Thus begins the longest day. All the kids woke up when we carried them to the car. All still drowsy. Thankfully, Bayboh accepted the substitute of a towel for the fuzzy blanket his sister wanted back.
Mile 2247. Mom and Dad share a quiet and probably premature high five as we roll out of the hotel parking lot at 5:37 AM
Mile 2148. Shmoogie speaks, "I have to use the potty."
Mile 2156. Mr. P, "Mom? When's breakfast?" No one is asleep. But they're all very quiet.
Mile 2158. Mr. P again, somewhat bitter, "We need to brush our teeth. It's ruining them!" (They brushed their teeth last night.)
Mile 2162. Beautiful. The thing it turns out I love best about driving across the country is watching the landscape change.
Mile 2176. Pee stop by the side of the road. Feeling bad that I haven't yet worked out a good way for Shmoogie to do this. We kind of improvise every time, but it's just so unfair to see Mr. P hop out and blithely shoot a clear stream well away from himself, shake off, and hop back in the car while Shmoogie and I are trying to find at least some visual screen, get clothing out of the way, and hope to be able to adjust midstream if the angle or volume turns out to exceed expectations. At least we haven't ended up with pee on pants or shoes recently. I'm wondering if it was a blessing not to have a brother so I didn't know with quite such clarity what I was missing, or if knowing is half the battle and knowing would have led me to fix this injustice (in so far as is possible) long ago.
Mile 2195. I decide now really is the time to buy some feminine urinary directors, a product I've been eyeing for, honestly, decades. Amazon has them and can ship a set of 5 to tomorrow's destination by tomorrow.
Mile 2207. Have successfully ordered said product to be delivered at said time. It took 12 miles only because of 3G network and having to enter a new address and confirm credit card. Truly extraordinary, these modern communications.
Mile 2226. Breakfast at McDonald's. The kids are thrilled even before they see the indoor playground. They read all the rules and we have to go digging in the car for socks, coming up with two pairs of mine and one of Shmoogie's. This works. Also, I will give McDonald's a grudging tip of the hat for their oatmeal with apples and raisins. It was better than I expected.
Mile 2261. Passing Two Guns, AZ
Mile 2377. First major meltdown of the trip. Mr. P wants to be at home having a nice summer with "no one bothering him".
Mile 2387. Now the only yelling is Bayboh demanding peanuts. And chocolate.
Mile 2392. New Mexico! Beautiful rock formations outside, but it's still raining so no picture.
Mile 2469. "GUSTY WINDS MAY EXIST"
Mile 2485. Field of buckled heaving black rock. Almost looks like asphalt.
Mile 2499. Bayboh asleep. A little earlier than expected. Hmm.
Mile 2520. This really is beautiful country to drive through.
Mile 2543. Albuquerque NM!
Mile 2515. Yelp thinks we should drive another hour and a half before stopping for food.
Mile ???? Another lunch on Rte. 66. It feels like we're just going from one eating establishment to the next, laying waste to previously clean and orderly tables. Bayboh is especially good at smearing any type of condiment from one side of the table to the other while refusing to sit or actually eat much of anything.
Mile 2793. We discover one hour out that the water park we've been aiming for all day as a big energy release after ten hours of driving is... Permanently Closed. This is possibly my worst parenting fail of all time. But also, shouldn't a town the size of Amarillo in a climate like this have some just plain pools open past 5pm? Whatever. We're going to a splash park that's supposed to be going until 8pm. And the kids are frustrated but remarkably accepting. We don't deserve it, honestly, after all that we've put them through.
Mile 2823. Realizing we've seen a lot of billboards today advertising "CLEAN RESTROOMS" as the main selling point for various establishments.
Mile 2827. Realizing that with the two hours of time change we've driven through today, there was really no chance we'd have gotten into a water park, even if it still existed. Double fail.
Mile 2839. Realize we've been following directions to the dead center of "Amarillo" instead of the splash park. Rerouting.
Mile 2842. Arriving at Memorial Park spray ground with 30 minutes of spray left to go. It is warm and the sun is low and a bunch of kids are happily playing in the water. This is good. This is much better than a water park extravaganza would have been.
Mile 2843. Ice cream at Dairy Queen. As a group, we are a sight to behold, I'm sure, but Mr. P leads the band with a neon green shirt and red striped pajama pants.
Mile 2876. A field of wind turbines, each with a small red light on top (to warn airplanes?). The whole fields blinks on and off in synchrony second by second.
Mile 2940. It is amazing what you can accomplish from the road with a smart phone. Miles of staring at a tiny wobbling screen in the dark is not comfortable, though.
Mile 3000. All children seem to be asleep. Looking out the window through cupped hands to block the glare, I see a falling star. It boggles the mind how fast and far we can travel. And how big this country is.
Mile 3019. Vaguely considering combining the last two days of our trip into one. This is a terrible idea.
Mile 1303. Everyone is awake. Everyone is happy we got through the longest day. Exhausted. My watch looks upside down. It's been a while since I was up this late.