It started out as a normal road trip, that is, if your definition of "normal" includes a nine and ten year old on 6 1/2 hour car ride through the cornfields of Iowa. Actually, no corn was harmed in the travel. Neither were the munchkins, which might be more impressive. My bestie, Merry, came along as co-pilot. She also packed the 10 year old, Ava, to counterbalance Bryce. On a dry but overcast Thursday morning at 10:02, we departed. Perfect traveling weather and only two minutes behind schedule. Impressive.
First stop was for lunch (a bit on the early side to accommodate anxious bladders). Second stop was more of the same, less the lunch. Third stop was at the Matchstick Marvel Museum in Gladbrook, Iowa. The creations were impressive - so were the bathrooms. We enjoyed both before jumping back into the car for the final leg of the journey.
We arrived at my sister's house in the Des Moines area. As I carried in luggage, the first words I heard from my traveling companions were, "Oh, you have cats." Ding, ding! Allergies! Why do I never think of these things in advance? Maybe it won't be so bad. And positive thinking worked...for about two hours. Around 11 that evening, we searched the internet for hotel rooms. Who knew Des Moines in June is such a hot vacation spot! We finally found a place with one room - which we quickly booked.
After a (not so) quick stop at a 24 hour pharmacy for an inhaler, four weary travelers, still smiling (maybe not as many teeth showing) brought our luggage into the hotel. It was then that we discovered, simultaneous to our online booking, another traveler had walked into our hotel sleepily eyeing our pillows. When we arrived, there were no shepherds, no angels and no baby - but no room in the inn, either. Mr. Night Manager recognizing the corporate timing error found us a room - a mile down the road in the casino.
For the third time in about as many hours, we loaded and unloaded our luggage. All four of us were laughing, because it really did seem better than the alternative. I agreed in writing not to take the pint-sized into the casino or to leave them in the room alone while I explored Blackjack. Agreed. The room was nice and beds looked very inviting. First, however, came the trip back down to the lobby to purchase a toothbrush for a certain grandboy. Casinos don't give those things away for free, you know, and they don't deliver them to the room, either.
I could go on to tell you about how a certain grandboy is not used to sleeping with anyone. After piling pillows between us to protect me from his kicks, I fell asleep. I awoke to find him sharing my pillow! Would you like to know that it rained off and on the next day while we were at the amusement park? It kept the lines short! Night number two, our original hotel did not have our reservation right, either, but they worked it out - at Bryce's insistence. While I was counting to 10, he informed the manager that they had already turned us away the night before. Not shy and/or very anxious to use the pool, I'm not sure which. We spent 9 hours at the water park the following day, returning to the hotel with keys that would not work - and pretty much out of laughter when advancing four strong on the front desk. They re-programmed our keys in exchange for us leaving the lobby. Good trade.
The trip home was more subdued, but not without laughter. All in all, we had so much fun that Bryce wanted to know what state we would go to next year. Can I forget all the adventures by 2016? Or looking back, will it all look like fun again? Stay tuned! Only time will tell!