A Summer Road Trip
Merge onto I-64 W/US-40 W
My mother and I took a road trip to Kansas City, Missouri and to Dallas, Texas for a few days in August. This first step is pretty standard. Get gas before getting on the busy interstate and driving out of the city of Saint Louis. We had done this a thousand times before. But this time was different; we would be on the road for at least 10 more hours. Interstate-64 is a relatively new road and still has plenty of construction in our area. The western beginning of the road cuts straight into our hometown and onto the next highway.
Keep left to continue on I-64 W
The first part of a road trip always goes by the slowest. This stretch of highway only lasts for all of 40 miles and takes just under an hour to complete. Most of this road is in a nice part of Saint Louis County, five lanes, speed limit 60, and plenty of traffic officers to make sure drivers obey that speed limit. My mother was driving her army green jeep on this road. There was plenty of traffic because it was a Sunday afternoon in the summer. Many others were likely headed home from their road trips. It was summer but we kept the rooftop secured. It was a long drive we had ahead of us and we did not want our hair to get knotted. We get the auxiliary cord hooked up to my cell phone and I play the music of Jeff Lynne’s Electric Light Orchestra, whose concert is the ultimate goal of this trip.
Use the left lane to merge onto I-70 W/US-40 W toward Kansas City
This is the first major change of landscape on our trip. We’ve blown through the top hits of ELO and have resorted to listening to each song on the most recent album. It’s less exciting because the trip is not as new and we don’t know all of the words to the songs. We have plenty of time to prepare and memorize them, but why should we? Won’t the band play the hits and only the hits? We ponder what makes a hit song and mention those which we personally think are underrated. Ahem, “Bluebird” from the 1983 album Secret Messages. While the previous interstate winded through downtown and the suburbs of Saint Louis the next interstate paved a much more rural route through Missouri. The next major city is Columbia, which is about 90 minutes from the entrance ramp of Interstate-70. It’s the only place we seriously consider stopping for a snack or restroom break. This highway is two lanes wide, plenty of loud, diesel trucks passing at ten miles over the speed limit, which has gone up ten miles per hour itself.
We need a break from driving. Normally we try to power through minor discomfort and leg cramps for the sake of faster travel. This trip is just much longer and we realize that inevitably we will have to stop. So we might as well satisfy our urge to snack and use the restroom sooner than later. We buy 32-ounce fountain sodas, which are a bad idea if you are trying to avoid bathroom breaks on a road trip, we enter Interstate-70 once again.
Continue on I-70 W/US-40 W toward Kansas City
We are a just shy of halfway to Kansas City, Missouri. My mother planned this surprise stop for me to see my home team, the Saint Louis Cardinals, play a rival, the Kansas City Royals, in a new stadium. By this time I am psyching myself up for this event instead of the concert we chose to attend months in advance. I get my white jersey from the backseat of the car and drape it over the red tank top I had already been wearing. We arrive in Kansas City.