Starting point: Defiance, Ohio
Destination: Tomah, Wisconsin
Song of the Day: "I'm Going to Go Back There Someday" by the Muppets
We listened to our song of the day as we pulled out of the driveway at Grandma's house. This day was to be my biggest adventure; my first overnight solo travel with many children. Day 5 was all about the driving. We needed to cover the miles to bridge the gap between us and Daddy. The Big Trip Out West proper wouldn't really begin until we reunited with our family at the close of the Higher Things conference.
My navigator in this adventure was my 2nd oldest son, the 12-year-old. He was in charge of maps and GPS. He was the supplier of toll money. He handed me food and drink. And, most importantly, he was in charge of the tunage.
He also kept me amused. We have an essential oil diffuser clipped to a vent on the dashboard to help the carsick-prone folks not vomit. At one point, my son looks at it and asks, "Can we put Hoppe's #9 in this thing?" Can you guess I live in a house of hunters?
The navigator also had to take some pictures.
You can see we drove through Chicago. We also enjoyed cool rock formations in Wisconsin.
When we arrived at Cranberry Country Lodge in Tomah, the kids couldn't wait to play in the swimming pool area (it had slides!). However, it was too close to suppertime, and we would be eating out. Denny's was across the street, and somehow I made it through a sit-down dinner at a restaurant with little ones who had mostly been confined to carseats all day.
When we returned to the hotel, we changed clothes and headed to the pool. Folks, it was not fun to take several non-swimming children to a pool without Daddy. It doesn't help that without glasses I can't see very far to supervise the children who can swim (though not super-strongly). Yet I managed. It might not have been pretty, but I survived. I'm thankful I had a couple of bigger kids to help.
We settled in for the night with some over-tired children who missed Daddy and home. During the chaos of getting ready for bed, however, I called to reassure my mother that we made it to our destination safely and learned that Uncle Jim had died that morning. In all the excitement surrounding bedtime, I decided to wait to tell the children until we were with Daddy again.
To be honest, at the end of the day and when all the children were finally asleep, I was proud of myself for managing, but I was terribly sad.