Have We Lost Our Minds?
Pregnant with our fourth child, my husband has a moment of inspiration and suggests a cross-country family trip during maternity leave.
5:30 Brogden stirred from the rocker. Full five hours of sleep. I pull him to me and coax 2 more hours from him. Tiny alerted George she needed to potty. She has taken to going in her pants so he gets up quickly to escort her to an actual porcelain pot. The pair returns with coffee to take the group to the pancake tent. Tiny tells me they saw the horses and she got to pet one. She woke up on turbo when the elders are previewing their teenage years for us.
Pancakes are a hit. Showering and new clothes are taking place after syrup is consumed. I consume three plates of bacon as breakfast, dipped in the syrup.... of course.
George follows the ladies to see all we explored in the day time. They start asking to play golf and look around the Outpost Store. I take Tiny to the bathroom with me and baby. Leaving George with the elders. Elders are not with George when I return to the site. Found them on the bounce pillow. New plan. They play while George breaks camp and we shower heading out to Mt. Rushmore. Why do showers keep getting pushed off? They have been in the same dresses for three days now. Underwear get changed and dresses reversed but still. I guess it is sleep and shower when you are dead and play on. Now we golf!
Biscuit chose jumping next. Bubble and Tiny pick playground. Tiny charms a little boy to gently twirl her in the tire swing. With impending showers within reach, the girls had a little run about the splash pad. We had said no to swimming but playing in the water was just as fun this way.
Family shower in the handicapped room. Remembered a diaper this time. Much less eventful. Onto washing dishes and lunch. We took our time since the climbing wall opened at two and Biscuit was itching to climb more. The kitchen area at KOA had me from the moment I walked in. Surrounded by flowers and three sinks/ranges.
Climbing was fun for the girls. Biscuit got frustrated with the hand positioning. Bubble surprised us with how well she took to the wall.
Mt. Rushmore during the day is busy. I prefer at night. First Information Center for Junior Ranger books, I go in alone and left elders eating leftover pizza outside. I say three books and they are all under six. I get handed this one green sheet folded in half. Back to my ladies, pass out sheets, and Bubble looks put off. We exchange words about the level of work and exactly what I told the Ranger to receive this silly sheet. She marches herself in and Biscuit follows. I wait outside since Tiny and George are in the bathroom. Bubble returns with a more advanced Junior Ranger program. Biscuit has the same green paper. She is pleased and gets to work.
They saw the artwork last night so they had a list of things to accomplish: picture with NC Flag and exhibits that were locked at 10:30 pm the night before. Picture marked off they headed to the museum. Bubble wanted to watch the film twice and was in awe of each picture and artifact.
Tiny and Biscuit completed their four matching, identifying, and maze quickly. George took them to get sworn in while Bubble finished up her work. She was sworn in on her own. Selected postcards and back in the car. I wanted to hike the Presidential Trail but it was getting late in the day and 422 steps with four children was not in the cards for us.
George wanted to head out of town through the Badlands so he showed me the route. Before I had a chance to study it, he turned. I found a way to meet up with 44 to take us through the Badlands. It was an unpaved road. George was game and it was beautiful. Long and empty, we reshot the image of us.
Driving through the Buffalo Gap Grasslands made a turn for the worse with a hail storm. George was watching for tunnel clouds out his side and I was posted on my side. Prayers sent up with all the wind, hail, and rain. I held Bubble's hand and George laid on the gas. Made it to 44 and hail stopped. Just rain. Now to find gas. George was getting worried. Google search showed a station 2 mins ahead. George pumped in the rain.
Badlands, rain, and lightning follow us to Interstate 90.
In the Badlands, I got a chance to walk out alone to the 'wall'. Odd sensation to be with the wind and your thoughts. Seeing nothing for miles except nothingness. We have experienced many times of vast nothingness on this trip. People choose to be cramped in this country. We chose to be cramped in this suburban. And I wouldn't trade it.
Long straight drive to Sioux Falls. Find our hotel and all get in bed. Time change hit us so we lost an hour. And weekday breakfast ends at 9:00 am. Alarm set for this crowd.
Steps taken: 11,303
Miles driven: 432.4
George sprang up at 3:00 am and helped clean up myself and Brogden. Sharing a bed meant he was close enough to hear the startling sound. Biscuit left her bed in favor of Brogden's side around 8:45 am. She was the most excited about staying in a cabin. The girls love looking out the window at the view and horse stables.
Shower caused me to be thankful that baby got sick. It was the best shower of the trip. Partly since I was alone and mostly because of the water pressure. Loaded up to roll out at 10:00 am.
Recommendation for breakfast was the Cowboy Cafe down the street. All girls requested eggs like at church, bacon, and a biscuit. They dug in when it came and Bubble exclaimed, "These eggs remind me of Papa!" Cowboys did indeed frequent the cafe. Several dined with us. Biscuit recorded a Hungry Girl.
Six plus hours to Rushmore. Reserved a tent spot at KOA and we will visit the park tomorrow morning. Easy ride through Wyoming today, allowing me to enjoy my new favorite state. Horses here have no idea how lucky they are for these views.
I take the time to repaint my toenails. Why? Priorities. Bubble asked me to do hers. Might have to make time tonight. Tiny and I take rests after a gas and potty break. She looks more comfy than I feel.
About time that we all need a break from the car. George took an exit for the Wyoming Pioneer Museum and what we found was the State Fair. I do love a Fair and since it was the first day... free admission. That was all she wrote. We checked it out. Bubble and Biscuit held a Rex, saw a high electricity safety demonstration, collected free safety coloring books for the car, and steak sandwiches for dinner. Nice break from the car for a bit. Loaded back up and the girls selected Charlotte's Web since they came from a fair.
State line photo ops times two. Wyoming and South Dakota. Missed Wyoming once in Yosemite zooming to Norris Campground. Chance for another wish of mine to come true. Picture in the middle of a long empty road. George did not like it one bit. I was not allowed a redo to move over a foot to see the long empty road. Boo. It was fun to be completely alone as far as the horizon each way.
KOA Resort! Oh. My. Goodness. First impression. Looks like an old mining town with store fronts offering expresso, wine, and fudge. George heads to registration and I find a trash can for diaper explosion. There is a full color magazine to welcome us and provide a map of the grounds.
Two pools, multiple playgrounds, mini golf, climbing wall, mining station. Live music on a stage and probably more that I cannot see in the dark. George sets up the tent and the girls go with me to explore. Find Zootopia playing.
Girls watch for a bit until one has to go to the bathroom. Find Comfort Station #2 nearest us. Tiny pees in her underwear walking there. In the course of my time in the bathhouse, Biscuit choked Tiny, Bubble ran in and out of every room, Tiny came out with soap all over her hands and rubbed it in Bubble's hair, all while I am attempting to change a dirt diaper on a bench that Brogden is sliding off of since there is no diaper changing table at this family campground. Maybe all the other infants stay in RVs, trailers, or cabins. Maybe I am the only crazy person to tent camp with a baby. Doubt it.
Two bathrooms and still no diaper changing wall thing. Honestly, this sours my attitude more than it should. Drive down to pick up pizza and a salad for a late dinner and a seven mile drive to see Rushmore illuminated against the night sky.
Parking is private and $10. Pull into the pay station and no one to collect money. George figured it was the San Francisco Zoo parking being paid forward. Park is quiet and nice. Girls get the lay of the land to complete Junior Ranger packet tomorrow. Plan is to go to All You Can Eat pancakes at the KOA then Rushmore and back to the campground for the girls to enjoy the Fun Zone.
Tiny and Brogden stay up with us at the campfire. First fire of the trip. One bundle of wood came with the site. Love this KOA. And Tiny loves glow sticks.
Steps taken: 11,627
Miles driven: 441.3
Never heard alarm set for 6:30 but I was awake. George stirred around 6:45 and Bubble said she had to throw up. Got her head outside the tent and up to the bathhouse. Didn't see any food pieces and just saliva. I would hate to think that someone was getting sick on this trip. I will have to check on her later. Rubbed my eyes to wake up and lost a contact. I have no idea where my glasses are located. Packed up and turned in our check out tab by 8:40 am. We did good. Breakfast at the check in area since there are toilets, dishwashing, and drinking water. Oatmeal for everyone and the girls had seconds. They were starving.
Museum of the National Park Ranger makes me want have a career change. An Interpretive Ranger is similar to an agricultural teacher. Without the red tape of field trips and IEPs and all the people want to learn that you would come in contact. I will be looking into this option. And probably not switch. I think it is perfect for my cousin though.
Biscuit asked what the plan was for the day. George said showers. Tiny piped up, "Hot showers?" Our two year knows to ask for hot showers. Maybe they will be more grateful when we get home.
Viewing the sights and belting out some Reba with the girls passes time. George meanders through the park. Pull outs allow for built up traffic to pass.
Midway Geyser Basin to see the Grand Prismatic. It was beautiful and Biscuit was upset. Tiny takes it upon herself to wave at everyone. It is easy to see the people that possess a heart. They waved back.
Biscuit felt much better in the car and we settled in for the 30 mile drive to get clean.
Showers at Grant Village. We made it! I did recon, had a bat fall at my feet, and reported to George. Adults are $4.20 each and under six are free. Showers are split men's and women's. There are unisex for handicapped but they like to keep them open for people that require them. It is decided that Bubble and Tiny go with George into men's. Biscuit and Brogden go with me into women's. Divide their clothes and toiletries to make our way to pay. Biscuit was dancing happy that she was going to take a shower. Cashier sees the baby (change of heart moment) and that allows us to have a handicapped shower room. Sweet! Makes everything so much easier.
Exited through the South Entrance so we got to see Lewis Lake and Lewis Falls. Stopped along Lewis River and heard familiar accents. Folks from South Carolina. Exchanged a few pleasantries and back heading South. An insect scared the girls and George tried three times to get it to escape. It did not but the girls are not afraid anymore.
Rockerfeller Parkway Information Center to collect Junior Ranger books for Grand Tetons and high-tailed it to the first visitor center for the 4:00 pm program. Just made it after a stop at the bathroom. Tiny say she didn't have to go. Played 'This or That' about elk and moose. Girls knew more than I thought and the leader fell in love with Tiny. Stayed on the back deck for book work. Going up and down steps to pick up dropped pencils and Tiny stopped to pee on the steps. George took her back to the car for a change and the elders completed their books.
Quickest Junior Ranger score for the trip. We have learned a bit about this process. Each girl chose the wooden badge instead of the embroidered one which surprised me. Brogden even got a high five for being the youngest visitor that day.
Drive south to Teton Village and I have developed a love of the Tetons. I took a million pictures probably.
Winding road took us to Teton Village and rode the gondola to see all of Jackson Hole. Streetfood at Stagecoach for dinner. Little gem in Wilson, WY. I got more tacos and George had a lamb burger. Girls had a grassy area to run off their 'injury' (energy).
On the road, they all passed out and George asked my opinion on finding a hotel for the night. I jumped at the chance to not step up the tent and googled like crazy. Jackson Hole was a couple hundred a night. Not in our budget. Repeated the search each town our route took us through until I found something agreeable. The inn's owners are leaving the key in the door of the cabin for us. We have found that not too many places out here have night desk people. Checked out the cabin before brought in girls. Quaint and just what we needed. Asked for a double double but ended up with a double queen and a twin. Parked two feet from the door made shuffling sleeping beauties easy. Night
Steps taken: 230 Charging most of the day... okay like all day
Miles driven: 237.4
Baby boy has been up since the rain at 5:00. I drifted in and out of sleep but with all the cooing and grunting coming from the baby, I decided to give sleep up. I can hear snoring from the opposite side of the tent and looking at the girls wonder how are we going to break camp early tomorrow. There will be a line of people waiting for our spot and we wanted to not be the ones that take forever to leave.
This morning Tiny decided her sister needed to be awake with her right before baby vomited on me causing me to wake up George for help. Baby got comfy on my chest and I passed back out. Until 10:45.
George had bacon frying when I emerged from the tent. Add eggs with bread and I am a happy. Girls are causing mischief and run up to the bathroom about forty-seven times. Baby and I get ready in the bathroom. A face wipe does wonders for your spirits. Girls are in their seats when I return and we set off for the day. Old Faithful, gas, eggs, coffee creamer, bread, and showers are on the agenda.
Beautiful views outside and sounds of Biscuit singing Toto's Africa inside. She also calls for us to turn the window up. Turned off main road to see Fountain Basin.
Old Faithful Village where I was dropped off for groceries and George went for fuel. When I was buying food, caught a sign that said Old Faithful was erupting soon. Got back together and shared the news. Found parking and a log to wait on. Girls worked on books until the show.
Checked out the Inn. Bubble used waiting for the family bathroom for book work as well. She is doing well. Spend what feels like forever looking/waiting for George. Went back to the car. He was there.
Head to the Visitor's Center. Past experience told me that a Junior Ranger program happened at 4:00 pm outside the Visitor's Center and I still had two children that needed a Ranger's signature. Learned how to deal/encounter wildlife in the park. Read stay safe. Completed the books to the level each child could outside on a bench.
They were sworn in by the sweetest ranger we have talked to so far. It was touch and go if Biscuit was going to become a Junior Ranger from behavior. She made it.
George wants to see Mammoth Hot Springs which is the northern end of the park. Girls are hungry. Few snacks in the car and they are on board with the plan for dinner at Mammoth. We realize how much Yacht Rock XM the girls have listened to when they start singing Rosanna.
Stopped at the Golden Gate and a rocky outcrop for climbing on the way. Girls loved climbing for a bit.
Mammoth Hot Springs included lots of stairs and it started drizzling. Spectacular though. Lots of elk in the 'village'. Still looking for a spot for a picnic dinner. 9 hours after our last meal.
After bathrooms and elk spotting, we drive through Mammoth Village. Dinner location secured on Lava Creek. More consistent sprinkles started, Bubble and Biscuit found shelter for eating. I retreated with Brogden to the car to keep him from being pelted in the face. Tiny got caught up in the moment and peed in her pants. Again. She has does that two or three times now. Enough that we had to buy her a new pack of underwear. Underwear that is back at the campsite. She rode back in PJs. Commando.
We thought showers were in Mammoth Springs. Turns out they are in Grants Village. At the other end of Yellowstone. Over 75 miles away. At 35-45 mph. Like driving from Raleigh to Greensboro for a shower. New plan. Showers after checking out and on the way to the Grand Tetons.
Took a gravel one lane road for 6 miles off the main road looking for bears. You heard that. I didn't vote yes to the turn.
No bears. Just longer to get to the campsite. I think I fell asleep on the way. Zipped up in mummy bag at 10:45. It is cold.
Steps taken: 11,868
Miles driven: 142.4
Alarm went off at 5:45 am. First come sites can be filled by early morning. Sleep a little more.
Take Montana picture by 6:30 and head into Yellowstone.
At the gate, we get word that the Norris campground fills by 8:00 each day. We headed straight there. And find a line. George parks and heads up to the office. Comes back for his wallet. Ranger comes by a bit later and asked me if I had someone in line. I said I did and she said he should be in her last count. This is crazy. Enough cars move that I see George. He seems happy and like third to last in line. I think that means we just made it.
Sad news though. We had to wait until all the people in front of us got a spot. We were 27th in line and campers had until 11:00am to check out. Made friends with people in front and behind us. I am happy to report all three groups received a location.
Loop C - 79 is right at the bathrooms and I am pleased. Tight for our tent and George is not. Brogden did not allow me to help set up the tent but demanded to be held and patted.
Straighten the suburban afterwards. Girls got all toys taken away from them for making a disaster out of the back. Girls made sure to fuss about it as much as possible.
Hiked the Porcelain Basin Trail and girls got to see geysers and hot springs. Picked up junior Ranger books. Canyon Village for lunch and a Junior Ranger program.
Canyon Village for food at the grill. Yummy. Just in time for a Junior Ranger program. Biscuit and Tiny do not use Junior Ranger behavior and have to be removed. Bubble absorbs everything said about the animals and repeats the facts for us.
Drive through Hayden Valley. Mark off George's wish to see bison. We witness hundreds. Throughout the course of the day, George would joke with the girls about feeding them to a bear. Tiny promptly said "No. I fight back!" George asked with what and she told him that she would fight black with a Bowie Knife. I guess the two year old was paying attention at the Alamo during the Bowie exhibit.
Back at the campsite I wiped off the girls and George made dinner. Bubble and Tiny asked to go to the tent before the sun went down. Brogden is cuddled up in the rocker and Biscuit is deep in her sleeping bag. George and I zipped up in the tent with them by 9:35 pm. Far cry from last night.
Steps taken: 11,512
Miles driven: 136.2
Brogden and I argue most of the night. Around 5:00 am, I realized he and my blanket are soaked. George gets us wipes and him a change of clothes. Baby is still not happy with me or George. At 9:00, I wake up with him on me. Thankful for an hour of sleep. Tiny starts screaming outside the tent. George checks on her and finds three bite/sting marks. Show it to a ranger and asked if there were any insects we needed to worry about. None and Tiny seems to be okay.
Last of the oatmeal for breakfast. Need more. Always more oatmeal. After eating, showers were on the menu. I took four children and left George to break camp.
The Groundhog Day feeling of setting up camp and breaking down camp is starting to get to me. I have my moment. George says I am moody. I come back with the fact that I am still postpartum and he is asking a lot of me.
Get moving so all the flies will leave the car. When George looked up the travel time to Yellowstone the night before it was five hours. This morning it is seven hours. Time of day matters people. And you know we are going to stop. A lot. Like tons of stops. Stop at a Love's for fuel. See? Leave with bananas for the girls. Take the Oregon and Idaho state line pictures. Oregon crossing was in the wee hours of the morning when I was the only one awake.
Lunch at the Idaho rest stop. We are good at getting nowhere quickly. Yellowstone is still like 7 hours away and it is 3:15 pm. We are also going back in time zones now. George and I picked up Thai and Mexican at two trailers across the street from fuel stop. Girls had their second banana and a grilled cheese. I use the paper plates to press the sandwiches to prevent from having to get out the utensil box. Girls now realize they are in control of blanket picnics and they have another.
Uneventful drive with views of crops and cattle. Bubble created more artwork.
Pocatello, ID brought a Walmart stop for dinner and supplies before Yellowstone. George took the girls in and left baby and I to hang out in the car. I needed the quiet and Brogden needed the time out of his seat.
Family picked up dinner at Costa Vida. Looked amazing. Checked online for me. I could have lettuce, black beans, pinto beans, and non-grilled corn chips. My traveling body does not need more beans for the sake of everyone in the car. I know McDonald's nuggets are safe and quick so I settle for those. Begrudgingly.
Listen to more of Travels with Charley and the girls drift off to sleep. George forgot an oil filter in Pocatello, stops at the Rexburg Walmart for one. I thought everyone was asleep but I heard a tiny voice from Tiny ask for a movie so I gave her my phone while we waited.
11:45 pm MST. Pull through the gates of Yellowstone. Plan is to drive through the first campground and see if it is full like the signs say. Each reflector makes my heart skip. What if it is a bear's eyes or another animal?
Drive into Madison Campground and come back out. It is huge and not going to look after passing three signs that say FULL. Back into town to find a room. One king for $369. George refuses to pay that for a few hours of sleep. An hour back from where we came from and still nothing. Well, there are motels and inns but none are manned overnight. Bubble gave her opinion and said to sleep in the suburban. We pull over at the Montana state line and all get comfy. Surprisingly comfortable. And sleep. At 3:15 am.
Steps taken: 6,315
Miles driven: 589.3
9:00 or sooooo got up and made oatmeal for the ladies. They had to eat that before their 'bagel' (doughnut) from VooDoo. Then George and I had pastrami and egg wraps. George took them too the pool and I packed up the room. With a baby crying the entire time. Residual affects from something I ate have him only happy nursing or upright. I switched with George to watch the girls and he loaded the car.
Throwing everything in the car to get out of the campsite quickly in CA was still haunting us. At the hotel, we took the time to get everything in its place. We also gathered all the dirty laundry to be able to drop it off at a wash-n-fold. George called them and checked if they could complete it today. Now we can drop off dirty clothes, see the last of the sights, and pick up clean clothes on the way out of town.
Found the Rose City Food Park for more tacos for me. I am a fiend. I might need to call someone. Burrito for George; bowl and a fish taco for myself. So yummy.
Made our way to the International Rose Test Garden. Beautiful. Girls performed a short show at the amphitheater. George received word that our laundry was ready. Decided we wanted to get on the road and skipped the zoo.
Wash and fold laundry service was so worth it. It came out in two bags and I will sort tonight at the campground. Picked a state park right off the interstate at the state line. Yellowstone should be a quick trip tomorrow.
At a gas station for ice reup, I got to spend a few moments cuddling with my boy. My sweet boy that made this trip possible. He might not remember it but he is the reason for it.
Amist handing out markers and dressing Minnie, George asked about the amenities at the campground. I said hot showers and flushing toilets. He said, "Ok, cool." Biscuit pipped up with "Flushing toilets?" They have seen their share of vault toilets. More handing out markers and FaceTime with grandparents then mommy had enough. I picked a movie based on running times. Mary Poppins.
Girls watching a movie, I upload videos from Lake Mead, and George mentions wash and fold again in Asheville, NC. So we can bring clean clothes home. And I will have less to complain about. Y'all- he is going on a guy's weekend trip when we get back. Not cool. I have less than a week to get ready for teaching and the two oldest ready for school and he is taking a guy's trip. After this trip. Know this ahead of time because I am predicting bad moods for myself.
I think the girls can detect bad moods. I am still in one when we look for a place to make dinner. George comments there was no good place and Biscuit says but it is a great place to watch the sunset. And she is right. Few more turns and there is a park with a playground and restrooms. I am slightly irritated that I cannot locate Tiny's second sock when she brings me a flower. Bubble runs off with my phone and brings it back with a picture of the setting sun.
I see Tiny run behind and tree when it dawns on me what she is doing. I take off after her to come up short. She already pee peed behind the tree. Walk her up the hill to the bathroom for her to finish. Child is starting to prefer going outside.
Rice-Blakey Park is cool from my feet to my knees and warm around my arms and head. Odd sensation. Bubble took it upon herself to check off the picnic on a blanket. She loved it. Great spot for dinner and to stretch legs.
Roaming so I gave up on being productive and went to sleep. First time of intentionally sleeping while underway. It was bliss. Farewell Bend State Park at night is great. Clean bathrooms and no tokens for hot showers. Each time we come to a state park at night, I cannot help to think this would be impossible in NC. I do not know why gates are locked back home but I am grateful the aren't everywhere.
Steps taken: 8,384
Miles driven: 372.0
Tiny woke us up by flipping the bedside light on and off. She and Biscuit climbed into our bed to see Brogden. Now I have Tiny and Brogden, Biscuit and Minnie, and Bubble with bacon...... That microwave bacon is being put to good use. Two slices of bacon each and they settle down to watch Frozen on tv. Is this normal to have favorite movies playing on tv and the most perfect times?
Ate breakfast in the room, dressed, and made our plan. REI, downtown for a bit, late lunch out, and drive the Coast at sunset. We held back on more gift for Biscuit's birthday. She spied this octopus at the San Francisco Zoo and Daddy snagged it for her while I had them in the bathroom.
I forgot first a car wash. Coin operated washes are hard to come by in cities you don't know and the fresh paint from wreck and roof top box make drive through not possible. Passed a thrift store. Circled back. Picked up sparkly Toms and the 'Your Baby Can Read' collection. If all girls can read when we return, WIN! I don't mind them watching these in the car. Found the car wash. Disc one inserted. Biscuit is enthralled with it. I might regret the purchase in ten hours of hearing random words called out with guitars strumming in the background.
REI trip caused us to park in front of a downtown water play area. We promised pool at the hotel tonight and moved on. Got the French press for the Jet Boil, new silverware, stick sunscreen, and a tip for used outdoor equipment. While George had the ladies in the bathroom, I wandered around with Brogden and made a wish list. All REI gift cards are welcome! Headed off to find the reuse place. George scored a Double jacket North Face for $32!
A couple of street tacos later, we found ourselves at the Goodwill Boutique. It was crazy to think of spending 19.99 on jeans from Goodwill but they were all designer. Left with a Patagonia skort for $15! More tacos and this time Margaritas at Mayas Taqueria. I may have consumed eight tacos in total.
Streetcar ride to Washington Park to hike over to the International Rose Test Garden. It was too far and going to be too dark so we turned back for the streetcar. VooDoo Doughnut is a must so we did. Eating them in them morning since bad behavior happened in line.
On the way to Safeway before hotel and a pack, I mean a pack, of bicyclists went by us in the other direction. Naked. George said, "ahhh they are naked," Bubble responded with "yeah, I know but why?" She could have cared less that 40+ people were cycling down the middle of the street.
All were quickly asleep from the day. I tried to work on the blog with Tiny; we were unsuccessful.
Steps taken: 10,715 put it on mid morning
Miles driven: 33.9
Every all-nighter needs a moment that marks the change of a new day. Most of the time it does not follow the clock. For this drive, a new day was marked with three things: George took a shower, sun came up, and our girls woke up. First came birthday kisses to Biscuit! And then coffee for Mommy. I got quite a bit of posting completed when I wasn't driving.
Biscuit started her birthday with Moana and a Wendy's Jr Bacon Cheeseburger. She was all smiles, considering she found the cheeseburger down in her seat from the night before. Gave only silly faces when asked to smile for her birthday though. Little stinker.
Found my Baby K'Tan Active in Corvallis, OR, spied a park on the way too, and located the recommended grocery store. Biscuit went in with me to pick out her breakfast birthday cake as requested. Diligently considered all the options and selected a black and white 8" cake. Kind bakery employee asked her favorite color to be able to write 'Happy 5th Birthday' in yellow. I picked out a treat for myself. Meanwhile, George had the rest of the crew at Dollar Tree for balloons.
Market of Choice is a glorious grocery store. George came back and switched with me but I couldn't stay away so I brought Bubble, Tiny, and Brogden in for the bathroom and to shop. Oh to shop. $100 later George emerges with no help from me. Biscuit is thrilled with her balloons overflowing in the car seat and somehow she finds room to get in and buckle.
The charming neighborhood park had the most perfect shaded table for our breakfast cake. Sang happy birthday and blew out the candle five times for her five years. The inhouse party planner I employed selected OJ as the drink pairing and cups were dispersed. Bacon was also on the menu but I goofed at the store and put microwave ready instead of ready to eat. Pork stored for another day, the girls were happy with cake and OJ.
Ran off to play and left mommy and daddy to get to know some of the adults at the park. One of the children they played with had the most wonderful iridescent cowboy boots ever seen by man. George and I struck up a conversation with the little girl's mother. It flowed natural just as Saturday morning did with the family at the campground. I wished this was our neighborhood playground and I could hang out with this mother every weekend. She gave us some good tips for campgrounds (all turned out to be full) and sights to see in Corvallis. It is sad to realize we have to leave our new friends to continue Biscuit's birthday celebrations.
We let Biscuit decide the rest of the day and she chose the Portland Children's Museum with watching the rest of Brave on the way. Our Marbles membership allows for us to have 50% off and we turn the sugar filled girls loose. They had a blast exploring and celebrating not being in the car. I took the time to test drive the newest purchase. The Active K'Tan is waaayyyy cooler than the original and I am pleased.
I bring monkeys into the hotel room. Practically have to sit on them to keep them from bouncing everywhere. I know it was the breakfast cake and candy bag so I can only redirect and not punish. Found Mulan, Biscuit's favorite, on tv. Someone up there has our backs tonight.
George makes it known that I am to order and pick up dinner. Biscuit chose pizza and I found a place that had cashew cheese as an option. I am terse that I don't get an opinion on if I want to go but soon realized I needed to be alone. Sitting at the bar and waiting for take out was a delight. I heard a few cries but found pleasure in knowing I wasn't responsible. I even ordered the lemonade special as a treat.
Pizza devoured and quickly breaking down, we move onto presents. Monkey back pack and Minnie dress up doll from Texas, book from Colorado, snake toy from West Marin, and glass octopus from San Francisco round out the stash. Couldn't locate a pen to write on the cards. They will be put away for another birthday.
Angels tucked into bed. Exhausted from a fun sugar-filled day. And birthday girl cuddled up with her Minnie.
Steps taken: I forgot to check the Fitbit to see if it charged
Miles driven: 237.4
Without the Fitbit, I have no idea what time we all wake up. I do know that I slept on the bottom of a slight hill. Proven since little girls not held in place by George rolled into me. Restricted in movement is something I cannot stand. I moved to the bottom of the pads with Brogden. Girls always get a full night of sleep between the car and tent so they bounce around the tent before I get up with them.
Family passing by while I am looking for peanut butter asked if we are really from North Carolina. That sparked a conversation about the mother being from Raleigh and their three children are 5, 3, and 1.
Our children bonded quickly with theirs and ate in a rush to be able to play with their new friends. Bike riding and junior ranger games followed bagels with peanut butter and oatmeal. I wished we actually had a spot for another night to be able to visit longer. I have fond memories of playing with same aged campers growing up. I remember easily making games and fun since camping families seem to have similar values. That notion held true for me that morning in CA as well. I liked the parents and I wanted to hang out with them as much as my girls wanted to play with theirs.
In talking with the parents about how we ended up in that campground, the dad mentioned that some people reserve two nights to be able to arrive early in the morning the second day. That caused us to be mindful about packing quickly as to not meet the Barnes. George did not fully unpack the back and made coffee in his makeshift French press in the Jet Boil. The threads finally gave way which caused George's stomach and table to be on the receiving end of the coffee explosion. Coffee grounds spread everywhere and tummy skin red from scalding water delayed our packing schedule.
Girls wanted to play at the creek right beside the site. It was a beautiful site with massive trees, shade, and water sounds. I did due diligence and told them "do not get in the creek", knowing that would never work. Word was sent that both elders were soaking wet right about the time that a car full of confused Barnes showed up. They were gracious about the situation they found themselves in with our clan in their site. Tent packed up within 15 minutes and suburban moved for them to unpack for the weekend.
Now to fix the wet girls. I had out clothes for the day as soon as they asked about playing near the creek. Took them to the bathhouse along with a few quarters for hot water. I started the shower with cold water to reinforce that they were not to get wet. One quarter deposited to buy a short period of hot water. I found the hot water did not stop. Went for soap from the car. I showered as well. Told girls to stay in the water until it got cold. It never did. I pulled them out and dress them in clean clothes.
Once on the main road of the PCH, George spotted Hog Island BBQ'D Oysters and required a taste test. He went in to order and the rest of us hung out in the car. Brogden has grown so much already. It is a treat to be six inches from him in the car. I get to be with him more on this trip than if I was at home. I need to remember that more. Biscuit LOVED the oysters. She tried one as George poked his head into a thrift store of a coastal Californian town. I had my chance in the thrift store after George spied shoes for the girls but did not know sizes. I found TOMS and Keens for Bubble, cute nautical flats for Biscuit, extra outfits for girls, and sunglasses for me. I was stoked until I got back to the car and discovered all the oysters were gone. At least my children have good taste. Biscuit asked for the shells to remove any last morsels. George still prefers Carolina oysters to the Hog Island fancied priced oysters.
Working our way along the Pacific Coast Highway brought awesome views of coast and countryside.
Saw roadside cherries in Valley Ford, CA. Required a stop since I just peeled the last of the tangerines. I picked up the cherries and George sourced coffee and hamburger buns from the market to prevent the need for sandwich bread again.
Pacific Coast Highway is great for lulling a baby to sleep. Each time we stopped to lookout caused Brogden to stir, the next two minutes swaying back and forth with the road would put him back to sleep. One of the stops included a hike down to the beach. Seals and sea otters could be seen from the cliff and required closer inspection. We found a clubhouse built from driftwood and chilly water. Seals were fun to watch but we couldn't get too close. Hike back up and carrying on down the road.
Notice: Many pictures were taken on the side of the road, hike down, on the sand, and on climb back to the car. I cannot select a few so they are all here.
For the record I am over the PCH. No service. Car sickness falling upon me. Today has been beautiful but I cannot keep a happy outlook. I do not know what to do to get my attitude back right. I am pretty sure it is because we will probably be driving again tomorrow and I did not want to do that for Biscuit's birthday.
Movie pairings for this trip have matched the surroundings much like wines with food. Princess and the Frog for New Orleans, Cars for the Southwest, Lorax for Colorado, and Planes: Fire and Rescue for Yosemite. The girls discussed Moana or Brave for the PCH. Settled on Brave. The hills, rocky coast, fog, breeze, and forest. Brave was a good match.
Sonoma County vineyards at the golden hour to head back north for Portland, OR. Planned to do the Oregon Zoo and Portland Children Museum for Biscuit's birthday. A missed turn put us behind in travel time. We will see how much we can make back.
Walmart stop for potty and ice mainly. $85 later, cleared out a running list. Unloading children, preparing to enter, I stepped out into the mulch. A piece stabbed my foot through my shoe. I pulled the hunk out of the rubber sole and questioned how. After all the miles I walked, hiked, and ran (after Tiny) on this trip, a mulch shard broke my foot's armor. George had to use the restroom. So did I. He got to go alone. I took the cart with four children into one stall. This is my talent. I enlisted the help of the cart since Biscuit's skort fell down every two steps and Tiny is a crazed maniac.
Started checking of the list and touring another Walmart of our fine country. Bubble and I break from the group to select birthday decorations. Bubble is a party planner. She takes this seriously. We changed themes three times. We have party beads, a candle, cards, plates, napkins, sash, and Minnie ears for Biscuit to wear all day. I take the children to the car and George checks out. We forget ice. Go back for two bags. I go back to potty.
Rest stop before the Oregon-California state line for adults to use. I don't know about you but I take time to renew the library books in the rooftop box.
Driver change 20 miles into Oregon. That means I have officially driven for two hours and ten minutes of this entire trip. George struck up a conversation with the gas station attendant, required by law for someone to pump your gas here, he used to live in Montana and gave us tons of tips for the rest of our journey.
Steps taken: Forgot to check on Fitbit... I would have loved to have known with that ocean hike
Miles driven: 613.2