April 28, 2014

Illinois-Missouri Trip

Alright, funny and slightly embarrassing story time!

Several years ago in... (flips through millions of old processed pictures... the film kind...) circa... 2006, my family went on a trip to Illinois and Missouri. Well, my mom had to do some sort of fancy business trip thing in Chicago a few days after we got to Chicago, so at first we were all in one big group.  When we first got to our hotel, I, of course, had to take the couch/bed/thing.  Once it was all set up, I was paranoid that there were bed bugs.  I didn't even want to sleep in the bed.  But I was tired, and so I did, and there were no bed bugs.  (Insert lack of drama here).  So we traveled around Chicago for a while, and saw some of the super cool stuff about Chicago.  We went to Navy Pier and rode some of the rides there, we went on the Sky Deck tour of the Sears Tower, (which was really cool, you could see Lake Michigan from the top of that thing.  It was also kinda freaky being up so high.  I'm not so much a heights person.).

I remember the pair of shoes I wore *the whole time* we were travelling around Chicago.  It was a pair of sketchers that had these big blocky rubber heels (about an inch and a half tall).  I loved those shoes so much.  That was my first 'pair of heels' if you could even call it that.  I remember my mom saying "You brought other shoes, you need to wear those other shoes and stop wearing the same pair, you're going to get blisters!"  I never did get blisters.  But I felt soooo grown up in those hot little sketchers.  Of course, I outgrew them and now I just use them for a doorstop.  One night when we were walking down the street for dinner, we saw an old homeless black man sitting on the sidewalk.  I believe he was playing a bucket drum or something and singing.  His blue eyes were hazy with blindness, and I remember feeling so sad for him.  He wasn't the only one out there, but I felt so bad for him.  After we came back out of the restaurant there was this couple that had bought an extra banana split dessert, and as we walked by we saw them giving it to him, and kindly helping him eat it.  That kind of restored my faith in humanity a little bit.  It was a nice gesture.

  We spent about the next two days doing these fun things. Then my mom had to go to her conference thing, so my dad and I traveled down to St. Charles, Illinois to visit my cousins.  We spent a day with them, and my uncle lent us his car to travel around in.  We set off from their house for about a 300 mile journey into St. Louis, Missouri.  I specifically remember the number 300 because I asked my dad how long it would take us to get there and he said, "well, its about 300 miles, and we're going about 75 miles per hour down the highway, so you do the math."  I never liked 'doing the math,' I just wanted an answer!

Anyway, we stopped at a hotel along the way and spent the night.  The next morning we got up early, went to the continental breakfast (where, of course, being like 9 I only ate donuts and other delicious junk.  And orange juice.  I remember the orange juice in a styrofoam cup.) and then we hit the road again.  On this day, it was usual North East weather, semi cloudy, semi windy, semi chance of rain.  I remember being in the back seat when I heard the car ding at us telling us to get gas.  I asked my dad, "Are we going to run out of gas?" and he replied, "No, we still have some left.  There's a gas station up ahead, anyway."  About twenty minutes later the GAS STATION: NEXT EXIT sign came into view.  About thirty seconds after that the car spluttered, and suddenly started slowing down.  My dad groaned and pulled off onto the side of the road.  We were less than a mile from the station and we ran out of gas.  My dad almost told us we were going to walk to the gas station to get gas, and he told me to change my shoes.  Change my shoes?! There was no way I wanted to change my shoes to walk a mile to the station.  "I can wear these, I've been walking in them for like three days." I protested, "No, you should probably change shoes."  I sighed and reluctantly climbed back into the car to change my shoes.  My dad soon got on the phone with my uncle and told him what happened.  Thankfully his brother lived close by and he told my dad he could come give us a gallon to get us to the station.  Now realizing that we wouldn't be walking to the station, I announced I was going to change back into my favorite shoes, and quickly proceeded to do so.  My uncle's brother came soon and helped us get to the station.  My dad filled the car with more gas, and we proceeded on our journey.

We then drove all the way to the Gateway Arch in Missouri, and had a blast there.  I took some pictures with my film camera.  Most of them have my finger in the way, but hey.  I was 9.

I remember sitting in the tiny little pod elevator where you had to sit down to fit.  I had never been up a curved elevator shaft before.  It was a unique and squeaky experience.  The arch from the ground is truly a magnificent work of art, but the top of the arch was even more magnificent.

Once at the top, there was a tiny little room with two sides of windows.  The maximum capacity for that room was probably no more than like, 10 people at a time.  It was small.  And yet, for being so cramped, it was actually cold up there.  The view was amazing.  You could see so far and you could see so many different buildings! In one picture I took, you could see the whole baseball stadium in the distance.

After we were done at the Gateway Arch, we started back to Illinois and Chicago.

Alright.  I promised you funny, so here's funny.  On our way back, we stopped at some middle-of-nowhere parking lot with a restroom.  I can't currently remember what those are called, so we'll just call it a pit stop.  We parked outside, and my dad asked me if I had to use the bathroom before we went back on the road for a while longer.  I said no, but he decided to use the bathroom anyway.  So I sat there and waited as he rolled the windows up and locked the doors.  Then he walked into the building and disappeared from sight.  My thinking was that we probably wouldn't be stopped for very long.  I was wrong.  My dad took quite a long time to come back.  But it got worse.  I moved my head to reach something in the seat next to me and instantly felt pain.  The window was pulling my hair out!  Apparently when he rolled up the windows a bunch of my hair had been sucked outside.  So now I couldn't move without ripping my hair out.  I sat there with my head leaning against the window in the most uncomfortable position for quite a while.  And of course, I would have rolled the window down, or opened the door or something, but the door was locked and the car was off.  I was stuck there until he got back and started the car.  And he took forever.  Finally he walked out of the building and saw me following him with annoyed eyes, and he gave me a confused look.  He unlocked the car and got in.  "What's wrong?" he asked, "I've been sitting here with my hair trapped in the window since you left, and I can't move.  Can you please just start the car so I can get my hair out??" He laughed and then rolled the window down.  While at the time I thought it was really annoying how funny he thought it was, apparently I've come to my comical senses and realized that this makes a funny story.

Other than picking my mom up from the hotel and flying home, the rest of the trip was uneventful.  I hope you all enjoyed this very long and dramatic story of our trip to Illinois and Missouri! Don't be afraid to comment, I like comments! ;)

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