Miles driven: 687.9 (second to last day) + 416.9 (last day)
Pages read: 151
Well it’s been a week so I guess you all figured out that we made it back. I’m combining our last two days into one because it was basically one long race home.
Last time I left off we had prairie dogs as neighbors in South Dakota. The next day we drove all the way to Kansas City, KS, going through Iowa, Nebraska, and Missouri along the way. I wanted to do something in every state and Noah managed to make that thing involve some sort of food almost every time.
We stayed with my friend Kate’s parents in Kansas City, who I have stayed with so many times by now on road trips that I think I can just call them my friends Cathy and Rob. As usual they were excellent hosts. Noah and I both enjoyed showering and sleeping in a real bed again and waking up to pancakes really completed the perfection.
We set off the next morning for our last leg of the trip. The day before we said a sad farewell to 80 mph Interstate speed limits, so it felt a little slow. Once you’ve gotten used to going ** mph (I’m censuring the number to preserve my parents’ sanity), it’s hard to go back.
Besides making it home safely, my priority of the day was to stop at my favorite restaurant during my undergraduate days in Columbia, MO. Murry’s steak sandwich may now cost $3 more than it did then, but it was just as incredibly delicious. I always tell restaurants to cook my steak as rare as they are willing to do it. Most of the time these days that means medium rare, but Murry’s took it as a challenge and it was possibly the rarest steak I have ever eaten. Yum! After that we cruised home in record time.
This road trip was amazing for so many reasons. I’ve now been to every state except Alaska, Hawaii, Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont and I’m already mentally planning those three trips. I can also say that I have successfully slept in a tent in nature eight days in a row. Noah doubled his number of states visited, successfully caught fish in three of those states, and went from Interstate-driving novice to pro.
But even better was all the stuff you just can’t quantify: visiting a whole new part of the country, being in awe of all the natural beauty, seeing the most majestic animals in their natural habitat, spending so much time with my oldest nephew who is slowly becoming a good man right before my eyes, seeing how many pictures I can take before Noah’s head explodes, the list goes on…
My old car finished its third and final cross-country road trip with me in style. The front is now covered in thousand of Wyoming and South Dakota bugs, the back is covered in Badlands dust, and the inside is littered with jolly rancher rappers. She (and I) wouldn’t have it any other way.