paper planes & playground games

approximately four billion weeks ago [that’s my most accurate guess] we went to nauvoo.


[pre-trip, rockin’ the official adventure hat]

it started out with whirlwind packing and an eighteen hour drive, one that should have been quaint and peaceful. there we were, traversing through the midwest—big sky country, wide open spaces, and all other applicable clich├ęs.


don’t get me wrong—it’s not that the cornfields and deserted stretches of highway weren’t enjoyable. it’s just not so much fun when you’re a skittish passenger. [note to self: you are still a skittish passenger]

in order to make the few neighboring cars aware of my high-strung condition, i decided to make some signs [inspired by those baby on board signs]:10001001

alas, it did not work well. people still continued to drive the speed limit [sometimes even faster than that...!!!!] and were completely inconsiderate of how much they made my heart rate rise. i was forced to borrow aria’s pillow and blanket and attempt to ‘sleep’ [which really meant angling myself to stare at clouds so that i couldn’t visualize my impeding doom so vividly].IMG-20120724-07845IMG-20120724-07853

so i hunkered down in the passenger seat, popping my head up only occasionally enough to not miss anything cool.


i’m not exactly sure how this worked; we stopped every time we saw something interesting, but we still made killer time. must be nic and that lead foot of hers [total joke. my mom’s a stickler for speed limits].


in an effort to slay some boredom, i strung up a timeline in the car—anytime we saw something memorable or eventful the girls would draw a picture and label it with the city or location and pin it up in chronological order. it’s also pretty awesome for the drive home; we took the cards down as we drove back through those places and dispelled all the ‘are we there yet’ queries.


there were two particularly memorable areas; ones that i will remember forever, index card pictures or not.

the first was a remote, obscure, nameless location somewhere in between missouri and illinois. we were traversing through winding roads intermittently shrouded by forests. IMG-20120725-08036

though my mom was going under the speed limit, we were going way too fast when we reached a railroad that came out of nowhere. now i have been known to exaggerate a fair amount, but i am being literal, solemn, and serious when i say that WE GOT AIR GOING OVER THAT TRAIN TRACK. OUR BACK TIRES WERE ACTUALLY OFF THE ROAD. it was terrifying. hilarious in retrospect, but unsettling at the time. you better believe that one made it to the timeline.


i was more than thrilled the next time we pulled over. it was nice to have my feet on the ground, even if we were in remote corn field country perfectly constructed for serial killers and alien know, because i believe in those [because serial killers only exist if you believe in them...uhh...]


the second event was just as terrifying, but significantly more entertaining. have you ever heard of “lake of the ozarks”? i thought i had...but it turns out i was just picturing the ozarka brand water bottle. let me tell you something about the real lake of the ozarks, friends: IT IS A DEATH TRAP. they don’t want you to successfully navigate from one side of the other, and they absolutely don’t want you making it out alive.IMG-20120725-07965

the majority of the road we were on was a two lane highway with jagged rocks on one side and the bloody lakes on the other [they were not literally bloody, but they might as well have been]. the roads curved sharply and people were still being inconsiderate of my please stay away from our car because i am stressed signs. so there we were, being lost and careening at high speeds around sharp cliffs and deep water, and then we start seeing these signs. they were obviously put there by whatever local government existed and they were obviously put there because people died on these cliffs of insanity. they said lame cheesy things like “drive friendly!”, “think before you sink!”, “YOU are the difference!” “focus on the road!”, and the one that instilled the most confidence: “arrive alive!”. arrive alive?! what the heck. are you saying it’s a distinct possibility that i might NOT arrive alive?! i don’t appreciate that. IMG-20120725-07960

so as my poor mother tried to keep the car on the road [remember: we’ve already had problems with that this trip] i thought it would be VERY helpful to read/repeat these messages and high pitched octaves in different accents. the good news is that if we’d have died, we would have literally died laughing. win win. 

[and as a side note, there was also a sign that said “hit a construction worker: $10,000”. i don’t know about you, but to me that seems like a personal challenge—something out of a nintendo video game saying ooh hit those guys! bonus points! new rule for life: never, ever, ever work in construction around lake of the ozarks. never.]

eventually, and only by the grace of god, we made it through the lake of the ozarks.

we kept on truckin’, spending exactly six minutes and fifty-six seconds passing through iowa. we made it to illinois just as the sun was going down.


the road leading into nauvoo sits against a river, and winding alongside a river just after the sun had set was one of the most enchanting part of the trips.


and that was day one. ha. the rest will come when i get the now-infrequent urge to write again! spoiler alert: we made it to nauvoo safely [and promptly altered our route home, avoiding the narrow-brush-with-death places].

[title from starry eyed by ellie goulding]

1 comment:

  1. I felt like I was riding with you on your trip. Even held my breath for you on the dangerous lake road part. That timeline activity (I sound like a teacher, don't I?) was pure genius, particularly the part where you took down the pieces as you passed them again on the way home. Have you ever considered being a teacher?? You are a natural. Of course, you would have to come back to Florida to teach (according to my handbook). Thanks for blogging again. Along with my Sunday latte, reading your blog completes my week.