Friday, September 9, 2011

Epic Travel Day

After a too-short visit, the girls and I piled back into the car and headed east. Our friends gave us another fun route out of their place along the dirt county roads (my dad would call these 60-mile-an-hour roads for their quality) that made for an entertaining start (for the driver) to this very long day on the road.

The girls started the day with our morning routine – a quick run to the bathroom before hitting the hay again in the backseat. I had some dried fruit and sunflower seeds while I jetted east, the trailer bouncing joyfully along behind us.

We had another picnic breakfast this morning at a nondescript gas stop in a small Nebraska town, and picnic lunch the same before we hit our first obstacle on this trip: due to flooding of the Missouri River, the bridges connecting Nebraska to Missouri (and some of the Kansas-Missouri bridges) were closed. We’d played hill-tag with a semi from North Carolina for hours before we discovered the first closure sign. He seemed to be heading our way, so as we veered south on the Nebraska side, we followed him past closure after closure. I wondered who would pull off first – us for gas or him to avoid the minivan stalking him. In the end, he whipped off the highway not far from Wathena, Kansas, where we finally found gas, dinner and an open bridge.

Huckleberry Finn joined us for the journey across Missouri, thanks to Librivox and special thanks to this great reader. His adventures sucked the iPod dry, so we opted to boot up the computer and enjoy a double feature, “Cars” (road trip movie FOR SURE) and “Pete’s Dragon,” a classic and pure entertainment.

We made it to our camping slot (glorified parking lot) just across the river from St. Louis shortly before midnight – ALL ready for bed and a few days off the road. It’s hot (we’re sweating, there’s no breeze and there’s humidity like I’ve never experienced anywhere other than a tropical island), and the mosquitoes are out. We’re hoping for rain tomorrow.

SPOT has been tracking our travels, and it’s been fun hearing from family and friends who are following this insane trek. Thank you for your calls and e-mails and warm wishes. Please keep us in your thoughts as we explore the nation’s byways and highways and head into the hurricane ravaged northeast. I suspect we’ll see some historic damage there and I wonder if there’s any way we can help there as we continue this journey.

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