Today is Aug 24th , day 6.We drove 298 miles today from Centennial, Wyoming to North Platte,Nebraska.
Well despite having a really super niceB&B hotel in Centennial last night, things did not go so wellwith the kids. Alec has gotten to the age where he's started to havenightmares. And he woke up with some indeterminate nightmare. Thewhen we went in he was mostly inconsolable. He also got thirsty andupset that we didn't have the exact right cup for his milk. Its gotto be tough being a 3 year old. You have all these new emotions, andyou're only just starting to figure stuff out. So much of the worldmust seem totally random, and when you're mad you have such littlepower to do anything about it.
Thankfully our Alec is really a cheerylittle guy, and by the morning time he was back to himself. Our happy,upbeat, and very excitable little kid.
I worked on the blog a bit, getting itposted while Erica and the kids stepped downstairs and across thestreet to Friendly's. When I finally joined them breakfast was in fullswing with Uncle Dan, my parents, as well as Dan's friends from Guadalajara Franklin and Alma, and Erica and the boys. I had to eatquick but it was good, and Friendly was a nice cafe style restaurant.
After goodbyes with Franklin and Alma,we crossed back to our hotel and packed up for checkout. Its such anice place, and the people in Centennial have been so hospitable Ireally wish we were staying longer, but we know we've got to keepmoving on, so we did. Packing the car we met up again with Uncle Dan who took us out to his cabin. This is a different property than hishouse, but a very nice little remote cabin in the woods. Dan bought the cabin some 40 years ago and it was his first property in Centennial.While spending the few weeks home from the Diplomatic Service every year staying there he fell in love with Centennial and decided that Wyoming would be the place for him in the end.
You'd imagine Wyoming to be all guns and god, but honestly Dan tells us its not like that, at least not in Centennial. His friends are former professors, world travelers, andex-pat foreigners. They are educated and have a thoroughly expandedworld view. Surprising, but true.
From Dan's one room cabin in the woodswe walked down a gravel path to his neighbors house Ron. Along the way was another bridge over a river so we had to stop for a quick trip-trop and game of billy goats looking for a troll. Anyhow, Ron soundslike a very interesting guy. I'm sorry we didn't get a chance to meethim since he wasn't home, but we did walk a bit around his property.Really a beautiful piece of land with a nice house on it. The mostimpressive part about it though was all of the man made waterfeatures around. He basically surrounded his home with lakes,diverting and corralling the nearby creek into a mini oasis. One ofthe ponds was stocked with huge fish that really impressed Alec. Whatimpressed me most though was Ron's bobcat. Yes that's right BOBCAT.Ron has a pet bobcat named Jim.
Apparently Jim had been found as a cubso small his eyes weren't even open, and was raised I believe Dansaid out at the University. When Jim got a bit older he got a bitunruly and they were looking to unload him, or I suppose I should sayher. It turns out Jim is a girl and she had ovarian cysts. Ron adopted the cat and had her treated, so now shes right as rain. Ofcourse I wouldn't trust her alone with my kids, and was glad she wasbehind a fence. It was very neat to see a bobcat up close like thatthough.
From there we hopped back into the carand drove into Laramie for a visit to the Wyoming Territorial PrisonHistoric Site. Yes we took our very young children to a prison museumto play. What?! There's nothing weird about that... Actually this isa pretty well set up museum for kids. There are apparently a lot ofthings they can play with. Mostly old prison equipment I imagine:shackles, stockades and the like.... all good wholesome stuff forkids to play with. Calum fell asleep in the car so I stayed outsidewith him while he slept and Alec, Erica, Dan, and my parents went into tour the prison. This particular prison is famous for once holdingButch Cassidy. Erica tells me Alec had a great time. He loved playingin the paddy wagon, as well as the multistory prison building. Hisfavorite part was a piano in the old dining room where he sat happilyand “played” Puff the Magic Dragon for several minutes. He wasalso fascinated by the broom making exhibit, which was one of the manytasks the inmates were put to work at. Overall an impressive exhibitwith a lot of great history.
When everyone came out Calum was justwaking up so we said our goodbyes to my parents there. They had tohead off to Denver for my mom's high school reunion; and we hadplaces to go ourselves. Namely for lunch. We headed into Laramieproper for one last meal with my Uncle Dan. We stopped at anotherbrew pub for a meal. It seems like lots of the food in Wyoming is pubfood. Not that I'm complaining, its just funny.
Erica had a very good crab cake sandwich, I had a pulled pork sandwich and Alec ate his favorite:cheese quesadilla. It was another excellent meal, and punctuated bysome home brewed Root Beer that seemed closer to true ginger beerthan what you'd get commercially as root beer, very nice kick. Alec also enjoyed "spicing" his food... he's taken to wanting to put salt and pepper on everything. like each individual french fry, or tortilla chip...
When we finished we said our goodbyesto Dan for being a wonderful host and struck out on the highway forall points East. We powered through Cheyenne, and made good time.We're pushing hard again today (well hard for us) and trying forNorth Platte Nebraska. We've got a few little weird timing thingswe're aiming for, and getting further on later in the night seems tomake the next day go easier. Also this is fun, but not totally avacation.We've got a ways to go and are a Big Move.
The kids we're starting to loose it inthe car after a while and we decided that we had to stop somewhere.We've had such great luck with Parks in Wyoming that we thought we'dtry it just one more time, at the border town of Pine Bluff. Unfortunately we were not as lucky this time. I'm sure Pine Bluffs isa nice town and all, it sits right on the border of Nebraska on thehighway 80; but the City Park in the middle of town is pretty sparingon the playground equipment.
The kids managed to have fun despitethe lack of equipment. In fact I think this was the first time Calumwent on a sea saw. Well maybe not the first time, but definitely oneof the first times he did it on his own with his brother. It was verycute. Then we sat on the side of the road and ate blueberries andcarrots.
After a stretch we decided to head outin search of more highway and hopefully a better playground down theroad.
We drove for a while then, another longstretch into Nebraska. The scenery here has gotten very flat, andpretty boring. Farming, lots of corn, and a few interestingramshackle old farmhouses. But really this is all flat farmland.There's not much to say. Check out the pictures...
We thought about trying to pushthrough, but thought better of it and eventually took a detour offthe highway for a quick 6 mile jaunt into the state of Colorado, andthe town of Julesburg. Maybe Colorado will have a better class ofPlayground.
Julesburg did not disappoint. The townplayground was very nice and we stopped the car for a stretch andplay just as the sun was going down. Alec and Calum enjoyed to bigslide and the sea saw again. We decided that we'd better make aneffort to give the kids some dinner, and thankfully had some eggsthat my parents had left us. We pulled out the little camp stove andstarted cooking only to discover that we were out of propane! So weall ended up eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, or bagelswith cream cheese instead. All good food, just not as nice assomething hot. Not to worry though, I mean we all had a big lunch andmanaged fine.
The kids got back in the car with milkin hand and despite dealing with another bout of Alec upset anddemanding only “kids music” and Puff the Magic Dragon to be puton repeat... by the time we were pulling into North Platte both ofthem were fast asleep.
We're staying at the roadside HoJo.Always a good choice. Clean, cheap, and they've always been known fortheir free breakfast. The kids transferred easily into the beds hereand I'm hoping for another good night. We certainly need it.
Tomorrow we're seeing my cousin Travis,his wife Denae and their brand new little baby girl Emersyn!