States conquered this day: Missouri, Illinois
Well I'm flying across the land
Trying to get a hand
Playing in a travelling band
I was very grateful Hubs decided to call it a day as we made our way across Oklahoma. I had every faith that he could have gotten us home that evening, but at what cost? That would have been one very long (mofo'n) day of driving for him. He had already been dealing with body aches from all the driving and walking.
Our stopping point for the day would be Joplin, Missouri, just inside of the Missouri, Oklahoma border. The kids (and I) had had enough of being in the Circus Truckster for the day and we were all looking forward to getting out and unfolding our legs. We had told the little clowns that we would stop and buy them a souvenior to remember the trip by (yeah, I know... we couldn't find anything in the last 9 states we were in?!). We also had to stop at the nearest Wal-Mart/Target and buy some new underwear for the Circus -- If we were this close to getting home, there was no way I was going to attempt to do laundry at the hotel or a nearby laundromat after dark. (and Hey! It was MY vacation, too!) So, Hubs announced to the clowns that we were going to Wal-Mart after we checked into our hotel. "For what?", Sweet Pea asked. "Well, we have to buy some underwear." I answered back. Her incredulous reply was priceless "UNDERWEAR?! THAT'S what we're going to have to remember this trip by? New underwear?!" I laughed out loud and told her "Yes!" For some reason, she didn't believe me, and asked Hubs for confirmation.
We checked into our hotel, stopped by Steak and Shake for dinner, then spent some time in Wal-Mart being slap-happy. It was getting late, and we really needed to get to bed. It was obvious that we were all a little strung out, but for some reason, we still didn't get to bed until after midnight -- even the clowns. Our hotel for the night was a suite. All the clowns slept on the fold out couch, and only settled down for bed after I turned the Disney Channel off at midnight (after asking them at least twice to do it themselves.)
Dawn broke (as in came and went) with us still sawing logs. Eventually, the kids woke and let us know it was morning. We all got dressed, packed up, and did one last check to make sure we weren't leaving anything behind before we headed on down to the breakfast buffet. Mmmm. It was a GOOD buffet. Mama likey waffles. (That was one of the better hotels we stayed in during our great adventure)
We were on the road again around 10:00am, headed NorthEast, the direction of home. The day went pretty well, although it was not without it's glitches. The air conditioning in the Circus Truckster began acting up around Cuba, Missouri, and the clowns were getting a little squirrely. Thankfully, the DVD player pacified the clowns somewhat, and the air conditioning righted itself after a short rest.
Around 2:00pm, we crossed on over into Illinois (YAY!!), and stopped for lunch at Collinsville, IL--at a McDonald's, of course. (I would be very happy to never eat at another McDonald's ever again in my entire life... although, I would miss those hot fudge sundaes). The sign at the nearby Motel Six made me laugh.
As we got back in the Circus Truckster, there was a definite feeling off "ok, let's do this" for Hubs and I. This was going to be the last leg of our 2008 Great Circus Road Trip Adventure. We were on our way home.
We ambled North along I-55, then I-39/Route 51. It rained off and on a little bit. Then, we saw the storm approaching. I've never seen a storm take over the sky like that. It really was unbelieveable -- and that was before we drove into it. The rain came down in sheets, making driving more difficult. Our expected time of arrival at home creeped from 6:00pm to 6:30pm and beyond. We knew for sure that we weren't stopping anywhere overnight this time, but it didn't make the drive any easier.
The clowns began to pay less attention to the movie on the DVD player, and more to the oncoming storm. They were getting a bit nervous about it, so Hubby began to play "spot the lightning" with them. It worked! Their focus shifted from being nervous about the storm to 'playing with' it. My Hubby, he's a genius sometimes, ya know?
Hubs had a firm grip on the steering wheel and just kept us pointed towards home. The rain kept coming down, the winds blew, and soon, pea-sized hail began to fall. That is when Hubs pulled over at a gas station for a bit--but not long. Home was a'callin us! We were on our way again, every mile getting us closer to our own beds.
Our odometer changed over to 4000 miles when we were just a few blocks shy of home. The rain had finally passed, and as we pulled onto our street, I noticed the sky looked to be on fire. It was amazing.
Once in our own driveway, we all spilled out of the Circus Truckster, unfolding our legs for the last time, and began the process of emptying out the truck. The house was pretty stuffy after being closed up for a week, and I went to the patio to open it, and get a little cross-breeze action going. The sky out the back of the house wasn't nearly as orange, but you could see the faintest of rainbows. That was the best "welcome home" we could have received.
It had been a crazy, fantastic Great Circus Road Trip adventure for us. The likes of which we've never attempted to accomplish before. In spite of the work involved in the trip, and the moments when the clowns were doing their very best to be KIDS, we all had a great time. Certainly, it was a trip that we'll remember for a long, long time.
We are nucking futs, but, probably in a good way, yeah?
1 Ford Expedition
(You can see all of the 2008 Great Circus Road Trip pictures here)
If you missed any of our vacation recap, or just feel the need to read it all over again, here are the linkys you need:
Days 6 & 7
Thanks for reading!