We did lots of laundry and then packed again, and left early in the morning on Mother's Day headed west. Our first day we drove eight hours to Topeka, Kansas. Nothing very exciting about that, but we did stay in the absolute best hotel of our entire trip. Seriously, the Hampton Inn in Topeka Kansas is awesome! They gave us cookies. They gave us a roll away bed for free! They had a pool. They had an enormous breakfast. They had soft beds. They even had whimsical black and white photographs by each room, and larger ones in the elevators. Okay, enough of my tripadvisor self...
The next day, more driving. This time, we drove to Denver, Colorado. We thought we found our hotel rather easily, but that TomTom was giving us bad directions (he's sometimes an idiot). We saw La Quinta and drove to it. Unloaded and went inside. "Oh, you're looking for the other one," they informed us. Apparently the geniuses at La Quinta built two locations 1/3 mile apart from each other. We had to re-load and drive over to the other one (turned out TomTom wasn't an idiot this time; we were). Nothing too exciting, except the pool smelled really bad and the breakfast room was extremely dark.
So, here's where the trip got a little interesting. We left right after an early breakfast, because we had about eight hours to drive to Provo, Utah by dinner time. This put us right into heavy traffic entering Denver. Lots of start, stop, start, stop... and Penny was feeling the ill effects. She told us a couple of times she felt "icky," and we gave her a drink and told her to look straight ahead, but next thing we knew, she was barfing all over herself, her car seat, and everything else nearby. So we took the nearest exit we could, and stopped as soon as we could, which ended up being the parking lot of a Home Depot.
I had climbed into the back seat with Penny and was helping to clean her up, and when David stopped and got out, he opened the back door and said to me, "We have a flat tire." I have to admit, I think I might have used a bad word at this point. After just having had a flat tire on our trip a week previous, and now in a strange area with a child covered in vomit, ANOTHER FLAT TIRE? So I took control of the Penny Vomit Situation while he took over the Flat Tire Situation. We got her out of her dirty clothes and into clean ones (nothing like opening your suitcases in a parking lot), wiped her down, all that. Then the kids and I went inside and found the bathroom. Then we bought some Clorox wipes, Tide, breath mints, and just kind of goofed off killing time - Penny was 100% fine by then. At the checkout I asked about where we could buy a tire and was told there was a Pep Boys nearby. So once David had the spare put on, we drove over to Pep Boys.
David and Penny watching our van get checked out.
Okay so here is the silver lining. Pep Boys was awesome. They said the leak was at the valve stem so they'd try repairing that first. And that did the trick! They charged us $4 for that and we were on our way in an hour. We were so worried it would be another tire replacement. We also had time to check out all the marvelous gadgets you can buy to soup up your vehicle - who knew?
We were still able to arrive in Provo in time for dinner. We got to see our dear friends the Christianson-Childs, who we knew from IU. We were a little worried their third child might make its debut before we arrived, but he stayed put so we had a nice dinner and the kids had so much fun playing with their 'old' friends.
Oh yeah. I think I forgot to mention that in addition to vomiting child and flat tire, Denver also left us with a cracked windshield.
The next morning, we met up with my friend Shauna and part of her family in Nephi, Utah, and then drove on down to Las Vegas, and had dinner with the Sims, a family who moved from Newburgh a few months ago. It was great to get to see so many friends. We were about to leave the Sims' house when I realized I'd left my cell phone inside, so I went back, and asked if I could get a picture of them before I left (for the second time). I know I took a picture, yet later when I went to look at it, it looked like this:
After dinner we drove another three hours (we were really tired) to arrive at Grandma & Grandpa Harper's house in Apple Valley, California for the night.
This shot reminded me of Aunt Edna. (She's not asleep, she's dead!)
The dry air wreaks havoc on those of us who are used to humidity. In addition to horribly chapped lips, most of us got nosebleeds at some point too. Truman had a small one, then fell asleep with the tissue stuck up his nose. Maybe it was mean to take a picture.