Friday, March 15, 2013

Ultimate Road Trip Day 11: Best Laid Schemes

Best Laid Scheme #1
Ed and I made an awesome plan last night.  We've done these hotel morning routines enough now to really economize our time.  We wanted to get to St. Louis as soon as we could.  He would get up and take a shower while I got the girls all up and dressed.  Then he would take them to the breakfast room while I showered and packed up our things.  Then I would go and trade off with him, sit with the girls and eat breakfast while he finished packing up his things and the car.  This was a smart plan because the girls take so long to eat breakfast.  We would be up and out of there in no time, which I didn't mind a bit since Norman Bates appeared to still be on duty in the morning. 
It worked perfectly.  Until we were all packed up and ready in the car, and Ed kept not coming out of the hotel.  Ginger was with him so I thought she was using the bathroom or something, but after 10 minutes I went back to check on them.  He had something urgent from work come up, that he needed the wi-fi for, so he was scrambling away on his laptop.  I went back out with the girls and waited.  Waited, waited.  Washed the front windshield.  The back one.  All the windows.  Organized the snack bin.  And the supply bin.  Waited.  Forty-five minutes later, we bid Norman farewell and rolled onto the highway.  No sooner than if I'd slept an extra hour.

Best Laid Scheme #2
Right around 10 a.m. we need a rest stop, both to use the bathroom and to run around.  Because of our late start, we hoped to go past 10 or skip it altogether, but nature calls.  I was driving, so Ed checked my iExit app for upcoming rest stops, and there were none for 90 miles, so we had to pull off to a gas station.  And you know how those bathrooms are.  But there was a grassy lawn/ empty lot behind it, so we ran around a bit, clearing our noses of the stench and stretching our legs.  Ten minutes later we passed a lovely looking service area, the kind we prefer to stop at.  I looked at Ed.  He blamed the app.  Mhm.

Best Laid Scheme #3
This one isn't really a scheme, but we've mostly stuck to our plans on this trip, and I was up for some spontaneity.  Not that there's a lot to do or see in Kansas, but sometimes those billboards have just the thing.  A sign for Moon Marble Company: Toys, Gifts, Marbles caught my attention, and I took the exit without hesitating.  A couple of miles later we parked in a gravel lot by the train tracks next to a run-down little building, and entered vintage toy utopia.
 An entire wall of every color marble on earth, sold from bulk bins.  We filled two tubes and a jar, more marbles than we could ever dream of needing. 
 We just couldn't stop ourselves.
Then we explored the rest of the store.  Games and toys from generations before mine, mixed in with some I recognized.  In the way back was a small stage with bleachers, and a man demonstrating how marbles are made.  To one side was a demo room, with a few toy sets open for anyone to come play with.  We could have spent hours and hundreds in there, but reigned it in at about 30 minutes and $24, for two tubes and a jar of marbles, a big die with hearts instead of dots, a Nemo PEZ (Ginger has decided to start collecting), and three small wooden tops for the girls' Easter baskets.  Fun.

Best Laid Scheme #4
I won't even get into what happened at lunch, and how Ed had to get out his laptop and work through lunch, and how we sat outside at Chipotle because it was a beautiful day, but a bit blustery, and we had several blow-away situations, and how Poppy wouldn't eat and then cried all afternoon, sometimes screaming, because she was so hungry and we wouldn't let her eat until dinner.  We wanted to get to St. Louis in time to do something touristy, but between Ed's work, and yes, my spontaneous stop, it was already dinner time.  We skipped the chain-restaurant fare near the hotel and consulted Urbanspoon for something different.  Strangely, I was really craving a simple bowl of spaghetti.  We found a down-to-earth family-run pizzeria, and it was just the thing.  All the waitresses were sisters, and looked Italian to boot, so we knew we were in good hands.  Afterwards, we drove a few more blocks, not knowing at all where we were, and found a frozen custard shop with one gazillion flavors.  The girls got extra excited when a firetruck showed up and then firemen came over to order some custard.  I've told the girls many times, firemen always know the best places to eat.
Sometimes, most times, it's good to plan.  Other times, when the plan doesn't work, it's still fun to see what happens.

Daily Report 
Miles: 474
DVD:  Bill Nye the Science Guy - Planets & Gravity
Activity:  magnetic travel Chinese checkers
Poppy:  Water Wow On the Go Vehicles
Snack:  Pirate's Booty
High Point:  Kari - the marble shop stop; Ed - dinner (spaghetti with Italian sausage); the girls are asleep but they would probably say seeing the firemen.
Low Point:  Super nasty toilet at the Phillips 66 in Topeka

*Do you know where "The best laid schemes o' Mice an' Men" comes from?  A profoundly moving poem by Robert Burns called "To a Mouse."  Read more about it here.

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