Day 3: Instacare, McDonald’s, and St. Louis
Wednesday, we were looking forward to a short driving day and more time for exploring! The plan was to leave Topeka and reach St. Louis, Missouri by early afternoon. We had 310 miles to go, and could make that in about 4.5 hours. Yay for less driving!!!
But little did we know, our day of less driving and more exploring would soon turn into quite possibly the craziest day of our trek!
Troy woke up that morning with a horrible sore throat and an ear ache, but he said he was fine and we headed out. Not even an hour later, as we were coming into Kansas City, he was in excruiciating pain from his ear and having full body sweats and shakes. We hightailed it to the closest Urgent Care Google found for us, in Lee’s Summit just outside of Kansas City. The wait wasn’t too long but we didn’t want the kids hanging out there, so Bubs, Little Miss and I found the nearest McDonald’s with a play place and set up camp there for while.
My parents had left earlier than us that morning, to get ahead in “Budget,” but ended up turning around and backtracking to us in Lee’s Summit to hang out at McDonald’s until Troy was done. The kids were able to get their wiggles out for just over 2 hours, while I drank way too much Coca-Cola and ate more fries than I care to admit! But, we survived and picked up Troy.
We came to find out, the poor guy had a burst ear drum! His throat hurt from the ear drainage and luckily had no other issue, but his poor ear was so infected it had burst and that was causing the fever and pain. We found a pharmacy, got a prescription and he started the antibiotics. As we got back onto the freeway (I was driving now) Troy, Bubs, and Little Miss all zonked out for the next 2 hours. They only woke up because I HAD to stop for a rest area from all that Coke I drank!! But Troy woke up feeling A LOT better and was able to drive us into St. Louis (thank goodness because I would have gotten us lost like none other!).
I had all sorts of plans of things to see and do in St. Louis. We had planned on having most of the afternoon to explore, but with our Lee’s Summit detour and running into some traffic, it wasn’t until late evening that we got into the city. We realized we had to make a decision about what we wanted to see/do the most.
So, we decided we would visit the iconic Gateway Arch before it got dark, and I’m so glad we did!
Settled alongside the impressive Mississippi River, the Gateway Arch is stunning. We found a lot to park in just off of Washington Ave. and took the Gateway Arch Trail through the park, along the river, and right up to the massive structure. The weather was perfect with a slight breeze coming off of the river, the lighting was gorgeous as the sun was beginning to set, and we pretty much had the park to ourselves. The kids ran like fools through the beautiful green grass, and we took turns taking our pictures under the arch. Looking out over the river, we saw tug boats, ferries, and riverboats, and got a glimpse into Illinois from across the way. It almost felt like being in two states at once!
If we had, had more time we would have loved to do the walk from the Old Courthouse, taken the tram to the top of the arch and visited the Gateway Arch facility, which are all part of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, but our crazy pit stop earlier had made that impossible. Also, underneath the arch is the Museum of Westward Expansion, currently under major renovations, and there are options for cruises along the river on one of the riverboats.
But with the short time we did have, we were able to admire and appreciate the amazing architectural grandeur of the Gateway Arch. We will have to go back someday so we can fully experience everything it, and the awesome city of St. Louis, has to offer!!
After leaving the arch, and getting slightly lost and crossing the same bridge 5 times, we made it to our hotel, the Fairfield Inn and Suites in Fairview Heights, Illinois, checked in, and finally went to get dinner. We found a Steak ‘n Shake, which we didn’t have out West, and decided to give it a try.
I don’t know if it was because we were eating dinner at 8pm and were starving or what, but that burger, seasoned fries, and milkshake were SO GOOD! I could eat there everyday! New favorite.
We were all so excited to finally go to bed that night. It had been a crazy, exhausting, unexpected day. Luckily, Troy’s antibiotic kicked in quickly and he was already feeling so much better. With a good night sleep, he was ready the next morning for Day 4, which was its own crazy!
Head over to Day 4 to see what happened next on the Lewis Fam Cross Country Trek!