Today is Aug 27th , day 9 We drove 40 miles today from Iowa City, Iowa to Muscatine, Iowa.
The AmericInn in Coralville turned out really well for us. The kids had a good sleep and I think this wll be the start of a trend. These kids may be starting to get used to the time change and life on the road. It was really misty outside but just the kind that burns off. Its definitely a lot more humid out here, I forgot how serious the weather can be.
The continental breakfast was really solid. The kids had cereal and yogurt. From there we packed up the car and headed out for a short drive into Iowa City and the University.
This is kind of a boring part of the day so I'm not going to go too much into it, but we stopped in at the Ophthalmology lab at the University of Iowa and had eye tests for me and the boys. I've got an eye condition and we wanted to see how the kids were looking. This happens to be the best place in the country for us, so we really wanted to stop. Its a VERY impressive operation and we're very thankful to be able to see the expert here. All three of us boys had our eyes dilated and pictures taken. And yes we're all doing fine.
From the eye doctor we hopped back in the car for the short drive out to the suburb of Muscatine where my Aunt Ruth and Uncle Marty live. The drive was beautiful. Although with dilated eyes the kids and I we're all pretty light sensitive and the bright Iowa sunshine was pretty tough to manage. Thankfully we had sunglasses!
After a short ride we found ourselves in the town of Muscatine. This is a very pretty little town with a surprising amount of stuff going on. My Aunt and Uncle live there in a very nice house and we're kind enough to host us. We went right over and met up with my Aunt Ruth. My Uncle was out working so we settled in for a little bit to visit. They have a nice big house and the kids had lots of room to run around in.
After a quick visit and settle in though we all packed into Ruth's old Yukon and headed off for a visit to the local Wildlife center. The center was great for kids and had all kinds of things they could touch and feel. It was focused on Iowa so was perfect to get an overview of the local wildlife. We also learned that bison can run up to 40 miles and hour! Alec really enjoyed a puzzle they had as well as a small magnifying glass, he wanted to be sure and solve all the local mysteries before we moved on.
Ruth then took us for a tour of the town and we got to see what Muscatine is all about. It is a really pretty town that is amazingly diverse for its relative small size. It is right on the Mississippi River and has some of the prettiest houses we have seen. Yes I fully admit that both Calum and I may have fallen asleep during a portion of the ride, but I contend that it is not because I was bored with Muscatine. I'm just really REALLY tired. Late nights blogging have caught up with me. I did wake up for the end though and thought it was all quite lovely :D
When we got back to Ruth's house Calum was still sleeping so I stayed out with him while Alec went inside to make brownies with his Great Aunt. It looks like he really got into it. Pretty typical Alec.
After that Erica helped get dinner ready while I took the kids for a walk around the back woods. There are some great woods and paths out back of Aunt Ruth's house. As we walked on the half mile loop or so, Alec got a bit frightened of Poison Ivy. Eventually he calmed down after I explained what he needed to look for, but I still ended up carrying him past the most deadly looking of the plants and grasses... Calum on the other hand was fine. These are really fantastic woods though. A great hike as the sun started to set.
Alec also got into the games here too. He again found Candyland and Chutes and Ladders. I think this really means he is ready for them at our new home... Sure he doesn't get, or want to play by the rules, but hes definitely interested. We sat on the pavement and played Chutes and Ladders for at least 15 minutes of our guys climbing the ladders and then sliding down the slides. Alec's guy kept trying to climb up the big slides but couldn't quite make it and kept slipping back down. Very funny stuff.
Then it was time for dinner.Another delicious home-cooked meal, this time of literally some of the best brawts I've ever had in my life. Also finally Uncle Martian was around. Even after retiring the guys spends a lot of time working. I think that's just the nature of it though. You get into a mindset and have a need to be doing something, and Marty is such an amazingly talented business guy, its no wonder hes so driven. Calum was very happy to hear Mandarin at the table. He thought Uncle Marty was just about the funniest guys in the world. In case you didn't know, Calum speaks about as much Mandarin as English.
After dinner, we put the kids to bed, a surprisingly easy task and eventually ended up sitting out on the back porch listening to the sounds of the night. The noise was so distinct. Owls, Bats, and a lot of little animals we're out on the town.
What a great day. Iowa is such a beautiful spot, I'm so glad we had a chance to see a bit of it on our way East. More to come tomorrow when we head out and make our way towards Chicago.