We drove through Tennesee, Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, and Kansas today. We tried to push it to get out West quickly so we could spend more time exploring places unfamiliar.
We made one extended stop at Patti's 1880s Something or Other in Kentucky. This place was entirely tacky in an ideal Roadside Americana way. The grounds looked like a mini golf place and the restaurant was absolutely packed, with an hour wait at opening. We headed to an identical restaurant that had no wait just across the gift shop. There were plastic flowers and ivy affixed to the walls and Christmas lights all over. It was clean and neat somehow, and exactly what one might expect. Paula Dean recommended the Sawdust Pie, coconut meets pecan. This is the kind of place where you might run into Paula. The pretty servers had to wear floral polyesther ridiculousness, like Amish wear trying for sexy. Meals were better than we expected. We had to ferry the children through a candles-candy-keychains type of gift shop and quickly back to the car so we could make Topeka.
Which was actually not on our route. Oops. (How did I miss this??) Topeka took us an hour out of the way. We arrived in the dark and tried to set up the trailer on a sloped campsite that dipped down into a lake. We decided to pull into an empty spot on the opposite side. We got all set up at the green, hilly lakeside campground and brought the kids inside for a late bedtime. Poor Jane was distraught and cried for her own bed but fell asleep in a quick second. Epic road trip begun.