kids!

We were kind of wandering around a bit at first.  We went through the machine shop and followed that up with a trip through the liberty craftwork area.  We saw people blowing glass vases, someone making pottery and Anderson even had the opportunity to work the printing press.  There was a sawmill to walk through, a place where weaving was done and a water wheel that was grinding grain.

Next up was the roundhouse and we toured through it.  They have 5 working engines and the roundhouse is also working.  Sometimes you can even see them changing locomotives on the turntable or at times they have opportunities for guests to turn the turntable (we missed today's turntable demonstration) but the kids were still impressed with the roundhouse!

Somewhere around that time, we rode on a Model T.  We had to go in 2 separate cars but it was so neat.  The Model Ts were the first cars produced on an assembly line.  It is just so neat driving along the streets in the Model Ts.  There were townspeople in the streets, shops opened and the only other traffic were horse drawn carriages, a bus from that time period and an occasional worker truck that looked like it was from the 1920sish.

After the Model T ride, we walked around a bit more.  We did stop into a jewelry shop and did you know that ladies would have their hair braided into a chain for their loved ones watches?  And that even ladies carried pocket watches.  Speaking of pocket watches, Graham took a real interest in pocket watches.  I told him that I thought Uncle Jason had one and he couldn’t wait to see if he does have one.  

Then we took a omnibus shuttle (like a horse drawn carriage) to lunch.  The eating place was called Taste of History-neat name, huh?  Our driver recommended the mac and cheese.  When she said that Campbell leaned over to me to and said “does she mean macaroni and cheese?”  So of course, we had mac and cheese and hot dogs.  Robby and I both had sandwiches.  The food was really good and reasonably priced and the best part was the drinks that we could refill.  We sat there for a bit cooling off before heading out again.

When then stopped at a chapel that Ford had built for his school.  It was never used as a chapel but only used as the students home room.  Behind the chapel was a lake area with a dock that we walked around.  They had huge fish and 2 really, really large turtles swimming around.  Then we looked into a school house for a few minutes and ran across the street to see a replica of George Washington Carver’s birthplace cabin while we waited.

We were waiting on Laura Ingalls to come and talk to us.  We sat under a tree on benches and listened as Laura talked about her life.  She mentioned De Smet (where we just were) and Almonzo (who we are reading about now) and all kinds of other things and people we have heard about.  The kids were on the edge of their seats-Reagan listened as she grinned from ear to ear.  And Campbell was just taking it all in.  Keaton would turn around to me and ask “is that the real Laura?”

After seeing Laura, we went through the Porches and Parlors section of town.  We saw Noah Webster’s house, a slave quarters house and a few other notable houses.  At one house, the walls were papered with newspaper to keep the house cool in the hot summers.  There the kids were able to feed the chickens and use the broom to sweep the dirt.  I had no idea that the dirt was swept regularly to keep it as dirt and not let the grass grow up near their houses.  They didn’t want grass by their houses because grass meant snakes and they could crawl under the house and up the floorboards.  Maybe we should start sweeping the grass at our house!

They had an area where you could make a candle.  Graham really, really wanted to make a candle and Robby was almost convinced to shell out the extra bucks so we could make some candles. Then we heard the wait was 45 minutes so we passed out on that option.  (I will have to find a place at home to make a candle or just buy a candle making kit for the boy.)  We walked and saw a covered bridge and then we decided that we needed some refreshment.  So we found ourselves the Model AA bus and went back to our lunch spot.  

While on the bus, Robby tried to take a pictures with our brand new camera and couldn’t get it to turn on.  He tried everything and there is no feeling worse than that.  He finally thought that maybe it could be the battery and headed off to the car to grab another one.  Meanwhile, the kids and I ate 3 huge cookies.  We were all a bit stressed while Robby was gone since the camera situation was dicey. Thankfully, the new battery worked and all was good again in Dennieland!

After our little break, we walked on to see more things.  This time we stopped at the post office, the general store and a place that they took photographs.  We had a few minutes to walk around Thomas Edison’s lab, office and another one or two of his buildings.  Then Edison came and talked to us.  He even asked Anderson and Reagan a questions during his performance.  After this, Keaton leaned over to me and quietly shouted "is he going to talk to me?"

By now, it was 4 and the place closed at 5.  We decided to shut them down so we went to the Wright brothers family home along with their bicycle shop.  Then it was back to the carousel for another ride and finally, we let those kids play on the playground.  The playground was built last year but it looked like a construction site from that time period.  The kids had a blast and it even had a water pump to play with and they loved it almost as much as they loved the one from yesterday.  

Robby went off with Whitman to get ice cream or take another ride in the Model T.  He wasn’t sure which one he was doing when he walked off.  But how often do you get to ride in a Model T, so that is what he got in line for.  At 5 til 5, I made the kids leave the playground and I was hoping that we would be able to see Whitman and Robby drive by in the car but they were still in line.  So the boys jumped in line with him and the girls and I got in the back of the line.  We were some of the last cars on the street and the workers were all leaving as we drove down the street.  

After our ride, the park was closed so we headed out.  It had been a great, great day.  We actually are going to go back to the Village tomorrow for a few minutes since we missed a few of the houses in the front.  We really could stay the entire day tomorrow and see and learn tons of new things.  But after our quick Village stop, we are going to go to the Ford Museum and check it out.  Hopefully, we can get on the road by 4 since we do have a 4-5 hour drive to tomorrow’s hotel.

We did stop by the store on the way out and I know I have said it before, but I really just love gift shops.  We splurged on a Christmas ornament that will be fun on the tree (a model T).  They had row after row of books that I would have loved to look through and Robby said he wanted to find a book for him to order for his souvenir.  And then they also had tons of crafts and things made in the Village. But I love all of the kits for kids-basket weaving, make a rag doll or weave a potholder.  One of these days, I am going to just splurge and go nuts in a gift shop-one of these days.

Next up was a potty stop and then we headed to Ikea.  This Ikea was out of what Robby wanted (trash cans) too so we will have to find something else for his car trash can.  But they weren’t out of supper for us.  I did even find party favors for Reagan’s birthday party (I know, Graham’s party is first).  Then we bought some more tiny cinnamon rolls like we bought last stop-this time we bought 4 bags of them and have already eaten 2.  

And finally, we bought ice cream for all!  I pretty much just let Whitman have his all by himself.  It was the end of the day so I didn’t have to worry about his clothes and since we were going swimming, I knew he was going to have a bath.  I helped some but he ate pretty much that ice cream by himself. When he was finally to the cone, I tried to distract him and take it away from him but that child cried and cried-so much so that Robby had to quickly get him out of the store.  

It wasn’t a long ride to the hotel (Ann Arbor, MI) but it will be 30 minutes back to Henry Ford’s place tomorrow.  This one we couldn’t change-but 30 minutes isn’t too bad at all and hopefully tomorrow we will not oversleep.  The kids were able to swim tonight while we did our first load of laundry and then after swimming the second load was put in.  Once they were all in their pajamas, Robby went to get gas and then vacuum out the car.  

He was gone for what seemed like forever.  The kids played quietly on their kindles while laying down until he did come back.  I tried to work on the blog some but I get so distracted trying to keep us all organized.  I would sit down and see something that needed to be put up or gotten out for the morning.  We did hear a dog barking and Keaton looked at me and said “that dog gonna keep me up.”

Robby was back about 10:30-he not only vacuumed out the car but took all of the car seats out (6) so it could be super clean.  He even put the car seats back in so that is what took so long.  When he came back, the kids asked him to read our Bible story and we were able to since it wasn’t crazy, crazy late.  And then it was bedtime for all my Dennies-I still have to finish the blog, fold 2 loads of laundry and reorganize their toy boxes.  That is fine though because when I am finished with all my chores (and playing on my computer) I get to look at all of the pictures from today-one of my favorite parts of the day!

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