On Saturday, Cory and I decided to take the kids to the zoo. Harry had been asking to go the zoo since he was in the hospital, and, not able to talk yet, could just mouth the word "zoo." We decided to go in the afternoon since Cory had worked all night and needed to sleep some before we left. We loaded up the new truck for its first big trip and set off. We were nearly there, about twenty-five miles away, when we stopped at a rest area. It's almost two hours to the zoo from our house, so the kiddos were asleep. Cory got out of the car, just as Jack was waking up. I started to call to Cory to wait for Jack, when Cory took off running. I noticed that a group of people were gathered around the emergency contact pole (the thing with the blue light that contacts 911 when you press a button.) I looked to where Cory had run, and saw a Budget rental truck flipped on its side, and on fire. I hustled Jack back into the car. (This all happened in about a minute.) The truck had exited to the rest stop right behind us and crashed as we were parking. Cory told someone to get a fire extinguisher. A teenaged boy ran to get one and started putting the fire out. Cory kicked out the windshield, and Cory and an off duty paramedic (from a town right near us. It's a small world!) pulled the woman from the truck. Cory finished putting out the fire. The woman was awake and aware. She said she was driving home to St. Louis from her brother's funeral in Ohio, with the truck of his belongings. She was exiting to the rest area when the breaks stopped working. She swerved into the grass, through the picnic area and lost control of the truck, crashing into a tree. She was pretty banged up, and likely had some broken bones, but it looked like she would be okay. Considering that there were a lot of people around, including a family with little kids picnicing in the area where she crashed, it really could have been a lot worse. Thank God two people who knew what to do in a situation like this arrived at the rest area right when the crash happened! The paramedics and fire trucks got there about a half hour later and took the driver to the hospital. We waited for the State Police to get there, about another half hour, to make sure they didn't need anything from Cory, and we were on our way to the zoo again!
Now to the less terrifying part of the trip. Due to the unexpected rest stop delay, and running into some traffic (where we witnessed a fender bender,) we had two hours at the zoo instead of four. We made the most of it, though. The kids saw all the animals on their must see list. The boys were thrilled that they got to see two different types of cobras, though I think they were expecting the snakes to have their hoods out and be doing some sort of snake charm dance. (Instead, they were asleep.) They loved the penguins, though Addie seemed unsure about the temperature and odor of the penguin house. Harry's favorites were the cheetahs and the elephant. Jack's (and my) favorites were the penguins and puffins. Addie liked the pink flamingos and the baby camel. We saw almost everything, had perfect weather, and had lots of fun! (Side note: We saw a little boy wearing a trach collar while we were there. I wanted to hug him and his parents, and show them Harry, and tell them it was all going to be alright. They walked away before I could be a complete weirdo, though.) Then we finished off at my favorite touristy restaurant, The Old Spaghetti Factory. The kids were excited by the balloon maker who made swords for the boys and a flower for Addie (who later decided that she should have chosen a sword too. "I need fight.") Addie also discovered that she likes mizithra, and all three kiddos like spumoni. Despite a rough start, we had a great day!
My little monkeys checking out the gorillas.
Harry was so happy to be at the zoo!
Addie running away from the fake cobra.