Wednesday, August 14, 2019

The End of Our Road Trip

It took two days to drive home from Colorado Springs, spending one night in Kansas City.

For our last vacation dinner, I had made reservations at the famous Kansas City barbecue restaurant, Jack Stack Barbecue. I ordered the Jack's Best combo platter for everyone. It consisted of their Crown Prime Beef Rib, baby back ribs, and beef burnt ends.

My wife liked the prime beef rib the best, Kai liked the baby back ribs and I thought the burnt ends were really tasty. Kai didn't much like the "burnt" (or charred) flavor and said he preferred the St. Louis barbecue we had way back nearly a month ago on the first night of our trip. My wife and I preferred the Kansas City barbecue over St. Louis, but we all agreed that the brisket we had in Austin Texas was still tops for barbecue.

The two-day drive home through Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, and finally, our home state of Illinois, was flat and boring, especially coming after all of the scenic places we had been to in the past couple weeks.

It's always a mix of emotions coming home from a vacation. It's nice to get back to the comforts of home and to sleep in your own bed, but it's also a bit sad to think that the vacation has ended.

In the swimming pool of our last hotel in KC, after my wife had left the pool to go shower, Kai told me "Dad I really enjoyed the vacation. It was nice to get away from everything that had been stressing me out at home."

Wow, that was great to hear. Before the trip he had complained about the length of time we would be gone and how he wanted to come straight back from LA instead of the more extended road trip I had planned. That he acknowledged that he enjoyed it was huge for me.

He didn't enjoy every second of it - there were a few instances of anger, mostly related to the weather (heat in Utah, rain in Colorado), but that was to be expected and it was actually less severe and less often than I had feared might be the case.

Kai endured the bumpy 4x4 ride and enjoyed white water rafting. He took many photos at every place we went, not just of plushes in the stores but of actually scenery.

When I think back to the road trips of my youth, I know that I didn't enjoy all of it at the time, but grew to appreciate the experiences more as I grew older. I think Kai gained a lot from the experiences we had on this trip, and hopefully will have fond memories when he looks back on it all.

Across 12 states, driving over 5,000 miles, going from beaches at sea level to the tops of 14,000 foot mountains, from LA freeways to mountain backroads... it was the road trip of a lifetime.

I'm glad we did it.


  1. Wow, it was a very long vacation. All of you had covered a lot of ground, and had taken in a lot of beauty. That last restaurant sounded like heaven.

    Kai will remember the vacation. He will also come to realize, later in life, how much you had cared for your family for doing such things. What drives man to endure is his love of his family.

    1. It was long... I was worried that it would seem too long but we did a lot of very different things and Kai came to enjoy it. I know he enjoyed the LA parts the best, but I think he will have fond memories of all of it.

  2. It sounds amazing! I dream of being able to do this with our girl... maybe when she's older. Glad it went well for you.

    1. Thanks, Steph. Our vacations have historically been a mix of good times and tough times. This long road trip had the potential to have been difficult so we're happy that it mostly went very well. I don't know that it would have gone this well a couple years ago so things change and progress. I wish you well, Steph.

  3. First that sounds wonderful and Second that is a lot of maturity for Kai to express that in the words he used - what a great kid !

    1. Kai has come a long way in terms of being able to express his feelings, and in many ways is more mature in terms of his attitudes. We've seen many ups and downs in the past, but this feels like a real change with him and it is very nice.


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