– Champaign, Illinois to Beggs, Oklahoma –
I didn’t get to run this morning, which makes me so very sad. I think we would’ve had the time, but hindsight is 20/20, and we were worried about getting back to Oklahoma early enough for the air conditioner to cool the house back down to a temperature low enough that we could sleep. Mission accomplished, by the way.
We left our La Quinta by 7:30. On a usual day like this, we would’ve left by 6:30, but breakfast didn’t start until 7, since it’s a Sunday. Once again, this only proves to me that we would’ve had time for exercise, but I guess I’m just bitter. I’m not like a lot of people that run: I love it. I’m not just doing it to stay in shape. I think it is a lot of fun.
I did get a giant unsweet tea from the McDonald’s across from our hotel, so I guess I shouldn’t complain too much about the start of the morning. John had a Diet Pepsi, and Mark got a coffee. I don’t think Vicki got anything, but I can’t remember now. It was offered, at least.
Since we were all full of drinks, we needed to stop at the Silver Lake Rest Area, but it was 2 hours from Champaign, so that’s a respectable amount of time. The rest area is just outside St. Louis, which we drove through not long after. I had never seen the Arch in person before this summer, and now I’ve seen it twice in the last two months. It’s funny how that happens.
We stopped in Fenton, just outside of St. Louis, for a few things. One, we ran into a Walmart. Two, we ran into a Barnes and Noble looking for our missing Tony Hillerman book, Skinwalkers, which they didn’t have. And three, we stopped at Penn Station East Coast Subs for our lunch. It wasn’t bad at all. They actually served french fries with their subs, but I didn’t realize it until too late, so we ended up with plain old potato chips. I guess the chips were probably slightly better for us?
We also purchased a digital copy of our next book using the restaurant’s wifi, since we couldn’t find a physical copy. It was pretty funny standing awkwardly outside the subshop with my iPad while John and Vicki ordered their food and Mark sat in the minivan with little Ripley. I felt like I was stealing internet, even though we were about to eat there. Did I mention it’s hot again? Oh, boy. Welcome back to the South.
In Lebanon, we stopped at the Russell Stover Candies outlet, which sells chocolates from holidays past, still in their holiday boxes. Stopping here is a bit of a tradition for John, Vicki, and Mark. There’s a cheese store, too, but they weren’t as interested in that. Mark and I made it out with a few Easter eggs and a box of caramels. John left with an entire box of Easter eggs. He was more dedicated than we were, I guess. To be fair, they were only 15 cents each.
It was raining a bit in this area, so it wasn’t nearly as hot. Ripley got to wait in the car. In fact, it was briefly hovering in the mid-60s before we made it out of the storms. After that, the temperature skyrocketed back to the more common 90+.
We made a few more stops for drinks and at rest stops for Ripley, but for the most part, we were winding down. From Lebanon, it isn’t far until you are in Oklahoma. We stopped at the Oklahoma Welcome Center, which was closing at 5. It was something like 4:50. They were very busily trying to shut the doors 10 minutes early, but we made it inside. A group that parked after us did not, and they were very angry, since 5pm had not yet arrived. The people working inside were kids. I’m hardly surprised they closed early.
We stopped for dinner in Tulsa at a WhichWich, and they messed up our food, as they usually do. Mark’s hot sandwich was cold and had onions he didn’t order and mine was missing its spinach. I think someday, I will get a perfect sandwich (just like I ordered it) from a Whichwich, and I will die from the shock of it. Whatever. At least they didn’t accidentally put bacon on it.
We made it back to Beggs just before 7pm, and we unloaded the car and turned the AC down as soon as we got there. We also took a lovely group portrait to commemorate our return. I predicted in the beginning that we’d look a little worse for the wear, but I don’t think we ended up looking too bad. John and Mark went back out to get some gas, and Vicki ran to the grocery store to pick up some food, so we’ll have something for breakfast in the morning.
Tomorrow we drive back home to Denton, where I will have lots of laundry to do and Mark will need to mow the lawn. Ripley will be glad to see her own backyard, I bet. Our next trip isn’t until September, I think, when we fly to London. Stay tuned!
– Trip Total : 4,039 miles –
(3,806 at the end of Day 9, with an added 233 miles from Beggs to Denton on Day 9.5)