Grandma and Me and Grandson Makes Three
Elwood: “It’s 106 miles to Chicago, we’ve got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it’s dark, and we are wearing sunglasses.”
Jake: “Hit it!”
That exchange is from the Blues Brothers movie of course. Elwood and Jake are going to the Cook County Assessors office in Chicago to deliver the five grand necessary to keep the orphanage open.
I will refer back to this later in the post. Until then..
Here is the story of our trip out west. Just the three of us mentioned in the title went on this journey.
Now, in preparation for the trip, you would think not much would be required as far as luggage and such. After all, it was only for a week and a 15 month old child has very small clothing. If you really think that, you should pay particular attention to this next bit.
We were driving a mid-size sedan with a nice size trunk. Lots of storage.
Grandma and I packed a regular size suitcase for us and an overnight bag for the one day stops. Should leave plenty of room, right?
You could not be more wrong.
Small children need a lot of stuff. For example, a small suitcase, diaper bag, bag with favorite toys including the ones he can’t go to sleep without, a foldup crib in case the hotel doesn’t have one, a bag with snacks, and a cooler with juice for those thirsty moments that occur just after the “Next Rest Stop 54 Miles” sign.
That is just the packing part.
Before we loaded up the car, we had contacted the various relatives and let them know our travel plans.
First day, Joplin, Mo.
Second and third day, SW Oklahoma to visit the Great Great Grandma and my wife’s Aunt and Uncle. SW Oklahoma also has some of the most beautiful scenery in the entire state, so we were hoping to take some pictures while we were there.
After that, we were going to loop back to Wichita, Ks. for my wife’s Mom and then after a couple of days, head for home.
My in-laws took the announcing of our plans as something that was subject to change. By them.After a few calls, we agreed on meeting the whole group in Wichita two days after leaving Indiana.
There was just one little problem, my wife is from Oklahoma and had not been there for over three years. She missed the place and was looking forward to going back.
We decided to drive to Oklahoma City the second day and stay overnight, then proceed to Wichita. All in all, about a 2000 mile round trip.
With that settled, we left bright and early on a Wednesday morning, car filled with the all the things I mentioned in the earlier part of this post.
We had some concerns about how well the young one would travel. The first two hours flew by. He was talking and singing and happy to be there. Snacks and drinks were consumed. This is going very well, we thought.
But that was not going to last as we found out. After two hours, he decided that crying was a good way to spend his time. Not just gentle sobbing but loud shrieks that said, “Can’t you people hear me? I want out. NOW!”
This began a pattern of behavior that we followed for the rest of the trip.
As soon as we stopped, he was fine. We walked around. He had just started walking about a week before. He has that kind of walk drunks have at this point. He knows that a straight line is the easiest way to get somewhere. It just isn’t always feasible.
When we got back in everything was fine until it wasn’t. Every two hours.
There was a point where we had to decide : go on or turn back. Like the pioneers of old, we kept on going. Over the Mississippi River through southern Missouri and finally Joplin. Sweet, beautiful Joplin. All three of us were happy to stop there for the night.
The last travel hurdle for the first day was whether or not he would be able to sleep in an unfamiliar setting.
We are proud to report that our Grandson handled that like a pro.
Next day, a much shorter trip going to OKC. Same two hour schedule. But we got to show our Grandson one of the great wonders of the world. On the Will Rogers Turnpike, there is a big rest stop that has a huge McDonalds set of arches. The restaurant is on the second floor. Pictures of Will Rogers abound. I am unsure how he would feel about politicians putting his name on a toll road.
While a lot of the country is suffering from drought-like conditions, Oklahoma and Kansas were very green. The corn seemed to be ahead of schedule. It made the drive very nice. My wife was taking a lot of pictures. We were trying to make the most of our limited time in Oklahoma.
We arrived in OKC at a much more reasonable time of day with a slightly happier child.
After some Mexican food and watching the Thunder lose to the Heat, we settled in for another sound night of sleep.
Tomorrow, we were going to see the family and they were going to get their first look at our little traveling companion.
I can see this is going to take a lot longer than I thought so let’s leave it here for now.
Next time: Wichita