This is a continuation of our family trek from Fort Mill, South Carolina to Fairbanks, Alaska. For other parts in the series, click on the links below:
Day Two – MISSOURI
After shaking off the rust at a random rest stop, we moved onward towards Kansas City. The morning was relatively uneventful … that is until we hit Independence, Missouri! I’m still not altogether sure why we decided to stop at Harry S. Truman’s home, of all places, but we saw the sign and went for it.
There, we saw a replica of the Liberty Bell (which a woman took way too many photos of) and got our picture taken by a stranger. All in all, it was an authentic American experience?
Day Two – IOWA
There is as much to be said about Iowa as you would imagine. I don’t want to knock less-than-stellar places too much in these blogs because we’re mostly seeing these states from the confines of an interstate freeway. At the same time, I want to maintain my journalistic integrity (ha ha) and give an authentic report of what I saw …
… and in Iowa, I saw nothing. To our left was the Missouri river but it
was hidden so you couldn’t see it. To our right were endless farm fields. The scenery was dull and the sky was a hazy gray. Naturally it started to rain soon thereafter. It was everything I would expect from a Midwest state, having grown up in Ohio, myself.
Truly the only thing worth noting in Iowa was when we stopped for lunch. Again, we landed on fast food (and by this point were already yearning a real meal), and settled on an Arby’s in Missouri Valley, Iowa (the name Missouri seems to be highly overused in this area). Here, noble Americans from every corner of our great nation came together in a shocking display of unified hunger. I saw license plates from South Dakota, California, Ohio, Minnesota, Iowa (of course), Nebraska, and Georgia. Including our own license plate from South Carolina and you have quite the dynamic of individuals at this fast-food mecca.
After eating a meal that was lacking in expediency, flavor, and nutrition, we drove the rest of the afternoon until finding a nice hotel in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Oh wait, I need to break this up:
Day Two – SOUTH DAKOTA
Where was I? Oh yes, we found a nice hotel in Sioux Falls, South Dakota (the biggest city in their fine state, by the way). The Best Western Plus Ramkota Hotel, to be specific. It had an indoor water park that felt like a swamp and smelled like a bacteria cesspool, so we avoided that one. But it did have an outdoor pool that went ten feet deep. Naturally, a woman went way out in the middle holding her toddler and when her older son swam over to her and hung on, they all went under and people freaked out, diving in to save them all.
Meanwhile some drunk lady in the hotel parking lot was asking me where I was from and where I was headed as I walked Tucker. I know that in woman-talk this means only one of two things, small talk or one-night-fling, neither of which I wanted. It was the only time in my life that I’ll be thankful that my dog decided to do his business on the spot.
After having spent 36 hours on the road, sleeping in the car, or making do at rest stops and restaurants, it was nice to just sit down with a real meal and sleep in a real bed. I know, I get it – a day and a half of driving a car is hardly a testament of human willpower … but we were just getting adjusted to life on the open highway. By the next week, we were old pros at it! In either case, my oldest son fell asleep and my youngest boy vowed to stay awake. After flipping through the channels and noting that there were no longer cartoons on (adult swim and nick-at-nite taking their place), he fell asleep after watching seven minutes of a Full House re-run. I, however, stayed up, enthralled by the low quality of the show, in hindsight. I somehow had remembered it as being so much more when I was a kid. Cut. It. Out.
Coming Up: Days 3 and 4 of our adventure take us to Mount Rushmore!