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11:50 a.m. - November 13, 2006
The Journey's End!
After the Oklahoma trip and the day of rest, the Smed family started our journey home on Tuesday.

We got more efficient in our packing and loading, as we were only 20 minutes behind our scheduled departure time.

The plan was to stop again in Columbia, Missouri, but at a different hotel – the Comfort Suites. It seemed like a much nicer place and all – and hopefully would have a computer that I could use to do some proper internettin’. There was also a pool there, so we all could possibly have some fun with the girls in the pool.

It was also Election night, so Liz and I wanted to be sure to watch the results as best we could.

Well, the pool thing was shot to heck within 10 minutes. Katie acted up in the car even before we got out of Wichita, and kept doing it – so the pool privilege was lost.

Hold onto that thought.

We plowed through Kansas on the way to Kansas City and our lunch stop. Of course, I had the Kia cranked up to about 80 to 85. There was a group of cars that were all together on the road, traveling about the same pace.

Then Liz looked ahead and said, “Smed, that looks like a cop.”

Sure as shootin’ there was a Kansas State Trooper about ¼ mile ahead of us.

The posted speed limit on the Kansas Turnpike was 70 (which only hat-wearing old men drove), so I slowed down to about 74 or so, matching the pace of the cop.

Some of my compatriots soon passed me, and then they spotted what I did. So they crawled back into the left hand lane and matched my pace.

So there we were, all in a row, behind this cop. Every once in a while someone would blast by us at 80 or 85 and then…they’d spot the cop and get in line.

After about 20 miles, the policeman left the interstate and we were back to the races.

We reached Kansas City at a good time for lunch, but by that time Katie had lost:

• Swimming privileges
• Television for the day
• Television for Wednesday
• The opportunity to read books with Liz

Katie was not having a good travel day. Kristin, on the other hand, seemed to be enjoying herself greatly. At least all of the whoops and hollars told us so.

Lunch secured (even though finding this particular Wendy’s was a feat in itself) we were on our way to Columbia.

Now, my experience with Missouri, State of Billboards, was already less than stellar, thanks to the vomit and the idiot truck that almost killed us. But I made some observations on the way to Kansas, and now was confirming the observations on our way back.

There’s either no zoning in Saline or Cooper County, Missouri, or they were too late to do anything about something.

Between exit 74 and exit 103 on I-70, every exit had one sex shop or sex based business.

Now, I have NOTHING against things like that, but you wonder, except for long distance truckers, why so many would be in that rural area.

Exit 101, which has Missouri State Road 41 going to Lamine and Missouri State Road 135 going to Pilot Grove, had FIVE sex shops.

I’m sure the 735 people that live in Pilot Grove voraciously consume bondage gear and adult DVDs on a regular basis.

Or…

I was just puzzled about it, but really that didn’t make sense. Unless there are a bunch of pervs in Missouri. (Could be…)

We arrived at the Comfort Suites. Thankfully, this guy wasn’t on duty at this one! But poor Katie was still misbehaving.

Liz was just knocked out by the whole trip, but I said we needed to get out for dinner, so we went to a Ryan’s Steakhouse.

That’s an interesting place. It’s like Ponderosa, but the buffet is a lot bigger and better and the steaks are cooked to order right there. It wasn’t the best steak we ever had, but it certainly was decent enough.

Katie was a good eater of her veggies and her chicken wing, while I proved to be quite the trencherman with two steaks (they were only 8 oz), some chicken and mashed spuds. Yum.

Kristin was doing a good job on her food as well, but she was still sucking on her fingers like she’s teething.

We got back to the room, and we needed to do some laundry. I also wanted to get online. However, the computer was taken up by a bunch of kids playing games and stuff. Meanwhile, a local Hispanic group had one of the meeting rooms taken up for some presentation of something or other – while the other meeting room had an Apostolic Pentecostal Church service in session.

We’re about to get Kristin ready for a bath when….urp….

Hey look! It’s a return appearance by dinner, on the carpet in the hotel room.

Towels are grabbed – mess is contained – and Kristin is escorted into the bathtub. My mission was to do the laundry, which now had a whole bunch of stinky clothes. We also were nice and washed the towels that we used to contain the toxic goo.

So I go upstairs, reading my book about the Kings and Queens of the British Empire, and patiently wait for laundry to be done.

After that, I finally get on the computer (even though one kid is verrry nosy about what I was doing) and catch up with the news and such. When I clicked on the website of the Indianapolis Star much to my shock and delight, three incumbent GOP congressmen (including a couple odious ones) were getting slapped around.

Then I went back to watch some of the election coverage in our room. Kristin has decided that sleeping is not an option, but finally she settles down. Katie is upset by this, but if she loses any more privileges then she’ll have to OWE us for the right to live in our house.

I drift off to sleep, and wake up late (we didn’t set the alarm right) so we’re in panic mode. But not as panicked as the GOP, as we discover when we find out what was up with the elections across this land.

We eat a good breakfast (and I didn’t burn myself on the waffle maker – yay me!) and head for home.

After lunch, all of us realize once and for all that between St. Louis and Terre Haute, I-70 is the most dreadful piece of interstate known to man. Effingham can’t save it, and that huge cross there on the highway. Some like it – but it’s just so huge and ostentatious it makes me sad.

Nearing home, I decide to cut up from Brazil toward Montgomery County. We enter the county at the little town of Waveland, and Katie decides right then and there that she does NOT want to live there.

Poor Waveland.

Of course, Katie still was acting up, and the trip was not over. We had to get home, unload the van, pile the kids in Liz’s car, and then both the car and the van had to travel to Lafayette to return the mini van.

Yeah, just what we wanted to do, right?

That being done, it was time for everyone to get home and for us to put the kidlets to bed after dinner. And keeping on my trip diet, we had pizza. Urp.

It was quite a jaunt. Hopefully there will be peace and less stress in the house now, and maybe Katie one day will have a privilege back.

Maybe.

 

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