September 25, 2018-Spur-of-the-Moment Mid West and Beyond Trip

(click here for today's pictures)

Cuyahoga, Ohio to Buffalo, New York

I do think that I should make this clear, I know that many of us are wearing the same clothes in all of our pictures. We have actually done laundry every night so most of us have been putting on the same clothes each morning. It makes my laundry folding much easier at night so I am actually encouraging it. Talk about over packing-this is our 6th day of the trip, and I have worn two different outfits!

We took it a bit easier this morning since we had reservations for the First Ladies National Historic Site at 11. We leisurely ate our breakfasts. Keaton was intent on getting a double chocolate chip muffin and saving it for her birthday. We did put one in a ziplock bag in the car, but by noon that baby was smashed to smithereens. There just isn’t a ton of extra space in the car! Whitman was still very pleased with the coke machine and did drink his weight in lemonade. I was sure that he would have to potty in the middle of our tour!

Everyone came back to the room, and we loaded up the cart and headed down. The kids begged to listen to our audio book so after our gas station stop, it was turned on. My morning task was to work on downloading a book on Reagan’s iPad for her to listen to. She told us that she has watched everything already on Netflix.

Our first stop this morning was the President McKinley National Memorial. He is actually buried there along with his two young daughters. I had read that we had driven by it in 2011 and decided to not even stop. This time we not only stopped, but we also climbed all of the steps to the top of the memorial.

We just had a few blocks to go until we made it to the First Ladies National National Historic Site. We had tried to stop at this site also in 2011. Robby even went in the building with the kids but quickly exited when he realized that a tour was an hour and a half.

This time however, even with 2 more kiddos, we were finally old enough for the tour. Thankfully, the tour wasn’t an hour and a half but only an hour. Even though it is a site about the First Ladies it is a predominantly a tour of Ida McKinley’s family home. It is a massive structure, and we pretty much saw all most all of the entire house and its 3 stories.

It had rained some while we were there, but was clearing by the time the tour was over. We then drove a bit to our lunch stop-Retro Dog. It was a cute little hot dog place. We had smothered fries, hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken sandwiches and even 2 shakes! We all left full and happy.

Then we were back on the road. We have spent quite a bit of time listening to a comedian on the radio. He is family friendly and really funny. The kids, even Whitman, ask to listen to him, but I am not too sure if they really get all of the jokes.

From our hot dog place to the next stop was about 45 minutes (I think!). The kids mostly played on their iPads during the stop. We went to the James Garfield National Historic Site. Robby had printed out the Jr. Ranger book for this stop ahead of time along with some other ones. We had finished all but 1 of them, but I had forgotten that we still had one to do. Of course, this one was the one that we had not finished. It did work out fine though because Robby had some job work to do so we sat in the car and worked on the Jr. Ranger books while he worked on his computer

Once inside, we watched the video-Did you know that Garfield was a preacher? Yep. Also did you know that he was assassinated? Yep. He sounded like a pretty good bipartisan guy. I try my best during all of these history stops to take everything in and actually learn something. During the movie today, I was trying to sing the president song to get all of these guys straight in my head. Sometimes I think it might be hopeless though.

After the movie, we walked around the museum. Then the kids turned in their Jr. Ranger books. This was the 4th set of badges so far that we have gotten on this trip. Now, I have seen a cloth map made to hang badges on, but I certainly did not like the price. I am going to have to look for just some fabric that has the US map on it. I think that Jr. Ranger badges would be fun to display. I currently have them stuck in a map in Robby’s office.

We walked through the grounds. We had opted not to tour the house since the next tour was about an hour away. The grounds were pretty. I am always surprised at how big some old houses are. This one looked huge.

Our next stop was Brant’s Apple Orchard. Robby had found it and even mentioned that it was right off the interstate. It was, but it wasn’t near an exit. We had to wind and weave for a good long time until we finally made it to the edge of the interstate and found the place. (And may I mention, I'm doing the majority of the driving this afternoon because Robby's real job is keeping him busy today.)

The apple farm was a neat little place. They had all kinds of prepicked apples, some pears, which seemed to be a variety that looked like fuzzy green apples, and even grapes. Of course we all had a drink-I had hot apple cider along with Graham and Reagan. Whitman had cold apple cider and everyone else had an apple slush. Anderson went on and on about how it tasted like a real apple in your mouth. It was all very, very good.

When we had finished the drinks, we walked over to the pastry section. It would have been rude to not buy an apple cider donut along with 2 apple muffins. So then we went back to our table to split all of those. My little 3 would have none of it-I guess apple in their food turned them off. I hope their food adventureness changes-my big 3 tried it all and loved it.

The kids played on the playground for a bit while I walked around looking at the grape vines and apple trees. Oh, I would love to have an apple tree in our yard. Soon it was back in the car for our drive through Pennsylvania and New York. We didn’t have that far to go through Pennsylvania.

Within two hours, we were in Buffalo at our hotel. We have two rooms tonight which makes some things easier and some things more difficult. We were able to speed through showers and soon had the laundry washing.

Since we had eaten out for supper, we opted to finish off our BBQ for supper. It again worked out perfectly in the room. Everyone had at least one sandwich along with chips and dip. We could be professional hotel livers.

Reagan, Anderson and Graham had their EAST assignments to complete tonight. They still had two more days to do it, but tonight’s internet was decent so we pressed on and finished them tonight. Maybe I am a helicopter mom, but they needed me to almost talk them through it. That was fine though because they are all finished with it now until we come back home. I am glad that is the only real-ish school assignments that we have to deal with.

Once all of that was finished, the girls and I headed back over to our room. I gave them about 5 minutes while I figured out where all of my cords would go. Robby usually deals with plugging everything in so I had to do our stuff in our room tonight. Then it was lights out for them and blogging time for me.

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