Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Road Trip, Part 1: Driving through Missouri - What Could Be More Fun?

A few weeks back, I toyed, out loud, with the idea of a road trip to Texas to visit my sisters. Kate immediately jumped on that idea since she’s pretty much “stuck” here working all summer until she leaves for school in August.

I think it was Kate who came up with the idea of heading down there for First Monday Canton, the country’s largest and oldest flea market. Yep, I’m blaming Kate.

And while I’m at it, I’ll blame B, too, because he encouraged us to go by telling me that it could very well be the last time I get to take a road trip with Kate. Thanks, honey, for that reminder.

So, this past weekend those of us who were home and available (meaning that B and Abby did not come with us) packed up and headed to Texas. I was a little worried about going to a flea market in July in Texas of all places—I mean, heat stroke is a definite possibility—but we decided to be brave and headed out anyway.

I’ve always loved a road trip, and we’ve taken many of them over the past 25 years. B and I took our first driving trip together, I think, the summer we were married when we went out East for the wedding of some of our good friends. After the wedding weekend, we spent time in Washington D.C., Annapolis (great city!), and the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Good times.

Over the years we’ve taken lots of trips to Wisconsin and South Carolina, and one very memorable two-week road trip to Yellowstone and Colorado.

But the one road trip I can pretty much count on taking place once a year or so is to Texas. I think I’ve pretty much worn a track in Route 44 through Missouri, I’ve taken that trip so many times. And I think we’ve visited pretty much every bathroom on Route 69 in Oklahoma (we have three daughters, after all!). I can’t even begin to count how many times I’ve made that trip between Chicago and Dallas . . . and I can’t even begin to tell you how much I’ve grown to hate and dread that trip.

It’s long. It’s boring. And have I mentioned that it’s boring? Oh, so boring.

Which makes it all the more special that I put on my big girl panties and made the long trek down there last weekend with two of my daughters. Because I knew we’d make some memories.

Life does not disappoint. Memories were made. Fun was had. Emotional breakdowns did occur. But all-in-all, I’m so glad we did it.

A few highlights of the drive through Missouri. . . .

Did you know that Missouri boasts the “World’s Biggest Rocking Chair”? I kept wondering if that was for the “World’s Biggest Butt.” But that’s just me. My mind goes strange places sometimes.

And if that isn’t enough excitement, you can also see the Vacuum Cleaner Museum. Seriously! Check it out--it's there.

Of course, there’s the Precious Moments Chapel and Reptile Land. And don’t even get me started on Ozark Land (complete with buck knives) which, as everyone knows, is “Worth Stoppin’ For!”

Those Missourians really know how to party.

On our way down, we broke up our trip into two days because of, well, a restaurant. If you’ve ever driven through Springfield, MO, you have definitely seen the billboards for the place with the “Throwed Rolls” called Lamberts.

Many years ago (I think it was one of the many trips I took with my mom when my kids were little), after seeing those billboards about a thousand times, we decided to stop at Lamberts for dinner on our way through Springfield, and ever since then it’s been our go-to place for really greasy, down home, Southern-style meals on the road.

It was a bit of a bribe for Maggie who really didn’t want to stop overnight—she is a true Wildman and wanted to make the trip in one day, but we told her that she’d get the best meal ever if we stopped overnight. I think her curiosity got the best of her.

Lamberts is a bit of a landmark. It reminds us a little bit of Cracker Barrel, only on steroids. And they make the most amazing rolls which they do actually throw across the room to you, unless you’re like me and drop the roll on the floor.

Thankfully, Lamberts sells their rolls by the dozen, so we took some to the cousins, because, believe it or not, I’ve even taken my nieces there a time or two.

Ah, yes, the road trip. For the sights, the food, and the memories, you just can’t beat a good road trip. The best part? Time together. Time to talk, to laugh, to just be in the same car for 15 hours. It bonds you.

B was right--this very well might have been the last road trip I take with Kate for quite a long time. (Since she's going to college right down the street, the trek to school can't really be considered a road trip.) We had some good conversations, lots of laughs, and, as I said, one rather scary almost-accident that took its emotional toll on me.

But no road trip would be complete without a bump or two, would it? Believe me, the bumps were small on this trip, and I'm so glad we went.

Tomorrow: Road Trip, Part 2: Canton



  1. Shelly!!! You were in MISSOURI? My state? Oh, bummer! I mean, not that you were here. But that I didn't get to see you. :) I've never actually been to Lambert's, although my parents AND my husband have and tell me it's wonderful!

  2. I just knew you would order chicken fried steak at Lamberts! Who did you share with? They are HUGE!
    There you are having all that fun without your mama!

  3. Our family LOVES road trips. I'm with you...good time to have your kids trapped for those long conversations and fun! Although we have never been to Lamberts in Missouri, we have been to the one on AL numerous times. Those throwed rolls are the best!