We go a little crazy driving for so long.
We left Chicago at about 6 AM in the morning, blasting Sufjan Steven's "Come on Feel the Illinoise" album. Our first excitement of the day occured about 15 minutes after our departure. Auni missed the cash toll area and was headed into E-Z pass territory. She pulled over and Matt backed up on the shoulder of the expressway in Chicago! It was very scary and a good wake-up! After that incident, our drive was easy if not a bit boring, but we stopped in St. Louis for lunch. We had sushi, which was surprisingly good for a landlocked state. Shortly after leaving St. Louis we decided to take a detour off the expressway and drive a scenic route. This was possibly our best idea yet, and Missouri surprised us in the best way possible. We drove through rolling hills and wine country and had a lot of fun in a place called Defiance, Missouri. We saw Katy State Park (I believe), and while driving this curving two-lane road, Matt decided I HAD to turn back so he could take pictures of a barn he really liked. I decided to, recalling how he had whined for about 10 minutes after Auni had refused to turn around for a barn with a happy face painted on it in Ohio. I turned around, went back and pulled to the side of the road. I realized I had to pee so I tromped around in the plants looking for a good spot until I noticed the plants I had been wandering through looked suspiciously like poison ivy (being a West Coast kid, I can only REALLY recognize poison oak but had a crash course in poison ivy a few weeks earlier at the Loch Raven Reservoir outside of Baltimore). By this point we all had been standing in the plants, though luckily none of us had peed, and it made us a bit nervous to say the least. We got back in the car and I made a three point turn on the road, and not a minute later we pass a cop going in the opposite direction. If I had made the turn 30 seconds later, we probably would have been T-ed by a cop doing an illegal turn on his road. That was scary to think about (and would have been my second encounter behind the wheel with cops in 2 days) so we drove safely the rest of the day with no more U-turns on 2 lane roads.
After driving 13 hours, we finally made it to Overland Park, a Kansas City suburb that is actually located in Kansas. Our wonderful friend Jill was our host for the evening and took us to the Plaza district of Kansas City. It had European architecture and many fountains and was quite beautiful and welcoming. We ate at a restaurant called Winsteads which had a giant shake called the Skyscraper, served in a vase. There were four of us and we couldn't finish it. We slept at Jill's house and got to meet her wonderful family.