Road Trip-Day 19 (July 20, 2014)

(click here for today's pictures)
From White Haven to Jacqueline Road ... 3,656 miles later!

Anderson was the one who woke us up this morning.  He had to go to the bathroom so when he turned on the bathroom light he woke up Whitman.  Anderson did quickly turn the light off when realized his brother was in there sleeping.  It didn’t matter though because it was 8:30 and we needed to get on the road.  Grannymom asked if the kids wanted to go down for breakfast and they were ready in a moment so as they ate, we got ourselves ready and then loaded up the car.

The hotel was large and it seemed like everyone was checking out today so waiting on the elevators was pretty crazy but we managed and soon had the van loaded.  We then went back up to get the kids-they were not too happy with us about having to head home.  Reagan asked if we could get a hotel in Arkansas.  She said “I just want to keep this party going.” Campbell was upset that we couldn’t go and see the dog show and Graham told me that we didn’t do anything on Grannymom’s list (we did-arch, City Museum, zoo, Ted Drewes, Fitz's).  And Anderson just wanted to spend more time with Cash and Zach.  

They gave their cousins one last hug (though we will see all but Josh later this week) and we loaded up.  We decided to stop at Grant’s National Historic Site on the way out of town.  We had to fight the traffic for those who were going to Grant’s Farm but we finally made it to the national park site and it was well worth the stop.  This is just an aside but we do want to come back to St. Louis sometime when it is not summer time.  The crowds have just been wild but I would like to go to Grant’s Farm, see more of the arch, possibly the science center and the zoo again.

At Grant’s house, the ranger loved his job but his enthusiasm was a bit contagious.  He offered the kids Jr. Ranger books-everyone but Keaton and Whitman.  The kids were so excited about this so we went out back to work on their books while we waited for our tour.  We have done the Jr. Ranger stuff before-some are more difficult than others and some parks we don’t really have long enough to do it.  But this booklet was perfect-Graham and Anderson were able to complete one of their 2 pages before our tour and then they along with Campbell just had a scavenger hunt left. Reagan had a different scavenger hunt, a map to fill out and then she had to interview the ranger.

We went on our tour and the kids were able to complete their books.  Reagan did really well asking the Ranger the questions on her sheet.  Then everyone was sworn in as Jr. Rangers so that will probably be a highlight of this day! We found ourselves an ornament and then loaded up to hit the road.  We let the kids have a drink and turned on our Little House movies.

Then we let the kids have their Fitz root beer bottles and can you guess what we did next?  A potty stop-unfortunately it was a bit too late of a potty stop for one of the Dennies!  We had been looking for a spot to stop for a very long time-we were just lucky that there were not more Dennies that needed dry clothes.  No worries though since we had plenty of changes of clothes with us.  It was nearly 2 so we were fortunate that our first option was a McDonalds and it had a play place-the play place delighted the kids more than finally getting to go to the restroom.  

The kids watched a few movies on the way home and the highlight was finally getting to eat their Jelly Bean packages from the Jelly Bell factory tour that happened many, many days ago.  They would eat one and then announce to the entire car what flavor it was and what color it was.  This whole day, Keaton would ask “where are we?” and we would tell her what state we were in.  But overall my Keaton was greatly displeased with us today-we would ask her if she wanted to go home and she would put on this pouty face and say “no.”  Truth is, none of us wanted to go home. Maybe we are nomads at heart-just wandering from place to long as their is a washing machine. a hot shower and a hotel breakfast, then we are good to go!

After our lunch stop, we had to pull over once for a diaper change and then it was smooth sailing. Smooth sailing for everyone but Whitman-he couldn’t get to sleep so he fussed off and on.  I would think he was asleep and look back and up would pop his head to stare me down and then he would start fussing again.  Finally, he went to sleep-about the time we stopped in Cabot for our final bathroom stop.  We picked our trash up and went to the bathroom.  When I walked into the restroom, I told the boys to meet me right by the door…

And while they were waiting, they learned a lesson about gambling.  I told them to wait right beside the bathroom door and right there was one of those machines that scoot quarters out when you drop another quarter into the machine.  While they were standing there (this is what I am told) 4 quarters fell out.  They split them and then Anderson used both of his quarters to try to win more money-he didn’t.  Then Graham tried one of his quarters and didn’t win anything so he decided to keep his other quarter.  When the girls and I came out of the bathroom (everyone had to potty-potty) the boys happily told me about their quarter business.  I told them that was just like gambling-always thinking you are going to win.  And Anderson said in his deep voice “yep, that was gambling.”

Once we made it home, the kids immediately started playing kickball in the front yard while we worked on unloading the car.  After the car was perfectly clean, we all went to work on putting up the inside stuff.  It took awhile-8 people, 19 days worth of stuff-but we were able to get most of the stuff put away.  It will still take me a while to get the last few odds and ends put up.  I even have a huge box of literature and Christmas ornaments that I have to go through.  It is so nice to be all unpacked after a trip.  

The kids eventually had their showers and then we had a nutella sandwich just in case they were hungry.  As soon as Keaton finished drinking her milk, she set her cup down, looked at me and said “I’m ready to go on another trip now.”  Unfortunately, it wasn’t time for another trip but time for bed!

Our Trip by the Numbers

16-different hotels
3,656-miles (compared to 5,166 miles last year)
1-tubes of toothpaste completely used
6-items lost (left at the hotel)-small ice pack, 2 pairs of goggles, Robby's sunglasses and 2 socks
3-major traffic jams (2 in Kentucky, 1 in Michigan)
2-episodes of vomit
1-eardrum ruptured
12-states visited (Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky)
1-pair of sunglasses bought
128-cokes drank
28-waffles made at breakfasts
46-episodes of Little House on the Prairie
2-back pictures taken
2-times the car has been vacuumed
9-nights of laundry
2,991-pictures taken
302-gallons of gas
9-cans of pringles eaten
1-night Whitman’s bed didn’t fit in the bathroom
2-times we thought we broke our new camera
7-times swimming
11-ice cream stops
6-picnics (plus about 4 picnics made in the car)
8-National Park Sites visited
496-slug bugs seen
2-future trips planned

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