Two years ago this week, we took our second LONG drive across the states. 7,000 miles from coast to coast to be almost exact. The first drive we traveled west via I-80 so this time we left from our home in Pennsylvania and drove west on I-70 to change things up a bit.
Day 1- We had to wait for Brian to get home from work, so the kids and I spent the day putting the finishing touches on the house, packing the car, welcoming our house sitter, taking a nap (me), and otherwise trying to make it through the day.
We left around 8:00pm and headed west. I took one for the team and drove us through the night to somewhere Indiana where Brian took over and drove us through what felt like 10,000 miles of flat, corn-filled farmland, over the great Mississippi River, and past the St. Louis Arch to our first stop-over in Salina, Kansas…which by-the-way is pronounced Sal-I-na, not Sal-EE-na as I had thought. English is such a silly language. The hotel had a Braums Ice Cream joint (and a fine one at that) just across the parking lot from our Baymont Inn (which was nice enough but smelled like old Chinese food). Since the kids did such a great job of behaving themselves, we ordered a round of ice creams and took a nice long swim in the hotel pool to stretch our legs.
*A bit of advice. A long day of traveling with littles needs to end in ice cream and pool time, or some special treat and somewhere outdoors to really let off some energy. The treat is a great motivator for the kids to not spend the drive wrestling with the siblings adjacent to them and they will need that time to run free once you arrive. Even if you’re utterly famished, make free-play time happen before dinner. It’s asking for disaster to do things in reverse.
So, for dinner that night, we opted for one of the BBQ joints down the road. It was FABULOUS and since it was closing time and they were going to throw it out anyway, they gave the kids all the macaroni and cheese they could handle….which of course meant that by the time we got back to the hotel, everyone was fighting for one toilet. 7 people, one commode. TMI, I know, but it made such an impression on everyone that it still comes up in conversation. Even so, the temptation is high to ride I-70 on our next journey west just so we can stop in Salina and have our dinner there. It was THAT good. Now…if we could just remember the name of the place.