The first day was the short day of driving, only 7 hours. It was a fairly easy day. Ben noted soon after we left that we hadn't checked out a spare tire since we bought our van. The kids did well watching movies and snacking on apples and such the whole time. We stopped at a McDonald's along the way for lunch and let the boys play. We got to the hotel (Comfort Inn in Cheyenne, WY) fairly early. At the hotel, we ate deli sandwiches we brought with us. Overall, a very good day.
I miscalculated the time change, thinking we were gaining an hour instead of losing an hour. And it was our long day of 10 hours of driving. And there were road closings to deal with. Ugh! So our late start did NOT help.
A few hours into it, and about a mile or so from the North Platte, NE exit, we had a tire blow out. I heard something hit under the van so I checked the mirror to see what it was and saw tire pieces. Several. I thought we must have just run over pieces of someone else's tire. Ben was passing someone and as he was switching lanes, he realized that something was wrong. He held control very well the whole time as he pulled us over. The tire was shredding!
We pulled out the van's manual and found out where the jack was located and where the spare tire was located. Yay! We had what we needed! Or did we? We got out the jack and it was MISSING A PIECE! The bar that you stick into it to raise it up was gone! We searched through our stuff and didn't have anything to use. So, how did we get it fixed? We called...
RING SLING to carry Kiersten in, carrying her in my arms or in the car seat/carrier would NOT have been friendly) and had lunch. It was just after noon by then anyway, so it was time.
Once all was said and done, the stop took us 3 hours and we finally left North Platte, Nebraska. After running late and the tire fiasco, we were running SO late! I thought we'd have been to our destination by 6pm and that just wasn't the case anymore!
Our next stop was in Beatrice, Nebraska. It was a good 7pm or so already, so the small town's KFC was pretty empty. Empty enough that I let the boys run around instead of demanding that they stay seated at our table. There was one elderly couple in the store, and they were VERY friendly! As they snickered a bit about the boys running in circles and then running smack into each other (don't worry, even the boys laughed, no one was hurt), I thanked them for being so kind as to let them run after having been on the road for two days. They chatted with us a bit about how they had twin boys and a daughter of their own, and how they remembered the days of wild toddlers. Before we left, even the staff back in the kitchen began to play with the boys. As they ran into the hall with the door to the kitchen, they'd open the door and say "boo!" and the boys would giggle and change directions. It was so sweet and wonderful and I'm so thankful for friendly people who allowed my children to be wild after being in the car for so long.
At long last, after a good 14 hours or so on the road, we arrived at our destination: Grandma's House! It was about 11:45pm and the kids were all asleep. Keith was NOT very happy about being woken up. But Grandma cuddled him and said hello to Kiersten for the first time in person. Mitchell was still asleep enough that he went straight to bed, with Keith quickly behind him.