We woke up and had a check out time of 11AM. We were sure that we’d be on the road well before 11. But, as anyone with ten children knows, the best laid plans….don’t always go as planned. We pulled out of the campground at 11:10, with breakfast eaten, dishes washed, and tons of dirty laundry. During the night, Ayden threw up in our bed (on Adrian) twice. Poor little guy. (And poor Adrian.) I think that his tummy was just a little nervous…or perhaps he’d eaten too much junk food. We’d also forgotten to put a pull-up on one of the wee boys, and he soaked his jammies and sheets. Not to mention the muddy jeans and socks from running into the camper in the pouring rain and wind. Good thing I’d planned for such things and was well prepared! Clean sheets were on the beds, and there was a bucket for Ayden to have as his “riding buddy.”
Back on the road, things were, again, slow going. The wind seemed relentless! Though it wasn’t drifting like it had with the van, the camper would drift when bigger gusts of wind would blow. Adrian had to have had white knuckles.
At last, we saw it: A North Dakota sign! YAY!! We stopped in Fargo and got new tires for the Excursion and took the kids to Happy Joe’s Pizza. That was the highlight of the YEAR, I think. We hadn’t been to Happy Joe’s in years, and it used to be our favorite place for birthdays! The kids ate pizza and played games, spent their tokens and won great prizes! With our bellies full and the truck riding a bit more smoothly on new tires, we set our sights on our goal to get out West.
The rain pounded the truck and van, the wind pushed us around. After several hours of driving, and with night approaching, Adrian and I decided that it just wouldn’t be safe to drive any further. We pulled off of the highway in a little town and tried to find a motel for the night. Every sign said “no vacancy.”
We found a big parking lot, next to a dinner club, and pulled in. I asked the manager if he would mind if we sat out the storm there, and let the kids get some sleep. Kindly, he allowed us to stay. Without electricity or water, all we could do was feed the kids peanut butter bread and chips, then get them settled in their beds. Shivering in our beds, we started to feel the entire camper shake and shutter. Then we heard a loud horn. We looked out our window and, only a few hundred feet away, we saw a train track with a very long train going down it. The kids were curious about the train, and watched as it went by. Once we were all settled into our beds again, the shaking and shuttering started…another train…and another…and another. All night, trains continued to shake our camper. The kids lost interest and we did manage to get a few hours of fitful sleep.
We woke to Benjamyn declaring, “This is my best day ever!” Even in a camper, with a temperature of 41 degrees, and with barely any sleep, that child’s cup is half full. I can learn a lot from him!!