To the Little Town of Pay-Ola, Kan-sas

Damon’s been quoting this line from Rock of Ages ever since he realized that our next stop was Payola, Kansas (near Kansas City) – the home town of main character Sherry.

The trip from Iowa to Kansas was frustrating to say the least – I guess it was just a sheet coincidence that it was Friday the 13th (suuurre). After a short night sleep, we started early but it meant that three of the four of us were very cranky. Add in an accident that stopped traffic for thirty minutes and an angry bureaucrat who yelled at us for no reason and we were all pretty defeated by our lunch stop.

It took an hour to get past this – and we were next to it!

Glad we stopped. Stopping almost always helps us regroup. The rest of the drive was better but still stressful. Damon was driving fast to try and get us to the post office before it closed – otherwise we’d have to wait until Monday to get them. I was dealing with two little boys who kept screaming at each other for no reason. This resulted in a pretty frazzled evening for the Damon and myself.

I can see why these are the plain states

The next day was productive but equally stressful. During lunch, Damon and I were trying to figure out our internet situation. We currently have unlimited internet with Cricket wireless and use our phones as mobile hotspots to stream movies and use our laptops. But after a text from Cricket we learned that we needed to upgrade our plan to keep streaming. Ok, no problem, except, according to Cricket, our phones don’t work with mobile hotspot (even though we’ve been using them like this for a year). So it looked like we needed to get a new phone to use as a mobile hotspot. We thought about switching to Verizon as they have better coverage but we quickly learned that wouldn’t work as we’d have to buy new phones and pay more per month for a plan.

At an impasse, we decided to go to the aquarium with the boys. We’d been to a SeaLife Aquarium in Orlando and quite enjoyed it, so we expected something similar I’m Kansas City. However, this is an aquarium that squished into a tight space that’s shared with another attraction. Just trying to pick up my tickets was a hassle. The staff was friendly and helpful in getting me to the right place but definitely took too long to get the passes.

I’m glad there were fish in the lobby to entertain the boys while we got the tickets

The inside was very detailed and offers a lot to see. However, the walkways were small and an adult stopping basically blocked the whole path. It was worse in the shark tunnel, which had no ventilation, and every person had to stop to take pictures. The boys liked the fish but were not interested in staying.

Very detailed and lots of variety

To top off the experience, for me, I destroyed my phone when it fell out of my pocket and into a toilette when I went to the bathroom. Not the end of the world, as we were talking about new phones anyways, but still aggravating as I couldn’t use it at all until I got something new.

This guy would lay on the tubes for a while then swim to another tube and lay on it

Since we were out, and it was still early, we decided to go to Ikea to get a new table top for our living room table (we were looking for something more stable). The boys seem to have more fun here – there’s lots to see and touch. And we successfully walked away with something, plus more (cause it’s IKEA – there’s always more).

Really neat to see the original Walt Disney Studios

We stopped for dinner at the Cheesecake Factory, which has a 40 minute wait. To pass the time, we hit a nearby thrift store and got gas. We literally got back to the restaurant as our pager was goin off. Good sign, right?

Food!

I wish, it took almost an hour for our food to arrive. Our waitress was wonderful but was hindered by a severely backed up kitchen and a food runner who was completely lost. She addressed our issues as best she could, so we talked to her manager and made sure that she didn’t have to split her tip with anyone – it didn’t seem fair after she did a good job and others didn’t. On the plus side, little-dude discovered ketchup and loved it.

This stuff is awesome!

After a quick trip to Walmart, we headed home tired and frustrated. After two frustrating days in a row, Damon and I were kinda stuck on how to move forward. We wound up staying in the RV and it turned out to be the best thing we could’ve done. I discovered that my iPad used my SIM card, so I could use that as my phone until we got a replacement phone. We cleaned, we relaxed, we played with the boys – it was just what we needed. Which helped us find a solution to our phone issue – Damon is going to get a cheaper, cricket approved phone to use as a mobile hotspot and I’m getting his phone, which is the same as my old one, since I love that phone so much. All issues addressed for the smallest amount of money (hopefully).

These geese swarmed the campground after the rain.

After another long night (seeing a pattern here?) we set out to get a table top, phone, and groceries. After stopping at a great pawnshop and several cricket stores Damon walked away with his new phone and I had a new iPad. It was a very productive trip, but I was very tired.

We spent the next day relaxing at home to recover from our busy yesterday. Got lots done – laundry, dishes, cleaning, and cooking. All ready to head to Tulsa.

Even rough days can end with a rainbow
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