Saturday, June 13, 1998
My daughter once asked me what my favorite day of the year was. She assumed that it would be Super Bowl Sunday (pretty good guess, actually). She was wrong. My favorite day of the year is the first day of our family vacation. Even this year, with a 15 hour drive in front of us, I was still pretty jazzed.
I was looking forward to this trip, obviously. But, I was not looking forward to today’s drive. We would be traveling 814 miles. At an average speed 55 miles per hour that was nearly 15 hours in the car. Remember I said “average speed”. If you drive, say 65 miles per hour, in two hours you travel 130 miles. But, if you have to stop for 15 minutes, for maybe gas or to pee, you only travel about 114 miles, and you only average 57 miles per hour. Stops of any kind add to the day. You have to stop for gas, you have to stop to pee, and you should stop for meals. I wondered how many times we would stop and how many miles per hour we would really average by the time we got to Branson.
We left bright and early at 5 AM. “We”, not only included the wife, me, and my daughters, Jolene and Jessi. But, also Margo’s mentally handicapped sister, Jackie. She had never traveled any farther than Greeley, CO, so she was pretty jazzed herself.
We made really good time out of the gate. We arrived in Colby, KS at about 9:30 AM. We had traveled 251 miles in 3 ½ hours. Margo has a lead foot on the open highway. We made a drive thru stop in Colby, at the local Burger King, and immediately got back on the road.
Three hundred miles, five hours, and most of the state of Kansas later we arrived in the state capital of Topeka. This was a pretty vicious pace. We had made only one rest break after Colby. We had now logged 554 miles, in 8 ½ hours. We were averaging 65 miles per hour! Thank God for I-70! Now there are plenty of people who say getting there is half the fun, and that you should enjoy the scenery as you go. These people have never driven across the plains of Kansas. To help keep the kids from expiring from boredom, we played Car Bingo. This is a game played with a special Bingo card that has pictures of things you might see as you travel. One was an airplane. We managed to travel all the way to Topeka before we say something in the air, that didn’t have feathers.
When we hit Topeka we were tired and really need to stretch our legs. We stopped, got out of the rented minivan, and at a Subway. It was not exactly fine dining, but Jackie is a bit of finicky eater, and this appealed to everyone. Especially appealing was the part about getting out of the minivan for awhile. We spent about an hour in Topeka and then left about 3:30 PM.
Topeka was our last stop before arrival. We got to our hotel, The Village Inn, in Hollister, MO at 8 PM. Even with our extra long stop in Topeka, we averaged 58 miles per hour, and took 14 hours to make the drive. As it was dinner time, we drove the two miles into Branson and had dinner at the Baldknobbers Restaurant and the got some ice cream at the Dairy Queen. It had been a long day, with a long drive. We were all exhausted, so it was back to the hotel to get rested up for tomorrow.