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Modern Parenthood

Road trip: St. Louis Arch and City Museum, driving long hours takes its toll

The Toupin family's road trip continues. After climbing through the steampunky City Museum in St. Louis and heading to Kansas, the family realizes driving long hours is a lot of work. 

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After the Arch and City Museum, we traveled to Kansas for the night and found a store called Nostalgiaville in Missouri. This store was loaded with blasts from the past...Betty Boop, The Three Stooges, Elvis, even Scooby Doo paraphernalia plastered every inch of this three store front shop. My daughter, Colie, was thrilled to find a pair of pink Elvis heart-shaped earrings for herself. And I could indulge in teaching a little historic pop-culture.

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But the day did take its toll. By the time we got to Lawrence, Kan., that night, we were all done and stayed at the Jellystone Campground.

I know I've been on the road too long when I get excited to see the GPS say we have only 3:59 hours to go. I thought traveling five hours a day would be good. But five hours really means six or seven depending on traffic, weather, and gas stops. And we need a break. The kids can only watch so many movies, play so many board games, and entertain themselves so long. They need to be held, read to, and listened to.

While our destinations may be fun and exciting, a mother who is always distracted by driving during their waking hours is not what they need on their vacation.

Jacob, 5, especially, needed a day to play and just "be with Mama." He'd been good so far, but I could tell he had reached his breaking point. Plus I needed to do laundry, dishes, and have a normal day of meals. Our destination is awaiting us in California, but keeping the kids healthy and happy along the way is more important.

Because of this, I am changing our route. Instead of heading south on I-40 to Dodge City, Kan., as originally planned, we are going to continue on I-70 toward Colorado, Utah, and then head south. There are still plenty of wonderful things to see that way. And it cuts off about 10 hours on our trip. While it is fun to see a lot, sometimes less is more.

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