When I think of road trips, I generally think of National Lampoon’s Vacation and disaster and end up with Lindsey Buckingham’s Holiday Road in my head for several days.
But I feel like I never take a break. Life as a freelancer is always on, continually writing and searching for new opportunities and ongoing projects. Always.
It typically slows way down over the summer, and I wanted to force myself to take a breather.
I did a lot of work in June and planned to take it easy and not stress out for two whole weeks in July. I also wanted to try and be a little more spontaneous, because it’s in my nature to plan, plan, plan, plan, plan.
I planned the route to visit family back home and 2 hotel stays, but left the days open to have the freedom to just stop and do random things and take our time in getting there.
After a grueling first day of 8 hours in the car, we found an Incredible Pizza to play games and let off some steam at the trampoline park.
We stayed in Springfield, MO and of course had to go out searching for the World’s Largest Fork the next morning.
It was pretty rainy and I didn’t feel like hitting the road again just yet, so we stopped at the Discovery Center in Springfield and checked it out. Lots of cool stuff, we saw ourselves on a heat-seeking camera and learned that we can light up light bulbs with our bodies by touching the orb. Yay science!
We finally made it to visit family late that day and the next several days were a whirlwind of cousins, sprinklers, trampolines and lots and lots of junk food. I’m talking Nutty Bars and Oatmeal Creme Pies for breakfast, staying up late and sleeping in.
We all piled in the car to visit the Sternberg Museum in Hays, KS because we have several dinosaur fans in our crew. It’s a great place to visit and the kids were so excited. It was also educational which makes me feel a lot better about not making my kids do any sort of math or summer reading so far.
This last pic is a whale skull that kids are allowed to explore in the children’s play area.
The next several days were filled with swimming, a lot more cousin time, cookouts and more junk food. Before we knew it, our time was up and it was time to leave again and we started our way back home.
On the way out of Kansas, we saw signs for Big Brutus, and I’ve always been really curious to see it, so we made a small detour to Mineral, KS to check it out.
Big Brutus is a huge mining contraption (electric shovel) that is no longer in service, but is the big attraction to the mining museum on the grounds. The kids weren’t overly excited about going to see it until they started to see it as we were driving up the road.
They were like “Whoahhh! Cool! Can we go inside it???!”
I had no idea if we could or not. It turns out you can, there is a self-guided tour with the price of admission and it was so worth the stop. It is ginormous and lives up to its name. Can you see them standing next to the scoop in the picture below?
We even got to sit at the controls. Great view!
After we got back on the road, we saw signs for Dorothy’s House in Wamego, but we spent quite a bit of time with Big Brutus so it was time to head on home. Next time, Dorothy. Next time.
But I was proud of myself for embracing spontaneity and taking a road trip with the kids. I typically think that people who travel long distances with children are crazy, but they are older now, and it was really a nice time and there were no travel tantrums or meltdowns from them or me.
We did fun things and spent nice time together. They won’t fit on my lap much longer, so I am glad we did it. 1,500 miles with no crying. Miracles happen every day.
See??? Mom can be fun!
School is starting soon so our summer is coming to a close, but it really has been the best summer ever. Now, back to work!