By Courtney Messenbaugh on Mon Jul 01 03:00:50 GMT-06:00 2013
Summer often means lazy days, lots of pool time and family road trips. My husband and I recently packed up our three kids — ages 3, 4 and 6 — and traveled from Colorado to southeastern Missouri for a family reunion, and we managed to hit a bunch of hot spots along the way.
Of course, a five-day road trip spanning more than 2,000 miles of Middle America with three small children in tow inspired awe, incredulity and downright snobbery from people. "You're driving? Why aren't you flying? Do you know how long that will take?!"
However, it was important that we attend this reunion in Doniphan, Mo., for my dad's side of the family. My dad was diagnosed with cancer late last year and has been through a lot. He's doing really well now, but I wanted to attend his family reunion because I knew it meant something to him.
Nothing deterred us from our road trip — not even a last-minute itinerary change that involved dropping my husband at the Kansas City International Airport on our drive home so he could fly to South Korea for work. Even my dad was skeptical, especially since he agreed to change his plans and drive home with me and the kids so I'd have another adult in the car with me after K.C.
Throughout the trip, I kept track of our road trip's key components. I'm sure my findings will sound familiar to some and hopefully won't deter others from embarking on their own summer road trip.
The chance to cruise the heartland and explore places we'd never otherwise see was too good a travel challenge for this adventurous family to pass up. It turned out to be one of the best vacations we've ever taken.