On July 9th my family and I started our long drive to Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. My husband is in the US Navy and he will be stationed there, working as an instructor, for the next 3 (maybe 4) years.
We started out at 6:30am and headed North toward West Virginia. I had warned the kids that this was going to be a very long drive. I told them they needed to be prepared to be in the car for hours. I charged there portable DVD players, packed movies, made sure both had games downloaded on their tablets, I bought coloring books, a “Where’s Waldo” book, 6 different card games, and a few activity books for each of them. I figured they would sleep a lot, but I wanted them to have things to keep them busy.
My first, “How much longer?” or “Are we there yet?” came about 4 hours into the drive. My daughter had already started to get antsy. I told her we had quite a bit longer to go and she seemed ok about it. Well it helped when I told her we would be stopping for lunch sometime. At this point it was only 10:30 in the morning, and I was sure we weren’t stopping until after noon, but she didn’t need to know that. I figured she would go back to sleep and she did.
I told my husband if it was at all possible I really wanted to stop at the state lines and take a picture. I am a scrapbooker and I wanted to document the trip. I knew it was too much to ask to have him pull over and actually let us go do something touristy in every state, so I settled for the state line signs. But I added that if there was a lot of traffic or it was just in a bad place, which most of them are, not to worry about it.
We hit West Virginia maybe around noon. My husband very abruptly pulls off the side of the road and I panicked thinking something was wrong. Then I saw the sign. This was the only sign I was actually able to stop and take a picture of. There wasn’t a lot of traffic at this point and there was somewhere to pull off the road. That wasn’t the case with any other sign. Personally, I think there should be a sign that warns you about the state line sign ahead. So yes, I am admitting to you that the rest of the pictures in this blog entry are a fraud! But they will still be included in the “Road Trip” layout of my scrapbook.
Have I ever mentioned that I hate driving next to 16 wheelers? No? Well maybe I should have mentioned that to my husband before we moved. Driving through the hills of West Virginia was like a nightmare for me. Twists, turns, ups, downs and 16 wheelers on every inch of it. I couldn’t get the speed right, and when I did we started up a hill and I had to hit the gas so my little car could make it. Not to mention that on every twisted turn there is a sign warning you not to go very fast, and also for the truck drivers to slow down because they could turn over. A sign I don’t think the truck drivers have seen. On every turn I panicked thinking the big truck next to me was going to fall over on top of me.
To top it off there were 2 tolls! I actually had to pay to go through this roll coaster that kept my stomach in knots.
After we stopped for lunch somewhere after the hills that were definitely not alive with the sound of music, it was mere minutes before we hit Kentucky. Upon entering Kentucky it looked a lot like West Virginia, which looked a lot like Northern Virginia. That is until we hit Lexington. Again I wish we had stopped. The city looked like fun and it was very nice to see something besides hills, interstate, and fields.
I didn’t look at the map my husband had outlined of the trip, so I really had no idea what states we were going through. But for some crazy reason I thought Kentucky was it before Missouri. The kids and I were so excited when we hit Kentucky. We thought this was the homestretch and we would be in our new state soon. I wanted to stop, but I was excited to get to our destination. I also figured that living in Missouri for the next 3 years, I would have plenty of time to drive back and forth and stop.
At this point the kids were getting antsy, but they were still being good. Every once in a while I would get a “Are we there yet?” from Hailey, and when I said no, she would go back to sleep or take out her book of activities. It didn’t take very long to drive through Kentucky and I was shocked when I saw the Indiana sign. Even though I have already admitted to being a fraud with most of my pictures, these are the actual signs that I saw. I made sure when I stole these off the internet I stole the signs that I actually passed.
Indiana was well,…it went back to fields and hills. We had stopped for gas a few times and lunch, but other than that we had been in the car since 6:30 that morning. When we hit Indiana it was late afternoon. We were all getting tired. It was probably around 6pm when I called my husband and asked him “Are we there yet?” He informed me that according the GPS we had about 4 more hours to go. If it up to him we would have kept driving all the way. If we didn’t have the kids with us, I would have been all for it, but they were tired of sitting in a car, my butt was dead, and I was getting hungry again. So we stopped in Evansville, Indiana to get some dinner and spend the night.
We were only staying for one night, but we took enough stuff in to stay for a few months. Each of us had huge suitcases, a separate suitcase for all of our toiletries, and then of course all of my husbands guns. Yes, instead of taking them apart and shipping them with the household goods, we took with us. He didn’t want to leave them in the truck, but I had some issues with taking what looked like an arsenal inside a hotel. So we put them on the bottom of the bellmen’s cart and loaded the suitcases on top. I hoped no one would notice. I don’t don’t think anyone did, or if they did they didn’t say anything.
The next morning we got up early, got some breakfast and hot the road again. According the GPS we would be in Fort Leonard Wood, Mo by 1 o’clock in the afternoon. Indiana was a lot of green or brown fields, as was Illinois.
Things didn’t start to change until we finally hit Missouri. St. Lois came up fast. We went from fields of nothing to city just like that.
The Welcome to Missouri sign was very small and I almost missed it. The city looked amazing and very exciting. I am so happy we live only 2 hours from it.
Just after we passed the Missouri sign, we passed Busch Stadium, where the St. Louis Cardinals play. I did actually take that picture!
I saw so many things I wanted to stop and take pictures of or go and do. But like a child, I was just ready to be there already! We were finally in Missouri and I just wanted to get there. After the city, we went back to the interstate, and we started seeing those hills, and green and brown hills I had grown so fond of. It was about 2 hours after we left the city when we stopped again. This time, to show our ID’s to the gate guards.
Welcome to Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri! My new home for the next 3 years!