Sunshine filtering in through the hotel curtains awakened me this morning; what a pleasant, and welcome change. One slight movement to look at the alarm clock, and I accidentally woke CF from his slumber. It was nice, really, to have a few moments alone with him, with the kids sleeping like logs in the next bed over. It’s a rare moment for us to rise from sleep at the same time, and even more rare that neither of us had a job or a commitment to rush off to. This morning, we could just snuggle up and talk, about anything.
As the kids lay in their oblivious state of sleep, we watched them, and even tittered a bit at the drama they’d engaged in just last night, arguing over who called “dibs” first for the right side of the bed. Now they sleep, breathing slow, relaxed breaths, next to one another. It’s a moment that is cherished now, and then gone before we know it.
As we packed up the car, I noticed our belongings were getting less organized each day. Not that I am an immaculate housekeeper by any means. You have no idea how hilarious that thought is! The words immaculate and house-anything are a fictional story in my world. I am “particular”, however, when it comes to certain things; laundry is definitely one of them. And by the looks of our vehicle, there is far more laundry flung loosely about in the back of my SUV, than is contained in the suitcases or the dirty linen bags combined.
The hotel offered a less-than-appealing continental breakfast. When I heard they had donuts & pastries, my mind immediately went to ooey gooey melt-in-your-mouth glazed donuts, maybe some jelly-filled bismarks, or freshly baked cinnamon rolls. What we found was a knock-off brand of Raisin Bran cereal that was stuck in the dispenser (who know how long it’s been in there), packets of instant oatmeal to make in the microwave, and cake donuts that looked like they were yesterday’s cast-offs from a budget bakery. We didn’t really believe $79 for a room ($91 after tax) was a steal, and the unappealing breakfast only added insult to injury.
We drove through Ogallala a short while and found a nice city park with some picnic tables (yes, we’re doing it again). CF started up the grill, and I went about bringing down my pans and ingredients to make us a hearty breakfast. The lack of organization in the back of the car caused us to make innumerable trips back up the hill to the SUV to retrieve a forgotten item. By the time everything was found, most of the contents in the back of our car were strewn about the street; it looked like we were a band of traveling gypsies, I’m sure. Em & I cooked up a breakfast of cornbread, scrambled eggs with ham, and bacon, while the guys left to fuel up the car and bring back beverages.
After packing up the car again (no, it didn’t look any more organized this time), we headed east about 50 miles to North Platte, NE for our last official leg of the trip. Destination; Cody Go Karts. Sid was completely stoked about this, he couldn’t wait to hop in a kart and zip around the track; remember he races motocross :-). Em was “okay” with the idea, but she made it very clear she wanted to get home to see Annie, our beloved Border Collie, who was staying with my mother.
When we arrived at Cody Go Karts, the place looked a little abandoned; we were the only visitors so far. There was a lady working the ticket booth, and two other guys appearing to work there also, but definitely not enough employees to open all the rides. Besides the go-karts, this place had bumper boats, miniature golf, a trampoline basketball game, 3 water slides, and an arcade.
The kids went for the go-karts first. After a good 3-minute orientation on how to operate the karts, going over the basic layout of the track, and what hand signals they needed to know, I could tell it was all about as clear as mud. Both Em & Sid had that “deer in the headlights look” as the guy told them they could start.
This particular track was small, so after completing their race on it, they moved to the other go-kart track. This one was a figure 8, and by the time we got there, they already had some competition. Everyone was having a really good time, and most drivers were getting faster by the lap. On one particular lap, I noticed Sid’s kart was slowing down and he looked puzzled. Just when he was out of my view, I see the employee guy literally run out on the track and give the “STOP” signal, over and over. He looked quite serious, and I thought, “Oh no, what just happened?” Most everyone came driving around the corner, except Sid. Eventually, when he did appear, I could see everything was fine. His kart had quit on him in the underpass, and another young girl came through there and rear-ended him quite hard. Luckily nobody was hurt, and he was ready to go again.
CF got out there twice and competed with them, but he could not beat Sid; that boy was the fastest one out there!
The three of them talked me into trying it as well, and after a little coaxing I finally did. Well, lets just say I took them quite literally when they told me I could keep it pegged almost all the way around. They explained it really wasn’t a very fast track. Once in my cart, hurtling down the track, sliding sideways and screaming, tells me THEY LIED; my heart palpitations were shouting, “I don’t like it, I don’t LIKE IT, AHhHhHhHh I want out of this THING!!!”. The rest of the race I was continuously passed, even by small children. Sid lapped me, TWICE!!! And when I exited the track, CF was actually serious when he asked, “Well, what did you think?”. Shaking my head I said, “I DID NOT like it”. “Really?”, CF said. “Nope, I won’t be doing that again!” I grumbled, still shaking my head.
The bumper boats would have been more my speed I think, but my heart was still pounding, and I didn’t want to be the one to stumble and fall getting in, so I passed. I really am more adventurous than you think… I did TRY the go-karts, right?
We tried our skills at miniature golf, and had a lot of fun. Sid and I had the problem of hitting the ball too hard, and it often skipped over and out of the green we were playing. Em was really just the opposite, she was so gentle that the ball often rolled back towards her. And CF, he probably showed the most skill out of us all.
Next were the water slides. Only Sid was really excited about going down them, Em was more concerned with getting on the road to see her beloved dog, Annie.
One trip down the fastest slide, and they were having an amazing time! If I could have guessed how funny their expressions would be their first time down the fast slide, I would have definitely had my camera ready. The look of disbelief & fear, followed by a grin the size of Texas, told us that this might just be the best stop we’ve made the whole trip. They slid down those slides over and over, and for $7.00 a kid (unlimited sliding), it was a real bargain.
We left the park hot, tired, and starving for some food. I had no more energy to cook, and since there was a Dairy Queen not far away; nobody had to twist my arm. My only regret is I didn’t leave any room for dessert!
The kids sacked out in the back, I dozed off here and there, and CF drove us home. I simply wanted to throw our belongings inside the house, take a quick shower, and go straight to bed. But remember, there was this little dog named Annie, and we HAD to go pick her up that night.
We made the 20-minute trip to Mom’s house, and when we pulled in the drive, there was Annie, waiting outside with Mom. She took one look at us and nearly knocked us over with affection! She looked so good, and we could tell she had been very happy under Mom’s care. Annie had been walked each day, and I’m quite sure she had even shed a few of those extra pounds. Notice her little underbite in the photo below, I love it!
So, after 5 days (and nights) out on the road, we have returned home. As nice as it was to get away from it all, it was even nicer to return to our home, and all the comforts of it. Mounds and mounds of laundry were waiting for me the next day; I guess it’s a good thing I find hanging laundry on the clothes line to be a soothing pastime 🙂
Thank you so much for joining us on our journey, I hope you enjoyed the adventure!