On Wednesday morning at 3:20, Connor woke up to eat and Ben got in the shower. Even though we had only been asleep 4 hours, we wanted to hit the road early to avoid a repeat of the night before. By 4:20 a.m. we were pulling out of the parking lot. Travel went much, much better. The kids slept a couple more hours and we drove without incident. Then Olivia woke up and had to go potty, so we pulled in at a nice gas station about 6:30. Daddy watched Kelsey and Connor, and Olivia and I went in. Then I nursed Connor in the car while Daddy drove on ahead. I also reset my car clock since we had crossed into Alabama and had gained an hour by crossing the time zone line. Before long, Connor had finished his first breakfast, and we caught up on the road. It only took about 20 minutes or so considering Ben still couldn't get much above 60 mph on the interstate. We pulled into a Waffle House for breakfast about 7:30 (CST) - our splurge for the day. After dining it was travel as usual. This time Kelsey got to sit in the big truck with Daddy. It's amazing how tiny she looks up in the cab of that huge truck! Olivia rode with me and I drugged her up with Dramamine, so she crashed in the backseat. Around 11:30 we were over half-way through Mississippi and stopped at a rest area to eat a picnic lunch. We ate in a covered picnic pavillion. We have finally reached the land where being in the shade makes about a 10-degree difference in temperature! Not that it was COOL under the pavillion, but it was definately bearable and almost nice. After lunch, Kelsey and Olivia traded spots, so Olivia was back in the big truck with Daddy again.
We crossed the Mississippi River into Louisiana about 1:00 p.m. and an amazing thing happened: Ben actually hit 70 mph!! Did you know it's FLAT on the other side of the Mississippi?? Wow. We might actually make good time for the rest of our trip... Anyhow, we stopped about 20 miles into LA at a McDonalds for afternoon ice cream cones. I think it was 80 degrees in the restaurant and muggy. And let me just say here that I MISS the fast food places in SC. I have not seen a playland OR a baby changing station at a restaurant since we left!! I have changed Connor now on TWO restaurant tables, and countless times in the front seat of my car at a gas station. Poor kid. Poor Mommy, too. We got to Niel's house (my brother) about 5:00 on Wednesday. Julie had fixed a wonderful dinner for us - roast, brocolli, and new potatoes. I was in heaven! My kids didn't like it much, but I don't care. It wasn't fried, overly salty, or eaten in a hurry. It was amazing to see my neices and nephew. The last time I saw Niel's family was Christmas of 2005. Nan, who is now 5, is such a grown-up little lady, and Wesley isn't a baby any more. He's one of those kids that can just melt you when he smiles. At least he melts the ladies, I can't speak for the guys. And Mallie is just now 10 months old, so I haven't met her before. It's amazing how much they have all grown!