We ate lunch in our house but didn't have any chairs, so Liam had to dine on the kitchen counter.
We're in Billings, MT, now. We had very long days on Thursday and Friday; in both cases we didn't get to our hotel until after 11 p.m. This means that Liam didn't get much sleep, and it also means that I didn't have a chance to blog. But today we actually got to our destination before dark. *gasp!*
Overall, things have gone pretty well. We had a fairly tense drive to Minneapolis in the dark on Thursday, with a tremendous downpour making it difficult to see the road. Other than that, our drives have been pretty uneventful. Our car is doing just fine, aside from a hole in the muffler that makes it sound like we're trying unsuccessfully to trick out a Mazda 626. :) We use a tape adapter so we can listen to the music on our MP3 players through our car's stereo, but the tape player stopped working about 15 minutes into the first leg of our journey on Thursday. Plus, the car's antenna is broken, so we don't get radio reception. Thankfully, we had borrowed a long book on CD (Jane Eyre) from the library, and we've been enjoying listening to that. Steve has never read Jane Eyre, and it's been so many years since I have that it's really new for both of us. Liam and Jackson also seem riveted by the tale.
We got to see our friends Julie and Dennis (and their three kids) in St. Paul, but I'm kicking myself for not taking any photos! Here in Billings, we've had the privilege of spending some time with our friends Jan and Tim (and their two kids--see photos below), as well as our good friend Scott.
The drive from Bismarck, ND, to Billings today was beautiful. We passed through flat farmland, rolling hills, buttes, the Painted Canyon, and craggy hills. Once we got into Montana, our route took us along the Yellowstone River most of the way to Billings. We can see snow-covered mountains in the far distance from our hotel window here.
We ate lunch today in Glendive, MT, which, according to our friend Scott, is the smallest media market in the country. They have their own TV channel, which is basically run by one guy. We ate at one of probably two restaurants in the town--a Pizza Hut in a strip mall, with Jackson barking at us from the car the whole time. (Don't worry, he had plenty of shade and ventilation.)
Liam is doing great with the long drives. He gets bored and irritated at times, of course, but he really is handling it remarkably well. He doesn't sleep much in the car, though; he'll fall asleep, but he won't sleep for nearly as long as he would in his crib. This means that he's not getting good naps, on top of getting so little sleep at night. From now on, though, our driving days should be shorter, so hopefully he'll be able to have a better routine.
Jackson is traveling like a champ. He sleeps contentedly on the back seat next to Liam's car seat every day, strapped into his own safety belt.
Jackson has gotten much better about hotels too--no pacing or whining anymore. He had fun looking out the window of our fifth-story hotel room in Bismarck from his perch atop the air conditioner.
We're on to Yellowstone tomorrow!
We took this photo today; it should give you an idea of the vast distances and sparse population of Montana:
(As you've probably guessed, Miles is a street name.)