The Best Day Ever!

The kids all agree that today was the best day EVER!!! You must be wondering what possibly could have happened that would earn today such an honor.

Was it the fact that we arrived in St. Louis, Missouri and had our first view of the Gateway Arch?

Was it because we were able to ride the tram all the way to the top of the arch?

Was it the view from the top of the arch that made today the best day ever?

Perhaps it was the original Courthouse that was across the street?

I personally think that all of these things made today pretty great, but none of them happen to be why today was the best. No, today was the best day ever simply because… it rained. Very. Hard.

It wasn’t the arch. It wasn’t the view. It wasn’t the tram ride. It wasn’t St. Louis. It was the puddles. Lots and lots of puddles. And the ability to run through them over and over again. Best. Day. Ever.

 

A Day in Kansas City, MO

I tell you what, if someone would just pay us to travel the country, that would be a dream. I cannot tell you how wonderful it is to be able to see new things. I realized today that we are in Missouri. Missouri. A place we had once only talked about. We ate Kansas City barbeque today, something we had only dreamt of. And yet, here we are. Doing this. Traveling. Living. We walked away from perfectly good jobs for this. We gave up a house for this. My only question now is, What took us so long?

Today we explored Kansas City, MO. We have not been in a city this large in a very long time and I was absolutely amazed at how many cars were on the road. There were so many people! In one place. In one town. At the same time! Thank goodness, once again, for Rob’s GPS.

Rob loves barbeque, so one of the stops we wanted to make was to a world-famous barbeque restaurant. We arrived at lunch time and everyone else in Kansas City must have had the same idea, because the place was packed. Arthur Bryant’s Barbeque. If you are a fan of barbeque, this place should be on your list. I ate two sandwiches. Two, and I am not the biggest fan of barbeque. That is how good it is. Now you can imagine how much Rob loved it.

While I admit that taking pictures from a moving vehicle is not the best way to capture an image, sometimes it is your only option, especially when you are a small town family cruising around a big town with a million more cars on the road than you are used to. I loved the bridge crossing the Missouri River. We couldn’t exactly stop on the freeway so my picture is complete with other cars, the glare from the dash and splattered bug guts on the windshield. I narrowly missed the rope holding the canoe on the roof. We hadn’t seen the Missouri River since we left Great Falls so it was nice to see all of its wide and lazy glory.

Since I was having so much fun taking pictures while Rob was dodging traffic, I thought I would shoot the arena as well. I am sure it has a name, but I missed it. It has a really neat design regardless.

Kansas City has a lot of variety, in both architecture and population. One day was not nearly enough time to learn all about it, but that is all the time we had, so I guess we will just have to go back. In the meantime I will continue to rack my brain for jobs to do while traveling. I am sure there is something that would be perfect or us, we just haven’t thought of it yet. But eventually we will figure it out, and I will once again be wondering, What took us so long?

 

Driving Day

We have been having so much fun taking our time that we have begun to fall a little behind schedule. We are not on a tight schedule by any means, but we do have to be in Campbellsville, KY on Saturday. So today, since we didn’t have any specific plans for Nebraska, we decided to have a driving day. No big deal, they are necessary from time to time.

Cabela’s World Headquarters, Sidney, NE

After visiting Cabela’s World Headquarters in Sidney, Nebraska, we set sail for the other side of the state. We passed corn field after corn field after golden, rolling corn field. There was some wheat thrown in for variety, as well as the occasional horse pasture and cattle graze land. The wind reminded us of Great Falls. It was steady enough to keep both of your hands on the wheel at all times, causing hand cramps from the death grip. It calmed down by the time we hit Eastern Nebraska.

Somehow we made it across the state, through a corner of Iowa, and into Missouri, which is where we sit tonight. Just for kicks, I thought I would share today’s stats with you, after sending a shout-out to Rob’s GPS, because I am quite certain that if it weren’t for her, we would most likely be in  Middlefart, Denmark right now.

The Blue (yes, Blue) River, near Lincoln, NE

Total Miles: 492.1

Max Speed: 72, Average Speed: 55

Total Drive Time: 8 hours 52 minutes, Total Trip Time: 13 hours 3 minutes

Rest Area Recreation, near Lincoln, NE

A Must-See

I have wanted to see Mount Rushmore for a very long time. When we were planning our drive across the country, it was the only thing that was an absolute must-see. Other attractions were flexible, but not Mount Rushmore.

I am not sure what it is about its pronunciation, but I have the hardest time saying it. For some reason it always comes out Rush Mountmore. Luckily I can spell it better than I can say it.

We went to the mountain twice. I had read about the best time to take pictures, but I couldn’t remember whether it was morning or evening, so we decided to visit it both times. As it turns out, morning is the best time for photos, but it is equally beautiful any time. Going in the evening is wonderful because of the evening lighting program. There is a speech, a patriotic video and then the lighting of the memorial. They ended with all the veterans from the audience up on stage, where they lowered the flag and then told us about their years of service.

In the morning, the rising sun lights up the memorial just beautifully, making it hard to stop taking pictures.

I am so glad we were able to go. It was everything I had hoped it would be and even more.

   

Scenic South Dakota

Another state to add to our map! We didn’t see much of South Dakota, but what we did see was amazing. Not too long after crossing over from Wyoming, we were at Jewel Cave National Monument. We opted for the Scenic Tour of the caves, which left us with an hour wait, so the kids had time to do the Junior Ranger Program.

The caves were amazing, and cold, they are a consistent 49 degrees year round. Jewel Cave is covered with calcite crystals, which make it shine like jewels. There are no bats inside the cave. The only living thing found inside the cave is a dead-skin-cell eating organism that live inside the water pools along the walking path.

Under the stairs, there are black tarps which capture all of the skin, hair and lint that fall off of visitors over the course of the year. Every year when they clean the tarps, they end up with 100 pounds of yummy goodness. Our tour guide jokingly informed us that you can purchase it by the pound in the gift shop. Ew.

Of all the glorious tidbits of information I could have brought away from the caves, I chose that. Something is seriously wrong with me…