Friday, July 19, 2019

Road Trip!

We have embarked on an extended road trip for our summer vacation.

In the days and weeks leading up, Kai has been frequently voicing his displeasure about how the summer has gone for him. He didn't like that he had to continue his swimming. He didn't like having to go to summer school, particularly as it was held at a different community's high school. And he really didn't like that we kept him in a therapeutic social group on Saturdays.

As the days of our trip drew near, he expressed unhappiness about the length of time we will be away from home. "This is the worst summer ever!" became a frequent sound in our household. The fact that we would be driving through Oklahoma also drew his ire. "Don't you know that Oklahoma is the tornado center of the world!"

We have been to many interesting places on our summer vacations, but this year I wanted to do a road trip like the ones my family did when I was a kid. The longest of those was when I was eight years old, when my father drove our family station wagon all the way out to Los Angeles, stopping at many places along the way, going and coming. And now I had a romantic vision of passing along the same experience to my wife and son.

But as Kai's complaints continued, and as I thought of some of the challenging times we had just last summer on our trip to Japan, I half seriously thought about cancelling the whole drive.

But alas, I'm too much of an optimist. And too much planning had gone into it. So here we are, on the road.

We started out with a half day drive to St. Louis.

Everything was fine until a weather warning came on the radio.

"Dad, what was that?"

Kai looked up the weather forecast on his phone. "Oh my God there's a storm coming to St. Louis!"

And that was it.

Kai's anxiety kicked up big time.

For the rest of the drive and after we arrived at our hotel, Kai constantly expressed worry about the storm, which surely would include a tornado. I constantly assured him that rain would not harm us and that a tornado wouldn't go through the city. But there's no reasoning with Kai when he gets like this.

We had planned to walk to a barbecue restaurant near our hotel but the storm started. The rain and wind was severe. I called for an Uber.

It was a very quick trip with the Uber and we barely got wet.

At the restaurant, Kai calmed down. "Sorry I got so anxious, Dad."

I am trying my best to keep in mind that most of the time when Kai gets like this, it is not because he wants to be difficult. It is because his mental state causes him to have very high levels of anxiety. It doesn't help to get frustrated at him. It is best to stay calm and give him reasons why things will be okay, even if he doesn't seem to listen to those reasons at the time.

As for dinner itself, the ribs were fine but the brisket was a disappointment. It looked like the server had given us a bunch of scrap pieces instead of nice slices. I probably should have complained but it not my nature to do so,

Kai had a sausage link and some of the ribs and he said he liked it. I was glad that he was now enjoying himself.

After dinner, we took a couple photos and headed back outside.

The rain had nearly stopped. It was only a very light drizzle so we walked back to our hotel. I had planned to walk over to the St. Louis icon, the Gateway Arch, but we all decided we'd rather do that the next morning.

* * * * *

Breakfasts on the road can be difficult with Kai as he doesn't eat eggs and is not particularly fond of other breakfast staples such as pancakes or waffles. But this hotel had a make-your-own waffle in a chocolate flavor and Kai actually wanted to have it. I showed how to make it and he topped it off with strawberries and whipped cream.

He was a happy boy!

We walked over toward the Arch, pausing to see this barge going down the Mississippi River.

And then we came to the Arch. I don't think you really appreciate the size of it until standing right next to it.

Kai took pictures of the Arch and played some Pokemon Go. He was having a good time!

And with that, our time in St. Louis came to an end.

We had a long drive ahead of us but this day was off to a good start.


  1. Ahh...road trip. That is too bad about the BBQ. St. Louis is supposed to be famous for it's BBQ. The same thing happened to me in New Orleans. I was disappointed with their Gumbo at the restaurant I went to. We actually had much better at a Texas Truck Stop. I will be looking forwards to hearing more of your road adventure.

    1. Yes, the reason we went for BBQ is because of the reputation St. Louis has. That was actually the only BBQ place near our hotel so not sure if there are spots in other parts of the city.


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