Planning the route was fun. My Dad and I spent a few afternoons talking it over (thanks to FaceTime), discussing pro's and con's on different routes. We had 2 constraints: we would be travelling with an infant/toddler; and we only had 2 weeks for the whole trip. This translated to 4-6 hours car travel per day, depending on how Jimmy traveled, 3 days travel from Manhattan, KS, to Winnipeg, MB, plus however long we would spend with our relatives in Canada, which left about 1 week to get back to Manhattan, KS.
We wanted to visit Yellowstone National Park, but we would have had 2-3 nights there, with too much driving per day either side. So, that ruled that out. A few days later, it seemed my Dad and I had been on the same wavelength and we talked about going east of Winnipeg, out to Lake Superior and then south along the Mississippi, stopping in St Louis, MI, before heading back to Manhattan, KS.
Our planning, in terms of finding accommodation was a little haphazard, mostly involved planning a route on Google Maps, then zooming in somewhere that was 4-6 hours from point A and hoping that there was somewhere there to stay, i.e. a State Park or commercial campground. But it worked. We couldn't really plan pit stops, lunch breaks or sightseeing because we had no idea how Jimmy was going to travel from one day to the next, so the focus was on our accommodation and everything else would follow, more or less.
Sorting out our accommodation lead to some interesting discoveries and realisations: not all places allow online bookings and require actual cheques to be sent for a booking; bookings over the weekends need to be 2 nights. Cheques aside, this meant that we wouldn't have time to take in St Louis, so we decided to see Kansas City, MI/KS, instead, after spending 2 nights on the backwaters of the Mississippi.
Enough about the planning! Here's what happened, with lots of photos. Hope you enjoy the photos as much as we enjoyed being able to take them.
Day 1: Manhattan to Hillview Recreation Area
We quickly packed the hire car, after saying goodbye to our very first guest T, and were off on our adventure. There was to be no turning back for handkerchiefs or knives - we had to make it to Hillview Recreation Area, Plymouth County, IA, before Jimmy lost it.
|Lunch, when we realised that we hadn't packed sharp kitchen knives.|
|Jimmy losing it... ok, it's probably him mid yawn...|