What? You haven't all been checking back here every day to see the stunning photos of our exciting cross-country trip with four children? Well, too bad. Because here they are. Wheee!
So how did I drive 1,800 miles with four little kids and no electronic devices? I sat in the middle of the van next to Poppy and created Mom Command Central from which I could pass out distractions to the front and back.
Cooler of food and water bottles, bag of snacks, bag of books and drawing supplies. We also had the entire Chronicles of Narnia on audio book, which was great for Cubby and Charlie, though less entertaining for the younger two.
Never if he can help it will A. stay in a chain hotel. We always stayed at little motels, the kind that still have real keys and you park your car right in front of your door. The first was in Olney, Illinois. It was . . . not luxurious.
Also, it was raining.
But it had a microwave to heat up our dinner AND a free breakfast in the morning of cereal and various nasty boxed doughnuts and things. Cubby ate three doughnuts to make up for the fact that he had to sleep on the floor with Charlie.
Next we stopped at a motel in Wheatland, Missouri.
Welcome to the heartland.
This was a nicer motel in a much nicer environment.
Farm fields in back, tractor in the yard.
Plus, the owner had many tomatoes in pots next to the motel, with several ripening on the windowsill.
Hello, my pretties.
When I remarked on it--because gardeners will always talk with other gardeners about their gardens--he told me to feel free to pick some tomatoes. I only had one. It was really good.
There was also a "country store" with a cafe at the gas station across the street. The store was actually a small grocery store at which I could replenish our supply of cheese and cucumbers, and the cafe had real ice cream.
If only there hadn't been a glaring light outside our motel room window all night--and no curtains to block the light--it would have been perfect.
In Kansas, we stopped at the Little House on the Prairie Museum outside of Independence.
The children were thrilled.
It was actually a good place to stop for them. There were picnic tables for our picnic lunch, and they could run around outside and be insane. Which is what they did every time we stopped. I can't blame them. I mean, they were sitting in a car for hours every day. Sitting is not the natural state of a little boy. And so, when they weren't sitting, they were running.
Exhibit A. And you can see why I didn't think going into a restaurant and having them sit down to eat would be a good idea.
Last motel stop: Protection, Kansas. This was quite a ways beyond where we had planned on stopping for the night, but the motels were closed in the other towns we went through. We almost missed this one because it was hidden by the tree, and it had a for sale sign out front, but it was open. AND, there were three beds in our room. Plus a small grocery store across the street.
Big tree, little motel.
Next morning, we stopped at the Big Basin Prairie Preserve to let everyone run around for awhile.
Little (big?) family on the prairie.
There was certainly a lot of space for running.
Or, in Poppy's case, flailing.
The boys spent their time trying to catch grasshoppers. Only Cubby was successful.
And at last, we made it to New Mexico.
I know Montana is technically Big Sky Country, but New Mexico can lay claim to that title, too.
There! It took me over a week to get around to documenting our trip, but it was worth the wait, right?
Right. (Humor me.)