For the first time on this vacation, Stephanie got up before me. She is ready to get home!
One great benefit of sleeping in the pop-up camper last night is that it allowed us a much faster getaway this morning. There is no tent to take down or air mattresses to deflate.
On Stephanie’s walk back to our site from the showers, she noticed that one of Marissa’s pillows was on the ground outside the camper. Also, part of her sleeping bag was hanging out the side. It turned out that not all of the sides of the camper had been snapped or zipped up. Marissa was lucky she had not fallen out of the camper!
We were on the road by 7:45 and off to the Sunflower state. Our first stop was the Geographic Center of the Contiguous United States. Located just a mile north of Lebanon, Kansas, the site offers a great taste of Americana.
A small, abandoned motel on the site provides a glimpse of the high hopes of the town for tourism. There is also a very small chapel, covered picnic tables, a monument erected in 1940, and a new stone marker.
On several occasions during this trip, we would have only a couple of stops planned for the entire day, and for some reason those stops are always just a few minutes apart. Today was not different. Just thirty minutes down the road was our second, and last, stop of the day – the World’s Largest Ball of Twine.
Cawker City, Kansas, is home to the ball of twine. The signs welcoming you to Cawker City on the way into town proudly proclaim it as the home of the world’s largest ball of twine.
There were no cars parked at the twine ball when we arrived, but several showed up while we were looking around. We took pictures of a couple from Dallas and they returned the favor for us.
From Cawker City, it was all downhill. Marissa would occasionally sing to us from the back seat. She made up a song that she would sing off and on throughout the trip. It goes something like this: “I am awesome!” [Repeat]
We stopped for a picnic lunch in the parking lot of a Wendy’s and Taco Bell. Miles spent some of his own money to purchase some food from Taco Bell. This has been a trend of his on this trip. I would bet he has spent just as much money on food as he has spent on souvenirs.
There is a Dairy Queen on Interstate 35 and we thought it would be a fitting end to the trip to let everyone have a final vacation ice cream. We went inside, but unfortunately, the line was out of control. Much too long for a family who is only an hour and a half from home.
We decided to stop at the McDonalds for McFlurrys a few miles down the road. Everyone was agreeable to that, and it got the job done.
A few minutes before 4:00, we pulled into our driveway. Home Sweet Home.
We were gone for 16 days, and we had rain for 12 of those days. We brought a lot of much-needed precipitation wherever we went.
We drove 3,723 miles through eight states: Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho, Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska.
We saw a large variety of wildlife on this trip, including moose, bison, black bear, grizzly bear, elk, mountain goat, bighorn sheep, pronghorn, deer, marmot, and prairie dog.
The camping experiment worked out all right. If anything, we overpacked. Most of all, we’re glad we purchased a waterproof tent that is easy to assemble and disassemble.
We encountered lots of interesting people, and even ran into some longtime friends while in Yellowstone National Park.
We have wanted to go to Yellowstone for a while, and I’m very thankful that we were able to take this trip with the kids. We will never forget this vacation!