This year we decided to head back to Missouri to visit family in the week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. This time it was just Susanna, Izzy and me driving across the country. The boys stayed home. It is a long drive to Missouri, and we decided to split it into two days. Our initial plans were to make the return trip in three days, but eventually we decided we just wanted to get home and made it a two day return trip as well. Isabella did surprising well for such a long drive.
To make the ride as easy for Isabella as possible, I made her a table that fits in the last row of the minivan. It was big enough to fit a laptop computer, mouse and a drink in the drink holder. I constructed in from scrap plywood and lumber and painted it with left over paint from an earlier project. The table made a huge difference on the trip. She could eat lunch on it, do crafts and play on the computer.
Our journey started on Christmas morning. Not as early as we had initially planned, but late enough for the weather to warm up and melt the ice on the road. The first day took us to Columbus Ohio.
The best part about driving on Christmas is that there was no traffic. Anywhere. The worst part wast trying to find food. We made it to the hotel with time for Izzy to swim and the pool opened early enough for another swim before driving on the 26th.
The first night in Missouri we stayed with my brother. On Monday morning we took my nephew, Chase, with us for a morning exploring the St. Louis Zoo. It was a good chance to get lots of pictures of everyone.
After a morning at the zoo, we had lunch joined by Bill and his kids. Then Susanna, Izzy and I headed to Columbia to visit my dad. We got there in time to get settled and head out to dinner at HuHut Mongolian grill. The next two days we spent in Columbia, taking walks each day with their dog, Lily. I helped dad finish a few small projects around the house and in the workshop. I was impressed with his setup for testing electric bike battery testing setup, though we didn’t get a chance to test it out.
Both days we took a short (2-mile) hike along the Grindstone Creek, in the Grindstone Nature Area a short drive from their house. It was a park large enough to let Lily off the leash and give her a chance to run around.
In the evenings, after Izzy had gone to bed, I hooked up my microphone to my laptop computer and interviewed dad. Susanna did the same for her grandparents a while ago, and it has been on my list of things to do. It was interesting to hear about his childhood growing up in Pennsylvania, and the career path that brought him to St. Louis twice, Cape Canaveral Florida, and finally to Columbia Missouri. The next step in the project is to finish getting the audio files transcribed and put them into a book.
On Thursday morning we started our journey back home. Izzy powered up the laptop for some Minecraft time and we headed east from Columbia. We headed out with no firm destination for the day, but after lunch decided to drive to Akron, OH for the night.
On the way out of Illinois we passed a sign for the worlds largest mailbox. So, we stopped in Casey Illinois for a walk break and lunch at Subway.
Unfortunately the hotel pool was closing for the night when we checked in, and didn’t open the next morning until after we departed. Much to Izzy’s disappointment. At least they had a hot breakfast for us (and Fruit Loop cereal for Izzy).
We made it home in time to make dinner on New Year’s Eve and crash the party Will was hosting at our house.