Epic Road Trip (Day 7: August 30, 2016)

Day Out with Thomas
(click here for pictures)

We all slept fairly well in the caboose last night. Right before we went to sleep, we heard a loud and odd noise. The kids all immediately asking, “what’s that?”  I quickly and calmly responded, “oh, it is just the fridge.”  As I said that I was looking at Robby as he was looking at me and we both knew it wasn’t just the fridge.  That answer calmed the kids down for about 20 seconds when we heard the sound again.  This time I replied with the same response but Keaton shouted “it’s moving.”  Up we went with all lights on and sure enough a big bug was right by her.  Robby and I grabbed shoes while squinting at whatever it was near our baby.  He got the big cicada in the first whack and quickly disposed of it outside.  We laid back down hoping that there weren’t any more bugs in our room and thankfully, there was not...or at least there were no more noisy bugs in our room.

The train depot is right across the street and we had such fond memories of coming here 7 years ago and today did not disappoint.  We were early enough to take a picture of Thomas and Percy.  Whitman would sit in front of those trains and give the most perfect smile, something he never usually does for us.  His smile was short and probably so short that we didn’t even get it on camera! Then we boarded the train for our short little train ride. Robby, Campbell, Anderson and Graham rode in the caboose of the train.  They were way up high and had a blast-a train man told us that he thought those were the best seats in the house.  

I was with Reagan, Keaton and Whitman and we were in an open air train car and it was pretty nice. The train ride was only 22 minutes long-as soon as we got settled, it was over.  We did opt for the shorter ride so we could ride with Thomas and that was fine because when the ride was over, the kids all were able to ride on the cranky cars a few times.

The cranky cars are little train cars that you pedal with your hands instead of your legs.  It said that you couldn’t do it if you were over 54 inches and I am pretty sure my big people are.  I showed them this but told them that they could try anyway.  Reagan wasn’t going to do them until she saw that the boys were able to do it and then she jumped in line and was right beside her brothers cranking those cars.

Whitman got off very well when his turn was over but he wasn’t finished riding and wanted to get back in the line.  We let everyone do it 3 times and then headed to another area they had set up for kids.  They had train tatoos for the kids, a music station where you could play instruments and even sing on the microphone and there was another area with lots of trains and blocks to play with.  

As we were leaving Sir Topham Hat, a lady handed Anderson certificates for the kids.  I was a few steps behind him and when I walked down, she asked if his daddy was in the military.  My first thought was because of his haircut and I answered that he was not and asked if she was thinking that because of his hair.  She said “no, because he said ‘yes ma’am’” and then she went on to compliment his manners.  

After seeing everything, we loaded up and called a few different chip factories to see if we could make their tours-there are at least 3 chip tour factories near here.  One was full, one was leaving in an hour and we were too far away and the other wasn’t touring today.  We headed to the one that was full and Robby was able to sweet talk the lady into letting us watch the film since we couldn’t take the tour.  We were able to learn all about the Herr potato chip company.  Then we went to the gift shop and walked around it.  Of course, we found quite the oops section and everyone bought their own potato chip bag (and yes, one of those is going to be hanging on my Christmas tree this year.)

There was a park right down the road.  They had 2 playgrounds and lots of picnic spots and even though our ice chest was back at the hotel, we pulled out our other picnic stuff and ate our chips.  The kids enjoyed playing and we enjoyed the cool weather in the shade.  After we finished, I drove back to the hotel and it was one of the most beautiful drives ever-Amish farm land all around us.  Clothes lines full of drying clothes, corn growing, hills everywhere and buggys in the road.  At one point, Campbell looked around and said “look at all that corn” and then she added, “I don’t ever want to grow corn.”

Once we were back at the hotel, we worked on the car a bit and had a drink.  The kids watched tv while I ate some of the cinnamon raisin bread that I bought on the way back.  Campbell and Robby ran to vacuum out the car so tomorrow the car will be perfectly clean and ready to go for our longer drive.  I tried to work while they were gone-organizing bins, filling water bottles, passing out drinks and straightening this caboose.  We are a bit more organized right now and do feel like we have some more room but it is still tight in here.  All that to say, at least 2 kids have said that we could live here.  

Once Robby and Campbell came back, we stayed inside for a little bit longer since it was still pretty hot.  He had some work to do and the kids were content watching the tv.  Campbell almost dozed off for a bit and just as I started to close my eyes, I heard Robby telling people to put their shoes on.  We went outside to the petting zoo area.  Robby bought some food for the kids to feed the animals and it was pretty comical watching them try to feed those animals.  

I am no help at all because animals just aren’t my thing but I sure did enjoy the kids squirming and squealing as the animals gently ate out of their palms.  Then we walked just a bit to the playground and the kids made some new friends and played hard until we finally herded everyone up the grain silo.  Well, Robby herded them up the silo-someone had to stay on the ground to take pictures.

It was quite a haul up the silo and Robby had to hoist each kid up so they could see out the window.  I believe that he said that I took about 75 pictures of the silo.  In my defense, I sure didn’t want to miss the picture op and at one point, I took at least 20 of one kid hanging out the side-I thought it was Anderson but it was not.  

They climbed down and we headed to eat pizza at Strasburg Pizza.  It seemed to be a local place and less touristy.  When you looked over the counter, you could see the man making the pizza and that is where Campbell and Keaton stayed for a good while.  From where we were sitting, we could hear Campbell telling them that we were from Arkansas, were on a road trip, saw Thomas, had 19 more days to go and on and on.  It is probably a good thing that she doesn’t know our social security numbers!

Once we finished eating, we came back to the hotel and the kids played on the playground some more.  Then it was back to the room for showers, chocolate covered pretzels, watching the end of a movie on tv and then an early bedtime.  An early bedtime is exactly what we need since tomorrow is an early morning! (we hope!)

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