2017, Travel/Vacation

Travel Journal, Day 2: From Missouri To Ohio

June 16, 2017

Well rested, Kevin, the girls and I left the Motel on Friday morning. Between Waynesville and Fort Leonard Wood, we stopped to get a bite to eat for breakfast. And the car tank needed to be refilled, anyway. Kevin was telling me about his time in Fort Leonard Wood, when he was in basic training over 17 years ago. It was interesting to hear a little story from the past, before Kevin and I met in Germany later that same year. 😉

One of my favorite things I did, while we were on the road was to photograph some local wildflowers along the trip. Some flower can be found in Texas; some seemed new to me. Due to the warm weather and some rain, the wildflowers are flourishing along the freeways. If you get a chance to travel on the highways and freeways this Summer, look out your side windows from time to time. You would be surprised, how colorful it is along the freeways at this time of the year.

Finally, we arrived in St. Louis. Since I wanted to capture photos of the “Gateway to the West” Arch with the mighty Mississippi in the foreground, we had to cross the river to get to Illinois first. There is a little park across the Mississippi, called Malcolm W. Martin Memorial Park. It’s a nice park, which has a man-made geyser and the Mississippi Overlook. The overlook was built recently in 2009. Standing on top of the overlook, we had a good view to see the arch, the city, and the river. The overlook has a nice imprinted metal map to show visitors, which buildings they looking at St. Louis. Getting some rest, we sat next to the statue of Mr. Malcolm W. Martin. It is a round stone bench, with a beautiful compass in its center. What I also noticed, that the overlook is very wheelchair friendly.

Kevin, Katelynn, Sara and I really enjoyed our time in St. Louis. But it was time to move on. In a town named Effingham, Illinios we had lunch (Yeah, we had some good jokes about the name of this town). 😀

After driving through Illinios and Indiana, we arrived in Ohio. Ohio is my 30th state (Katelynn’s 27th and Sara’s 23rd state), I’ve visited in the US. My school friend Katja lives with her husband and two kids on a nice 25 acre farm outside of Columbus. Katja and I hadn’t seen each other for 30 years. We had the same teacher in 7th grade back in 1986-1987. About a month before the trip, I told her about us passing through Columbus. And she invited us over to her sweet farm house for dinner and to spend the night. We had a lot of catching up to do. Because a lot of things happened in the last three decades. Her daughter and my girls seemed to have a really good time, too. When it was bedtime, they all were sleeping in one room and telling each other ghost stories in the part of the house, which is from the 1840s. Haha, I can imagine a couple of ghosts were giggling in the corner of the room as well. That night, I passed out very fast after I hit the pillows.

… to be continued …

2017, Travel/Vacation

Travel Journal, Day 1: From Texas To Missouri

June 15, 2017

While Kevin had to take care of a few items at work I used the chance to finish packing, on Thursday morning. I asked the girls to get each a pillow, a blanket, and their favorite plush animal for the road. Clothes, DVDs, markers, pencils, journals, and snacks were already packed. I just had to take care of the small little details like tooth brushes and passports.

Kevin came home before noon. He packed everything in the car. And on the road we went around 1 p.m. With all the plans and the sights we had in mind, we were really excited to go on this road trip. We made a short stop for lunch in Van Alstyne, before we left Texas.

Arriving in Oklahoma, we took Highway 69. It is the shortest way to get to I-44 and then hitting east to Missouri. When we made it to Will Rogers Turnpike (I-44), we took a short break at the rest area near Vinita. The rest area is in the center and can be reached by people traveling both ways, east bound and west bound. It’s called the Will Rogers Archway. Katelynn and Sara were fascinated with the fact, that people can eat in a fast food restaurant while watching the traffic passing by under them on the freeway. With their noses touching the glass windows, the girls watched the semi trucks coming in and out of the rest area.

Another several miles later, we paid toll before we left Oklahoma and entered Missouri. We stopped at the first rest area to have dinner. The girls love “Brotzeit” (“Bread Time” in German). We usually pack some bread, lunch meat, lunch cheese, tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, snacks, juices, water, and other goodies for the road. That saves a lot of money, and it is healthier than eating every meal in a restaurant. Kevin, the girls and I enjoy sitting outdoors for lunch/dinner. And when Katelynn and Sara are done with their meal, they still can spend some time at the playground or run around in the grassy areas. On past travels Kevin and I learned, it is very important to take more breaks to let the kids run and get the wiggles out of their systems on the rest area grounds. They are much happier and can handle the upcoming stretch to the next rest area much better.

In Lebanon, Missouri we stopped at a Motel 8 that night. I liked the fact, that the Motel was far enough away from the freeway to not hearing all the traffic, but close enough to see the freeway at a short distance. Katelynn noted, she didn’t like the matress too much. It was a little bit too soft for her. But overall, she still got some good rest, before we left for St. Louis the following morning.

… to be continued …