Road Warriors Part 4: The Journey Home

I’ve you missed any of my previous posts on my Road Warriors, here’s where you can catch up:

Part 1Part 2Part 3

In Part 3, I told you about the Rude Family that chopped wood from the National Forest (which still kills me!) and was just generally loud and obnoxious the entire evening (until it rained at 2 am – HAHA – and they had to go into their respective tents). Since they were inconsiderate of everyone else on the campground, Husband thought it fitting we pay them the same courtesy.

IMG_1771The sun came up at 5:30 am and we were both awake. Since we had a long day of driving ahead, we started packing up to head out. Normally we’d follow the silent camping etiquette. But since Rude Family was so rude, we didn’t mind being a little loud. Okay a lot loud.

We got a very wet tent back in the carrier and the car packed and ready. At the campsite, there was a fire ring with a grate that flips open. One of the grates was still open on ours. The final “eff you” to Rude Family? While kid and I waited in the getaway car, Husband kicked the grate closed. It BANGED! And then it bounced a few times. That was sure to wake up one of the small kids. *evil*

We cracked up as I drove away.

Aren’t we mean? Serves them right.

Husband let me select the route home. I’m all about directness. So I decided we would drive east on I-90 toward Sioux Falls and then dive south on Highway 81. It would be a straight shot to Salina, Kansas, where we were planning to stay the night. Plus we would also be able to see the eastern side of Nebraska and Kansas. It confirmed the eastern corn and hay looks a lot like the western corn and hay. 😉

corn-hayWe drove. And drove. And drove. And DROVE. I took the first shift and literally drove us across South Dakota on a very straight I-90. You could see the highway ahead for MILES. It was really kind of cool. And there’s not much else to look at. We stopped in Chamberlain, SD for lunch at Taco John’s (we’d been seeing them all over up there). It’s kind of like a Taco Bell except maybe a little better. It was right on the Missouri River.

I told Husband I would get us to Nebraska and he could take over there. So get us to Nebraska I did. Highway 81 was a pretty good choice. It took us directly south but through some smaller towns. We stopped in Shelby, Nebraska (population 690) for a potty break and some gas.

One thing that amazed me on the trip, though, was anywhere we stopped in Kansas or Nebraska we found clean and decent bathrooms. I can’t say the same for driving in Texas. There are some real DIVES on the side of the highway, let me tell you. Last year when we drove out to West Texas, there were places we stopped that I wouldn’t even step foot in. MissouriRiverOr if I did I’d turn around and walk right out.

After nearly 12 hours of driving, we finally made it to Salina, Kansas. We were dirty, tired, hungry and ready to be out of the car. The hotel was underwhelming—they had furniture stacked in the hallway on our floor. But the bed had clean linens and the bathroom was clean. That’s all I cared about. All we needed was a bed and a shower because we were leaving in the morning bright and early.

I don’t think I need to mention the subpar food and service we got at the local Wendy’s. Suffice it to say it was, well, subpar. Actually less than subpar. Kinda awful.

But we showered for the first time in three days (no showers at the campground) and slept in a real bed. We had breakfast at the underwhelming hotel the next morning and then got back in the car for the last leg home.

There were thunderstorms in Kansas which slowed us down. Thankfully we missed the bulk of them. We stopped at the Kansas Welcome Center again for potty and gas under the threatening skies. We really wanted to get out of that state as fast as possible to beat the rain. I got us to Norman, Oklahoma where we stopped for lunch at an Applebee’s off I-35. Really it was nice to get out of the car for a bit.

And then it was husband’s turn to drive and get us home. Another four hours in the car through awful construction and more traffic but we made it! It was GREAT to get home. I picked up the cat from kitty jail, unpacked the bags, started laundry. Husband got Pei Wei for dinner. We relaxed some. But it took us nearly a week to get back to normal and not be tired anymore.

Vacationing is hard work, you know.

On the way home I asked my son what his favorite thing was. He said, “Hm…I’d have to say…Mount Rushmore or camping. Can I just have two favorite things?”

He really loved camping. I think because he didn’t have to bathe for three days. 😉

So that’s our little vacation story. I hope you enjoyed the recap. I enjoyed writing it! Now it’s definitely back to reality.

By Michelle

I wish you all could be inside my head. The conversation is sparkling.