It’s 5am and the alarm is going off. Slap! I hit the snooze button, but I have not mastered going back to sleep after I wake up. A few minutes later, I dragged myself out of bed. It is obvious I am not going to fall back asleep.
The Road Trip begins today but before we head out, both Steph and I have one final training run to get in. I have to do my run before work, hence, a 5:00 alarm. I opted to leave from the house and go around the neighborhood. It was a quick run – only 3 miles. Our training cycle began the first week of January, and today’s run gives me a total of 340 running miles this year. Stephanie got her run in this afternoon at the Union I-High. She has no idea how many miles she has logged, and I think she likes it that way.
I got home from work and the loading of the van commenced. A family of 5 requires a lot of gear, even if it is just for 4 days. Miles, who is in 6th grade now, is taking percussion at school. He plays an instrument called the Bells, even though it looks like a xylophone to me, and he started to haul it out to the van. “WHOA! What are you doing, son?” He explained he needed to practice during our road trip, so we relented, and he put it in the van. That turned out to be a much better decision than you might think…
My Mom, PK, drove to our house and rode the first leg of the journey with us. This is because Dad, KK, spent the day in Muskogee and the plan was to meet him en route. Mom rode in the front with me and we had a great chat. It was the longest visit the two of us have had in a long time.
In less than an hour, we were at the truck stop in Big Cabin, OK. Our timing was impeccable, as KK pulled into the parking lot as we unloaded out of our car. The parking lot doubled as our dining room. We opened up the ice chest and indulged in some hand-crafted sandwiches, sun chips, and water. Miles was fascinated with the sun chips bag. It claimed the bag would biodegrade in 91 days. We agreed the bag was probably better for the environment than the chip was.
Time to hit the road again. Mallory brought along a book she recently bought named “Who Knew?”. It is full of obscure facts. 196 of them to be exact. 4th graders like trivia, and they like to share it with others. Mallory would direct us, “Say a number between 1 and 196.” “31.” “The man who perfected the process of making and bottling champagne was named Dom Perignon, and he was a Benedictine monk.” Alrightee then!
Stephanie was spending her time in the passenger seat fiddling with her phone. She actually posted a status update on Facebook! I thought Facebook might actually terminate her account due to lack of activity, so I was glad to see her having fun with it. An old high school friend that she used to work with at Bell’s Amusement Park asked her if she “fell off the Zingo” in response to her claim she was going to run a Half Marathon. Those familiar with Tulsa will know what the Zingo is – a roller coaster at an amusement park that is now closed.
Somewhere around the Missouri state line, our van morphed into the Partridge Family bus. Miles was working those bells, playing the William Tell Overture so loud that he was told to quiet down several times. Then he announced he was going to play “Honkytonk Badonkadonk” on the bells. He amused Stephanie and I last night by downloading that song onto his ipod. After a few minutes of “finding the pitch” (as he put it), he started cranking out a pretty fair version of the song. But that was not enough. He encouraged Mallory to sing the words while he played. So, we had a great concert filled with phrases like “slap your grandma” and “donkey kong”. Once he got tired of playing this song, he actually moved on to some Lady Gaga tunes. I am so proud.
TRAVEL ALERT! Drivers are not overwhelmed with things to look at while driving through southwest Missouri. So when you pass sign after sign promoting BLACK MARKET FIREWORKS, you take notice. If you’re not into under-the-table firework deals, maybe you would like to visit the FIREWORKS SUPERSTORE? They obviously love to celebrate in the Show-Me State. But would you believe the entire time we were driving after dark, through the heart of Missouri I might add, we never saw any fireworks lighting up the sky?
After two hours on the road, it was time for a pit stop. It is hard to travel with our family without fitting in a stop at a Dairy Queen. We found one in Marshfield. We ordered up a round of Blizzards, Parfaits, and ice cream cones. The two runners were on their best behavior and got the cones.
No family road trip is complete without some friction, and our drive had been crisis-free until we left DQ. A few minutes into our drive, Marissa wanted to watch a movie, so we pulled out Mallory’s DVD player. The Kindergartner was just getting into the Princess & the Frog when she dropped her not-quite-empty Blizzard cup on the floor, creating a mess. As luck would have it, my new jacket served as a protective layer on top of the van’s carpet. Good times.
The last pit stop of the night was in Rolla after an hour on the road, and we topped off the tanks. As we were preparing to leave the gas station, PK realized she didn’t have her purse. A phone call to Marshfield confirmed that she left it back at the DQ. Hmmmm. It’s 10pm and we’re wondering what we’re going to do. The decision is made to have the DQ hold onto the purse and we’ll pick it up on our way back home on Monday. Stephanie commented that it is fortunate she doesn’t need anything in her purse, and KK replied that “I’ll buy her another lipstick if she needs one”. 10-4, lets’ go!
Hello Sullivan, Missouri. We got checked into the motel and the bags unloaded by 11. Ready for a good night’s sleep and a great day in St. Louis tomorrow. At least some of us are ready to sleep – KK and PK have gone to Wal-Mart to buy some lipstick.