First in this series of posts about our Christmas 2008, the trip itself.
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Here's our westward route. Due to the weather in Mt. Vernon, IL and thereabouts (70% chance of evening wintry mix on the 23rd! yikes), we opted for the southern route. It took us about 5.5 hours on the first evening to drive across one state. Yes, Memphis is very far away.
The second day, as we set out across Arkansas, we ran into some rain. It was very rainy, and windy. In fact, as we crossed the Mississippi River, I wan't able to enjoy it because (1) it was so rainy you couldn't even see the water as you crossed it which was just creepy enough to be unsettling and (2) it was so windy I had this terrible surreal fear of being blown off the bridge and into the cold, churning Mississippi below.
So that was our welcome to Arkansas. Thankfully, the rain cleared out in about 30 minutes. Crossing the rest of Arkansas was...long. 5 hours! I drove across most of Arkansas, through all of Oklahoma, and into southern Kansas to Wichita, while Ian read to me or slept.
We got gas in Wichita, and were going to get some fast food, but we forgot that it was Christmas Eve and all the restaurants closed early, so we ate gas station food.* This time, our On the Road Christmas Eve Dinner was fresh, plump, tasty hot dogs (Husband had corn dogs...I held the tray of ketchup for him so he could hold the corn dog, dip it in ketchup, and drive all at the same time), chips, and cokes.
The rest of the trip was uneventful (thankfully so!) till we arrived in Quinter at about 10 pm. Our homecoming was picturesque: the rest of the family had gathered in the living room and were singing Christmas carols while my father-in-law was accompanying with guitar. What a delightful memory!
*Two years ago on Christmas Eve, we were driving from Colorado to Western Kansas and ate gas station food at 10pm in a tiny town on I-70 in Eastern Colorado. (If you've never driven I-70 in Eastern Colorado, let me tell you: it's barren.) We had the last two glumly revolving hot dogs in the gas station and were grateful! We were hungry, and they were food.