August 23, 2008

The great road trip of '08 - part 1

We're ba-ack and we're only a cold or three worse for the wear.

We've just returned from a wonderful week in Breckenridge, Colorado, where the sky seems bluer, everything smells better and the air seems markedly thin. Our trip was great and yet we're glad to be home in our own beds.

We spent our week with PaRon, Grandma, Uncle Jeff, Aunt Steph and Wyatt. That means that when we entered a restaurant we were a party of 9, which if you're counting, is kind of a lot. Mostly, it's a lot of two-year-olds.

This excursion was planned at least partially due to Andrew telling PaRon, sometime during our winter that wouldn't end, that he would like to climb a mountain. Never one to walk away from a trip, PaRon got to planning and next thing we knew he had found a great condo with a bedroom and bathroom per family that was within walking distance of downtown Breck. Who would say no?

Needless to say, we packed a lot into five days and there was lots of humor that needs to be blogged. In the interest of not writing the longest post ever, I'm breaking this trip-log into installments.

We got up very early Saturday with the plan to get the kids out of bed, put them straight into a running car and hit the road. As I went up to get Andrew out of bed I was greeted by the sounds of a sea lion, but they were coming from my son. So, we moved to Plan B, which was to wait for 2.5 hours until the doctor's office opened and begin begging for an early appointment. I was told that the only time he could be seen was 11:15 a.m. I was watching our entire plan unravel and anyone who knows me knows that I like a good plan. I wasn't going down without a fight. So, we did what any couple with a fully-packed car, a toddler and a sea lion would do. We drove to the doctor's office and announced we were there so that just in case they had any openings at the last minute we would be ready and willing to take an earlier appointment.

After several calls back and forth between the receptionist and the nurse of the on-call doctor, they miraculously found a way to fit us in at 8:50 a.m. Oh, and we only had to pinch Thomas a few times and withhold cookies to get him to crank up his uncontrollable scream. I can't imagine why they didn't want us in their waiting room until 11:15.

By 9:15 a.m. we were on the road with the diagnosis that Andrew was fine to travel, but we needed to start his asthma medications immediately. We hit I-70 and were westward bound. By 9:30 we were congratulating ourselves on how this delay could have been worse.

By 9:50 a.m. we were zooming through Topeka, when Thomas began telling us in his loudest outdoor voice that he would like to go home now. He proceeded to use that little conversational gem approximately 2,356 more times between Topeka and Denver.

We got as far as Salina for lunch, which isn't that far for those unfamiliar with Kansas geography. It's so "not that far" that I was a little depressed. After lunch we were heading back to the interstate when Andrew began drilling us about whether we knew where we were going and whether we were going back home. It was at this point that I began fervently hoping no one would really give me the option because I would have had a difficult time pointing the Highlander west if given a choice at that moment.

We perservered and got to Hays where Andrew began threatening that we needed to stop the car RIGHT. THIS. MINUTE. for a bathroom emergency. The closest option was a Wal-Mart, which was possibly the largest Wal-Mart we had either one ever seen. Fortunately, the restrooms were located near the front. It was here that we decided Thomas had a stuffy nose and most definitely needed some Benadryl to dry it out. He was asleep approximately 47 minutes later - not that I was counting - and both boys slept for an hour. It was enough to get us to Limon, Colorado before needing to stop again.

In the meantime I doled out wrapped presents every hour or so to each boy in an attempt to entertain. They contained things like a Hot Wheels car, plastic dinosaurs, sticker books and were wrapped in tissue paper with lots of tape so that the unwrapping itself took several minutes. When you're staring down the barrel of western-Kansas and eastern-Colorado, several minutes is a blessing.

We finally arrived in Denver in a pouring rain storm and reached my good friend Ashley's house just in time for dinner. The boys were delighted to find we had landed at a house with a basement full of toys and a backyard full of trampolines, playsets and drivable Jeeps and John Deere tractors. The highlight was that the Larson and Mitchell families are in possesion of a real, live golf cart which our boys and their kids had lots of fun riding and driving that night. It was great to see Ashley and her family and it was wonderful to have a place to stay that was a mile high, but not approaching two miles high like Breckenridge is.

All fun aside, the lesson for Saturday was that Thomas is not ready for a big boy bed. We learned this after he fell off a twin mattress that was ON THE FLOOR four times during that night. I found him sleeping under a dresser, I found him wandering the guest room and two other times found him face-planted on the floor sleeping under a pile of pillows. Good times.

The kids played a while on Sunday morning and by 9:30 a.m. we were on the road headed for the mountains. This, Andrew announced, was what he had been waiting for!

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