Part 1: The Journey to Kansas


We are still in the midst of Christmas break, and there is much to report.  Thus, this may become a multi-part post.

Part 1: The Journey to Kansas

With Basil, traveling isn’t as easy or fast as it used to be.  Elizabeth and I used to disagree about whether we would stop for bathroom breaks between absolutely necessary fuel stops.  Nowadays, she gets frequent opportunities to use the restroom because Basil requires regular stops for diaper changes, feeds, and crying feed-attempts.  So, we’ve taken to planning an extra day of travel for longer trips and a stay at some cheap motel along the way.

Whenever we choose to make such a stop, the question arises – where should we stop?  Of course, this is dictated largely by what proportion of the trip we want to take on the first and second day, but another key to the strategy is Roadside America.

This is a fun website that tells you about quirky things to visit all over rural America – especially along highways.  Sometimes it’s as quick and boring as a smiley-faced water tower.  Other times there are sights as interesting as Big Muskie or a George Washington Carver museum in Minneapolis, KS.

For this trip there were several options for our stay in Iowa, but we settled upon visiting a unique tree.  This tree was outside of Atlantic, IA, where there are apparently special LED Christmas light displays, but we chose rather to spend our free time visiting the tree in the middle of nowhere.  And believe me, it was in the middle of nowhere.  We had to drive down miles of gravel roads, some of which were clearly marked “Low Maintenance Road: Enter at Your Own Risk.”  With Basil crying in the backseat and after nearly giving up, we finally reached our treasured destination:

The Tree in the Middle of the Road

No, your eyes are not deceiving you – the tree is indeed smack in the middle of an intersection.  And, as you can see, the tree is much larger than me and appears to likely predate the intersection.  Regardless of whether the chicken or egg came first, it’s really more of a sight when one considers the kind of people who would leave it there – truly in the middle of nowhere.  Unfortunately, there was nobody around to ask.

I’m glad we didn’t happen upon the tree in the middle of the night unexpectedly, or we might have spent more time in Atlantic, IA, than planned.  Then again, who would drive through unfamiliar, low-maintenance road, middle of nowhere, IA, in the dark without going specifically to look at this tree?

After our stay in a pleasant motel, we continued on our journey to Superior, NE, to visit my grandma, Birdie.  I was getting tired of driving (Elizabeth is still incapable), so I decided to give Basil a lesson or two.

After tasting the rubberized steering wheel, he appeared apprehensive.

But after trying again and realizing he was keeping pace with the semi drivers out the window, he was quite pleased with himself.

Next, he’ll conquer the gear shifter and leave his Uncle Mikey in the dust!

Many miles later, we arrived in Superior to see Grandma Birdie.  She gave us a hearty dinner with my newly married cousin Nathan and his wife, Lexi.  We were very happy to make the visit and look forward to giving her more Basil time in the future!

Thanks for the apron, Grandma Birdie!


Ed.’s Note: Eric failed to mention the fascinating views from some of Basil’s feeding stops.  Loyal blog readers may recall Basil’s preference for stopping near Bob Evan’s restaurants on our travels to DC in the summer.  He’s branched out.  This time we wound up next to what I thought were two big sand piles…

but upon further inspection…

It was corn!  What a surprising surplus.

We also stopped next to an old train engine that I thought was pretty cool.

According to Eric these sights are not so amazing.  I hope all you other city kids disagree like I do.

The view in the backseat was all about Tupperware this trip.  (Or Gladware, I suppose.)  Basil’s new favorite toy – it kept him busy for hours minutes!  And he hasn’t even figured out the interlocking lid feature.



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2 Responses to “Part 1: The Journey to Kansas”

  1. Papou Chris Says:

    There’s something pleasing about the roar of an eighteen wheeler and the sound of an air horn amongst a convoy that even at six months Basil seems to appreciate. When Basil gets through potty training and papou through driving school, we’ll put the hammer down and go visit cousin Stella. “Giddy up Go” you ol’ gear jammer, love ya papou.

  2. Erika Says:

    Tupperware is an awesome toy. Also awesome? A half-full water bottle or empty water bottle with rice/dry beans/m&m’s in it. Siri can shake it for days. :)

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