Hello, fellow wannabe-travelers.

Kirby here, with a travel blog.

We are in our hotel room in Hays, Kansas. It has been a good day. I got up this morning at 7:08am. I had planned to get up around 6:50, but, for whatever reason, I didn’t hear the alarm, and slept until 7:08. I had spent last night getting everything packed for the trip, and didn’t get to bed until around 11:30 or so. But that’s the way it goes.

Anyway, back to today. Got up at 7:08. Mariya had said she was going to leave town at 7:00, and I was planning to leave around 7:45. We were going to meet up in Springfield, IL, and then drive down to St Louis together. So, right off, I was 18 minutes behind. Not a good way to start the day. I started the morning process. Mariya called and left a message on my machine while I was in the shower. I then started trying to eat a little cereal for breakfast, and she called again. She had been on her way for a little while, and was still planning to get over there around 8:30 and be in good shape. I got everything ready that I needed to get ready, and left the house around 8 o’clock. I had to run by the bank and get some cash, so, after doing that, I was heading west. On the way over to Springfield, I called Larry. Sadly, I woke him up. He had been up all night long driving between Portland, OR and Seattle, WA. He had fallen asleep 30 minutes earlier, and I woke him up. I felt so bad. Oh well. Upon talking to Mariya… she had stopped at a Wal-Greens, and they had Christmas stuff 90% off. She had found a couple of things, and was headed to the Meijers to order a cake for next weekend. I got the interstate exit for Staybridge Suites, where we were meeting, and tried to call her. I was running low on gas (didn’t know if I would make it to Missouri or not) and decided to get a little bit of gas there (at the Meijer gas station). I got 2 gallons, and paid 1.45/gallon. In Missouri, Brian had told me he had paid 1.24/gallon. So, I got just enough to keep the car running. I went on over to the parking lot where we were meeting. Mariya was still ordering the cake. She finally arrived. She lost one of the magnets on her car! She thought I was kidding when I said it was gone. Oh well. Nothing to be done about it at that point. We transferred her luggage to my car, and headed out. We were 35 minutes behind schedule. We were planning to meet at 9:15, and it was 9:50. So, I had Mariya call Brian on my phone (I had the bluetooth headset on) and I told him that we were running late. We then headed south.

We got to Brian’s place around 11:31. I grabbed some pillows that we were leaving there; Mariya grabbed some clothes that she will need next weekend, and we went up to Brian’s. He came down and we loaded his Mitsubishi Outlander. We tried to get the skis to lay flat, but they just wouldn’t do it. They had to be angled. Everyone’s luggage loaded nicely. We had originally thought that we would go to Columbia or something for lunch. But, since we were running late, we decided to go ahead and eat there. We decided upon Arby’s. Brian had the french dip combo, Mariya had the Philly Steak combo, and I had the Turkey club combo. They were $5 apiece. The bathrooms there had squeeze soap.

After that, we headed west on i70. The miles flew by. We saw the Calloway Nuclear Plant off to the south. We drove through Kansas City, and stopped at a QT not very far into Kansas. We gassed up, and we used our QT glasses to get refills, and Mariya started driving. (Brian had been driving before). We made it through the toll way ($2.15 charge) and then through Topeka. Next stop was Salina, where we ate at Bayards. Bayards is this little cafe right next to the truck stops at the 252 exit. They have a nifty garden salad that is made up of 14 different garden vegetables. It seemed to have carrots, broccoli, spinach?, onions, and a bunch of other stuff. Brian got the dinner steak ($8.49) (which he said was ok), and we got a Combination appetizer (fried: mushrooms, zuchini, cheese sticks, chicken nuggets, and onion rings). It was $5.99 and not really worth it. We got a meat loaf plate ($7.99). The meatloaf wasn’t all that good. We got 2 garden salads and a baked potato with ours. Brian got a garden salad, baked potato, and corn with his. The dinner rolls were good that came with the food.

After that, we continued heading west. (Mariya was still driving). We had the choice of driving to Hays (exit 159) or Colby (exit 53). We ran the numbers of what we needed to do the next day and ended up deciding to stop in Hays. So, we had to find a hotel. We looked at some guidebooks and found an Econolodge that was $44.99. I called them up on the cell phone. They had rooms available, and the rates seemed good. So, we decided to just stop there. At that point, we were only about 50 minutes away, so I didn’t even bother calling back and reserving the room.

We passed the statue of the road runner right outside of Hays, and then made it to exit 159. We found the econo lodge. We gassed up before the lodge, and then went to the hotel. I got the room (she told me the rate was $49.99. I mentioned the phone. She “remembered” and we got it for $44.99. This ended up being a little more than $50 after tax. The free continental breakfast has donuts, toast, orange juice, and coffee. We have free wireless internet (user: econo, pass: lodge).

A good time is being had by all. We had an amazing sunset tonight, and Mariya has been talking a lot about how easy skiing will be. I hope she is right.

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