Even though I’ve only made the journey a few times, this holiday road trip has become nostalgic to me. For the third time in a calendar year, I have both girls and we are making the three day, cross-country trek from Ohio to Denver, taking as much time as we need and stopping whenever we want. It’s something they’ll remember, I think. It’s something I think about all the time.
It’s always the same path…first Ohio, then Indiana and Iowa, Missouri, Kansas and Colorado respectively. The girls know what to expect these days, and they pack accordingly. They’ve got video games and coloring books, stickers and baby dolls. All that is to fill the time between DVD tv shows and movies – and we’ve got plenty of those. They’ve been in good spirits and I’ve shut everything down a few times for impromptu sing-a-longs. Sometimes I just need to hear their voices. Sometimes I just need to hear those words that only they can mispronounce ever so perfectly.
Last night we stopped in one of the roughest truck stops I have ever experienced. Had I known exactly how rough it was no way would we have gone there. But it was cold and the girls were hungry and itching to get out of the car for awhile. We parked and walked into the restaurant only to find that, through a thick haze of cigarette smoke, the only seats available were inside an oval counter-top that was populated with big, burly, smoking truckers; they would be surrounding us for dinner.
But you know kids…the girls didn’t notice and I pretended to not have an eye on anything but them. They brought in their coloring books and got to work on a couple masterpieces almost immediately. I ordered dinner. Pretty soon they started noticing all the truckers looking at them. Bird (of course) just kept coloring. Lily started playing games with all the patrons. In less than five minutes, both girls lit up the restaurant and were the focus of everyone in the place.
It was good that they were distracted, because it gave me time to remove the hair that was in their fish and chips when it arrived. I thought about sending it back, but then I looked around the place and gave our waitress and the cook a once over. What was I really expecting? I took a deep breath and hoped the strain of hepatitis I was exposing us all to was at least one of the curable versions. Before we left, a female trucker (I assume) brought me a bag from the store on the other side of the building. “This is for your beautiful girls,” she said before disappearing into the night. Hmmm, I thought, then I opened the bag. It was a couple Reeses peanut butter cups and some silly bands. Well that was nice, I thought.
Today we took a little day trip to the Wizard of Oz Museum in Wamego, Kansas. Worth noting is the fact that the Wizard of Oz Museum in Wamego Kansas is right next door to a ‘Mexican’ restaurant called Toto’s Tacos. You heard right. Dorothy’s dog has a taco stand in the middle of Kansas. And there’s an Oz Winery too. In Wamego Kansas you get the distinct feeling that there simply isn’t much going on. It took us maybe ten minutes to do the entire museum. We took pictures and bought some souvenirs because, well, why the hell wouldn’t you if you’re going to go to the Wizard of Oz Museum?
And then we were on our way, back on the same path we always follow. We even ate at the same restaurant tonight that we ate at six months ago when we came out for summer – Montana Mike’s Steak House (and it is beyond awful…still). We even stayed at the same hotel. And finally, we are even playing musical beds at night, eventually resulting in all three of us pressed together in one of the narrow doubled beds in the room.
I love this trip.