Monday, August 25, 2014

Day 24: There's no place like...


Okay, so this gas station isn't exactly home sweet home, but we were getting close.  Plus, our van almost felt like home after so long.

The only problem is that our van far surpassed our house in clutter and dirt.  We cleaned it out every day, but if the order lasted for ten minutes we counted it amazing.  FYI, the lower left corner (the one with the laptop, pillows, tablecloth, Bible Bee study materials, and other odds and ends) is the aisle.  So just imagine the rest of the van.  Or don't, if you are prone to hyperventilating.

We breakfasted somewhere in MO at the Apple Barrel.  It was so good to be in the Southeast again and to hear the lingo.  Although we dearly love our you guys-ing, pop-drinking friends north of the Mason-Dixon line, there's nothing like a waitress who calls you "hon" and your family "y'all". 

After breakfast we got back on the road for the last time.  It wasn't long before we saw the mighty Mississippi River in front of us, which means...

"One-a-see, two-a-see, three-a-see, four-a-see, five-a-see, six-a-see, seven-a-see, eight-a-see, nine-a-see...


One more hour, and we were HOME!!!  Seven thousand miles, seven hundred and seventy meals, twenty-four days, and eleven people on one wonderful trip.  It was good to be gone; it is even better to be home again.

Until next time...
The Mosses

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Day 23: Wall Drug and Sioux Falls

Tuesday, August 12

Day twenty-three, the last full day!  We filled up at the hotel breakfast ('cause some of us could eat forever on that kind of food--muffins that are really cupcakes and decaf coffee, here we come!) and hit the road. 

We look tired.  Our van looks messy.  I wonder why.

After driving past many, many signs for it along the road, we stopped at Wall Drug to buy a few souvenirs, stretch our legs, and--of course--to get some of the free ice water for which Wall Drug is famous.

Delie, William, Thomas, and Samuel in one of the many shops at Wall Drug.  We were spread out all over the plain; I still can't believe we didn't leave someone there.  :)

The boys enjoyed the "people" playing bluegrass instruments.  I love the way the way Samuel is talking and imitating them--typical Samuel.

John's first high five :)
We were thrilled to spend a few hours with our good friend Betsy.  She's been to our house multiple times, both as Daddy's student (we have all his classes out to the farm) and as a member of our church body.  When she graduated and moved back home we didn't know when we would see her again. :(  But then we had our big trip and went right through her city!  We met her at a park for a couple of hours of fellowship. 

John was happy to be out of his car seat for a little while.

And so were William and Samuel.

Come to think of it, we were all glad to take a break from the van.  It's a nice van, works great, but you just get a little weary of sitting in it after hours and hours and hours.

Keep calm and swing on--even if all your brothers run off and leave you hanging. :)

We were able to see several hot air balloons, including this one that took off from the park.  Several of us were trying (unsuccessfully) not to covet their ride.  Imagine seeing the west from an aerial view!  Although I guess we would have a hard time finding something big enough for all of us. :)

We gathered with Betsy for one last picture before we parted ways again.  I'm going to miss her, her calm spirit, and her way of empathizing with everyone.  We love you, Betsy!

Next up: The best place in all America!

Posted by Joy

Day 22: Mount Rushmore

Monday, August 11, 2014

After driving all night (and most of the next day) we finally reached our destination--Mount Rushmore!

The monument was very well designed and patriotic.  We walked between rows of all the state flags to get down closer to the faces.

Johnnycake is posing to be the next face on the mountain--all in favor say, "Aye"


Our last stand-in-front-of-official-landmark-and-smile picture of the trip. 

Samuel, one of our (several) history buffs.  He likes reading about all the presidents, but his top favorite is Theodore Roosevelt.

We got to Mount Rushmore just in time to watch a thirty minute movie about Mount Rushmore.   It was very informative--without being boring--and we all really enjoyed it.  At the end of the movie they invited all the veterans up to the stage; I wanted to cry as I watched a little boy push his grandfather's wheelchair up to the stage.

As we watched, the sky grew darker and the spotlights turned on.

It was a beautiful sight!


After we left Mount Rushmore (and invaded a local DQ/Subway until they closed) we collapsed in a hotel, where we slept wonderfully, but not nearly enough :).  Check back for pictures of our last day of the trip, including souvenir shopping, visiting with a dear friend, and a very intriguing mode of transportation.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Day 21: Valley Baptist Church

On our way out of town on Sunday (August 10), we worshiped at the Cooksey's church, Valley Baptist.  It was so good to be with a church again after being away from our own dear church family for three weeks.  It was also good to see the Cooksey family one last time before we headed back home (if you're ever coming our way, please come visit us!).

After church everyone ate lunch at the park.  We were all VERY glad to let the boys get one last chance to run around before we hit the road again.

Five hours, we are not still at the same park.  We drove for a long time and stopped somewhere for Subway and playtime.  By this point I really didn't care where we were, so I have no idea what state this was.  :) 

We planned to drive through the night to Mount Rushmore, a total of about 15 more driving hours (plus however many hours it takes us for stops).  So check back for pictures from Mount Rushmore, 'cause--guess what--we survived the long drive without any mishaps!

Posted by Joy  

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Day 20: Touring Portland

On Saturday (August 9th) our family decided to tour Portland.  If we were going to drive all the way out there we had to at least see it!  So we hit all the major tourist destinations... the Lego store!

You can't have six brothers without legos on the floor, legos in the couch cushions, legos in your apron pocket--and at least one trip to a lego store.  But I've got to admit, the store was pretty fascinating.  My favorite part was all the building stations, especially the one where you make your own person.  I even found a girl head with long brown hair (me!).

Delie and James

Guess what happened to several peoples' souvenir money?  Just as you cannot have six boys and not go in a Lego store, you can't leave it without buying something, or several somethings.  :)

After leaving the store we picked up Daddy at his conference and drove to ride the Portland air tram.

It looks like something out of a science fiction movie, doesn't it?  Some of us were a little nervous about riding such a flimsy-looking thing.

But we all climbed in, gripped the rails (with various degrees of white knuckles)...

...and we're off into the wild blue yonder!

Or at least the rooftops of Portland.

Typical personality picture:  Anna smiling nervously, Delie taking a picture, George taking in the view, and me lunging for a little boy.

But we survived.  And it was fun!  And we're still smiling.  And there is no such thing as starting a sentence with something other than a conjunction.  :)

The view was breathtaking, not only in the oh-so-amazing way, but also in the i-hope-my-little-brother-doesn't-get-blown-off way.

We were looking DOWN at skyscrapers!

Snow on Mount Hood--in August!

A water fountain?  It looks so...upscale big city.

Thomas and Samuel pointing out the sights

John, the experienced metropolitan

And we're down again, at the foot of the skyscrapers.

To celebrate being such good Portlandians (Portlanders?  Portlandese?) Daddy and Mommy treated us to a meal at the Spaghetti Warehouse.  The food was so delicious!

The highlight for me was the bread (I've always been a bread girl, always will be), but the boys' favorite part was the balloon man.  He was very talented and gave the boys a dog, a tractor, a train, and a trolley.

It was still light when we got back to the house so we played another of our daily croquet games.  All the boys have enjoyed the set, but Thomas especially was very good at it, another of his (many) hidden quirks.

Delie took some pictures of Anna...

...and Anna took some of Delie.  They must have liked the black-eyed susans.  :)

This was our last night at B and B Orchards and I realized I still hadn't really explored the farm, so I took a walk through the hazelnut trees.  It was so beautiful, and made me sad to leave it, but after we left we would be going east, and there really is no place like home (especially after you have been away for three weeks).

Although I had loved the trip and made so many memories on it, I was counting the days until Tennessee--only Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, between us and our home state!

Posted by Joy