Traveling west Day 16, aka “Smells like butter”

Day 16 (June 16th) – Boise, ID to Cheyenne, WY (736 Miles) – If I had to pick one day where we were all cranky, travel-weary, and frustrated, this (Day 16) would be the day I pick. IMG_1340

It was 98 degrees (F) for most of the drive. About every 20 minutes, we thought we smelled baby poop, and we kept pulling off the highway at rest areas and checking Amelia, and she was always clean. A couple of wet diapers, but no poop.  We’d get back in the car and be on our way, and we’d smell it again, strongly. We’d pull over, check her again, look through the car to see if we had left a dirty diaper in the car – all negative. We’d drive, we’d stop. It was a long process.

IMG_1324We stopped at a big rest area/motel “oasis” in Wyoming called Little America. This is where we found the source of the problem. But there are two things that you should know before I tell you what I’ve learned.

1. Our daughters poop smells like butter, or buttered popcorn, about half the time.

2. While we were in Victoria, we went grocery shopping for the week, and I bought butter. While packing up to continue our trip, I saw that we didn’t use all the butter so I put it in a Glad plastic container (poor man’s Tupperware?) and put it in a bag with the food.

You can probably guess that the butter melted and leaked out all over the food bag.


Don’t keep butter in the car on a very hot drive through Wyoming, especially if your baby’s poop smells like butter.


It’s pretty specific, but it’s good advice.

We booked the hotel in Cheyenne while we were a couple hours away. Our GPS told us to take the I25 exit to get to our hotel, and when we got to the exit, it was under construction and detoured. It was getting late and dark, and we just wanted to get to our hotel. We used Google Maps on the phone instead of our unreliable GPS unit (more on that someday).

The sun was shining right above this sign, so I couldn't get a good picture. But basically we were standing in what used to be a huge prehistoric lake.
The sun was shining right above this sign, so I couldn’t get a good picture. But basically we were standing in what used to be a huge prehistoric lake.

We finally got to the hotel going through downtown Cheyenne. We got our keys, and then realized that we had to park about 200 yards away from our room. It was a crazy setup for the hotel design. So Janelle stayed in the car and fed Amelia while I took the first load to our room. I came back down for the second load (with the baby  it’s a Pack ‘n Play and diaper/clothes bag, plus our suitcases and a few things we didn’t want to leave in the car like Janelle’s camera and our laptops.) I got to the room, and the door didn’t open. I slid the key correctly, and the light turned green on the lock, and it made a clicking noise, but it wouldn’t physically come open. I went to the lobby (another 200 yard walk, with bags) and they asked if I tried to lift the handle up instead of pulling it down. I told them I had tried everything. The manager said that I was in luck, because this was his first night as manager, and he had been promoted from being the maintenance guy.

Janelle grabbed my phone during our drive and took three stunning pictures of this truck. She was fascinated with the size of the tires. Me too.
Janelle grabbed my phone during our drive and took three stunning pictures of this truck. She was fascinated with the size of the tires. Me too.

We walked back to the room, and he couldn’t get the door open either. He went back to the office to get a screw gun so he could unscrew the windows and break into the room. He got us another room and another set of keys in the meantime, and Janelle and Amelia went to bed while I waited for the break in attempt, so I could get my first load out of the locked room and into our new room. He finally got in the room, and tried to open the door from the inside. He couldn’t open it!

I would have been stuck in the room if I had closed the door one more time!

He handed me my cases out the window, and I proceeded to my room to sleep, about two hours later than expected.

At the time I was really tired and frustrated. (The manager was a great guy, apologetic, and helpful, so I wasn’t angry with him – just the situation.) I was in a why-does-this-stuff-always-happen-to-me kinda mood. When I think about the situation now, I’m happy that I went through it. I’m happy that I get to travel. And I’m happy that I have a story to tell. I mean, every good story you hear has some adversity, some problem to overcome. If everything always went as expected and nothing surprising popped up, life would just be a series of days that you live through, not a series of stories that you treasure.

I like it better with the stories. IMG_1353

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