We started…at the start

St. Louis was considered the “Gateway to the West” as the final outpost before explorers went into the western frontier, so it seems fitting that it was our first stop.  I wish I could say we were clever enough to have planned it for that reason, but it was just a happy accident. We want to drive no more than about 4 hours on travel days, and hey…turns out St Louis sits 4 hours west of Louisville.

What we forgot is that 4 hours by car is about 6 hours when you are pulling a 8,000 pound trailer.  And need to stop to eat.  And have to stop for gas every 250 miles.  And have to stop 20 minutes after you leave the gas station or your lunch stop because “no, I don’t need to go to the bathroom” turns out not to be true.  

We pulled out of town Saturday morning at about 8:45, when our “goal ETD” was 8.  So basically we left an hour earlier than anyone actually expected.  Our family gave us the most amazing send off by showing up with a deacon from Holy Trinity who has been a long-time friend of Joe’s.  We had a little driveway prayer service that was a “blessing of the travelers” and was so, so, so nice.  Such an awesome surprise and so meaningful.  Oh, and they brought donuts from Plehn’s too.  Yum!

After setting up just west of St. Louis, we backtracked into town to go to the City Museum.  Almost every person who has visited St. Louis with kids told us we HAD TO GO THERE…and a few kids even told us the same.  And after going…WE AGREE.  It was one of the most amazing places for exploring, climbing, sliding, hiding, crawling, and discovering something new and fantastic around every corner.  Even Dennis and I crawled through some of the tunnels with the kids.  You don’t have to take my word for it though…just listen to this unbelievable Wyatt quote: “this place is ALMOST better than going to Six Flags.”  High praise for certain.  Although one word of caution if you go…wear long shorts.  Maya wore running shorts and ended up with a good size strawberry on her bottom from the slides.  We could HEAR it happening because as she came down the slides there was a squeal from her skin on the metal.  ugh.  

Wyatt also decided that toasted raviolis are the best appetizer he’s ever eaten.  So, there you go…high praise statement number 2 for the day.  Upon reflection now, though, he’s going with escargot as his reigning number one, and thinks maybe his statement was slightly influenced by how hungry he was at the moment. 

The day did have a few tough moments though.  About 10 times I remembered something I’d forgotten to do or that we had forgotten to bring.  It was hard to think of the people we love and know that we won’t see them for a while.  And we worry about Lola.  And Wyatt had another moment of real frustration over us taking this trip on.  But, those moments pass, and our great friends at home are helping fill the gaps with the things we forgot and updates on how the cat is adjusting (just fine according to her foster parents).

Sunday we went to Six Flags.  And….NO LINES AT ALL!  It was such a good surprise.  We have 2 theories:  1) Father’s Day is a great day to visit an amusement park, 2) Six Flags St Louis has seen better days and is really struggling to get visitors.  Both are reasonable guesses, I think.   We’ll go to another amusement park in one year and let you know.