Monday, October 2, 2006

Farmhouse havens

council grove 165 I spent a couple days trying to recover my budget file and have given up. For now. I’m disgusted that I never put August on the blog; if I’d done that, I would have had to re-create September only, but at it is, I now have 2 months to reconstruct. I have a vague idea of August being $2800 in expenses but it is lost now. Along with September. I have no idea how it disappeared; I had two spreadsheets open when I shutdown the computer (as I normally do) and the next time I went to open them they were gone. I keep all spreadsheets on the external drive so I can move them around from computer to computer but now I’m going to have to save everything in a few places. So all online time has been devoted to trying to recover this file and as such, postings have been scant. We’ve also been setting mileage records (for ourselves) and haven’t had time to do anything at night other than find a place to boondock and sleep. I hate traveling this way; driving to simply put miles on, but we spent so much time at the lake at Chase County (Cottonwood Falls) that in order to be only a day late for our twice-rescheduled appointment with Ameri-Camp we have to drive and drive and drive.

We obviously LOVED Chase County Ole Fishin Hole. Fishermen arrived daily at dawn and late afternoon (there seemed to be two seperate shifts) for fishing. Pike was so inspired by the fish and the prospect of getting a fish that he fashioned a pole out of a tree branch, scrounged line from the shore, found a bouy and a weight and tried and tried. He even found a rubber worm but the fish were not interested in his treat.

The rest of Kansas, from Cottonwood Falls to KC, MO was flat and windy. We had steady crosswinds and sometimes a tiny fraction of a headwind, but mostly it was a hard, driving, diesel guzzling wind. It was hot hot hot hot hot also; hard to go from snow and freezing temperatures to mid 90’s. Missouri was hilly. Roller coaster hill and valley and hill and valley. We stuck to the backroads, even trying to make up mileage and it was lovely to have Jamie in the passenger seat to navigate, get stuff for the kids and talk to. We do most of our talking while driving and had really missed that when he was driving the Westy with Michael. I oscillate between guilt that we didn’t do enough or the right thing or something that wasn’t “enough” on our part for Michael and anger at him for not trying. I think about him all the time, especially at night when I wonder where he has driven to, how he is coping and what he’s experiencing. I wonder if we’ll ever see him again…

We took highway 36 straight across the state and found an absolutely LOVELY state park in Missour in Macon. Long Branch State Park has basic camping sites for $8, electric for $14, electric and water for $15 and full hookups for $17. We decided that we were just going to sleep and if we stayed at the campground the kids would want to stay for days and days and we’re running out of weather to dawdle so much. We stopped at a wonderful playground and the kids played, we made dinner and cleaned up. While the kids played long into dusk, the campground host from the state park took it upon himself to drive by and tell us we couldn’t park there. I remembered the sign at the playground entrance notifying the public that it closed at 10pm and was about to speak up he finally got across to Jamie that we couldn’t camp the night there. I was doing an amazing impression of white trash by taking an outside shower (at the trailer) and washing my hair for the first time in over a week. I was topless, trying to get a good washing in and thought for certain he was going to tell Jamie to “get some clothes on your nekkid woman” but he never knew I was there. We drove on into the night and spent the night at the Welcome Center (to Missouri; we were about to leave) in Hannibal. I SO wanted to let the boys explore Hannibal as they have been reading and listening (on MP3) to “Tom Sawyer” and “Huck Finn” since we started our journey. They put it down and then engross themselves again, and this week has been a Mark Twain week. They were so excited as we drove through downtown this morning and I pointed out various Samuel Clemens landmarks. I really hope we get back to Hannibal to let them explore another time.

I was up at the very early hour of 7am today, make pancakes and breakfast boxes for the kids, coffee for myself and readied the car for travel. It still took us until 8:30 to leave. We drove around downtown Hannibal and marveled at all the real estate porn (I swear, houses just keep getting more and more impressive the further east we travel) and made our way across the mighty Mississippi. The kids were suitably impressed.

Today we crossed Illinois and Will finish with Indiana once we stop for the night. We are parked in an enormously flat church parking lot now, bathing the kids after dinner and I’ll drive the remaining 75 or so miles to Syracuse and the AmeriCamp factory before stopping for a good long while. We all hate traveling this way and I’m as glad to stop the mileage as the kids will be. Today we took I72 across Illinois to Springfield, where the kids are CERTAIN that the Simpons live and were not the least bit impressed at Abe Lincoln’s home. Jamie took the wheel outside Springfield and we took highway 54 northeast and fell more and more in lust with the enormous farmhouses and gorgeous enormous craftsman homes lining the streets of the tiny towns. We stopped in the town of Watseka, just before Indiana and found a lovely park for the kids to play at. I surprised them with ice-cream cones and I’m not sure anyone had lunch. If we had not yet been impressed with the real estate porn of Missouri and Illinois, Indiana has shown us that we ain’t seen nothin yet. The paint may be peeling, roofs rotting, porches falling, but the architecture, turrets, Victorians, farmhouses, old barns; they are all pure and unadulterated real estate porn. And we’re lusting more than Jimmy Carter ever considered possible. We took highway 24 across Indiana to Logansport (where we are right now) and will now head north (where we would have had a tailwind these past two days) on 25 to 31, then over 6 (or something that looks like “6″ to these old eyes) and then we’re almost there. Indiana seems to be going by so quickly; even stopping (because that’s what the road does) in each and every little town.

I’m thinking we’ll be at AmeriCamp getting repairs done for a week or so, then up to Grandma Elinor’s for Halloween. After weeks of listening to “Little House in the Big Woods” and “Little House on the Prarie”, I’m looking forward to Pepin, Wisconsin and the Little House museum.

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