Saturday, June 30, 2007

Oh Canada?

And so the saga of our directional impairment continues. We woke up bright and early this morning to get on the road and out of Illinois. Unfortunately we were stuck in traffic for about an hour before we could finally get out of Chicago. The whole time we were in traffic we kept thinking, "it's 6 am on a Saturday morning. What is all this traffic about?!". Anyway, once we finally got out of Chicago and Sophia and I promptly fell back asleep. I thought I had told Doug the right way to go but I guess I'd given some bad directions. When I woke up a few hours later I could not tell where we were. I finally figured out where we were and realized that we had taken a wrong turn in Indiana and instead of driving through Indiana (or what should have been Ohio by this point) we were heading northeast into Michigan. So we pulled out the old map and decided to head to Buffalo via Ontario. Luckily we had brought our passports along but did not have a birth certificate for Sophs. When we got the the Canadian border the inspecting officer said, "Who's the baby 'eh?" We were like, "baby, what baby? I don't see a baby here." Luckily the guy let us through and by the time we got to Niagara they didn't even ask about her. It wasn't too bad and it was a nice little drive through Canada. It was kind of fun to record our speed in kilometers for awhile. Also, I can now officially say I've been to Canada.

Anyway, so we finally made it to Williamsville and had a nice look at Niagara from the Canadian side. We have had a great time with Liza and Brad so far! We had a yummy Buffalo Wings dinner tonight. It was a great welcome to this great state. Well I better run and put Sophia to bed. Enjoy the pics!

Lowest Gas Price: $1.09 (Although that was the price per liter in Canada)
Total Mileage for the Day: About 560
Biggest Surprise of the Day: Driving through Canada!

Friday, June 29, 2007

Cranes, Planes, and Automobiles

Golly what a day! We finally made it to Aurora, IL this evening with only a couple of slowdowns. We left MN this morning around 11 and stopped in Baraboo, WI to go to the cow pie factory (it's a kind of candy - they're like giant caramel pecan clusters). We also stopped at the International Crane Foundation. It was pretty incredible. They had 15 different species of cranes. They breed them and then send the chicks all over the world. It was pretty cool. Who knew that was in the middle of Wisconsin? Thanks for the tip D&T! We loved it. Baraboo was also holding an air show tomorrow so these really cool old planes kept flying overhead too. Then we headed off to to our hotel in Aurora.

It was only supposed to be a 3 hour ride and we were on the road at about 3 pm but we didn't make it to the hotel until about 8:30. Being the cheap and thrifty (and wacky) Wilkins' that we are, we decided to avoid the two toll roads that we would have to take to get into Aurora (a suburb just outside of Chicago) by taking side roads. The maps made it look pretty simple. However, we did end up getting lost just inside Aurora because we came at the city from a different direction from our Mapquest directions. We drove around for about an hour but had no luck and no detailed maps of Aurora (we called the hotel but they gave us awful directions as well). By this point Sophia had totally lost it and was screaming at the top of her lungs. I think she was pretty much getting it out for all of us. She finally calmed down when a roaring fire truck went by. She got totally silent and then whispered "bire guck, yights" (fire truck, lights). It was cute but I don't know if it was quite enough to redeem herself from the screaming. Anyway, we ended up getting back on the freeway that we should have been on in the first place and finally found the hotel. It's only a Super 8 but we were actually impressed at how nice it was. The good impression quickly disappeared when the tub wouldn't plug when I was giving Sophia a bath and when the toilet overflowed the first time I flushed it. We called the front desk and they said maintenance had already left for the day and that they didn't have another room to give us. We're still waiting for someone to come up. We'll see if we make it through the night! We're planning on getting up bright and early to be on the road at 5 am tomorrow to head to New York. We've done this everyday we've had a big drive and we've loved it! We love when it gets to be 10 am and we already have 5 hours of driving out of the way! Hope you're all well!

P.S. We saw this thing on the driving by on the side of the road. The top had some sort of golden calf head on top. We're not quite sure about the whole thing.

Total miles for the day: 394
Lowest gas price for the day: $2.92 (although missed it and ended up paying $3.09)
Biggest lesson learned from the day: We will take all toll roads from now on because although it may be cheaper, it is not necessarily faster to avoid the toll roads.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

The Mall and The Animals

What a fun day today! We went to the Mall of America and had a fun on the rides at The Park at the MOA (f.k.a. Camp Snoopy). It was great! We then went to the Minnesota Zoo on the way home. It was great too! Sophia had a great time at both places. She really liked the balloon ride at the Park and loved the goats and monkeys at the zoo. It was a perfect end to our stay in Minnesota. Last night we went for a nice walk and had fun looking for fireflies! Tonight everyone enjoyed a fun time in the hot tub! What a great first leg of the trip!

Total mileage for the day: Only about 120!
Lowest gas price for the day: $2.92!
Biggest surprise of the day: Well it's not really a surprise, D made us a fabulous dinner and it still tastes as good as ever!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Blue Earth, MN

We made it to Rochester, MN yesterday! It was a really great trip and aside from Sophia throwing up in the early part of the trip the rest of the day was great! Especially the random animal statue we saw on the side of the road in South Dakota. Prize goes to the first person who can name what animal that is. When we were a couple of hours out of Rochester Doug to a sudden exit to Blue Earth, MN. I had no idea what he was doing and then I saw it --- a 60 ft. statue of the Jolly Green Giant. What trip through Minnesota would be complete without a trip to the old giant. It was pretty fun and we got Sophia a miniature giant to play with. Not only is it home of the Green Giant, Blue Earth is also home to the Eskimo Pie. Unfortunately they are no longer produced there.

We arrived in Rochester at about 3 and had a great time getting caught up with everyone. We then went to a fabulous dinner at Culvers and then the boys took Ben to his T-Ball game and the girls went to get new sandals and a pedicure. It was great!
This morning we had some yummy Panera Bread and this afternoon we're heading to the movies. Sophia found a green marker and had a great time coloring a picture on herself while I was helping Tonya with RS stuff. I'm pretty sure she was trying to make herself look like the Jolly Green Giant. Anyway, we're headed to the cities and Mall of America tomorrow. I'll be sure to post more then. For now, enjoy the pictures!
P.S. In other news, we found out yesterday that we got a house! Perfect timing huh? Now we have to see how much we can work out from here or if we'll have to wait until we get home. We'll keep you posted.

Total Mileage for the Day: 600 (I lied about yesterday. We really went about 800)
Lowest Gas Price for the Day: $2.99
Biggest Surprise of the Day: The 60 ft. Jolly Green Giant on the side of the road.