Dispatches from a Kia, Part I: The Effin' Road Trip Begins

Last week, Pete and I took off on an epic, week-long  adventure in our (his) 1999 Kia Sephia. This sexy car followed Pete from Hawaii after his tenure in the Navy and has since crossed the country a number of times (including its journey from Michigan to Austin back in February). Ain't she the whip!?

We decided to spend Thanksgiving with Pete's lovely family in Michigan and in lieu of expensive, stressful air travel, we opted for a cheap, leisurely car ride. Great idea, right? It's only a 24-hour drive each way...

After so many successful road trips with the Kia, what could possibly go wrong with another 3,000 miles? Pete always tells me that the Kia is invincible. I had my doubts.  

Because we would be away from our home for the week, we sent our infamous Winnebago off to our trusty mechanic to get worked on while we were away. We're got plans for her soon and she needs to be in tip-top shape!

But before we could drive the Winnie to the shop, we needed to do some serious packing. After a year of full-time habitation, things needed to be put back into safe storage areas to prevent anything from flying through the Winnie while driving. (It's happened. It's scary). The whole ordeal is way more work than you would think for such a small space. Like hours and hours of re-organization. We took everything out, donated some stuff, and then put everything back in a more sensible, efficient way. 

The bed and our benches are the only places to put anything while we clean since we are seriously lacking in floor space:  

Wine is an obvious cleaning necessity.
I think we did a pretty swell job. Hopefully everything will stay put for our next big Winnebago adventure...

After our cleaning frenzy on Sunday, Pete dropped me off at work then took off to the mechanic. Afterwards, he biked a few miles back to the RV park, grabbed the Kia and waited for me to finish work at 11pm. From there, our Thanksgiving journey began. 

Exhausted, we hopped in the Kia and headed to our first stop: good ol' Dallas, TX. It's a mere three hour drive, but it was grueling. We were already pooped from the long, hot day of moving and grooving (cleaning, biking, working), so we really weren't prepared to drive (well, Pete drives. I provide company). We arrived in Dallas around 3am and were ready to hit the hay. Luckily, our first night was spent at the luxurious Hilton Anatole. And that shit was free!

It was my first night in a big awesome bed in quite some time so I melted into some heavy Zzz's. Although a 12-hour drive awaited us in the morning, we slept in fairly late and basked in the glory of the fancy, bug-free shower. And then we had some tea while we admired the room's "warm Asian influences."

We left sometime around noon, heading east through the rest of Texas. Our route brought us through all the same towns we stopped at on the way down to Austin in our Winnebago. Some of our most fond memories came from Greenville, TX, where we were stuck with a broken alternator for a few days

We relied heavily on Greenville's NTB (National Tire & Battery), so we were tickled to see it as we drove by:

The same is true of Greenville's Walmart. We stayed a number of nights in that parking lot and often used their bathrooms before coming up with more clever ways to pee and poo inside the Winnebago.

Home Sweet Home
The drive started getting ugly as we approached Arkansas. Rain. And a lot of it. In fact, it rained the entire rest of our car ride on Monday. I'm fairly certain we saw more rain in that one day on the road than we've seen the entire past year in drought-ridden Austin. It was relentless.

We stopped for lunch in Texarkana, Arkansas- it's "Twice as nice!" We made a similar pit stop here last December in the Winnebago and decided to let history repeat itself. Except this time, we didn't almost break down in the middle of a busy intersection on our way to the Olive Garden.

Instead, we reliably drove through all busy intersections on the way to Olive Garden. Because who can pass up unlimited soup, salad and breadsticks? 

It was a pleasant hour of feasting and relaxing. And a stellar way to escape the rain. 

You got a little something on your lip.

We left the Olive Garden party in a state of utter lethargy. Difficult circumstances considering the remaining nine hours left to drive for the day. We pulled through with the assistance of copious cups of tea. Which led to copious bathroom breaks. My bladder is like the size of a pea. Pee pea?

Anyways, despite the rain and mild sleepiness, we made it to our destination for the evening: Effingham "Where the Eff are we?", IL. This wacky little town has special significance for us. It was where, at a Walmart parking lot, we spent our first night in the Winnebago. Ever. 

So when I was planning our trip, I purposely booked a hotel (on discount!) in Effingham, IL. But first, we gassed up and played around with all the fun stuff at the gas station shop. This is, like, what they're known for or something. 

And there are plenty of t-shirts, mugs, shot glasses and other chotchkies with Effingham's most prominent slogan:

"We stopped in Effingham, IL and all I got was this EFFIN' T-shirt."
Get it!? EFFIN'! Like the f-word. BWAHAHAHA!


TRAVEL EXPENSES (or "Should We Have Flown?")

Sun 11/20: $21.18
Mon 11/21: $62.07

Sun 11/20: Free
Mon 11/21: $32.19

Sun 11/20: None
Mon 11/21: $34.60

TRIP TOTAL: $150.04