Must mention that after we said farewell to Grandma and Grandpa and Aunt Janet it was lunchtime.
I needed something fast for the drive but wanted to stay local. Found the HiDHo, a burger/icecream joint that was around when I was a little girl. We got our meal and headed down the road. Can't say that the food was great. Well, it was abysmal, actually. But we were happy to support an institution that has been around for decades without corporate backing. We probably should have had the milkshakes. That is their specialty!
As we left Rogers area and headed to Ft Smith and I40 the rain began to fall. It got worse and worse and by the time the dark fell upon us, the traffic was thick and the roads slick and miserable. I kept reminding myself and the kids that we counted the cost and knew it would be a difficult drive home.
At some point we stopped in a little town for coffee. All we could see were Starbucks, McDonald's the usual. I said to the kids that we didn't have time to drive all over town for local coffee. The kids were divided. Just stop at Starbucks. NO! Don't quit yet!
I decided to drive 2 blocks and see what we could find.
A coffee shack! Small, family owned. I got coffee, we chatted, and I was happy Patrick encouraged me to not give up so easily.
As we drove on and on, I felt a niggly feeling telling me we needed to get off the road and pause for an hour to eat and let traffic calm down. I was having to drive 45 miles an hour on the interstate, it was dangerous and messy. Couldn't find a grocers. It was dark and businesses were closing. We found a little Chinese restaurant. The buffet was definitely over our budget. What to do? I asked if we could order off the menu and the young girl assured me we could. Egg drop soup, rice, egg foo yound and some chicken dish was half the price of the buffet. We were served sweetly, we ate all we needed without being tempted to overindulge in the all-you-can-eat buffet. After getting back on the road, we passed several accidents and wondered if our meal spared us?
At this point in our journey we knew that we had to keep driving if we wanted to get home by Christmas Eve night.
Drive we did. With an occasional nap.
We listened to more Chronicles of Narnia. Didn't even bother us that it was the second time around!
BUT at 5am I broke down and bought a cup of McDonald's coffee at a gas stop.
But needy and needing to stay awake to get home.
Too many hours to go. Long distance driving for that many miles is not healthy. I don't recommend it on a regular basis. However we continued to remind ourselves why we were having to push so hard and sang some more Christmas songs.
Thankfully we reached my sister's home in Kingston in the early morning hours, ate some breakfast, washed faces, brushed teeth and left for the last leg of the trip with the gift of a ham, green beans from her garden and many other goodies.
The main worry for the children had nothing to do with food, eating locally or budgets. Their main concern was the snow. And would there be any left on the farm.
Happy day! The white blanket covered everything and we were so pleased to see the hills, the mountains and Philip. After unloading, returning rental van and getting back home, we had a nice supper of locally popped corn, the kids decorated the tree and we frantically wrapped gifts, regaled with stories from Philip of the huge snow the week before. Must have gotten over 2 feet of snow.
Cold and wet, rainy or not, we are glad to be home. No baby calves yet. All the animals seem fine and the dogs and cats especially glad to see the kids. I am glad to see Philip and I think he is very glad to see us!