Days 4-5: Kansas, Missouri, Illinois & Indiana

6

June 8, 2014 by Briana

Our days have been a blur lately.  So much farmland with endless barns, fields, and trees along the way.  Living out of hotels and a suitcase got old pretty quick, so we’ve been driving like bandits! Focused on getting to Michigan to pick up our trailer, we’ve been passing through quite a few states on the way.  After seeing Oklahoma, it was at the top of our list.  However, while we were staying there, we saw a tornado warning on the TV.  That was a rude awakening! As much as I liked Oklahoma City, I’m afraid the possibility of a tornado was a deal-breaker.

 

Day 4 (6/4/14): Oklahoma City, OK | Wichita, KS | Joplin, MO | Branson, MO

After Oklahoma, we drove through downtown Wichita, Kansas.  We took the I-35 highway from Oklahoma City to Wichita and decided that the I-35 should be called the Armadillo Murder Highway because we saw 5 dead armadillos on the side of the I-35 on the way to Wichita.  Lots o’ road kill! Aside from the armadillos, the greenery between Oklahoma and Kansas became slightly more scarce, but the churches became larger with the occasional massive cross marker on the side of the highway.  I think it’s safe to say that we were officially driving through the “Bible Belt.”

Our next stop after Kansas was Missouri.  The route required a 2-lane highway with the random creepy dilapidated farmhouse on the side of the road.  We started verbally labeling these farmhouses “TCM” for Texas Chainsaw Massacre as they reminded us of the movie and the site where it took place…haha! A fun little road game.  🙂 We were heading to St. Louis, MO but decided to make a couple of stops along the way.  Our first detour was Joplin, MO.  When we first saw the sign for Joplin, Justin remembered that a catastrophic tornado had taken place there a few years back, and he wanted to see the tornado site along with how well the town had recovered.  It’s looking good with many newer buildings.

After Joplin, we headed to Branson, MO.  With more theatre seats than Broadway, Branson is known as the “Broadway of the Midwest” and has always intrigued Justin.  Branson had a small-town America feel to it with a Main Street for it’s downtown.  We stayed the night there and walked around Branson Landing, a shopping center by Lake Taneycomo where we saw the mesmerizing water and fire show.  The same people who choreographed the fountain show for the Bellagio in Las Vegas, also did the $7.5 million fire and water show for Branson Landing.  The lake had an eerie yet enchanting fog hovering over it.  Later that night, there was a crazy storm with crashing thunder and bright flashes of lightning! The torrential downpour of rain formed rivers of water that ran down the hilly topography of the town.

 

Day 5 (6/5/14): Branson, MO | St. Louis, MO | Illinois | Indianapolis, IN

When we headed out the next day, the rain continued.  From Branson to St. Louis, we came across the world’s largest rocking chair standing 42’4″ high! There was also a surprising number of vineyards and wineries that we passed along the way.  I had no idea that Missouri made so much wine! How random, right? Once we got to St. Louis, the first thing we did was look for a good BBQ place.  How could we come to St. Louis and not try St. Louis-style ribs?! We headed to Pappy’s Smokehouse and stopped for lunch.  Thank goodness! It was seriously the best BBQ we had ever had! We could smell the sweet smokiness sauntering through the parking lot as we approached the restaurant, teasing us with the mouth-watering BBQ to come.

From St. Louis, we drove through Illinois (don’t worry…we’ll make our way back to see Chicago) and continued on to Indiana where we stayed the night in Indianapolis.  On the way, we passed the Mississippi River and also happened to see 4 more of the “World’s Largest” items – World’s Largest Wind Chime, World’s Largest Golf Tee, World’s Largest Knitting Needles and World’s Largest Crochet Hook! Once we got to Indianapolis, I forgot about the time change and didn’t realize how late it was because it was past 9:00pm at night, but it was still light outside.  What a trip! We had White Castle for dinner (my first time!) and then crashed.  Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see downtown Indianapolis because we had to get up early the next morning to get to Michigan in time to pick up our trailer.  More on our trailer next time! 🙂

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6 thoughts on “Days 4-5: Kansas, Missouri, Illinois & Indiana

  1. […] Day 5: on the Martin Luther King Bridge from St. Louis, MO, into Illinois […]

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  2. […] This was the second time on our trip that we had received a warning about a tornado! Our first tornado warning was in Oklahoma City, and we also missed twin tornadoes in Nebraska by a couple of days! We had no idea Florida even got […]

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  3. […] Rice! We didn’t try the ribs, so we can’t compare them to the amazing ribs we had at Pappy’s Smokehouse in St. Louis, MO (best ribs ever!). However, the sandwiches at Swig & Swine may have been the best BBQ […]

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  4. […] While traveling, we eventually saw a sign for the World’s Largest Metal Sculptures on the Enchanted Highway. We were towing the trailer but were still tempted to take the 32-mile, 2-lane highway to see the multiple metal sculptures at different points along the road. We have a strange fascination with World’s Largest items, which you might remember from the post about Missouri and Illinois. […]

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  5. Susan Bunting says:

    Hey guys! I will post a comment before you tell of your adventures today. I am so glad to have met you today. Different circumstances would have been better, but everything worked out just fine. Justin you did great maneuvering your trailer! Briana, if the trailer were a boat, you are a great first mate. Consider more time in Michigan. You only had a brief visit to the SW side of the state. Obviously, the most beautiful side. I will enjoy following your adventure and really enjoyed meeting both of you. Good luck and safe travels.

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    • SUSAN!!! It’s so good to hear from you! 😀 We made it to our next stop, but we definitely wouldn’t have made it this far without you. It’s people like you who will make our trip extra memorable and worthwhile. We seriously can’t thank you enough for your help! We hope you follow along on our journey and keep in touch! – The Bennetts

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We’re the Bennetts, Justin & Briana, and it’s time for a change! We've left our jobs and everything else behind to start fresh somewhere else. They say it's all about "location, location, location," and what better way to figure out the best location for us than to explore the entire country searching for it? We’ll be driving across the continent with a truck and travel trailer on the cross-country road trip of a lifetime! Tag along with us and our two dogs, Meaty and Saucy, as we explore North America searching for our next destination!

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I'm a unicorn. 🦄 As one of the few people who was actually born and raised in Las Vegas, I figure I pretty much qualify as being a mythical creature. ⠀ ⠀ Growing up in the desert, I had absolutely zero appreciation for desert landscape and even grew to be resentful towards it. I found it to be extremely brown, bland and boring, which is in complete contrast with who I am as a person, an artist who thrives on bright, bold colors. But traveling has completely reset my view of desert landscapes. National Parks have definitely helped too. ⠀ ⠀ It's like when your tastes change as you get older. Something that once repulsed you now tastes different. It begins as simple curiosity and evolves into an appreciation, maybe even a craving. ⠀ ⠀ What's a place you visited as a kid that you weren't impressed with at the time and then you went back as an adult and it blew your mind (or at least pleasantly surprised you)? {...} •⠀ •⠀ •⠀ #unicorn #imaunicorn #tucson #tucsonaz #saguaronationalpark #saguaro #nationalpark #nationalparkgeek #desertvibes #desertlife #gorving #rving #roadlife #rvtrip #rvlife #rvlifestyle #lifeontheroad #homeiswhereyouparkit #wanderlust #stayandwander #getoutandexplore #roadtrip #ontheroad #ontheroadagain #travellife #neverstopexploring #goexplore #keepitwild #adventurelife #nextdestinationunknown
We did the scenic drives in both sides of the Park, and this was the largest saguaro we could find. Another #funfact: Did you know that there are two separate sides (aka "Districts") of Saguaro National Park - The Rincon Mountain District on the east side of Tucson and The Tucson Mountain District on the west side. In case you're wondering, we preferred the 8-mile scenic loop drive in the East District. Have you visited Saguaro National Park? What was your favorite part? {...}⠀ •⠀ •⠀ •⠀ #facts #factoftheday #saguaro #cactus #saguaronationalpark #nationalpark #desertlife #nationalparkgeek #desertvibes #arizona #tucson #tucsonarizona #visitarizona #explorearizona #southwest #roadtrip #thegreatoutdoors #optoutside #outside_project #getoutside #themoderndayexplorer #getoutandexplore #exploremore #roamtheplanet #rvlife #travellife #photooftheday #outdooradventures #nextdestinationunknown⠀
Saguaro National Park is home to the country's largest cacti. You guessed it... saguaros! This classic cactus is an iconic symbol of the American west and probably what you picture when you think of a cactus. ⠀ ⠀ Saguaros can grow to be more than 60 feet tall, so I'm not going to lie... we were a little disappointed with Saguaro National Park since the saguaros we saw weren't as tall as we were expecting them to be. This one was pretty big though! #perspective⠀ {...}⠀ •⠀ •⠀ •⠀ #latergram #facts #funfact #factoftheday #saguaro #cactus #saguaronationalpark #nationalpark #nationalparkgeek #arizona #tucson #tucsonarizona #visitarizona #explorearizona #southwest #desertvibes #desertlife #roadtrip #thegreatoutdoors #optoutside #outside_project #getoutside #themoderndayexplorer #roamtheplanet #travellife #photooftheday #adventurelife #outdooradventures #nextdestinationunknown
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