Day 1: The Longest Day

Flat, flat western Kansas. Photo: Jenny Williams

Day one of our 40 day trip went quite well. We left home before 6am local time, and it was a cool 50 degrees. The day was filled with driving, but the weather continued to be good, the car drove well, and we had plenty of healthy (and not so healthy) food to eat. We are spending the next two nights with awesomely awesome GeekDad Jonathan Liu and his lovely family. On tomorrow’s agenda: board games! And a very brief tour of their very small town.

In the car today, between all the naps everyone took, there were many thrilling moments. There was the Spanish CD I put on so we could all practice our Spanish. In the end, it was me reciting the phrases to myself. So much for group

learning. Another highlight was the kids in the backseat quietly singing along with many songs from TMBG’s Flood. There’s nothing quite like hearing your own kids debate which man in Particle Man was the powerful man.

Driving the rental car was interesting as well. Yes, I decided to rent a car. When you are driving almost 6000 miles and your own car needs quite a bit of scheduled maintenance (and is, in fact, behind on such a schedule), the AAA rate for 41 days of rental car looks pretty good. So, for this trip, I’m the driver of a gunmetal gray Toyota Corolla. Of course, no one rents out manual transmissions in this country, so we’re stuck with an automatic. I keep trying to use the non-existent clutch. Plus it feels like I’m not really operating the car without being able to shift properly. But the car is very comfortable and I didn’t feel all beat up after a 14 hour car ride like I usually do. Except the car makes it way too easy to drive too fast. Despite my best efforts to stick close to the speed limit, I kept inching upward and ended up over 90 mph a couple of times. Oops.

Along the drive, there were these odd suicidal birds flying around. I’m used to birds flying across the road in front of me, but it seemed like some of these had a death wish or are adrenaline junkies or something. One missed my car by mere inches.

Later on, we sang a rousing rendition of “Home on the Range” complete with fake cowboy accents. The kids didn’t seem to appreciate our efforts.

And somewhere in eastern Colorado, we finally got to play “Identify That Crop.” Well, my husband played it, while I was separately playing “Corn or Not Corn.”

Drove: Almost 900 miles

Traffic: Almost nonexistent

States: Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Kansas

Weather: Totally sunny for most of the day, then a few clouds. Then light rain 10 minutes from our destination.

Kids: Angels. Somehow they slept and entertained themselves all day.

Best Parts of the Day: The snickerdoodles my good friend sent with us for the road. Seeing the wonderful Liu family once again for the second time in a month.

Worst Part of the Day: Missing my friends at home.

Songs Going Through My Head: Tango (yay!), Waltz, Sister Christian, You’re a Star (from Wow! Wow! Wubbzy!)

Word of the Day: Lithohedron. I forget where I saw it, but there it was.

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About Jenny Bristol

Jenny Bristol is a lifelong geek who spends her time learning, writing, homeschooling her two wickedly smart kids, playing board games, and mastering the art of traveling on a shoestring.
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