restrooms and restaurants

— May 05, 2017

Every good road trip has pictures of the restroom, right?

Road trips are one of my favorite ways to vacation. There is nothing like getting into a packed car with the open road in front of you knowing that your day is only loosely planned and your destination is miles ahead of you. Ahhhhhhhh.

And then I start driving that packed car with a destination that is miles ahead of us and soon need to stop for a restroom. Traveling with kids will do that to your road trip.

So would traveling with people who are drinking. Or with a pregnant gal pal.

Or with someone who couldn’t stop herself from drinking coffee the morning of a road trip even though she knew she would be going on a road trip. But heck, let’s blame it on the kids. I could have made it farther if I had to.

I had big dreams to road trip through the Midwestern states during our Easter break from school but the reality is that we spent too much time having to stop to eat and then needing a stop (or three or four) shortly thereafter to use the bathroom. All day long. And the next day. We didn’t get very far.

When life gives you multiple restaurant stops, order the big onion ring tower. That’s what I always say.

And try the “Loose Meat” sandwich that is famously Midwestern. Oh, heck…get a giant Diet Pepsi too. One of the kids will surely need to stop for a restroom soon.

And so you can see where most of my sightseeing was spent on the Midwestern Road Trip over Easter break.

Restaurants, restrooms and hotels. Those were the highlights.

We began our travels on Easter Sunday, so it was only appropriate to catch my wee ones reading from the Bible in the hotel room. It’s great to rummage through the hotel drawers and even better that we are learning how to read. My preschooler would select a passage and my oldest would read it.

Very funny. It just does a mom’s heart proud…

We managed to make it to the Mississippi River along the Illinois side and then cross over it into Hannibal, MO – the home of Mark Twain.

We were lucky enough to catch a steamboat before it headed out on a touristy tour.


Steamboats are scary. So are the giant spiders that take up residence on the black iron gate near the water that are eye level to those under four feet tall. So are the bees and bugs that are just waking up for spring.


I managed to get a nice momma moment documented in digital print before the bugs and bees caused us to run fleeing as if the steamboat were a war ship shooting all of its guns at us.

(Do you see my freshly permed 80’s hair? It’s become my annual spring fling. Luuuuuv it!)

Hannibal was pretty much the only real sightseeing that we did. Here is Mark Twain’s father’s law office. (Got that?) Next to it was his sweetheart’s childhood home, Becky Thatcher.

My wee ones spied a lighthouse at the top of these steps and began a quick pace up the stairs. Not to be outperformed, I began a quick pace too only to keel over about halfway up. Finally, with many breaks for momma, we almost made it to the top. But, once again, we were thwarted by bees. There were pretty flowers that lined the steps so obviously, in springtime math calculations, flowers equal bees. I’m not sure whether it was harder to run up the steps without suffering a heart issue or down the steps in terror without tumbling to our demise.

Then, back across the Mississippi River we went into Illinois again because a severe storm was approaching our Midwestern Road Trip. We decided to abort mission and head back home versus finding out what it was like to drive in crazy thunderstorms and possible tornados in a new state or two for days. I am not that adventurous, especially if I have to keep stopping for the bathroom.

But…I at least had to take a new route home. I love farm land but I had enough for now. So, through the Land of Lincoln it was.

We did not actually stop in Springfield to tour any of Lincoln’s premises because the wee ones were napping, so this is as close as we got.

We made it to the final rest stop en route to home along the IL tollway. They call these rest stops an Oasis and they are just about the coolest. Not only do they have the largest selection of fast foods to pick from, but they also are situated over the highway so that the cars and trucks go right under your feet.

We love to sit at the window tables to eat.

Then, as we finished up our eating adventure, the rain started.

We were close enough to home, so there were no worries. Eventually, we even drove out of the rain and never experienced any severe weather over the next few days back at the ranch. We threw Plan B into effect and continued on with our Easter vacation. There is always a solution, I like to say.

Now, if you’ll excuse me…I need to use the restroom.