August 04 2004

[b]Speaking for Myself[/b]

Posted by Kim
After the Fourth of July Weekend

By Jona Ohm

Following the Fourth of July, I had a friend tell me she and her family had pitched a tent at American Creek campground in Chamberlain just for the holiday weekend.

But you live ten minutes from there, I said, not bothering to try and hide my mocking tone of voice. Up until two weeks ago, the thought of vacationing ten minutes from home was pretty silly to me, and the people who did it were on the top half of my list of people to make fun of.
Then came July 14 the day we left for a trip to Branson, Missouri with my parents. First of all, at my age, vacationing with your parents is a pretty risky endeavor in and of itself. The danger increases dramatically when heading to a destination such as Branson. Las Vegas for the family, as it is known, leaves a little to be desired for a person of my particular age and interests.

All opinions of Branson aside Do you know where Missouri is?!
My husband Mark, our dog and my two siblings and I know where Missouri is, and we learned the hard way. (I should mention that my parents live in North Dakota, and we didnt go all the way to Missouri for a fun family visit to Mom and Dads.)

Things were going pretty well to start with. We got to Sioux Falls at about 7.00 a.m. and had our first bathroom break. We packed in for the next leg of the trip, and my sister and I fell asleep in the back seat of our extended-cab pickup. Not outstanding for comfort, but good enough when youve been up since 4.00 a.m. Soon we crossed the borderthen we went through Omaha and Council Bluffs.

At our second bathroom stop, we had been on the road for nearly six hours. Driving for six hours is one thing, but realizing that you have driven for six hours and you are barely halfway to your destination is quite another. At this point, we began getting a little owly, but it was nothing a bag of Reeses Peanut Butter Cups couldnt fix.

Two more hours down the road, the candy supply was dwindling and we were getting restless. A sign in the distance indicated that we were just a few hundred feet from our destination: Missouri.

Our cheers were cut short when Mark pointed out that Branson lies in the far south-western corner of the state. We still had nearly six hours to go. This was not what we wanted to hear, but we did realize that we were at least half way.

At about 2.30 (eight and a half hours on the road) we came into Kansas City. In the middle of the afternoon, we didnt figure there was any reason to worry about traffic. We were right.

It was the construction holding up the traffic that got us. It took twice as long as it should have to get through Kansas City. The weather was hot, and with traffic at a near stand-still Mark shut the air conditioning off to keep from overheating the engine.

As the heat rose, so did the tension. The dog was howling from his kennel in the back. My brother complained there wasnt enough room in the back seat. My sister hung out the window and threatened to start screaming that she had been kidnapped and needed rescuing. Mark was extra crabby because both he and his dog were uncomfortably hot, and I just wanted to get out of the truck.

At long last, we made it out of Kansas City, rescued the puppy from the back and made it to Branson. Shortly after crossing city limits, we discovered we were lost, and the people at the gas station had never even heard of the resort my parents were supposed to be at.

Ill spare you the gory details of what happened next. Suffice it to say we wont be going back to Branson any time soon. When next summer rolls around and we get an itch to go on vacation, the first thing Im going to do is suggest pitching a tent at American

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