“We’re leaving ‘very early’ on Sunday morning.” Aunt Jan brought us Nords doughnuts to send us off. She was surprised that there was no sign of life on Bassett Avenue at the “very early” hour of 8:00am. We left at 9:45am. With bellies full of sugary french fries and long johns. After returning six “cowboy” movies (including Dances with Wolves and John Wayne’s version of True Grit) that I fantasize will magically make them interested in the trip we are about to take.
We made it as far as the rolling hills of New Albany, IN, before I wondered if this was all a big mistake. Not because there was mutiny in the car, excuse me, minivan…that had already happened at home…but because, according to my well-laid out plans, we were facing a 12 hour day in the car, followed by another 8 hours Monday, three good days in the Badlands and the Black Hills, and then two more long days in the car on the way to Michigan. Thank goodness for the allure of Lake Lelanau and Fishtown. Eli says it is his second favorite place in the United States.
St. Louis, check. We saw the arch. Kansas City, check. We saw the exit to Liberty where the Whitsitts live. We’re making great time. Harcourt has finished one book and is mid-way through a second. After a brief affair with Madlibs, which surprisingly featured the words “stupid” and “ugly” an inordinate number of times, Stites has used technology to turn his cousin Jackson into a smurf. Eli has won a FIFA championship in his mind (and on his I-touch). I’ve got my top 40. Next stop, Omaha, NE.
But wait…Iowa is flooded. It’s overwhelming. It’s beautiful. It’s been this way for two months?? It dictates a detour because I-29 is flooded as well. I’m a little concerned because it’s close to dinner time, and Tyler is watching 40 Year old Virgin on his I-Pad and cackling. It’s annoying our children…mostly because they want to watch it too. But the corn fields are stunning. I’m actually appreciative of the flood for diverting our route. And mindful of how many lives must have been devastated by it.
When we returned to the interstate at Council Bluff, IO, we happened on a restaurant called Smash Burgers. It was tasty. And provided our first of what I hope are many beautiful sunsets. And the launching point for the final 3 hours of our day. After one more detour, numerous one-lane sections of interstate lined with sandbags and pumps, and a serenade by the Dixie Chicks, we pulled into a Sioux Falls, SD, hotel at midnight. We may not have left very early, but we arrived very late.