Car packed and on the road, 15 minutes ahead of schedule!
May 22, 8:15 a.m.
Dear Missouri, When you post a detour requiring people to turn right, it would help to use an arrow pointing right instead of straight up. The rest of the world thinks that means to continue straight. Love, everyone.
May 22, 10:30 a.m.
15 minutes into a stretch of winding, hilly country road: “I hope the kids don’t get carsick.” 2 minutes later, “Mooommm! My stomach hurts!” Open window, pass the barf bag and a pretzel rod, turn off DVD and advise passengers to look straight ahead. Equilibrium restored. The travel gods are smiling on us. #flatlanders
May 22, 11:15 a.m.
Surprised to pass through Mexico and Lebanon on our way to Branson.
May 22, 1:30 p.m.
Daniel just fell asleep listening to Mickey Mouse Club March on CD. @Maureen Geraghty will be so proud.
May 22, 2 p.m.
Thank you, Mom, for teaching me to pack a separate bag with all the swimming gear. 10 minutes after hotel arrival, kids are thrilled to be in the pool.
May 22, 5 p.m.
Glad to find “old downtown” Branson Landing on first night. Reassured to know that there is more than neon and asphalt here.
May 22, 6:30 p.m.
Did not expect to spend first night of vacation in bowels of hotel during tornado warning.
May 22, 8 p.m.
Emerged from shelter to learn of the storm’s devastation 100 miles west in Joplin. #feelingverylucky
May 22, 8:45 p.m.
Kids wanted the hotel entertainer Kenny Parrott to sing “A-Tisket, A-Tasket” at breakfast. He replied kindly, “I’m sorry that’s not in my repertoire.” They were shocked he didn't know it and asked me if they should teach it to him.
May 23, 7:45 a.m.
Blank stare from hotel clerk after asking what might be open at 8 a.m. #bransonnotkidfriendly
May 23, 8 a.m.
Morning mini-golf rained out. Too early for lunch. #whatthehelldowedonow?
May 23, 10:20 a.m.
Dear Summerwind Estates, I agreed to a 90-minute “vacation ownership” presentation in exchange for this low-cost trip. Don’t be surprised when I’m annoyed as we approach the 3-hour mark.
May 23, 5:15 p.m.
Afternoon frustrations drowned in kids’ giggles in the pool.
May 23, 6 p.m.
Kids again request “A-Tisket, A-Tasket,” and when Kenny replies that he doesn’t know it, Daniel stands in front of the stage and sings it for him. #seniorcitizenscharmed
May 24, 8 a.m.
Edward over the moon after visit to Titanic Museum with John. Daniel's and my visit to Dinosaur Museum was less thrilling, but Daniel entertained himself for 40 minutes on a driving video game without depositing a single quarter. He also used the guns from the adjacent hunting game to "fill the gas tank." #simple
May 24, 11 a.m.
Just paid $20 for 5 minutes of go-karting. #rememberthegleefulgiggles
May 24, 11:30 a.m.
How can a kid who fights me daily about taking a nap, fall asleep on a loud, windy, bumpy Duck Boat ride? Shook Daniel awake with a reminder that he could have a turn driving once we hit the water.
May 24, 2 p.m.
No one in Branson can believe we have no intention of going to a single one of the 100+ shows in town. #notcountrymusicfans
May 24, 2:45 p.m.
I ♥ GPS! John’s phone directed us to a great playground for post-dinner energy burning.
May 24, 6:30 p.m.
Oops…stayed too long. #mosquitofeast
May 24, 7:45 p.m.
“Early bird” discount for touring Talking Rocks Cavern before 10:30 a.m. We’re all over it!
May 25, 9 a.m.
It takes several days for the ground to absorb three days worth of rain. #stillrainingincave
May 25, 10:15 a.m.
Just paid $20 to ride an elevator up about 10 floors to an observation deck to observe the tops of trees. #touristtrap
May 25, 11 a.m.
Hungry + tired = crabby family
May 25, 12:15 p.m.
Ah, the reviving power of a family nap. And once again to the pool!
May 25, 3 p.m.
Daniel’s GI tract is rebelling against the vacation diet. #underwearintrash
May 25, 7 p.m.
Had fun. Ready to leave. No need to return.
May 26, 8:30 a.m.
Thank you Rolla, MO, McDonalds for not giving us any static about letting our kids play in your Playplace without buying your food. I was much happier giving them the PB&J with yogurt offered at Panera a mile up the road. #thankyouGPS
May 26, 11:30 a.m.
Thrilled to use our Iowa Children’s Museum membership for reciprocal privileges at The Magic House Children’s Museum in St. Louis. #happykids
May 26, 2 p.m.
I ♥ Drury Inn. Dinner & 3 drinks per adult included in price of room. #anotherchardonnayplease
May 26, 6 p.m.
John and boys shared pool with about 15 fifth-grade girl scouts from Olathe. Edward, king of subtlety, kept sticking his head underwater to observe them through his goggles. #goodthinghe’sonly5
May 26, 7:30 p.m.
I ♥ Drury Inn. Popcorn in lobby until 10 p.m.
May 26, 8:30 p.m.
Boys watching two Little Einsteins episodes before bed. #tootiredtoenforceTVlimitsorbedtime
May 26, 9 p.m.
Boys awed by St. Louis Gateway Arch. Think elevator/tram is a spaceship to the top.
May 27, 9 a.m.
Definitely saved the best for last--St. Louis City Museum is AWESOME!
May 27, 10:30 a.m.
Loving City Museum even more. Boys so exhausted they slept for 3.5 of the 4.25-hour drive back to Iowa City. #worthEVERYpenny
May 27, 6 p.m.