Pace: Grueling (14 hours in the car).
Here are the highlights and observations for today.
-We left Nebraska, where "all the toilet seats in public restrooms are black!" at least according to Miriam's observations.
-Iowa is my new best friend. Not only is the place startingly beautiful, but their water towers have smiley faces on them and their rest areas are clean AND come with wireless internet. I could have done without the automatic flushing toilets at the rest areas, though. Miriam is terrified of those and so I had to stand by the potty with my hand over the sensor the whole time Miriam took care of her business. It's one of those parenting tasks that no one ever warns you about.
-My dear friend from childhood Britney lives in Des Moines. Do you know anyone who lives in Des Moines? I do. Sadly, our schedules did not align during the 15 minutes we were driving through town. She was able to give me a good Costco tip-off, though, so that was nice.
-I was a little nervous driving through Illinois since we're Mormon and all. Until 1976, killing Mormons in Illinois was smiled upon, so I was happy to cross the border to Indiana.
-I shed a tear as I drove through South Bend because I missed meeting up with another dear friend (this one from college), Liz. Cursed twice in one day! So sad. The only friends we ended up successfully visiting were Chris and Anna yesterday in Lincoln.
-We stopped at a McDonald's in...somewhere, Indiana, to pick up some nugs to bump our rations up from bare bones to meager. As soon as I drove up, the employee gave some spiel through the drive-thru speaker and in a moment of tired honesty, I replied, "I didn't understand a word you just said. Can I just get a 9-piece chicken nuggets?" Silence. "Is there such a thing?" Silence. I think she was still reeling from me telling her I found her incomprehensible. Finally, she told me there was a 10-piece chicken nuggets, and I could have that, if I paid her THREE DOLLARS AND SEVENTY-FIVE CENTS. Fast food is expensive. The kicker is that after we drove away, Jeremy counted the nugs and there were only nine of them. Ha ha. Nice one, McDonald's employee in Indiana.
-I personally drove about 12 hours today. I got a little loopy around hour 11. Three lanes is good. I can do three lanes well, for a long time. It's the two lanes that gets to me, what with the semi trucks clogging up traffic and all.
-Even though I drove a lot, I think Jeremy had the tougher job taking care of kids in the back. In the final hours of the drive, we just handed Nigel the GPS over to Miriam and let her have at it. Then we got to listen to a commentary of all the roads we were crossing, and all the bodies of water we were driving near. It was wonderful.
I think that's about it. Tomorrow we're going to turbo-visit Kirtland and then push on to Ithaca. The end is almost in sight!