america, Kansas, Missouri, Tennessee, Travel

Cross Country Road Trip: Tennessee to Missouri to Kansas

June 9, 2019

As much as it pained me to leave Nashville, I knew I had other exciting things to look forward to like driving, and lots of it. Day three of our road trip was a heavy driving day—some of it by accident—which I will talk about later.

We left Nashville around 1 p.m. and headed towards St. Louis, Missouri for Gateway Arch National Park. There isn’t much to say about the drive, as much of it was still open land and farms. We did pass this very politically charged sign as we drove into St. Louis, though, in case anyone needs a signof the times(I have a feeling very few will understand what I did there).

A sign of the times.

We arrived at the Gateway Arch with enough time to snap some photos and quickly walk through the impressively modern museum that detailed the history of the land as well as the construction of the arch before our 6:30 ride to the top. I was honestly shocked that people could go into the arch. I always thought it was solid, but it’s hollow on the inside and uses little pods to transport people up and down each side (only one side was operating when we went).

Pop Pop and I at Gateway Arch National Park.

Something I kept thinking was why anyone even thought to build such a random structure. The purpose of it was to honor early pioneers and westward expansion as well as highlight modern engineering, as this was an enormously advanced project for the time (it was completed in 1965). The project also unified the nation by employing thousands and thousands of people from all over America. Now, the “Gateway to the West” serves as a tourist hotspot that grows in popularity each year.

The trip is a unique experience—you’re shoved into a five-seat bubble with other people and sit there as you teeter and totter to the top on a pulley system. Then you climb out, walk up some stairs crowded with visitors eager to get back to the ground, and head into a narrow room with tiny windows that offer a glimpse of St. Louis from above. After taking some photos and oohing and aah-ing from the top for a few minutes, you’re ready to head back down. If you are claustrophobic, though, I would NOT recommend this experience. You’d be better off staying on the ground in open air. However, one recommendation I do have is to have a picnic at the park. I could definitely see that being a fulfilling and aesthetically-pleasing activity.

The view from the top of Gateway Arch.

Pop Pop and I didn’t have time for any idealized picnics, though. We had to get back on the road. Earlier in the day, Pop Pop had made arrangements over the phone through one of his travel memberships at a Holiday Inn in Kansas City, Missouri for the night. We had actually aimed for Kansas City, Kansas, but somehow that got lost along the phone call. So, we ended up in Kansas City, Missouri around 9:30 at night with plans to have our longest day of driving the following day. Those plans drastically changed, though, when we apparently went to the wrong Holiday Inn in Kansas City, even though it had the same exact name as the one at which we had reservations. We did not have the exact address because Pop Pop was unable to log into his email to retrieve the hotel confirmation until we were 40 minutes West of Kansas City.

Screen Shot 2019-09-20 at 9.00.24 AM
Photo from MapQuest.

So off we went to find another hotel. To be honest, this was ideal for me because I personally would have rather driven later into the night so there was less driving the next day. Our plan was to visit our family in Fort Collins, Colorado and I was eager to get to them.

What we didn’t realize is that we would be driving until three in the morning! It was like a comedy movie—we would find a town with a few hotel options and the hotels we called would be completely sold out, and the cycle would start again. Eventually, we found a boutique hotel in a middle-of-nowhere town called Wilson, Kansas. There was one room left and we took it. We didn’t ever get out of the comedy movie, though. As we neared our hotel, we drove into a huge thunderstorm with heavy rains that made it almost impossible to see and lightening that lit up the whole sky. Luckily, we only drove like that for ten minutes and our handy dandy GPS lead us to the hotel.

We were greeted by a kind manager as we rolled our wet luggage inside (and I angrily carried my bag of assorted medicines in for the night to dry since it fell out of the car into a huge puddle). It was a long day and even a longer night. I was a little bit on edge, but we were both safe and had beds to sleep in, so it all worked out.

I was actually so impressed with the hotel that I am going to dedicate a little bit of my next post to it. Stay tuned!

Have you ever had a wild travel experience? Let me know about it and how you got through it in the comments below!

Whitmanythought 1: I cannot believe we drove until 3 a.m.

Screen Shot 2019-09-20 at 9.00.53 AM
Photo from MapQuest.

5 thoughts on “Cross Country Road Trip: Tennessee to Missouri to Kansas”

  1. I still can’t get over the difficulty we had in finding a vacant hotel room! Besides the adventure, there were at least two bright spots that night/wee hour morning. First, the Holiday Inn at which we had made a guaranteed reservation kindly allowed us to cancel at midnight thus avoiding a wasted night’s lodging expense. Second, the rooms that we had at Wilson were undoubtedly the neatest, most charming rooms that we experienced during our cross country trek! trip. If my wife and I happen to be in the area during one of our not-infrequent drives from New Jersey to Colorado, I would go out of our way to stay there!

    Liked by 1 person

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