Monday, November 23, 2015

The Road To Ohio


The past couple of weeks have been rather difficult and we haven't really wanted to post about any of it, but in order to get to the next chapter (spending the Holiday's in Ohio), we need to first get through the journey we went on to get to Ohio.

Tuesday morning, November 3rd, our little family said goodby to Iowa and set out for Bentonville, Arkansas to visit my friend Jennifer and her family. I've really been looking forward to this visit to see one of the few people on this earth that really gets me.

We were making great time and all was well...

Until the last turn, on the last street, before her house. It was a busy and narrow road with a telephone pole that was practically standing in the street of the busy intersection. Dan drove out into the busy street and then a car came towards us at an alarming speed. Dan had to correct his turn as not to be hit by this oncoming car and BAM! Followed by ERRRRRR! The entire right side of the 5th wheel had been scraped, leaving major body damage and a smashed awning.

It swiped the rims above the tires right off!

The smashed awning

That set a major negative tone for that visit. We did our best to keep spirits high but inside Dan and I were feeling the stress. My friend Jennifer tried to lift our spirits making a wreath out of leaves from her yard with Daniel and Caiden's help. Look at those brilliant fall colors.


The other thing Jennifer did for us was let us go on a dinner and movie date for the first time in a couple of years. We went to Texas Land & Cattle Restaurant for some much needed drinks and eventually dinner. We arrived at 4:30pm and the place was deserted. We were literally the only customers for at least an hour. 

Here we are drinking in the empty restaurant.

After we drank and ate our worries away, we went to the Pinnacle Plaza Movie Theater to see The Martian, which was AMAZING! We highly recommend seeing that film. Great plot, great pacing, great actors.

All was not lost, as Arkansas redeemed itself as the week unfolded. On Saturday, we packed up again traveling to St. Louis, Missouri for a two night stay while we slowly make our way to Ohio. I picked an RV site in the center of Downtown St. Louis because it was central to the freeways we needed and it was relatively reasonably priced. Of course I didn't know that Downtown St. Louis is a scary ghetto that you wouldn't want to be caught outside come nightfall kind of place. Whoopsie! So yeah, we went out once to get some word famous BBQ and that was it. By the way, the BBQ was good.

Here is Caiden looking for more BBQ but it's all gone. We should have taken a picture of the BBQ before we ate it but we couldn't help ourselves.
Next, we headed to Indianapolis where Dan planned on visiting two old Navy buddies. So many parks are closing this time of year and it's getting more difficult to find a place to stay for a reasonable price. We ended up choosing the Indiana State Fairgrounds but the only drawback is that it's pretty much just a parking lot. It was rainy and cold the entire two nights we stayed but the boys and I just relaxed indoors while Dan went to visit his buddies. 

Caiden has a new Mickey Mouse hat and he loves it!
Everyone is bundled up because it's cold outside
Here is our site right next to the parking lot
The boys are playing cards with no apparent set of rules
Caiden playing with his beloved cars 
And Daniel is creating some kind of superhero "weapon"
Dan with his friend Tim
Dan with his friend Mike
After Indiana, we traveled just across the Ohio border to rest for one night at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base Campground in Fairborn. But after hearing the weather reports predict over 50 miles per hour gusts of wind, we stayed an extra night.

On the positive side, staying an extra day allowed Dan to relax on his birthday instead of drive. We treated the birthday boy to breakfast at Bob Evans.

Caiden is trying to make Daddy a birthday cake out of creamers.



So, here is where the story go awry. We leave the Air Force Base on Friday the 13th (cue ominous music please) but we look for a trucker size gas station to fill up. We stop at a TA Travel Station and find the Diesel pump. Dan pulls it in and fills up. Then we go to pull out (only going 5 mph mind you) and again, CLUNK! Oh no, now what? The turning radius was just too small for our huge trailer. Somehow, the tall yellow cement pillar that is there to protect the gas pump has been caught under the back left slide-out and tried to come out the back of our trailer. 

There is structural damage and the back slide-out won't move. Agh, we are in for some major repair. Even though Dan and I are weary of traveling and stressed out beyond what we think we can handle, we still need to get to his sister's house. So, we take a deep breath and get back in the truck station without anymore incidents but maybe the rule of thumb might be-Do not travel on Friday the 13th.
Here is Dan's sister's house (which is really in Colliers, West Virginia just 10 minutes over the Ohio/WV border) where we get to spend Thanksgiving and Christmas. And for that we are truly thankful.


NOT GOOD...
With a team of three TA employees, we were somehow able to get out of the gas pump area and pull off to the side to assess full damage.


Back left slide-out
Rear left side

The missing panel from back slide-out. We had to tear it off in order to get out of the gas station.











Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Hot Chocolate 5k


My sister-in-law Kate and I did this 5k last Sunday! We were both a little worried about it because there wasn't a lot of time to train for it but we did pretty well.

Here we are in our tutus ready to run!
It was a beautiful course beginning at Principle Park (where the Iowa Cubs play) then winding around the Des Moines River.

Kate jogged the entire course while I finally had to walk it at mile two. While I hung back, Kate and an 80 year old man dressed in purple chatted happily while still maintaining a decent pace. Maybe one day I will actually jog an entire 5k, but for now i will settle for progress. Even though it didn't seem like it, I actually did my best time so far at 42 min. 

Here we are with out chocolate metals! 
Here is the older gentleman dressed in purple. He got an award for being the oldest participant.

This was our families last official day in Iowa. The next stop in Bentonville, Arkansas to see my friend Jennifer and her family.