We left Chicago on 6/18/09 at 3:30pm to catch Amtrak to Kansas City. Since the train trip only lasted 7 hours so we didn’t get a sleeping room. The seats in the coach car have lots of leg room and are comfortable enough for the trip. I sat with Audrey while Richard and the boys sat behind me, watching movie from Richard’s laptop. There was no beautiful scenery during the trip so I didn’ t border to take any pictures. At times Audrey was very fuzzy and tired. To avoid disturbing other passengers, I had take her to lower car where the luggage area and by restroom area, and swing her until she fell asleep. It was a good 15-30 minutes… my arm got so sore!
Dinner was on the train but we had to pay this time, and the menu was very familiar to the ones we had few days ago on different train. I had roasted chicken again. The train was running behind schedule so we didn’t get to Kansas City till 10:40pm. Even though it was late but it was still warm and humid in Kansas City. Richard’s sister Rachel picked us up at the station, and Richard’s brother Billy showed up too to surprise us! We were spending a night at Rachel’s house before going to our final destination– Joplin, Missouri. It had been a long time since I last saw Rachel… was glad to see her again.
The next morning Rachel’s husband Dave cooked us breakfast. Bobby (Richard’s younger brother) and Billy showed up to join us. Everyone had a good time getting together. Alexander and Ethan had fun too playing with their golden retriever in the big backyard. Mom (my MIL) joined us for lunch and stayed until late afternoon before we left with mom and Billy to head back to Joplin, which is about 2 hours away. By the time we arrived at mom’s house it was close to bed time for the kids. We quickly settled them and rested. Somehow the hot and humid weather was making me tired easily…
The next day (Saturday) was a big day– it was the annual Father’s Day gathering for all the relatives. This year’s gathering took place at aunt Katie’s house. Richard has many cousins and I could barely remember all of them last time I saw them, so imagine this time with even more new faces (spouses and children)… Alexander and Ethan were having fun splashing water with their cousins. But for me it was boring, not much of real “gathering chit chat” going other than people watching…zzzzz… I missed California!
We stayed in Joplin for 5 days and during these days the weather had been incredibly hot, with temperature close or over 100°F. The humidity made it worse. The kids got tanned very quickly. We pretty much just stayed local. It was way too hot, and there weren’t many attractions for the family (except for Silver Dollar City Theme Park).
Silver Dollar City is a western cow-boy style theme park. It took us about 2 to 2 1/2 hours to get there. There were lots of water activities and of course it was packed with people. I mostly just strolled Audrey around with mom while Richard and the boys were having fun. I did decide to play in the water shooting area later and got wet– I mean soaking wet. Richard and the boys were very wet too. The weather was so hot that by the time we were about to leave our clothes was just about to dry. Overall it was a fun full day. At the end of the day, Alexander and Ethan were so exhausted that they fell asleep just as we got out of the parking lot.
One thing that happened at the park was that my camera suddenly stopped working. The next day Richard even had a little problem importing pictures from the memory card to the computer. Luckily we managed to save the pictures, otherwise I would be very pissed!
The following days we didn’t do much other than visiting aunt Katie’s house for the boys to play in the pool with Katie’s grand kids. Oh, on the night before we left for home, we played some fireworks in front of mom’s house. Since we could not play fireworks in San Leandro, we took the chance and bought some nice fireworks in Joplin. The fireworks were beautiful, just like professional ones except smaller scale. Too bad my camera was broken… sigh! Audrey didn’t like the loud noise of fireworks so she stayed inside most of the time. Oh, Audrey made her very first crawl in mom’s house 🙂 We were excited because we had been waiting for this moment for a long time…
We flew home on Thursday 6/25/2009. We chose an early flight so that when we got home there was still plenty of time to rest. The flight arrived at SFO and we took BART to San Leandro– another train ride experience for Alexander and Ethan, and they love it as always!