"Hey, Victoria, what should we do to celebrate our 30 years of marriage?"
"Take an Alaskan cruise?"
"Nah, we'd have to fly to Seattle or Vancouver for that."
"Hey, how about we take a road trip back to where it all began?"
"You mean Wichita Kansas?"
"Yeah, we can see some places we want to see on the way to and from, and we can visit Wichita Bible Church along with old friends while we are there for the weekend."
So, here's the route we planned and took:
Wednesday, August 15
We had a leisurely morning of packing and managed to get on the road by noon.
Out of Ohio and westward through KY that afternoon.
Serendipitously, the first picture we took was of sunflowers, the state flower of Kansas.
Wednesday evening when we arrived in Paducah, we took a mall walk and stayed at a hotel.
Thursday, August 16
After breakfast, we quickly left Kentucky and visited the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers near Cairo IL.
Near the end of our drive right before arriving in Springfield MO, we stumbled upon Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Home and Museum in Mansfield MO.
Later in the afternoon, we arrived in Springfield MO where we stayed the night at the historic Rail Haven motel on Route 66.
Friday, August 17
After breakfast at the motel, we left MO and entered our destination state of KS.
Victoria really enjoyed the drive through the Flint Hills of southeast KS.
Friday evening we arrived at Victoria's Aunt's house, where we stayed the weekend.
Saturday, August 18
After visiting with Victoria's aunt most of the day, for dinner, we visited with our friends Don and Paula Henry who fed us grilled hamburgers, sweet corn, and heavenly chocolate cake.
Sunday, August 19
First thing in the morning, we were able to visit with our friends and mentors, Peter and Karen DeGraff. Unfortunately, Peter just had surgery on Friday and was still recovering.
After visiting briefly with the DeGraffs, we made it to the morning service at Wichita Bible Church where these "30 years later" pictures were taken.
We especially like the GRACE picture since that answers the question of how we achieved 30 years of marriage :-)
Sunday evening we had a nice dinner with Rob and Paula Raine at their home. Rob went above and beyond by presenting me with a home-made video of a 1987 RV trip six of us took from Wichita to Mackinac Island.
Monday, August 20
The day of our actual 30th wedding anniversary found us leisurely driving from Wichita to Kansas City.
We experienced a scenic drive up highway 177 through more of the Flint Hills and into Cottonwood Falls, where the oldest functioning courthouse in Kansas is located.
We enjoyed a nice BBQ dinner and a unique Airbnb stay near where I (Barak) was born in Kansas City MO.
Tuesday, August 21
In the morning, we left Kansas City and headed for Hannibal MO, the place I have wanted to visit ever since reading The Walk Series by Richard Paul Evans.
When we arrived, we visited the Mark Twain Boyhood Home, which includes the infamous Tom Sawyer's Fence.
Never wanting to miss an opportunity to climb some stairs, we climbed the approximately 250 steps to the Mark Twain Memorial Lighthouse and were rewarded with a great overlook view of the Mississippi.
We even saw the Mark Twain Riverboat cruising on the river.
After completing our visit to Hannibal, we continued east on I-72 until we found lodging for the night in Decatur IL
Wednesday, August 22
Our last day of the road trip found us taking Highway 36 to Rockville IN which is known as "The Covered Bridge Capital of the World". Of course, we took one of the five self-driving covered bridge tours. Some of the bridges are drivable, others are not.
Late Wednesday afternoon, after a full week of driving, seeing people and places, we arrived Home. Sweet. Home.
Now on to the next "grace-filled" 30 years...