I forgot to mention on yesterday's post that Daniel was hyper after being in the car all day and took full advantage of our dining in a private room. He kept running back and forth and yelling, and we let him because no one else was in there. He also enjoyed exploring our hotel room, setting the lock on the safe, and flipping all the light switches he could reach.
Anyway, Tuesday morning we had a sugar-filled breakfast and started across Illinois. I had looked up a couple of possible stops along the route, and in mentioning them to Bob he noticed that stop one was actually to the west of us (judging by highway exit number) so we should go on to number two. A few miles away from the exit, the children started practicing their singing (they are learning The Star Spangled Banner verse 1 and 4), and Bob and I both forgot the pay attention. When the song was over we realized we'd missed our exit. It was a few miles to the next exit, and we turned around to go back, only (eventually) to realize there wasn't an exit 58! We added about 20 miles to the trip all told, but kept our tempers. At some point I realized that what I'd quickly jotted down was exit 58 all right, but in Indiana, not Illinois! (Same road, but as all Americans know, the numbers start over at the state border).
We got fuel in a nice little farming town. I was tickled that the gas station had diesel at every pump, instead of just the one that is hard to get to, like so many stations do. But the price seemed outrageous, being at least 20 cents higher per gallon than what we were used to. Turns out that was the cheapest we'd see for a few days, as prices climbed to $4.09, with unleaded outstripping diesel in some places.
As we entered Indiana we found the first attraction option on my list, and headed that way, to Harmony. We actually went past the historic town of New Harmony and entered Harmonie State Park, paying the out-of-state entry fee of $7. We stopped at the first picnic area, which was nice and shaded, and had a playground and toilets (but no trash cans). The women's toilet was locked, but the men's wasn't, so we all used that one. We had a picnic of cold pizza, sandwiches, chips, and fruit cups. Some of the children went for a walk and found a small frog, which, when placed on the pavement next to the picnic table, looked very much like the fuzzy things that had fallen from the trees. I wanted Daniel to see it, because he likes frogs in pictures, but he didn't notice it until Riah touched it and it jumped. Being the reasonable child that he is, Daniel then tried to make a fuzzy thing jump by touching it. It was a small thing, but still makes me laugh to remember.
We followed the park signs to see what else was there, and something indicated a river. I drove us around in circles for 15 minutes before we finally got to the boat ramp on the Wabash river. The boys wanted to get out and wade, but Bob spotted a water snake from the car, so we didn't get out. We then left the park and headed into Historic New Harmony.
This was a town founded on idealistic principles (I'm not sure exactly what, yet, but we do want to look further into the history) in 1814. We got a map of the town, and saw some of the major sites, including "The roofless church" a sort of walled garden meant for prayer, and now under the authority of the Episcopal Church. We walked past some original houses to the labyrinth where some of us prayed, some of us tried to figure where the "Oculus" house went, and some of us splashed in the water feature. Then to the Oculus house, which is an old log cabin that was been transformed into a Camera Obscura, which Bob and I learned about in his photo history class. We all went in, and eventually were able to see the picture projected from the yard onto the walls of the room. It was really neat! I'd also noticed on the town map/guide a place with homemade ice cream, so we then went to check it out (it was rather warm that day). The shop was everything you'd want in an artisan cafe in a small town. The owner even followed us out to the patio tables and chatted with us while we ate our ice cream (or giant suckers, as some of the children preferred that). She told us she was Louisville, KY, and while she hadn't been yet to the Creation Museum, her family had been. She pronounced the city "Low-uh-vull." It took us a minute to figure out what she meant! The shop rents bicycles and golf carts for the tourists, and she let us take a ride around the block on the bicycle for free (see the picture below).
Back on the highway we went over a bridge labeled "Wabash and Erie Canal" at which I said, "Erie Canal? Isn't that in Panama?" and got the song "Low Bridge" stuck in my head until I finally looked it up on YouTube on my phone. Seeing how late it was then, we didn't stop at the other two possibilities, one of which was a Lincoln historic site, but trucked on across Indiana, into Louisville, and then north toward Cincinnati. Louisville wasn't difficult to navigate, but outside of town there was construction, and bumper-to-bumper traffic for many miles.
As we approached our hotel, we noticed one exit had many eating establishments listed, but there was a highway sign saying that road was under construction and we should "consider alternate routes." So we went on to the next exit, where our hotel was, but there was nothing close by the interstate there. Turned around and headed back to the Interstate going south, the on-ramp somehow bypassed the exit we wanted and entered the highway after the exit left it. Sigh. So we got off the next one, and found a Steak and Shake, where we all ate off the menu for $34. We finally made it to Microtel ofFlorence, Kentucky, and check-in went smoothly, though we were told our rooms would be "sort of across the hall from each other." They were separated by about 4 rooms.
The initial feelings we had upon entering the room were entirely my own fault. When researching this hotel, I saw pictures of a "one bed suite" which clearly showed a bed, kitchenette, and a sofa. I saw pictures of a "two bed suite" which showed 2 beds, a kitchenette, and left some space to the imagination. My imagination filled in a sitting area. But there isn't one. What you see in the picture is all you get. There is a window seat with a sort of futon cushion and a hard pillow meant for sitting against to look out the window or read a book. We were frustrated and disappointed. I called for bedding, and sheets and pillows were promptly brought up (no blankets).
Daniel ran wild again, this time playing mainly with the mini fridge. He pulled out a shelf and carried it around the room asking us if we wanted a "bite." I don't know where he gets his ideas. We settled down for the night with Daniel in between Taryn and Naysha (he was supposed to sleep with me, but wouldn't), and Ella on the window seat. But then Ella got cold (or something) and climbed into my bed. And then Naysha got frumpy and got on the window seat. But about 1 am Naysha fell out of bed, and in the dark and sleepy state she tried to prop up the futon between the window ledge and my bed. I told her that wouldn't work and to sort it out while I used the bathroom. When I came back, Naysha was in my bed and Ella was laying sideways across the place I had been. So I got the futon onto the floor and tried to sleep there.
That room was so noisy! The A/C ran constantly, and finally grated my last nerve so I turned it off. Then I could hear the airplanes at the Cincinnati International Airport. Then I heard the man upstairs running sprints across his room. Then I heard the cleaning crew going out for a smoke under my window. I did open the window and yell at them, but by then it was too late for sleeping anyway and we are on to the next day.