Here it is…the big 3-0! I was fully expecting to wake up feeling old and depressed, but when life takes a serious turn in exactly the direction that you have always dreamed of, it’s hard to feel melancholy. I have my husband, my dogs, and a lifetime of road trip adventure ahead of me. When you want something bad enough, you have to get motivated and go out there and get it! I decided to start our road trip drive from Knoxville to St. Louis.
We left Tennessee pretty early because today we were planning to cover almost 600 miles for this leg of our 35-day Road Trip. Being my birthday, I picked the playlist du jour. Tori Amos’ Spark was pumping through our sound system as we left the hotel parking lot. Leaving Knoxville, TN and heading out into Kentucky we tried to stop as little as possible. We drove though some amazing countryside with quaint red barns and rolling hills.
As we left Kentucky and entered Indiana we made our first real stop in Evansville. We passed a place called Kempf’s Donut Bank and had to make a U-turn. I’ve been on a pretty strict diet on the trip considering long days in the car means little exercise.
Today I decided it was time to be indulgent and what is more indulgent than a sugar glazed pastry washed down with a giant cup of coffee?
I have to be honest. After consumption, there was zero remorse.
Continuing forward through Indiana we drove through a bit of Amish country. We respect the wishes of the Amish so there were no photographs taken through here. We also stopped at a rest stop where they sold plush animals out of a vending machine. I had to have one! For $2, I “won” a small rhino that I immediately named Peppy Peluche. Getting back on the road we continued, very briefly, into Illinois (it still counts as a visit because we got a photo of the sign).
Finally making our way into Missouri and the end of our driving for the day we come to a halt in traffic. Apparently, everyone (self included) needs to get a photo of The Arch on the way into St. Louis.
After settling the dogs into the hotel, Kenin took me out for a fantastic birthday dinner at a place called Korea House. I love ethnic food of any kind, so this was a real treat. We had all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ and the food was delicious.
Probably the most amazing part of my dinner, was our server. She was an American girl from Missouri that went over seas for a year on a grant to learn Korean. She spoke it well enough to communicate with the owners of the restaurant and she was working there to practice her learned skills while going to school. Her dream was to become a diplomat for America and work in Korea. It was very refreshing for me to see someone following their travel dreams and doing something to get exactly what they wanted out of life.
Leaving the restaurant we stopped at a grocery store to pick up two slabs of birthday cake (I subscribe to the opinion that cake should only be consumed in slabs). Sitting in bed and ready to devour some cake, Ken surprises me with a bottle of champagne.
He is a pretty good husband and seemed to cover all the bases this year. :)
We finish our cake and champagne and start reflecting on our conversation with our server at dinner. She did something very brave by going out of her comfort zone to learn something new and immersing herself in the unknown. Inspiring! I want to be that unafraid of life. I want to charge forward from here with nothing in my way. You can dream all you want in life, but unless you are willing to go out there and grab life by the horns, a dream is all it will ever be!