Another roadtrip adventure

Roadtrip. To some the word brings visions of a too-large group of college-aged (probably frat) boys squeezed into a compact car with only the clothes on their backs but enough beer to keep them drunk and disorderly the entire time they traverse the country. To me, it means something quite different. It means loading everything we need (plus more) for our family of 6 into our van, Grizzy. It means making sure everyone takes a potty break before getting back in the car. It means movies and games and music and laughter. Invariably, it means checking and rechecking our packing list to make sure we have everything, only to discover too many miles down the road to turn around that we forgot something of relatively high importance. It means family tradition. 

 

This year our destination was Big Cedar Lodge near Branson, Missouri. This was our second trip to this resort. We mapped out our route, and included a stay in Kansas City, Missouri, to break up what would otherwise be an 11+ hour trip. 

 

We got out of  town and on the road about 8:20 Friday morning, only 20 minutes later than planned. That’s not bad considering we had to get 4 kids in the car, including one who decided to do a nasty job in his diaper at the last minute. The trip was fairly uneventful for the first couple of hours. We were about 2.5 hours in when “the sillies” hit. The conversation went like this:

     Van: mutters something nearly inaudible.

     Me: Did he just say there are fish sticks over there?

     Jim: I thought he said something about shit somewhere. 

     Bre: He said, “There’s a big shark out there.” (He was talking about his movie.)

We laughed hysterically and I knew we were in trouble.

 

Our trip through Iowa was uneventful (sorry, Iowans, the state just isn’t that exciting). The kids did think the windfarms were cool. Those things are huge! You don’t realize just how big they are until you see a truck hauling a blade down the highway. As we got close to Des Moines, we started looking for a place for lunch. A sign caught our attention: Carlos O’Kelley’s. Irish-Mexican? We don’t have that in Minnesota. We knew we had to stop.  

 

As we looked over the lunch menu, we saw a lot of Mexican dishes but not much Irish influence. I chose a burrito with papas O’Shaunessy (Irish potatoes). The potatoes were excellent! We sat for a while and relaxed before getting back into Grizzy to finish our trip for the day.

 

When we got back on the road, it was my turn to drive. Brooke was my navigator. She slept. I had a few moments where I got sleepy too, and the music selection on the radio wasn’t much help (*note to self – invest in an iPod adapter). Finally we arrived at the Comfort Inn in Kansas City, where we’d made reservations for the night – they actually had a room with 3 queen-sized beds! As we pulled up, we saw it. The big, bright, black and yellow, square-shaped sign of our favorite Southern restaurant. WAFFLE HOUSE! It was fate! We knew where we were going for dinner – or should I say, BRINNER?!

We walked the few short steps to the Waffle House, got settled into our booths, and each ordered some combination of waffles, eggs, and  bacon. The most expensive meal we ordered was $7.95 (I think that actually was the most expensive thing on the menu). We even got a 10% “hotel discount” because the gal at the counter saw us walk across the street. 

Back at the hotel, we enjoyed some time in the pool and hottub. Actually, Jim and I searched and searched for the switch for the hot tub. We couldn’t find it anywhere. Finally, another guest told us it comes on automatically every 15 minutes. I wonder how much they enjoyed the show we put on while looking for the button.

Finally it was time to settle into our beds and get some sleep. We dreamed of what the days ahead at Big Cedar would bring. I remembered that “something of relatively high importance” that we always forget. This time… bras. I’d done laundry before packing and all my “good bras” were hanging in the laundry room at home. Oops! Oh well, I guess that was nature’s way of telling me I should just hang out by the pool the entire vacation.

 

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