Today is Aug 25th , day 7 We drove 230 miles today from North Platte, Nebraska to Lincoln, Nebraska.
Our Big Move continues today as we woke in North Platte, NE. The Howard Johnson turned out to be a decent place, despite the shouting match outside our window at 2am. I don;t think anyone heard it but me so thatch good. The kids had a good night in the hotel; again for the most part. This time change is really killing us, but we've all got to start getting onto the right time zone. We actually passed a zone marker late yesterday meaning we're now officially in Central time. Those two hours are causing some small havoc with the kids, but we'll get there.
Calum woke up around 4:30am our time, pretty upset. That's just one of those things you get with kids, no real explanation, just bad nights every once in a while.
Just like Alec the night before though, by the time the kids actually got up for the day Calum was back to his sunny disposition. Both kids were incredibly dirty and we haven't had a chance to bathe them since the Hot Springs, And even then we didn't get to really wash them, so we dumped them both in the tub for a quick scrub. Soon they were clean and ready for breakfast.
The kids and Erica headed down to the free continental breakfast, while I packed the car. Alec did well with with his breakfast, he ate one and a half hard boiled eggs a piece of toast with peanut butter and jam,and a small box of Fruit Loops. No wonder hes growing so fast! Also he loves Fruit Loops because we don't give them to him; he just got them at daycare. Calum on the other hand played with his food and didn't eat anything. Every day its something new...When I joined the rest of the family breakfast was almost over so I grabbed a quick bowl of porridge and a muffin. Unfortunately I forgot where we were. There is a big difference between porridge and the gravy for the biscuits.. I apparently just served myself a big bowl of gravy... yuck.
We packed into the car and started East on the 80. As we got on the highway Alec made sure to let let know that the on ramp bridge was his most favorite bridge ever. Pretty impressive North Platte!
Onto the highway then and its all grey skies and flat fields. Corn and farms. This is Nebraska. The threatening rain finally broke as we headed towards Lincoln. Mostly sputtering, not too bad, but then with a few patches of slightly heavier stuff. Not enough to spoil your day or anything, but you'd definitely have to call it scattered showers.
|worst store name ever!|
Calum fell asleep and Alec did a good job playing with us and by himself with his toys. Alec told us the story of the Three Little Pigs a few times and then had his Incredible Hulk toy get into some serious adventures with his firetruck toy. This kid really has a great imagination!
I got two odd text messages from AT&T today and decided to call them to see what was up. The texts seemed to imply that I was passing my data usage limits. But I'm on an Unlimited Data plan with my iPhone, so that can't be right... I hate dealing with this stuff :( Anyhow I called AT&T and found out that I was using too much data from their partner networks. Since they did away with all roaming charges domestically a while back this has been their thing. Basically I'm using too much bandwidth from networks other than AT&T and its costing them more to pay the other companies for it than I am paying them. So what I asked? Its an unlimited data plan, are you going to charge me for it? No, they can't charge me, but according to some fine print somewhere they can stop me from sing networks outside of AT&T. Really! So basically this is warning number 1, if I get two more warnings they'll restrict my data access to only AT&T towers temporarily, and then if it happens again they'll restrict me permanently! Well, what exactly am I supposed to do? I'm traveling around the country, and AT&T doesn't have coverage out here?! God, these people make me crazy... I'm glad I'm leaving. Hopefully I'll never have to deak with AT&T again. I'm sure the Canadian telecom companies are way better ;)
Then one of the greatest plans ever came together! You see last night Erica and I were looking for something to do to spruce up the trip out to Lincoln. Erica's suggestion was the Pioneer Prairie Museum, which I'm sure would've been fine and all, but its not super exciting. I was looking around though and found probably the most fun thing to do ever: the Nebraska State Fair! Yes the State Fair has literally just opened for the season, and it just happens to be right on our route.
Now I've been to a few County Fairs in my time, not as many as someone who grew up in the country but I'm certainly no rookie. Erica.. Well I'm not sure about Erica, she did grow up on a farm but I don;'t think fairs were really her family's kind of thing.I know the kids have seen some of this stuff before. But I don't think ANY of us have been to such a big fair before. This is a really huge event, and getting a chance to check it out was pretty cool.
They had so much stuff that I wanted to see that we ended up not getting a chance to, and most of the things we did see we're just by happenstance. Having a plan, but then being able to throw that plan out the window is the best way to go about these things in my opinion.
We started out at the fair in the Main Expo Hall. Mostly because we wanted to find some restrooms :) The hall had a TON of vendors in it. And honestly a surprisingly eclectic mix of people. I had gone in imagining this to be a far more Agriculture focused fair but found it a lot closer to an As Seen on TV fair. And that was none more apparent than in the expo hall. There was everything from reclining chairs, to artisan crafts, cutlery and cookware demonstrations, tires and life insurance. From hot tubs, to the latest horticultural advances, kitchen cleaning solutions, and cell phone service providers; the vendors in this hall ran the gamut.
Alec found a little artisan boutique and some cute little “love bugs”. We got one for him and one for Calum although Alec has mostly been taking care of Calums for him. We also wandered past the John Deere store and picked up a pretty cool tractor toy for him. That's out of sight for the moment though, I'm sure we'll need a toy for him soon enough and giving these kids too much at once can be a bit difficult. If you're a parent you'll understand that sentence, if not, you will.
Moving back outside int the drizzly wet weather Alec immediately was drawn to the hay bale dressed up like an Angry Bird.
From there we moved onto the Hendrick's Petting Zoo. All of the animals here were behind bars, but they were the kind that you could reach through. Really this was a very cool little zoo area, Alec and Calum got a chance to get right up close and pet alpacas, zebras, cows, and a lot of goats. As we arrived at the crowded goat pen we saw why there were so many people there. A baby goat had been born literally within the 5 minutes before we got there. The goat was still covered with gunk and the mother was licking her clean. It was pretty amazing to see this little thing that was actually just born trying to stand up and suckle with his mom. Pretty awesome for us, I'm not sure Alec understood.
Outside again we walked along and tried to regroup ourselves and get a plan of action in place. More or less the plan involved getting the kids food. The only issue at these kind of events is of course the lines. Thankfully a solution presented itself in the form of a fake apple tree. We stumbled onto the Kids Fun Zone play area and all went in. This was a cool spot under a tent where they'd set up some dress up clothes, and a few kid games. Lasso the fake cow, pretend to go fishing and win a prize, collect fake eggs from under fake chickens, and Alec's favorite: picking fake apples off fake trees. Alec apparently LOVES picking apples. I mean to the point where I think he should probably just be a migrant worked when we arrive in Canada. He's certainly got a knack for it.
Alec and Calum played with the apples while Erica ran off to get us some recommended local Nebraska pizza. What made Valentinos pizza so “Nebraska” is beyond me, but that's what we were told...Anyhow, when Erica returned we all ate a bit, well all except Alec who seriously would not stop picking apples!
This was one of those situations where we ended up having to literally drag Alec away from the game. Thankfully once we were outside and on the move he got into a better mood about it all and soon forgot his fake apples. Instead he focused his energy on the Midway and the rides!
We walked the midway and the kids we're in total shock and awe. There are so many lights and things to see and hear; I'm sure they were on super sensory overload. We walked until we found a good ride for Alec. He is at the height that he can ride on lots of the stuff as long as he's got an adult present and Erica was willing to brave the Crazy Plane while I stayed firmly on the ground with Calum. Its a bit insane how expensive tickets for these rides can be when for the most part at Alec's age he'd be just as happy picking fake apples... ah well, its all a good experience, just funny.
Alec had a great time on the plane ride. He had demanded that they sit in the front and he was the captain. Actually he wanted Erica to sit in back while he sat in front alone, but mom wasn't having any of that. Alec is such an independent little guy sometimes!
Calum on the other hand was upset mom was out of site from start to finish. Thankfully the ride was short and we all headed back together to slowly make our way towards the car. Before we got there though we had to stop into the Sheep Pavilion.
We strolled into the Birthing room first, and while none of the animals there were actually giving birth at the moment, we saw some 2 day old piglets, and a calf that had just been born that morning (fast asleep).
Heading into the Sheep Pavilion properly though we we're greeted by rows and rows of sheep and chickens. We walked up and down a row or two but made a point of not petting anyone there. This is where they hold the cattle shows, and the pig contests. The even had a pen set up with some bleachers for spectators inside the hall. All pretty cool stuff.
On the way out we walked through the chicken and goose area. Alec managed to get himself a really cool chicken hat for the road as we headed back out of the fair to finish up our trip and get into Lincoln.
We strolled through the Expo Hall one more time and then took the tractor and trailer shuttle service out to our car and I wonder if that may have been Alec's favorite part. He's pretty easygoing on most of this stuff.
Hopping into the car we hit the road for one last time headed out about one more hour to Lincoln, NE. We're planning on seeing my cousin Travis, his wife Denae and their new 2 month old baby girl.
In the car Alec played funny games pretending to be a chicken, then asking us where Alec went and for ua to call him chicken. And then he also played a lot with his new ladybug toys. He's also taken to asking us to talk with his toys. Then he responds as the toy. Its pretty cute, until of course you find yourself talking to the ladybugs for 10 minutes about their work schedule and when they can come out to play with the firetruck and Incredible Hulk. Its really just scheduling at that point..More rain started in as we drove but again none of it was too heavy.
Finally we reached our destination for the day, my cousin Travis' house where he lives with his wonderful wife Denae and their 2 month old baby girl Emersyn. The baby is so sweet. She let both Erica and me hold her and didn't get upset, and Travis and Denae have been wonderful hosts. We all had a great home-cooked chicken dinner, then Travis's brothers Todd and Tab came over with their families for a quick visit. I'm not going to go into a ton of details on the visit since I'd like to get this posted before we get too far into the next day, but suffice it to say we had a great time. Alec got a chance to ride very fun a rocking horse named Cactus, I was introduced to Tomato Beer, Alec played Candyland and Chutes and Ladders (sort of...), and we had fantastic homemade cherry cheesecake!
We expect to spend tomorrow morning in Lincoln, relaxing and visiting before heading off for a big drive out to Iowa City.