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Roadtrip – Day 5

June 8, 2007

7:00 am – We have everything packed, I think. We’re in the “get on the road” mode, so everything we brought with us is by the front door. I have the same nagging feeling I had when we left — that we’ve forgotten something. I guess sister-in-law can mail it to us or we can buy a new whatever-it-is when we get back. The kids inhale a quick bowl of cereal, hugs all around, a couple of pictures, pat the dog on the head, and we’re on the way.

7:30 am – We stop to fill up with E-85. We didn’t even know our van would take E-85, but lo and behold it does! The corn belt has plenty of stations that have E-85, so our trip home will be so much less expensive than our trip here. I head into the gas station to find peanut butter for sandwiches during the trip. We had a jar somewhere in the van that will rear its ugly head in 6 months or so, most likely, but we can’t find it right now.

7:35 am – I have searched the gas station and it’s no joy on the peanut butter. No Capri Sun either and their prices are outrageous. We decide to stop at the grocery store instead.

8:00 am – We’re finally on the road. We stopped at the grocery store for a “quick” trip inside with the intention of getting peanut butter and Capri Sun. We spent fifty bucks and have half a cart full of groceries. Oh well. The kids got to see the bakery where the nephew works and that was exciting. It’s a little bit rainy today and it feels like a good day to snuggle into the passenger seat with my pillow and blanket for a nice nap.

10:15 am – It was a good, long nap. Just under an hour left to go until we hit Omaha. Everyone else is napping, too (except hubby, of course, who’s driving) and I’m enjoying the hum of the wheels on the road, the movement of the van, the scenery buzzing by on my right, the soft sounds of breathing from the backseat. It feels good to have us all together here. It’s peaceful. Hubby and I discuss the possibility of stopping in a little town a couple of hours up the road. He used to live there with the two girls and their mother and it would be fun to show them the house they lived in then. A little history is important now and then and we don’t get out this way that often.

1:00 pm – We stop at Wal-Mart in the aforementioned little town to stretch our legs, buy a card game called “Swap,” discuss the logistical issues with playing said card game in the van, and head down the road to see the store hubby used to work at, as well as their old house.

1:10 pm – We listen to hubby’s stories about working at the store and we decide to go in and take a look around. The last time we were here it was just hubby and me and the downstairs was not open at all. It’s a big place. Set up to compete with Wal-Mart, I’m guessing. They have grocery, bakery, men’s and women’s clothing, toys and sporting goods. They are proud distributors of Bass Pro Shops stuff. Goody. We hunt through the toy section and find sturdy little mugs with names on them. Surprise of all surprises, we find a mug for each kiddo! That never happens so, even though they are seven bucks apiece (read: not competitive with Wal-Mart pricing), we end up being suckers for the four sets of pleading eyes and we pony up.

1:15 pm – A store employee comes to help us in the toy section. The place is pretty much dead, maybe six or seven cars in the parking lot compared to the six or seven hundred we saw at Wal-Mart. The employee is an older lady, dressed in head-to-toe polyester. If I had to guess, I’d say she’s somebody’s grandma and probably bakes lots of cookies on her days off. Very nice. And remember this is a small Nebraska town. Imagine my surprise when she beelines for the Sour Flush Candy (a toilet filled with funky blue powder and a plunger sucker to dip in it) and shows it to the kids. She follows this little gem with some kind of gel that you mash your fingers into, making a sound very much like passing gas. She then moves on to the Wurms ‘n Dirt. I’m completely grossed out. The kids are fascinated. She looked like such a nice lady…

1:30 pm – I gently move everyone past the Sour Flush action and out of the store. We drive around the corner, literally, and check out the house where the two girlies used to live, before the youngest was born. He seems disappointed that he’s not included in this little jog down memory lane, but the girls are fascinated, asking questions about where their bedrooms were, what color their rooms were painted, and more. Hubby tells a few tales about their time here, tells them about the special formula youngest daughter needed, and we discuss the pros of life in a small town. He says he would move back if he could. It’s a thought. Maybe someday.

2:30 pm – We’re headed down a different road now. It’s a smaller highway, so it might take us longer, but the scenery is beautiful. There’s a big storm brewing off to the west. We’ve only passed through a few one-stoplight towns so far and hubby has already pointed out at least 10 old Mustangs, rotting out behind some farmer’s shed. Thank God we don’t have a trailer or a hitch. I’m pretty sure we’d be stopping to pick one up.

5:30 pm – We’ve crossed over into our home state and everyone is excited about that. It just feels like we’re close to home, even if we still have quite a ways to go. The weather looked ominous several times, but we were lucky and it stayed mostly to the north of us. It’s not looking good for the home team now, though. We’re driving straight into a wall of blackness.

5:45 pm – The rain is coming down so hard we can’t see a foot in front of us. We can’t even see the road and the wind is blowing so hard it’s rocking the van. Hubby’s knuckles are white on the steering wheel and I’m trying to find a weather station on the AM dial. I’m not having much luck. We see a driveway off to our left and decide that we really need to pull off. I finally find a weather station and they tell us that there are tornado warnings in the area. The kids’ eyes are wide as we slowly pull up the drive. There sits a big truck, with two gentlemen in it. We stop, roll down the window and shout over the pounding rain and howling wind.

6:00 pm – The driver of the truck owns this place and had no problem with us parking until this ugliness passes. Hubby tells the kids to get their shoes and jackets on, just in case we have to run for this guy’s basement. The van is still rocking, the sheets of rain are still coming, and we can’t really tell what else might be on its way. From the backseat, the oldest daughter’s trembling voice says, “Are we going to make it home?” I answer, “Of course we will, sweetie. We might have to stop somewhere for the night if this doesn’t let up, but we will absolutely make it home.” I’m pretty scared myself, so I say a quick prayer that my words will be true.

6:30 pm – We’ve waited out the worst of it and we’re back on the road again. It’s still raining, but nothing like it was. We pass through a small town and hubby has mentioned that he needs to stop somewhere with a restroom. I suggest the 7-11 to our left and he passes it, mentioning that he saw a Rest Stop sign and we’ll stop there.

6:45 pm – We’ve long since left the little town and there is no Rest Stop in sight. The sign said “1 mile” and that was a long ways back. The youngest has now piped up that he has to go. I wonder why it is that no one can just say they have to go and actually stop when we’re within sight distance of a suitable place to stop.

7:00 pm – We still haven’t found a Rest Stop and the youngest is beginning to squirm. I ask if he can make it to the next town and he shakes his head no. We pull over to the side of the road and hubby gets out to help him. The wind is still blowing something fierce.

7:02 pm – Hubby shouts through the open van door that the youngest is now in need of new clothing. The wind has apparently made it absolutely impossible for him to aim so everything he is wearing is covered. Outstanding.

7:15 pm – The youngest now has clean clothes on and we are having a little laugh over the situation in the front seat. At least he didn’t throw up.

8:45 pm – We’re so close we can taste it. We’re so very ready to be home and we’re only about 10 minutes away. Everyone starts to get shoes on and gather their things.

8:55 pm – We pull into the driveway, jump out, and start to unload. We have to hit the ground running, even though we’ve been in the car all day. We have work and the kids have school the next day. Note to self: Next trip, schedule a day for recovery after we get back.

9:05 pm – The van is unloaded (it goes quick with six of us). We send the kids upstairs to get ready for bed and sigh a sigh of relief.

9:10 pm – We’ve said goodnight to the young ones and I’m ready to hit the hay myself. I crawl in between the sheets of my bed and snuggle in. This is my favorite part of the trip — coming home, my own bed, my own pillow. It was a good trip. We had a lot of fun. The drive was exciting. But oh, it’s so good to come home.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. June 8, 2007 12:16 pm

    I literally LOL at the “youngest is now in need of clothing.” I totally saw that coming. HELLO! Pee downwind! 🙂 Although, knowing midwest and Rockies storms, the wind was probably swirling, thus making aiming in any direction, a monumental challenge. 🙂 Glad you all had a wonderful trip. Sounds like a blast. I want to get one of those ladder games you played. Too Fun!

  2. June 8, 2007 3:27 pm

    Welcome home!

  3. June 9, 2007 6:39 am

    Nice commentary on the whole road trip thing. It was a fun read!

  4. June 13, 2007 4:13 am

    @Christine – Yep, tried downwind. Swirling was the only option. Definitely get Ladder Golf. It’s hilariously fun!

    @Jeanie – Thanks. It’s good to be home.

    @Donna – Thanks, D. I enjoyed putting it together. It was a fun trip. Maybe the last before the hormones kick in, so I cherished every moment!

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