Our first day was clear and sunny, but the second day started out rainy. We continued on our way through Louisville, KY.
And then on into a new state for Mike (I had been there before).
Indiana gave us an extra hour. I had meticulously planned out the details of this road trip for months, and I didn’t remember that we would be crossing time zones until just about the day before we left.
Indiana was much the same as Kentucky, but almost as soon as we crossed the border into Illinois, the landscape became flat and full of farms. We had entered the midwest.
There still wasn’t much in the way of towns on our route. I was driving when we crossed into Illinois, and I started looking for a place to stop for lunch, but it took almost half an hour until I found one.
Mike and I kept the same driving pattern for most of the trip. One of us would drive for about two or three hours and then we would switch off. I had loaded up my Kindle like a crazy woman before leaving for the trip, and I brought along knitting as well, but I didn’t read or knit in the car for the entire trip. We listened to music or podcasts, watched the landscape pass by, or rested. I couldn’t fall asleep in the car, but Mike did when he was off driving duty.
After lunch, it was not long until St. Louis. I only really wanted to see the famous St. Louis Arch – the Gateway to the West. After some misdirection and unintentional Google Maps detours, we found the right spot. It is hard to miss, after all.
We decided to go to the top of the Arch, but I had no idea how that happened. It turns out it happens by climbing into one of these claustrophobia-inducing pods which crank their way up rollercoaster style to the viewing platform at the very top.
We shared our pod up and back with a nice Amish couple and their young daughter. They lived in Oregon and were headed to see family in Pennsylvania for the holidays.
The top of the Arch was a little disorienting, because you could feel it swaying in the wind. It had stopped raining, but it was still cloudy so there was not a lot of visibility. One one side was the city of St. Louis.
And on the other side was the Mississippi River.
After our stop at the Arch, we continued on for a few hours to our stop for the night, Joplin, MO. I was surprised that it seemed like there were a lot of towns and cities on the Missouri interstate, compared to the previous states we had driven though.
By the time we got to Joplin, we had heard that there was an ice storm headed our way the next day. I had obsessively followed the weather before we left, and it had looked clear for the the first week, but this storm came out of nowhere. I had been more worried about the weather coming back, but it turns out the worst day of weather and driving was Day 3.