Friday, August 6, 2010
Today we had a big day planned. We knew we wanted to fill up again at Menwith Hill, so we found some other things in that area that we wanted to see – both on my list. We planned to get an early start so we could pack up when we got home, and make a sort of loop around to Bolton Abbey, Menwith Hill, and then Brimham Rocks, taking the scenic route home.
But somehow we didn’t get out early, though it was earlier than it felt like, so we decided to take the scenic route down and skip the Abbey. As we headed to the car, Naysha began to wail. She couldn’t find her camera. So Bob looked through the house and I looked through the bus, and it wasn’t there. We talked it over and decided she must have set it down while taking off her costume the day before, at Castle Bolton. We took a little detour to go by the castle in the hopes that it would be there. They hadn’t opened yet, but opened the door when I knocked. I asked about the camera, and we looked around, and it was there, under the counter. We went on south with great relief. It was raining. We didn’t see much of the scenery because we were pretty much driving in the clouds. We debated going to the rocks first, but I was hungry and so we went to the base first. We went right past the Abbey, but didn’t stop.
We finally made it to the front gate, where we were told they still used a vehicle pass system, and the guy was trying to figure out where to tell us to park when I said they just let us in Wednesday. So he asked if we were just down to get gas, and we said yes, and he let us in. :- ) We got gas first, then went to the BX/Burger King/Shoppette. Bob made a wrong turn, and William burst into tears. Because he remembered where to turn from our trip Wednesday, and thought we weren’t going to Burger King. Stop and think about that for a minute; as a 2 year old, he went somewhere one time and knew which road it was 2 days later.
Anyway, we ate and bought Bob a new shirt since one he packed had shrunk in the wash and wasn’t quite decent anymore. We shopped around a bit but didn’t find anything else. Then we went over to the commissary for snacks and diapers. The absolute friendliness of the place began to really hit there, as someone was waiting to get into their car while we unloaded, and we took about 5 minutes to get out and they just stood there and smiled and said not to worry about it. Never would have happened at Lakenheath. Then we went in, and were picking out some Gala apples when the produce guy came over and asked if we’d tried Jazz apples before. No, we hadn’t. So he told us they were from New Zealand, and were a cross between – oh, I forget – and he cut up two apples so we could each have a quarter to try. He said they start getting the local apples in before long, and in October they get Russets, which aren’t pretty but sure taste good. After way too long shopping in that little store we checked out, and the cashier handed each child a sticker. If we weren’t getting out, I’d want to get transferred up here.
So we finished up there and it started raining again, and we headed to the rocks. It wasn’t far, but the road wasn’t straight. We got there about 12:40 (I thought! Maybe it was later than that), decided to pay for minibus parking, and hit the trails. It took about 2 minutes for the children to decide it was worth the drive and the cost. There are great rocks just sitting around in the weeds, and you can climb them and go through the caves and run and play. The rain was more of a drizzle, so we slowly made our way to the visitor center and the children climbed. At the center we bought two books – one on beekeeping and one on the history of Yorkshire. Upstairs was a free exhibition, and with the rain now pouring down we decided to check it out. Bob and I sat while the children did puzzles and read books, and Elijah crawled around and made a big stinky diaper. So I changed him, and we noticed the rain had stopped, so we went back out. We were surprised to see a “closed” sign at the bottom of the stairs, but didn’t think too much of it until we got outside and saw that the snack shack was also closing. Bob checked his cell phone, and it was 5pm!! Were we really there that long? Wow, time flies. We headed back down the trail, and it wasn’t long before we saw the shop keeper leaving in her car. We climbed some more, and finally made it back to the bus.
This time we headed for the A1 to take the fast road home. Having seen the McDonald’s in Richmond, we decided to stop there instead of the one at Bedale services. They have credit card signs all over, and have the standard McDonald swipe of chip card readers, and we even swiped and got an “approved” message on it, but the till gave another message, and the manager came over to say they don’t take swipe cards – only the “chip and pin” cards. Bob took this rather well, and headed outside to the cash machine. But it only takes Visa. So we confabbed, and he walked across to Tesco where we hoped to find an ATM. I sat down with the children and got online for a minute. Was able to check email, but unable to post a blog or get on Facebook. Bob came back with money, but by then they’d cleared our order so we had to do it all over (and I was feeding Elijah, so Bob had to remember on his own). Then they brought out the food, minus one happy meal and Bob’s fries. And some meals were fries instead of fruit, but that might have been Bob’s memory. Anyway, we were glad that we’d been to the other place on other occasions, as this one left somewhat to be desired.
While I finished up feeding the boys, Bob went back to Tesco for milk. And then we were on our way home.
I glossed over for the sake of the storyline, but this was our worst day out so far. We made about a zillion turnarounds, it rained most of the day (instead of the little showers we’ve had every day so far), and we were just on the edge of frustration all day long. But the Rocks were definitely worth a visit, and we did get cheap gas and were able to check emails.