Day Ten: Kearney, NE >> Des Moines, IA (320 miles)
Off we go! Nearing the end at this point, just a few more days and we’re back to reality.
No in-motel breakfast (although the lobby said they set out muffins, that was not gonna suffice today with a real deal diner attached to the motel). We got dressed for the day and walked down to the diner, because I mean, duh.
Moose was so charmed by the Coke machine that he requested a photo.
Okay so guys? The Lodge restaurant was zapped here from a time machine from 1962. I was in love from the moment I stepped inside. And so was Moose, because: diner coffee.
Pete ordered the classic breakfast and OMG, THE PANCAKE.
I got oatmeal and they gave me cream. Fancy! Too bad I never used it.
Pete was the Best Brother Ever (as usual) and shared his massive pancake.
My mostly empty breakfast plates, I had oatmeal (with butter and salt, just like my mama taught me) and a side of grapefruit sections, most favorite breakfast EVAR.
We danced on out of there. Thank you, beautiful Lodge. (Also yes, that is mid-Dab. Dammit.)
And then we rolled ourselves back to our motel room and packed up the car.
ON THE ROAD. Look out Omaha, here we come.
Travel Sequence was a heck of a hit on this trip.
Before we knew it, we were in Omaha. Our game plan for Omaha was (1) sculpture park talked up on Roadside America, (2) GIANT SLIDES ON THE MALL, and (3) find Chef Boyardee.
So: first things first, it’s sculpture time. We read about the Pioneer Courage park and it was downtown which was convenient (walk to the SLIDES) so off we went. It was cool, but much smaller than I was anticipating. That did not stop the boys from enjoying themselves to the fullest, running full-tilt all over the place.
Also more dabs because, dabs.
Find the Pete…
After we successfully ran off the children, we decided to walk 3 or 4 blocks down to Gene Leahy Mall to ride those sweet, sweet slides.
Except… turns out they are renovating the entire Mall and the slides are gone. For now. They plan to make bigger, more bad ass slides but I have to say, it was a sad moment on our roadtrip to realize no giant slide-ing would be happening. Next time, Omaha. We’re comin’ for your slides.
So it was back to the car with a laser-focused determination to find this Chef Boyardee sculpture. Do we eat Chef Boyardee at our house? Nope. But did one of our kids fall hard for the charms of Chef Boyardee microwave ravioli on this trip? You betcha! Also I was no brat, I ate that stuff as a kid occasionally on busy nights and it made Little Me happy, dammit. So I judge not, but only have affection for this man. Let’s go show his statue some love. Also this Chef Boyardee link is worth a look, yo.
We had to drive around a lot, yo, and deep in the bowels of the huge Con-Agra complex we finally found him. Just kinda chilling in front of a random building, very unassuming. WE FOUND HIM THOUGH. We saluted him and off we went, time to find Des Moines.
Bye bye, fireworks emporiums.
So, remember back in Colorado, the last night at the cabin in the Rockies? I barely can, that seems YEARS AGO. But, anyway: I distinctly remember looking for a hotel in Des Moines and instead of booking our old standby we use for Kansas trips (it’s cheap, it’s clean) or looking for some old kooky place like I enjoy, I instead decided we’d spend our last night on the road by booking something wholly enjoyable.
Now, that could have meant something Boujee (and admittedly, I could have used a nice roomy spot with fancy toiletries and high thread counts and room service, sweet room service) or something hip like a fancy boutique downtown within walking distance of all the fun stuff. No, instead I figured I’d find something the kiddos might appreciate more. Most cities now have hotels with a more resort-style pool situation, so that’s where I focused my efforts in my search late that night in the mountains.
And that’s how we found ourselves surprising the boys with a pirate/tropics themed pool at the Des Moines Ramanda Inn.
What I really enjoyed about this particular hotel was the walk-up Tiki Bar for us grown ups.
Scottie got us margaritas because DUH, TROPICS. I love this man, so much.
Basically we got to the hotel and as we pulled in to check-in Pete saw the water “resort” sign and kept repeating No Way!, No Way!, NO WAY!! and to say they were pleased would be an understatement. We got to our room, they scrambled into their swim trunks at record speed, and we found ourselves in the pool area for hours while they screamed and splashed and us adults sat back and sipped our margaritas and All Was Well, folks. All. Was. Well.
Also Pete went down the big slide eleven bajillionty times.
And Moose went down the little pirate slide in style (dab style).
Post pool we checked out the hotel arcade room because did I mention? There was also a random arcade room.
Then to the room to rinse off, change, and go downtown to find dinner.
Fong’s Pizza, here we come.
Fong’s is what is affectionately known as 1960s Chinese restaurant meets pizza reboot. There are Tiki drinks and there are classic old Chinese restaurant dishes, all as pizza toppings.
Scott and I got Tiki drinks because: when in Rome, amirite.
Except after they got to the table I remembered how much I was not a fan of sweet cocktails. They all taste like varying versions of Kool-Aid, sorry, and much too sweet to finish.
We ordered two pizzas, the Crab Rangoon for us adults and the State Fair Corn Dog for the kiddos (brown mustard sauce topped with mozzarella, crushed tomatoes, red onions, Chicago red hot dogs, and cheddar, plus crumbled corn bread on top).
Their pizzas are all cracker crust, which was a little disappointing? For me, anyway. I like some chew to my crust, but hey I’m willing to give other styles a try.
Pizzas were good. From what I remember. We had a ton leftover and our waiter boxed up our ample leftovers but like a couple of over-tired iditots, Scott and I forgot the box on our table as we left. QUELLE HORREUR. I still regret leaving that pizza behind, it would have made the perfect midnight snack (meal, gorge, whatever).
Scott told the kids to RUN RUN RUN around these concrete things and as usual, one of our klutzy kids wiped out in the process (sorry, Moose) and scraped up his chin/face and it was much crying and anyway – we were ready to get back to that hotel.
Des Moines, you pretty.
Day Ten Stats:
Lunch: Snacks, snacks, snackssnackssnacks. Breakfast filled us up so we just ate from the snack stash to get us through the lunch hour.
Museum Count: 0
Roadside Attractions Count: 2 (Pioneer Courage Park, Chef Boyardee Statue)
Peter’s Penny Count: 0
Moose’s Dab Count: 5 (back in action!)
Dwellings: | Ramada Tropics Resort | Can’t beat a water-park hotel, this fit the bill for hotel fun-times. The rooms were clean but kinda meh, but again: obviously no one’s here for a ‘Gram-worthy room, it was all about the water park. Oh!, the shower was weird though: standing shower only, and the door on it was only a half-pane of glass (so our bathroom floor was a giant puddle by the time we all got our showers in).
Dinner: Fong’s! Finally hit this spot up after years upon years stopping in Des Moines. Kitschy, pizza’s decent, cocktails were fine. AND I’M STILL MAD WE FORGOT OUR LEFTOVER PIZZA THO.