Wednesday, July 16, 2014

To North Dakota

It's no secret Daddy works away from home for long periods of time. Since April he has been working in North Dakota. When school let out, he's been saying the job he is working on will be over soon. One month and a half later, he was still saying the job would be over soon. I couldn't help but feel like our summer would be over by the time the job was really over. So, we decided to go visit Daddy.

With route advice from my truck-driving grandparents, we left Chandler at 4 a.m. on Monday, July 14. I woke you all up and loaded you into the car and we were off! Our first stop was breakfast at an IHOP in Denton. It was about 6 a.m. and you were all pretty hyper. No one had went back to sleep as I had hoped.

After leaving IHOP we made it to Oklahoma. It was about this time that I started to smell something from the back seat. I asked Riley if anyone had a dirty diaper, but due to the iPad she was a little too distracted to notice if anyone was dirty. So I kept on driving for about 30 minutes after I noticed the smell. My philosophy is, if they're not crying we're not stopping. All of a sudden from the back seat Riley starts yelling that Nolan was playing in his poo poo and that it was all over the place. Nice. In addition to using nearly every diaper wipe I had brought, Nolan didn't have any clean clothes that were easy to get to. The scenic overlook I happened to pull over at ended up being beautiful and a great photo opportunity.

Just in case I forgot I was about to drive straight through Tornado Alley...

After our road-side incident, Oklahoma was pretty easy. We stopped again for lunch just before we got to Kansas.

I hate to say it, but this picture was the best thing about Kansas. Kansas was boring!

When we finally made it to Nebraska, there was no welcome center to welcome us. Not too far in I noticed a historical marker would be up ahead, so we made for that. It turned out to be interesting and the picture turned out cute!

*note - Nolan is naked from the Oklahoma incident.

When we pulled into Grand Island, Nebraska, my planned stop for the night, we were worn smooth out. We had supper at Olive Garden because I knew the kids would eat pasta. Ha! I guess Nolan and Ella were too tired to eat anything. All Ella did was make a huge mess of her spaghetti and Nolan had his jaws clenched and wouldn't eat a bite. Again, Grand Island is about 30 miles into Nebraska. All it took was for me to order three sprites and a milk for the waitress to ask where we were from. Not to mention, it was cold and windy.

We bedded up for the night, which I knew would be a challenge alone with all three kids. Ella and Nolan are both very used to their own cribs, and it's hard to even get them to nap anywhere else. Forget rocking either of them to sleep. They just won't.

I was hopeful when I snapped this picture, but it didn't last. Ella finally fell asleep with me and Nolan and I was able to move her later in the night. But, that didn't last either. The little hotel refrigerator kicked on about 1:30 a.m. and she was up crying and back in bed with me. 

And Nolan... I thought it was strange that he didn't want to take one single bite at supper, but remembered that we had just driven 14 hours straight from Texas. Maybe he was tired? While I was trying to bathe everyone he was extremely clingy, unusually so. At some point I picked him up and immediately knew he had fever. I don't know how high and I hadn't even packed Tylenol (everything but!). He passed out really quickly and slept most of the night. I didn't sleep for worrying about him, plus, he and Ella are very wild sleepers. It was a long night for me!

The next morning we woke at 6 a.m. and headed for the complimentary breakfast. If there's one thing my Daddy taught me, it's to stay at a hotel with complimentary breakfast! I was still nervous about Nolan, but he ate just fine and the girls did too. We were off again. 

I think Nebraska is one giant corn field. It would be hard to convince me otherwise. These corn fields were different from the ones I'm used to in NE Louisiana. Nebraskan corn fields are located on rolling hills and aren't always ruler-straight in line. It's beautiful. 

I wasn't far from the Nebraska-South Dakota state line, when a little trouble happened. 

It's very hard to run the speed limit in Nebraska. The roads are board straight and seem to stretch on forever. The speed limit is only 65 MPH.  I'm not one to go way over the speed limit, but I didn't see any reason why the speed limit couldn't be 70 MPH. So, I decided to drive 73 MPH. This Nebraskan state trooper (the only one I ever saw), caught me and I knew it; I was pulled over and waiting for him when he pulled up behind me. He was really nice and after seeing my Texas license plates and all three kids in the back he asked where I was headed. He commented I was a long way from home and hoped I would have a safe trip. He let me off with a warning which was more than he had to do. We stopped for lunch in the next little town, Riley's favorite, Valentine, Nebraska.

South Dakota was next. I think everyone should try and drive through South Dakota. It was beautiful.

I rely on the 'range' function in my car to tell me when I should stop and get gas. I pushed things too close in South Dakota and could only think of my Grandad.  My range was getting pretty low and after passing two signs that said "No Services" for many miles (50+) I finally found a spot to get gas and use the restroom. The pump in Howes, South Dakota was an older model, I don't think I've seen one of these since the 90s. Anyway, I ventured in to the general store/post office to use the facilities. The proprietor told me they didn't have running water and that I was welcome to one of the two outhouses in the back. This caught me off guard and all I could do was stutter. I forgot all about the gas and the bathroom and hoped to make it to the next town about 15 miles away.

We did in fact make it to Faith, South Dakota in time for the restroom and gas. Supper on the second night was Lemmon, South Dakota, just nearly in North Dakota. This last stop took much longer than any of our other stops due to baby diarrhea. Ella AND Nolan. I started to realize that maybe an upset stomach was Nolan's problem the day before. I had to unload my big suitcase and find the diaper wipes buried deep within. We entered North Dakota with one clean diaper left. (I tried finding a Walmart in Nebraska and South Dakota with no luck.)

We left Lemmon, South Dakota and entered North Dakota on a high. Our long trip was just about over and we would again be reunited with Daddy. For the first time the whole trip I resorted to singing nursery rhymes to distract fussy babies. Riley is such a good sport in these situations.

Our time in Dickinson, North Dakota

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