Our drive to Kentucky started on Sunday evening when the sun was still shining.
Heidi and I returned from the parade and jumped right in the van to begin our trek.
The van was loaded to the top with Shawn, Heidi, Ryan, Makayla, Me, all the stuff that goes with keeping a 5 year old entertained for 14 hours, all the stuff that goes with keeping a 13 year old entertained for 14 hours, and everything Ryan didn't ship two months earlier when his family moved.
Our first stop was the first rest stop in Iowa and the information building. It's shaped like a big barn and is right next to a casino. We all jumped right out to stretch out legs for a bit. Heidi and Makalya ran up and down the sidewalk to burn some energy, I stretched, Ryan smoked, and Shawn found a map for his collection.
I made Heidi pose for this picture. It was going to be the first of four pictures showing her in each state but I neglected to consider she would be asleep for Missouri and Illinois so this was the only one I got.
The girls were excited to be in a new state for the first time, even if it was Iowa!
I drove about two more hours and then the dark, single lane highways got a bit unnerving and I changed seats with Shawn. Shortly after we switched, all of the back seat passengers fell asleep and that's how they stayed until we crossed into Kentucky 10 hours later.
With the exception of Heidi. It was very hard for her to get comfortable in her booster seat.
I have fond memories of curling up on the back seat in my parents mini-van with a blanket and pillow, waking up how every many hours later at our destination.
This was not reality for Heidi.
She was stuck sitting straight up and strapped in. She doesn't remember waking up seven times, crying because her neck hurt but the rest of us do.
I took a couple 30 minute naps while Shawn drove.
I was awake when the Owl almost hit my window. How amazing and frightening to see a bird that large change directions mid-air to avoid crashing into the windshield of a van moving at 65 miles per hour.
Road trips are fun but I prefer them when stops are planned in to see the many small towns passed through. If you do a little bit of pre-planning it is easy to find where to find the largest ball of twine or the house where some author was born. The towns may not be places where you want to spend an entire weekend but these silly attractions are a good way to break up a long ride.
On the way down, we decided to drive right through. I don't think we will do that again.
Next time we drive, we will start out early in the morning and make many, many stops that are not at gas stations, we will eat in small diners and not fast food, we will enjoy the sights and sounds and smells. Next time, we will take our time and make the drive part of our vacation.