Friday, July 29, 2011

Four States in One Day

Indeed, sleep did come slowly to Sarah last night; she got up at least four times complaining of her inability to slumber. But then she was up very early in the morning, because … the Tooth Fairy came! The Tooth Fairy came! And she was generous indeed … she left our Sarah one crisp dollar bill!

We ate breakfast with Angela and Cameron, chatting and catching up on life, and then we managed to spend time at a local playground before we hit the road. This overnight was especially good for Sarah, who has not been able to play with a single other kid on our entire trip. We asked Sarah later what she thought of Cameron. She replied, simply, “Good friend.”

By the time we left the playground, it felt like at least 90 degrees, with very high humidity. We took a little extra time to cruise right into downtown St. Louis and see the Arch. It is certainly the kind of thing you have to see in person in order to appreciate its sheer massiveness.

On we drove down the road, leaving Missouri behind and entering Illinois. Halfway across the southern part of the state, we stopped for lunch in Mt. Vernon; that’s where we found a McDonald’s with a gigantic play area for Sarah and free wi-fi for us! (Don’t worry, we didn’t eat there … that honor went to the Subway down the street. But we did buy a token drink in order to hang out for a while.)

We were in that state for such a short time, we didn’t even get to enjoy the entirety of Sufjan Stevens’ excellent album Illinois before crossing the Wabash and entering Indiana. We also made quick work of the Hoosier State, and around 6:00 Eastern time, we arrived at the Motel 6 in Georgetown, just this side of Kentucky. We were all looking forward to a dip in the pool before grabbing some dinner in Louisville.

But here was our big loop-throw of the day: the pool was disgusting! The water was a kind of translucent green. I asked the desk clerk, “Why is the water green?”

“Because nobody’s been cleaning it.”

“Would you swim in it?”

“No, I sure wouldn’t.”

Up in our room, just as Sarah was crying deep sobs over the loss of the pool and trying to convince us the water didn’t look that bad, Christy made another shocking discovery. Back to the desk clerk I went.

“Our toilet won’t flush.”

(Desk clerk looks disgusted) … “Would you like to check out?”

“Yes, I think we would. Can you recommend another hotel?”

“The only one I can think of is the Holiday Inn, but that’s $100 a night.”

Maybe she didn’t know how to use a search engine, but she was helpful in every other way, bearing with us as our GPS found other options and giving us a total refund. Our new destination was on the other side of Louisville in the town of Shepherdsville, Kentucky. And so it was that we crossed the Ohio River and made it to four states in one day.

On the way to the new hotel, we hit downtown Louisville, which was pretty amazingly cool-looking. We sat down to dinner at Lynn’s Paradise Cafe. Oh, my. Not only was this place fabulously wacky (they hold an annual “ugly lamp contest,” and the winner becomes a permanent part of the establishment), but the food was excellent as well.

In Shepherdsville, tired but happy, we all jumped into the warmest pool we have ever experienced. Stepping into this outdoor pool, affected as it was by the heat of the day, was like stepping into a warm bath. And it was clean! None of us really wanted to get out.

We can’t believe we only have two days remaining on our journey. Unfortunately, though, that doesn’t really mean we’ll be home; we have learned that our moving van won’t arrive until August 3 or 4. Our friends the Hoskinses, who live in Annandale, Virginia, have generously offered us their house while they’re on vacation. So at least we’ll have a place to lay our heads until our apartment in Alexandria can finally come together.

And tonight, we finally figured out the key to getting Sarah to sleep at a decent hour. A good swim is a good start; but then, we stayed in the room with her instead of stepping out in to the hallway. We quietly read and worked on the blog while she drifted off to sleep, a gift from her new friend Cameron clutched tightly in her hand.

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