Thursday, 18 August 2011

Nebraska is my nemesis!

The question is: will Mr Ruby and I ever learn? On our first trip to Pepin, we decided to detour on the way back, just so we could drive through a little corner of Iowa and say we'd been there. It was dark, freezing cold, and the Mouse, who was only 17 months old at the time, got so bored she tried to drown herself. I'd given her a bottle of water to drink and she managed to unscrew the cap and tip it all over herself. Changing a toddler in the back of the car, in the dark, in sub-zero temperatures, is not the easiest thing to do.

So, what did we decide to do this time? Detour a little and just take the corner of Nebraska, 'just so we could say we'd been there.' You'll be pleased to know that while the Mouse did not try to drown herself, the Missouri River gave it it's best shot. The river had burst it's banks and whole fields were submerged. It looks very strange to see trees, telegraph poles and those crop-watering machines just poking out of the river. Unfortunately, the bridge we were going to cross, which was about five miles from our Iowa camp site, was closed and we had to detour to the next bridge which was 60 miles away! Oh well, at least we saw a lot of Nebraksa: good if you like cornfields and diversions.

Still, we appreciated our camp site even more, by the time we finally arrrived. Our pitch was right by the lake, where we lit another campfire and made yet more s'mores. The Mouse, TR and I played baseball, only with slightly rounders-like made up rules. (We have no idea how you play baseball. I just hope no one was watching.)

Mr Ruby and TR light the fire.

We packed everything into the RV...
The next morning we packed up early, ready for our big drive: right the way across the width of Iowa. Now Iowa, if you were wondering, is mainly cornfields. Miles and miles and miles of corn. So much of it that you wonder how much a nation can consume. I had imagined that it would be all flat too, but since we were driving, at least to start with, through the Missouri valley, it's actually quite hilly. I'd also imagined that TR, the Mouse and I could while away the hours by playing games and undertaking various craft projects. Well, we managed 'Campervan Baseball,' which is less destructive than it sounds. I blew soap bubbles, while the children tried to bat them with teaspoons. Nuts, I know, but kind of inventive, don't you think? After that though, we pretty much had to abandon everything. The cross winds on I-90 (the Interstate) were so strong that you couldn't really do anything much. TR was very nearly sick again, but we managed to persuade him to go to sleep and he woke up feeling much better. I'm telling you, that was a long eight hours! Still, it felt good to back in Illinois and to take a cooling dip in the pool. I confess this is the only way the Mouse and TR have got clean while on our trip: showering them in the RV is far too complicated and they only get dirty again. Dirt is good!

This was the last night of our trip. By now we'd run out of chocolate and graham crackers (they pronounce that 'gram' here), so we just toasted marshmallows and got eaten alive by giant midges.

Our 'wagon'.

The Mouse and TR shared their bunk.
An early breakfast. Note the insect repellent!

If the Gramps is reading, the little yellow duck is 'Ducky 6', bought with the holiday money you gave to TR. He has some left and is saving it, he assures us, to buy 'Ducky 7' in Chicago.


  1. Great blog post...thanks for that...your "wagon" looks cosy!

  2. Campervan Baseball you'll have to excuse my pedantry but i think you'll find that's motorhome (or RV) baseball. Have to agree it was inventive though.

  3. And did Mr Ruby manage to identify the vehicle that the wheel at the centre of his fire came from?