"Have y'all ever had Casey's Breakfast Pizza?" Leslie asked Kim and I. We had woken up and climbed into bed with Leslie, like we were her children, and started watching Bob's Burgers (which I had never seen, but now LOVE). Leslie's dad, Allen, came back a few minutes later with the legendary food. We ate the greasy pizza/egg hybrid and washed it down with hot chocolate, while we listened to Allen's stories. We spent almost two hours enthralled by Allen's tales of life and love, and as he wrapped up each story he added a piece of advice.
"What sweatshirts do you guys want?" Leslie had driven us back to the Bible College and Kim and I stood in the bookstore looking at the only two types of sweatshirts they had. We knew we had to leave by noon if we wanted to make it to our AirB&B reservation before midnight. The good-byes were sad, but not tearful. We had had a fun time, but Kim and I knew we still had 20 hours of driving ahead of us.
"I think those lights mean you have to pull over." I looked in my rearview mirror and saw the flashing red and blue lights behind me. The sole car on one of Missouri's many one-lane highways, I had begun to speed. I pulled over to the side of the road and rolled down my window to greet the officer. He was very kind and even gave us directions to a nearby gas station. But that wasn't the worst part. Once he gave me the ticket and walked away, I turned to face Kim, who had her camera in her hand giggling. Turning her phone to me, I saw a picture of myself looking dejected, holding my speeding ticket. Despite my protests, she sent the photo to my boss, and asked me to switch to the passenger seat.
"Do you want to stop at that antique shop?" Kim looked at me and rolled her eyes. I kept asking to stop, and if we were going to make it to Columbus before midnight we had to keep going. But after asking three more times, she finally pulled into the antique mall. The parking lot was deserted, except for a few cars. Kim sighed as I excitedly jumped out of the car and ran up to the doors.
"This is amazing…" Kim stated the second we got inside. The walls were covered in relics from the past; from signs from the '50s, to tobacco posters, to small military figurines, every dusty glass cup looked like it had been through more life than Kim and I combine. As we walked around, we found the best part of antiquing: dressing up. We found jackets, sweaters, dresses, coats, and hats; naturally, we put all of them on. Running around an empty antique mall was never on my bucket list, but if you take anything away from this it's that you definitely should add it to yours. We both found small trinkets to take with us, and once we paid we got back on the road.
"We'll stop in Indianapolis and get something to eat." By nightfall, Kim could tell that I was hungry for something other than stale chips and Arizona Iced Tea. We had been driving for what felt like hours (because it was), with only brief stops for food and gas, and by this point, the energy in the car was as low as the fuel gauge. Top tired to speak, we had been listening to one of Kim's favorite podcasts about life within the prison system. By this point, I felt like my car was a prison, entrapping us until the next rest stop. But, even though we knew we would be late, we stopped in Indianapolis.
"I've never actually been in a bar before…" Kim and I had searched everywhere to find somewhere that had real food and was still open, but not packed at 10:45 pm on a Saturday. We had found this large build that had a sign for BBQ Wings outside and didn't have any wait time. We were seated and ordered, but as the clock slowly ticked by and the couples eating were replaced by drunk men and tipsy women, I realized that we were in a bar. I excitedly told Kim, to which her response was to ask me if I had been paying attention to the group of women next to us who were being hit on by two guys. At which point one of the guys turned around and tried to start talking to Kim. Giving him an uncomfortable glance, we continued our conversation. We sat talking at the bar until past midnight when we realized that the line to get in was out the door.
"OOOF! We're finally here!" Another hour after we had left the bar, we made it to Dayton. This AirB&B was in a couple's house, and we didn't want to wake them up. We knew we had a long day the next morning, so we climbed into bed and attempted to go to sleep as soon as we got there. And yet, we stayed up talking for another two hours. That night, the tattoo's that we had begun discussing, fully teasing at the beginning of the trip, were now set plans.