Sunday, July 5, 2009

Road Trip - Part 1 (or Kansas is a hole)

I think that many people have forgotten the joy of road tripping. I think it might be a lost art or at least a forgotten pastime.

Flying is quicker but no less expensive and it's become such a big hassle over the years. Driving gives you the flexibility to go off the beaten path (Ahem, Kansas) and see more things (or not . . . Ahem, Kansas).

Here is a little chronicle of our road trip across the country to attend Mark's grandmother's family reunion. It's the first time Mark's side of the family has been together in over 10 years.

We were going to road trip via Albuquerque, NM and Phoenix/Prescott, AZ, and both Southern and Northern CA, but we opted for spending more time with family in UT since a 1.5 day family reunion just isn't long enough when you've been apart for so long.

We had so much fun with this road trip (have we mentioned that we love the flexibility of having our own business--love sticking it to the man!) that we're up for more. On our radar is a trip through Canada and New England (once we get our passports updated) since Toronto is only 6 hours from here and another cross-country road trip via the south and up the West coast.

Not any time soon, though. We're beat. We've driven to Florida, Massachusetts, and Utah within the past 5 months to visit family. We're ready to have family come to us now and play --we're good hosts. :)

Here's our recap:

Day 1
From Central Pennsylvania to St. Louis, Missouri
States Visited: PA, WV, OH, IN, IL, MO

Some thoughts:

- Driving in torrential downpours of rain so bad that you can't see the white lines or the car in front of you is pretty terrifying.
- It was really hot when we stopped for dinner.
- Getting to St. Louis and seeing the Arch lit up at night was very cool.
- GPS is so cool and very helpful in getting a decent deal on a hotel.
- Playing the license plate game, singing rounds, listening to Harry Potter on tape, listening to the radio, pretending, talking, eating . . . all fun things to do on a road trip.
- Driving in rain? Not fun.
- We drove one whole time zone that day.
- We drove about 12.5 hours that day.

Day 2
From St. Louis, Missouri to Colby, Kansas
States Visited: MO, KS

St. Louis is a very clean and nice city.
Beautiful park at The Arch.

I love this picture.

View from the top.

At the top.

So glad to be back on the ground and out of that tram!

Some thoughts:

- Didn't know you could climb the arch. Glad my FIL told us that. However, he said it was like taking an elevator. Didn't mention how creaky and claustrophobic the little "tram" (not elevator) would be. The heights didn't scare me. The claustrophobic tram did.
- Saw the Mormon Tabernacle Choir there. Didn't know it was them, but knew it was a big choir. We were more concerned with racing ahead of whatever group it was to get the earlier tram tickets.
- Scary trams!
- The Mississippi River is really dirty but it's always cool to cross it.
- Kansas is an interminable state! It went on and on and on and there were no people. Not even in Topeka. And we know, because we drove around that most desolate capital. Where do people in KS live?? I'm guessing Witchita?
- Yuck. Yuck, yuck, yuck. Not a fan of Kansas.
- Oh wait, I forgot about Kansas City, KS. Worst drivers we saw on the trip.
- Going 70 mph and getting off the freeway onto a dirt road? Dirt road! No thanks.
- The goal was to get to CO but rain deterred us again and we were dealing with a bit of PTSD from the day before.
- Then we hoped to at least cross the time zone (in KS) but we stopped just shy of that.
- We got the best Mexican food that we've had in a long time in a hotel in KS. Go figure.
- But other than that, KS was NOT a highlight of our trip. I was so dumbstruck and annoyed by its vast emptiness that I forgot to take pictures.
- According to the signs along the freeway, a lot of famous people come from Kansas, including astronauts. I bet they didn't care where that spaceship took them so long as it was out of Kansas!
- We drove about 9 hours that day not counting driving around deserted Topeka waiting for another storm to pass (stupid rain)
- Saw the Brown vs. the Board of Education site

Day 3
From Colby, Kansas to Cedar City, Utah
States Visited: KS, CO, UT

Some thoughts:

- So glad to be out of Kansas
- Couldn't get out of there fast enough
- No offense to our readers from KS (maybe you can tell us something redeeming that we missed)
- Colorado is a gorgeous state.
- Not a fan of mountain driving but boy was it gorgeous!
- My Dad would have LOVED the scenery.
- We climbed summits as high as 12,000+ feet (that's a lot of climbing and that's a lot of descending).
- We did something totally tacky: run into a restaurant and use the facilities without buying anything. We don't normally do that, but we were desperate.
- Utah has landscapes reminiscent of planets in Star Wars and our kids can name all of them.
- It was sooooooooooooo good to get to Greg and Jessica's house. So good.
- We drove about 12. 5 hours that day.

So neat to show the kids the Rocky Mountains.

Beautiful drive. We ARE Planet Earth.

More to come . . .


Jillo said...

The picture of your kids by the arch is AWESOME! Very nice. I think a cross country road trip would be so much fun. How was the 12 hour driving days? We are looking at a 9 hour day in a few weeks and I am a little nervous. But I always love being in a new place and seeing the landscapes gradually change from one to the next. It is way cool.
Looking forward to reading more!

the emily said...

I've been to the arch but never up in it (lines were too long). When I was in St. Louis in 2000 the river was flooded and the water was waaaay up on the sidewalks. It was actually pretty neat. I loved the drive from Albuquerque to Chicago, we must have mostly missed Kansas. :)

jenny said...

Fun pictures! I'm planning on dieing without setting foot in Kansas haha!

jenny said... word verification for the last comment was manti- how fitting for you guys :)

J Fo said...

So, let me get this right...Kansas was your favorite part of the trip?! That's what I thought!

I'm so so so glad that you guys made the drive and that we got to spend a bit of extra time with you. It was seriously great!

terahreu said...

SOOOOO great to see you guys! I am so sad we didn't get to spend more time together but I will take what I can get.

The drive looks amazing. Good for you guys! I remember doing that drive every year as a child, without a/c, or heat, or shoes, only uphill....