We made it safely back after putting 3,245 miles on the Family Truckster in a mere 9 days, which averages out to a daily drive from Austin, Texas to Norman, Oklahoma.
I can’t believe I’m able to write this truthfully, but the kids were awesome. They were *way* better behaved than I was on family vacations growing up. In fact, I think they were probably better behaved than I was on this family vacation. Mama suffered a coffee shortage.
In all those miles they only watched 3 or 4 movies. The rest of the time they played together, sang together, looked out the window, and just generally got along. It was crazy. Not once did The Big M and I joke about putting a bubble dome over the kids’ section of the car, a la The Homer. And we used to joke about that a lot.
More memorable moments:
- Getting a personalized walking tour of the University of Illinois from my father-in-law, an alumnus who hadn’t been back to campus in 37 years
- Ending our driving tour of the campus when my father-in-law decided to take off down a sidewalk (which, to be fair, was unpopulated, wide enough for a vehicle, and possibly a street 37 years ago) (and also, to be fair, was hilarious)
- Hanging out with the siblings- and parents-in-law and nieces and nephew who separately drove up from Texas
- Reuniting with The Big M’s Iowa relatives
- Reacquainting ourselves with the major food groups of Iowa: roast beef, mashed potatoes, corn, and pizza
- Having taco pizza (taco meat, lettuce, tomatoes, and crushed Doritos), Reuben pizza (sauerkraut and Canadian bacon), and breakfast pizza (eggs, bacon, and cheese)
- Eating chocolate pie at Bishop’s cafeteria
- Taking my little daughter for her very first mani/pedi, where she chose the delightful color combination of alternating pastel green and blue for her nails
- Discovering that her nails actually match most of her clothes now
- Finding out at the rehearsal dinner that a modular home company I’ve been interested in learning more about is not only building a home for a cousin, but has a factory located in the very town where we were eating
- And they give factory tours
- Which the bride used to give
- And which I missed by a few hours, hours during which I slept late, got a mani/pedi with my daughter, and ate chocolate pie
- Feeling like an idiot for missing said factory tour because I have toyed with the idea of taking a vacation to a town near one of the factories just to take a tour
- Spending part of the wedding day touring the model homes outside of the closed factory
- Spending another part taking the kids to the Field of Dreams in Dyersville
- And then to Happy Joes for more taco pizza
- Dancing that night at the wedding with my husband to the first slow song
- Trying to keep from laughing as we danced because the song was Conway Twitty’s “I Can Tell You’ve Never Been This Far Before“
- Meeting a couple of awesome great aunts of my husband’s at the wedding
- Watching my 8-year-old son give stock tips outside the reception hall (“I’d wait on BP,” he says.)
- Driving back to the hotel with the stereo turned up and all of us singing our vacation anthem, “Hey Soul Sister” by Train, at the top of our lungs while thousands of fireflies sparkled above the cornfields
- Enjoying Sunday breakfast (and breakfast pizza) at Aunt Bonnie’s house with all the relatives
- Feeling astonished that the little daughter who never wants to be apart from Mama begged to stay behind with Aunt Bonnie and all of her newly discovered cousins
- Driving through the Kansas prairie as night fell, admiring the incredible scenery of lightning dancing over endless plains
- Driving through flooding in Wichita, Kansas and barely making it through the blinding rain and darkness to our hotel
- Which was on The Waterfront
- Asking for an upper floor at the hotel in case flooding got out of hand in the middle of the night
- Discovering the next morning that The Waterfront was a half-acre man-made pond
- Driving through Oklahoma City on the day of record rainfall — 10 inches — flooding the city
- Feeling grateful that we weren’t flooded ourselves, and only had to be diverted off of I-35 once
- Singing “Hey Soul Sister” at the top of our lungs as we crossed the border into Texas
- Pulling into our driveway five hours later, grateful to be home
We had a great trip and built a lot of memories. Pictures still to come.
Welcome back! What a fun read!! And I L-O-V-E-D taco pizza as kid growing up in Nebraska. Yum. Makes my mouth water.
By the way, I am SO impressed with your kiddos. I don’t think we can drive halfway through Austin without my girls bickering about something. :)
I *love* that you know taco pizza!
Wow, you guys probably passed my mom as you were driving through Oklahoma City on the day of the flood. Crazy!