California/Oregon Trail

On The Road

Whew! Can we talk about how exhausting it is to drive over thirteen hours in one day? All I want to do is drop into the bed and not move until tomorrow morning. Possibly not even then. But I promised blog posts, and I shall deliver!

Today was the beginning of the grand adventure! It started at 5:30 AM when our alarms went off after we stayed up until 12:30 AM finishing packing. So, we were mildly tired, to put it…well, mildly. Between showering, grabbing the last of everything, making coffee and all that, we didn’t actually leave the driveway until about 6:50 AM. And then we proceeded to drive all the way from Virginia to St. Louis, Missouri. Okay, so actually we stopped in Illinois because the hotel was WAY cheaper than St. Louis proper, but close enough.

Now, in the 1840s and 50s, the Emigrant Guide offered advice for getting from New York to St. Louis (and thence to Independence, St. Josephs, or one of the other jumping off points). It appeared to mostly consist of steamboats, interestingly, with an option of trains.

Excerpt from The Emigrant Guidebook, courtesy of The Library of Congress

Obviously we took neither of those options, though if I could have taken a train, I would have in a heartbeat. Nope, we drove in the comfort a rented SUV.

Of course, we had to make a detour. Specifically, at the Woodford Reserve Distillery. Because what better way to celebrate the beginning of such a trip than sampling some amazing whiskeys? In order to sample those, however, we first had to get there, which the road and weather conspired to make as difficult as possible. I swear, if I wasn’t driving through a rainstorm in which I could see nothing, then I was inching my way through work zones.

Around 11:30 AM, we called Woodford to let them know we weren’t sure we would make our 3:15 reservation. They gave us a few options, including a refund that we could spend on their specialty cocktails, so onward we went. Because I’m okay with specialty cocktails too.

Taken by my husband, who was not driving

A few rainstorms, construction zones, and four hours later (3:30), we pulled in, and rushed inside. Jeremy, the VERY nice man who talked to us earlier and then when they called at 3:20 to find out where we were, told us with sympathetic eyes that they had started the tasting seven minutes before. But before I could process my disappointment and readjust my expectations from tastings to cocktails, he said they had an unexpected opening at 4:15, if we wanted to hang around and wait 45 minutes. We didn’t even have to take a breath before saying yes.

Rather than meandering the Welcome Center, however, we gratefully hurried back out to the SUV, and I took a much needed breather while Daniel made us Peanut Butter and Honey sandwiches for a late lunch. We devoured the food and hurried back in with plenty of time to spare before enjoying our amazing samples – totally worth stopping by Woodford any time!

The delay meant a later arrival time at the hotel, but it was worth a little side adventure. I drove for another hour or so before we stopped for gas (for the SECOND TIME – SUVs eat gas like it’s candy!!) and Daniel took over, much to my relief. We finished the audiobook we had started – yup, another book for my goodreads! – and then I attempted to nap. Unfortunately, my brain was having none of it, so I only managed to drift out for a few minutes out of the half hour I tried before I gave up.

We have also decided to try and relisten to our pastor’s series on Revelations while we are traveling, so we went ahead and listened to the first one, and then stared forlornly at the GPS, which said we still had two hours to go.

The rest of the drive was relatively boring. Add in a couple more rain storms, a couple more construction zones, and we were finally safely at the hotel. Of course, it was 9:00 p.m., or 10:00 p.m. our time, and we hadn’t had dinner yet, so we were both starving as well as exhausted from driving all day. Which, according to Murphy’s law, is the perfect time to discover that the dish soap we packed leaked in the container with our dishes. Suffice to say, Daniel cleaned that up while I grabbed our microwavable macaroni and cheeses and headed up to the hotel room to “make” us dinner. Thank God, by the way, thatwe decided to get a hotel for our first night instead of camping!

Now we are finally full, ready for bed, and tucking in for the night. What a blessed relief.

Our first “real” stops start tomorrow!

A shiver of fear ran down Mark’s spine. He had never heard his wife raise her voice before. All eyes were directed at her. She ignored the children, looking fixedly at him, unmoved. “I have told you before. I do not want to move again. I do not intend to move again. I refuse to absquatulate to the wild west just so you can fulfill some boyhood fantasy of being a cowboy.”

A Picture of the Past – Mark Tells His Family

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