One-Yard Wonders projects

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Into the Mark Twain Cave and Other Spring Break Fun

Whew. It's been a whirlwind four days. The boys and I had an AWESOME surprise spring break getaway on Thursday and Friday. It was so much fun when they figured out they weren't going to the after-school program and instead I had an adventure planned!

And let me tell you, I really had it planned. I even created a Spring Break Adventure brochure for them! It not only told them where we were going, and explained the reason I had been talking about Mark Twain and making them listen to a Samuel Clemens biography with me, but also gave them a full agenda of our 48 hours of fun. Plus, I had a car scavenger hunt of things for them to look for while we were driving, and a map so they could see where we were and how far to go.

It was so much fun getting those two alone for a couple days. We had a really great time together. Some of the highlights: impromptu stop in Eldon to see the Gothic House, a really fun afternoon in Fairfield (listening to the Cyclones lose...), a super fun arcade in Quincy, swimming at the hotel, and then a day in Hannibal to see all the Mark Twain places we'd learned about. The best part of the trip for me was the Mark Twain Cave tour. It was seriously awesome being in that cave!! Not only had Mark Twain been in it, but also Jesse James! Did you know that if you were in a cave for seven weeks you would go completely blind because your eyes would keep trying to find light but when they couldn't, they'd be strained and then go blind! At least that's what the teenage cave guide told us. :)

We arrived home at about 9 on Friday night. Shawn kept Violet up so she could see us and get her Hannibal souvenirs. And then on Saturday and Sunday we all worked our butts off cleaning up the house. It's not done... Not even close, but we're making progress! Our realtor Kimber is coming tomorrow at 11 to tell me what else we need to do, and then I'll keep working all week and with any luck we will get that for sale sign in the yard very, very soon!

I have laundry to fold and I need to try and make the upstairs presentable so I'll keep this short. Here are some fun pics from our weekend:

Last stop before we headed back home to Des Moines: Lovers Leap overlooking Hannibal

Mazy in the Mark Twain Cave

Me in the cave

There are thousands of signatures throughout the cave, but they banned that practice in 1973 or so, and now try to keep people from defaming the cave walls. 

Entrance into the cave. Mazy asked for us to wait for everyone else to go in so we could be the very last. (Halfway through he decided that was a terrible idea and wanted to be in the middle of the pack.)

One disappointment on our trip was that the gem sluicing area at the Mark Twain Cave was still closed for the season. That was a huge bummer because the boys and I were looking forward to it more than anything else. But they found a big sandpit near that area that had quite a few fossils and quartz rocks in it so they were happy to dig around. I also bought them each a bag of sand and a sluicing pan, so they could do the real thing at home on the weekend. They thought that was pretty cool. 

If you were in a boat on the Mississippi River, this is the sign that would welcome you to Hannibal. The other side has a picture of Mark Twain on it. 

Samuel Clemens during his first career as a steamboat pilot

Downtown Hannibal, Bo and I across the street from the Mark Twain Museum, which is a pretty cool place with lots of interactive areas and nice artifacts, including Mark Twain's favorite writing desk!

This was so cool, the white picket fence outside of Samuel Clemens' boyhood home. I will admit I totally geeked out walking on steps where the great Samuel Clemens walked. 

If you're in Hannibal, you cannot pass up the Mark Twain Dinette for lunch. 

Skinny little Bo getting breakfast in bed at the hotel

Bo doing a selfie at the Mexican restaurant where we had supper on Thursday night

Bo with the football he bought with all of his arcade tickets

Arcade prizes! I don't care how old you are, those cases full of junk are exciting!

Bo redeeming his tickets

Mazy redeeming his tickets

India Cafe in Fairfield where we at lunch on Thursday

Bo eating his Indian

Mazy unhappy with the results of the Iowa State game...

This is an amazing playground in Fairfield where we stayed about 2 hours. 

Me on a wooden train in Eldon

Founder of Fairfield, Iowa

Mazy in the train

Ha! My favorite photo from the entire trip, Mazy posing for American Gothic. He's studying this painting and Grant Wood in school so he was excited to see it. 

The American Gothic House in Eldon

And this is how we started our trip on Thursday morning, breakfast pizza from Casey's!

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