I am completely disgusted with CT’s public park restrooms!   We have gone to several public places since we’ve lived here.   Most of them were parks.   Well, instead of having a semi-okay place to relieve oneself, they have port-a-potties!   Talk about gross!   Every time we’re out, my 4 year old has to use the little girls’ room.   I’ve convinced her to go in a diaper instead.   I can’t bear to let her use the port-a-potty.   Of the several parks we’ve been to, only one of them has had a nice indoor restroom facility.   I feel like I can’t take the kids to the park because Aurora will have to use the potty despite making her “go” before we leave home.   Ugh!

We’ve had several day trips in the last few weeks.  We went to one of the several West Haven, CT beaches.  The kids enjoyed the water and sand. We found several shells and a seagull feather.

Last week we took a short drive to the Dinosaur State Park. The kids enjoyed the trails around the area and the dinosaur footprints. Everywhere we go it’s so green and full of trees! It seems like almost every city (except the large ones) have a forresty feel to them. Many back yards seem to have mini forests.   The W.’s, whom we’re staying with, have wild rabbits in the trees in their yard. apparently they had possum and skunk problems as well before they turned their garage into an apartment.  Thank goodness we haven’t met one of those!

We took another day trip yesterday to see the Gillette Castle. The humidity was almost unbearable. We enjoyed the sites anyway. The castle is on the Connecticut River. After touring the castle we went out on the veranda to look out onto the river. We could see tons of green hills and beautiful blue water. It was hazy (not like Utah haze), but it didn’t curb the beauty of it. We walked along some of the trails before we heard thunder at which point I convinced David that we didn’t need our family to get stuck in mud during a downpour and thunderstorm.

It began raining on our way home, and we were so glad that we didn’t get caught in it. New England thunderstorms (which are many–almost weekly) are huge downpours. I haven’t seen a light rain yet in the two months we’ve been here.  As the old adage says, “When it rains, it pours.” Whoever made that up must have lived here. lol

We arrived home after the rain had stopped.  The air had a clean scent to it, and the heat of the day had cooled to a bearable temperature.

Friday, June 10th; Day Four – Lincoln, NE to Davenport, IA

Friday morning we decided to drive to Winter Quarters (Franklin, NE) just outside of Council Bluffs. We were about 50 miles from it in Lincoln, so we tried to get on the road early.  (It’s difficult with 4 kids to get out the door early!)

I drove ahead to get there first, but I took a different route than David and ended up on a two-lane highway. I still got back to the freeway where I needed to be, but David had gotten farther than we had. I took the first exit to Council Bluffs, Iowa and tried to get David on the two-way radio. I could get him, but he kept cutting out. I was getting very stressed because I couldn’t find him near the freeway anywhere.  I said a prayer that we could find him soon.  I realized he had the cell phone with him (which is fine), but he also had the phone card with him.  Ugh! Okay, so I found a pay phone at a gas station.  $1 for 4 minutes for a long distance call. I put my 4 quarters in and they got stuck. It was full or something, but I couldn’t get any change back! I didn’t have any more change. Ack!  What do I do now???

I decided to go to the next exit and see if I could get David there. Maybe the two-way radio would work better there (it worked better on one side of the freeway than the other).  As I approached the second exit I could hear him much better.  He tried to tell me where he was, but I still couldn’t see him.  I finally figure out where he is and find him.

We filled the truck up with gas and got a map to Winter Quarters.  Then we parked it at a nearby Walmart parking lot while we drove a little ways to Winter Quarters.  It was absolutely beautiful there…quiet, peaceful, and gorgeously green.  The sprinkling of rain from time to time kept it cool. We took a tour of the visitor’s center. I really wanted a picture at the temple, but the kids were hungry and cranky.  They NEEDED a nap!  So, we went to a nearby McDonald’s (again, ugh!) and headed back to pick up the truck.

We got back to Walmart in Council Bluffs, and I decided I REALLY wanted chocolate! So, the girls and I went in to the potty and to get some goodies.  (Bad of me, I know!)

After that, it was pretty much the same…driving, stopping, potty time, nursing baby, driving, stopping, potty time, nursing baby, eating , driving, etc…  It was rainy sometimes and sunny at other times. We hit a lot of traffic in Des Moines, IA, but we never had the stop and go traffic I thought might occur.

David drove on ahead to Davenport after our stop outside of Des Moines while the kids and I stopped at a Subway to eat. I took in our own PB&J sandwiches for Lightning and Aurora (they wouldn’t eat anything on the menu), and Ella and I bought our sandwiches. As we came in a woman about my age kept watching us. Finally before she had to leave she came over and asked me what kind of wrap I was wearing. I told her it was similar to a Maya Wrap but that I had made it. We talked a minute or two more and she left. I was so happy that someone else knew what a sling was! No one else the whole trip asked me about it or looked like they knew what it was.

David arrived in Davenport shortly before us (he could only go 70 mph and I could go the 75 mph limit). I had to guide him as he backed up into the truck parking at the motel because he couldn’t just turn around and park in a spot. I didn’t really like the area we were in, although I’m sure it could have been worse. I think because school had just gotten out that week that the college age kids were out partying.  It just made me a bit uneasy. David decided he REALLY wanted pizza (which none of us but him could have because of dairy allergies), and he ordered some after the kids were in bed.

What I thought of Iowa
Iowa was gorgeous. Instead of flat and green like Nebraska it was very hilly and green. Tons of farms along the Iowa freeway too. Going to the visitor’s center at Winter Quarters and seeing all the hills really gave me an appreciation, yet again, of the pioneers and their physical and spiritual trials. I’m so grateful I don’t have to take a trek in a wagon with my family for months! A few days in a car is nothing compared to that!

Well, there’s not much else to say about Iowa other than they had nice rest areas. :)

Thursday, June 9th; Day Three – Laramie, Wyoming to Lincoln, Nebraska
I awoke Thursday morning feeling much better, although not 100% better.  David had bought me some fruit for breakfast which was the only thing that sounded appealing to eat.  It helped get my blood sugar back up, and I felt better.

The kids were ready to go, but we stopped at an eye doctor for a replacement arm cover for my glasses. It didn’t take long, and we were back on the road again.  It looked like it would be rainy most of the day.   I was just so glad to be back on the road again that it didn’t matter much to me.

The day was fairly uneventful.  David and I picked rest areas to meet at, so I could drive ahead and get there before him (less time in the car for the kids, especially baby Wendy). One rest area we stopped at (our last stop before Lincoln, NE) there was a tornado watch out for the county.  It hadn’t been raining but the clouds looked pretty ominous. David had heard on the radio that a tornado had touched down 10 miles south of Cambridge, NE. I looked at the map to find Cambridge. It was about 10-20 miles south of the freeway we had just drove through. It frightened me a tiny bit, but I knew Heavenly Father was watching out for us.

We decided to keep driving after dinner to get to Lincoln before stopping for the night. It had begun raining during dinner and kept raining the whole way to Lincoln. I was so ready to get in bed and sleep. We still had to do a little laundry before going to bed though.

When I pulled in to the Motel 6 I realized they didn’t have truck parking. Luckily, I had arrived before David. I drove around the building to make sure he could get around it without too much of a problem (with the trailer he couldn’t back up much without making it difficult to maneuver). Whew!  He could drive around it! When David arrived he found a spot to park in and checked us into the motel.

Ella had a fit when it was time for bed, and I just about lost it!  Her noise could have gotten us kicked out. We tried to explain it to her, but she just wouldn’t calm down. I don’t recall what finally made her calm down, but thank goodness she did. David did the laundry while I got the kids ready for bed.

It was fairly uneventful, but I felt so bad for my precious baby, Wendy. She had to deal with such a long car ride and less cradling and cuddling than she’s used to. She would whine and/or cry when I had to put her back in her seat. It was enough to make me want to cry with her.  Why did I have to put her through it? Why couldn’t angels attend her when I couldn’t? (Actually, I believe angels did help her through much of the trip.)  I couldn’t help but wonder why she needed to suffer.  I could handle everything else, but why did my innocent babe need to suffer too? Only Heavenly Father can answer that, but I’m glad he helped Wendy when I couldn’t.  Ella was a good little helper too though.  She loves Wendy and wanted to help her be happy.  She’ll make a good mommy herself one day. In fact, she tells me when she grows up she wants to be, “A mom.”

What I thought of Nebraska
Nebraska was beautiful.  It was fairly flat. With the clouds and all, I can totally see why Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz thought Kansas was so gray. I helped me to imagine what it would have been like on the farm with Dorothy.

I didn’t think so many farms could exist, and I saw but a small part of the state along the freeway. I would love to own a farm someday, but I’m not so sure I’d want one in Tornado country. I’m a city girl though, and it would be a huge adjustment to have neighbors miles and miles away.

Unfortunately, I don’t have much else to say about Nebraska other than it was beautiful and green.

Just a quick post about what I saw and thought about Wyoming.

Wyoming was very windy.  I’m not sure if it was just that storms were moving through or if it’s always that way, but I know I wouldn’t want to live there.  I’m guessing that it’s very windy with each storm that moves through, especially in the wintertime since I had seen so many snow drift breaks along the freeway.  They were all over the hillsides and near the train tracks as well.

I thought it was cool to finally see one of the huge windmills.  (I know they’re not real “windmills” since they’re not mills, but I can’t think of the name of them at the moment.)  We saw a whole field of them along an elongated hill.

I seen so many trains along the freeway as we drove across the state.  It was rare to not see one coming or going…huge, massive machines and long rows of cars going by.  It’s amazing how we get the supplies and necessities through shipping along the rails.

The trains carry so much more than the many semi trucks that were our constant companions along our drive.  It was nice to have so many truck stops along the freeway since David was driving a huge 24′ diesel fueled truck (not to mention the tow trailer for the car behind it).  He needed the space to turn around at those stops!

Mountains and valleys abound in Wyoming as well.  It wasn’t a green as other parts of the country we traveled in, but it seemed a bit greener than many areas of Utah.  Much of the state that we drove through had no one around except the vehicles on the road with us.  It reminded me a lot of the drive from Magna to St. George, UT, except that many of the WY cities were smaller than the towns along I-15 in Utah.  None of the cities had a coordinate system like Utah, but luckily we only stayed near the freeway and were never lost.

Well, that’s about it for now.  I do plan on writing more about the rest of our trip along with what I thought of each state we went through.  If my posts are not in any organized form, please forgive me.  I have so much to write and so little time to do it in.  :)  Lots of love, and thanks for reading! ~ Brandi