We decided a couple months ago that we wanted to take a road trip over spring break. We had originally planned to go to Denver, but later changed our mind. I didn’t want to chance cold weather! It is still early March, you know. So, where to go, where to go? We’re planning a trip to D.C. in early August, so we can’t go that far. And we were just in Florida two weeks ago. And, we’ve only got 8 or 9 days, so we can’t venture too far away.
That left us with the only rational option left: head East and let the kids decide where to go. And so, that’s what we’re doing.
We got up this morning and started packing. Let me just tell you, it’s a BIG job to pack for an 8 day road trip for a family of five. It took a little over 3 hours, but we finally got everything packed and loaded into the car. We picked up our road trippin’ chocolate chip cookies from Ee & Papa and headed out of town.
We stopped at the Quik Trip right by our house to get snacks, just like we do every time we’re heading out of town. I’ve found that the $10 we spend on junk food is worth it to make sure we get off to a good start. So, we filled up the gas tank, bought a bunch of snacks, and got on our way.
We drove for awhile and stopped in Columbia at Cosmo Park to play for a bit. Boy did we get lucky! This park was awesome! It had a HUGE playground area with tons of play areas and some awesome slides. The kids had an absolute blast running around burning off some energy.
We played for awhile, then hopped back on I-70 toward St. Louis. We drove past downtown St. Louis and crossed over the Mississippi river, heading into Belleville, IL. You might wonder why on earth we would go to Belleville. Well, our favorite little place Eckert’s Farm is there.
We got to Eckert’s a little too early for dinner, so wandered out to their peach grove. The trees are of course bare, but they looked cool. We had fun battles with the plastic dinosaurs I picked up before we left. Then we rolled down the hill and had races rolling down the hill. Since it’s too early in the year, they didn’t have any pick-your-own fruit, but we did grab a tasty dinner in their restaurant. It’s hard to beat deep fried rolls with homemade apple butter. After dinner, we popped into their country store to pick up some fruits and veggies.
We decided to go ahead and spend the night in St. Louis. We haven’t visited this lovely town since I was pregnant with Lia, so we’re gonna hit up City Museum and the Arch tomorrow. I decided to be super adventurous and book our hotel through Priceline. I’ve never actually done it before, but I downloaded the iPhone app and went for it. We got a room at the downtown Holiday Inn Select for $37! Well, plus taxes and fees, plus parking. Grand total, $65.22. Still not bad though!
We brought all our junk up to the room and noticed that our room had a ‘back door’ right into the pool area. So we took the kids swimming for a bit. The water was WAY warm, but I like it that way. We swam for half an hour or so, gave the kids a bath, then it was off to bed. Since it’s daylight savings tonight (don’t forget!), I’m sure our schedule will be all jacked tomorrow. It was 9 pm by the time we got them to bed and they usually go to bed at 7 pm! Let’s hope everyone sleeps in tomorrow!
Eckert’s Farm – 5 stars – It would be hard for them to get less than 5 stars. We make an effort to stop in here every time we are passing through St. Louis because we love the place so much. The food is great and we love the store too! P.S. Their apple butter is AMAZING! We’re already making plans to come later this year during peach/blackberry season… Yum!
Holiday Inn Select Downtown St. Louis – 3 stars – Okay, so we booked this using Priceline, so a few of the things that I didn’t like were things I knew might happen due to using Priceline. One is the fact that we got a room with only one bed. We brought the kids’ sleeping bags, so they didn’t really care that they are sleeping on the floor. (P.S. Before you think we’re bad parents because we are sleeping in the bed and the kids are on the floor, keep in mind that at home, they CHOOSE to sleep on the floor instead of their comfy beds often.) They were bummed though, because they did not get to jump bed-to-bed, which is a big Solar traveling tradition. The room itself was really nice (WAY better than a Motel 6 :), but it was right next to the pool. That was nice when we wanted to go swimming, not nice at 9:45 pm when there are tons of people in the pool being SUPER loud. The water in the pool was SO warm, but the chlorine was really strong too. We didn’t swim too long, but when we got out, Ava was covered head to toe in a rash. Also, $15 for parking sucks and the internet is SUPER slow. Overall, it’s not bad. The bed is comfy, so that’s a plus!
Things I learned today:
1. Thanks to traveling and frequent observation of the road atlas we have, Ava can point out Missouri and Kansas City on a U.S. map.
2. Lia doesn’t quite get what a road trip is. A couple of times today, she asked me when we were going to “go to road trip”.
3. It is possible for a 2 1/2 year old to pee her pants, even though she JUST went potty 5 minutes ago.
4. It’s pretty fun when you put in a low bid on Priceline and it gets accepted!
5. The wireless keyboard for my iPad doesn’t do me much good if the batteries are always dead.
6. The electric cooler we bought right before this trip is freaking cool! You have no idea how awesome it was to not dig through tons of ice to find stuff!
And a new section this time…
Favorite quotes/conversations of the day:
Max “Mom, there’s a Rodeway Inn in 1 1/2 miles! We could just sleep there.” This was the Rodeway Inn that’s 5 miles from our house. Me “Max, we probably need to keep driving if we’re going to make it very far today.”
Max “Well, we could just turn around and drive back here when it’s time for bed.”
Max “Mom! Look at that Hollywood sign!” Me “Yeah, that’s probably a casino… or a strip club.” Josh “Let’s just call it a casino.”
Me “Look at the arch!” (St. Louis Arch, by the way) Ava “Where?!” Me “Right THERE!” Ava “What does it look like?” Me “Like half the McDonald’s sign.” Ava “Oh, I see it!”
Lia “Mom, when are we going to road trip?” Somewhere between Columbia and St. Louis.
This one isn’t as exact. We basically talked for 20 minutes or so about vampires because Ava asked about them. Here’s a few snippets, Ava: “I don’t like bats because they’re all vampires.” Max: “Where do vampires live?” Us: “Transylvania.” Max: “That’s on another planet. So we don’t have to worry about vampires because they live far away.” Max: “Vampires like blood.” Max: “Do they have earthquakes in Trans…where vampires live?”
Ok, so, we talked more about vampires, but like I said, it was a 20 minute talk, and I was driving.
The cause of this would be…
The mustache app never gets old (best .99 I’ve ever spent on an app)
Max took this cute picture of us 🙂
More dino fun.
Ava took this cute pic of us 🙂
Ava also took this one (No cropping was done either. Pretty impressive, huh? Or lucky, whatever)
Then we rolled down hills.
Lia couldn’t quite figure it out 🙂
So mommy helped her.
Mommy owned the roll down the hill race.
Deep fried biscuits dipped in apple butter are probably what Heaven tastes like, although, they’re not very good for you.
I imagine this is why most stores don’t have kid sized grocery carts. Of course, most parent don’t encourage racing and crashing either 😉
Life isn’t complete without a luggage cart ride.
And…wait for it…wait for it…the Mommy Monster!