Wednesday, May 13, 2009

I made my first major road trip alone with the kids this past weekend. Here's how the trip to Mitchell broke down.

5:10 p.m Left day care. The car is loaded. Everyone went potty and we’re on the road.

5:25 p.m. Stop to get gas in Orange City, about 20 miles from home. No one has to go potty. I go in to pay for gas and wait 15 minutes for the most incompetent cashier EVER to ring up a dude’s donut, lottery ticket and doh, he forgot to add the $20 in gas, but couldn’t figure out how to add the gas to the previous total of $3.28.

5:45 p.m. On the road again, finally.

6:15 p.m. Hit Hawarden, 20 more miles downt he road and turn onto Highway 12 to head south. A chorus of “I have to go potty” erupts from the back seat. I back track, to hit the new Casey’s -- which I know has a public potty and escort the minions to the bathroom.

6:25 p.m. On the road again. I finally give up on trying to listen to some news as I am bombarded with a slew of questions. Namely I explain what a gravel pit is, what an irrigation system is and speculate with I-minion where the train might go and why it isn't on the track for him to see. E-minion is content to watch the fields pass by -- almost on the verge of sleeping, I think.

I cruise through Akron, smugly knowing that I am on my way to Westfield (which is 20 miles from our last stop) where I will cross the Big Sioux River and have the highway automatically turn into the road that will lead me directly to Vermillion -- the midpoint of this adventure.

Alas, I approach the turn, the Iowa DOT has conviently blocked out the sign, that I assume says Vermillion, SD X miles. I have to back track to Akron to find a place to cross the river. I’m thinking horrible thoughts a la Oregon Trail and fording the river so I can cross wherever I want to. But, I don’t think it my little station wagon would do as well as a canastoga wagon and a horsepower of two --especially since the river looks high.

I answer a ton of questions about the bridge being closed for repairs.

I take the detour and head up and down some wonderful bluffs that A) I cannot believe they paved roads here and B) I estimate the slope to be somewhere around 12 percent range. E-minion mentions it makes her tummy feel funny. Thank you South Dakota for you 65 mph speed limits and my lead foot, for giving my daughter her first roller coaster experience.

I get off my detour, and attempt to follow my directions which were way whacked. So I eventually just find a paved road figuring it will either get me to Vermillion or to a sign which will tell me what direction to go to Vermillion.

7:25 p.m. I am on Cherry Street in Vermillion (which happily is Highway 50, for future reference) I call the little brother and we meet at McDonald's. As I finish the conversation E-minion pipes up I have to go potty NOW. I unbuckle her, she looks a little pale.

As we are washing hands, I-minion wanders under the automatic hand dryer, it turns on and scares him. He screeched and jumped enough to almost whack his head on the dryer. We come out and my little brother and his new girlfriend are there.

We eat the standard chicken bites and a couple fries, drink our chocolate milk. I-minion new stories about the 4969 pickup he works on with his dad. E-minion dances around her chair, it’s all good.

We hop in the car, with the little brother and head out. Everything is going well, and all we hit a weather front and the temperature drops from 55 to 42 degrees. The wind picks up and it to rain, hard. In no-man’s land between Yankton and Tyndall I-minion announces he has to go potty.

I try to convince him to wait until we get to a town. It didn’t work. I pull over, unbuckle. He doesn’t like the wind, rain or traffic – it scares him. Frankly, it scared me. It’s a two-lane highway that’s busy.

I-minion get’s his first “pee in the bottle” experience while standing inside the back hatch of my car, while shivering.

After I buckle him up, tuck his favorite blanket around him, he shivers for a bit before he announces he’s not doing that again – it’s too cold.

8:45 p.m. both minions crash.

9 p.m. Mom calls “Where are you?” Not there yet, I respond and remind her of traveling with toddlers is like.

9:30 p.m.
We pull into Mitchell, park the car and haul sleeping minions from the car into Grandma’s where they promptly wake up, convinced it’s time for breakfast.

The rest of the weekend went swimmingly. We shopped, getting new summer clothes. We fixed the grill, we napped (and mama ran errands with her mama). Then after nap we went to the farm were we met a baby cow. The minions were worried that he was all by himself and wondered why John didn’t have a calf-sitter.

We saw a batch of newborn kittens. Everyone took a turn driving the tractor. E-minion is a pro, after driving the mower with mom last summer as we picked up sticks. I even got in on the tractor driving. I hope to post more about the weekend soon.

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