Day 21: Officially 3 weeks into our cross-country trip, we found ourselves waking up in Kansas City, Missouri.

More than any of my other Travel Journals, this one is a continuation of my last post- Covering Five States In Two Days. To quickly summarize where we left off: we arrived in Kansas City just in time for the Royals game; We got a hotel upgrade to the Penthouse; I dressed half our family in the wrong team color; We got back to hotel late and exhausted.

Our 21st morning on the road started out with a bang. Literally. The hotel’s maid service came knocking, but we were all still sound asleep! After getting past the annoyance of being woken up at the crack of dawn…we realized it was not that early! In fact, we only had 10 minutes before the concierge lounge closed their breakfast.

We hightailed it downstairs and enjoyed some amazing food!

Afterwards we spent some time touring our hotel. Quick plug for the Kansas City Marriott (and no, I’m not getting paid to do this!) It’s phenomenal! The Marriott is a combination of the latest technology (for example, incredibly efficient elevators run by computer that actually determine which one you’ll ride based on where you are heading!) and historic charm.

Mary Grace and Miller were particularly taken with the old telephone booths in the hotel’s original lobby. They had absolutely NO clue what they were for before we explained it!

Reluctantly we packed up and moved out of the Penthouse and headed to Union Station.

This was definitely one of my kiddos favorite stops of the whole trip and I can’t wait to share more details. (Sponsored Post coming soon!)

I will go ahead and admit, I did not do this particular part of the trip its due diligence in my research and planning.  I ASSUMED the Royals played in the state of Kansas. I ASSUMED our hotel- in Kansas City- was in Kanas.

I knew Kansas City was in both states, but for some reason I just thought the majority of things were in the state of Kansas. Which, they weren’t. Everything we’d done up to that point was actually in Missouri.

When we came to this realization, we scrambled to find something to do in the state of Kansas.

So we ended up taking some advice from our Uber driver and we went to Joe’s BBQ without doing any research. As soon as we pulled up, I realized we’d made a HUGE mistake. Joe’s was a gas station. At the risk of sounding like a complete snob, I will admit that we don’t often eat at random gas stations. Especially not on some stranger’s recommendation.

Brent was slightly more optimistic than myself and said “let’s just go look at the menu. We can leave if it doesn’t look good.”

So we went in. Or we tried. The line was all the way back to the door and we couldn’t step foot inside. I’m a big believer in the safety-in-numbers theory, so suddenly things were looking up.

Joe’s turned out to be the best meal on our entire trip. I’m totally serious. Hands down, and without question (and trust me, we ate A LOT of good food!)

After the best gas station meal ever, we headed out of Kansas and made our way across the state of Missouri. Destination for the evening: St. Louis.

I mentioned in our last post that a portion of our trip was scheduled completely around baseball. St. Louis was probably the driving factor. My son is obsessed with the Cardinals!

We ended up having the most incredible experience at the game. Between an autographed ball, high fives from the players and a walk-off home run in the bottom of the 9th…I truly couldn’t have asked for a better night. It’s funny, I spent SO much time planning this cross-country trip. But some of our most memorable experiences just happened unexpectedly!

Of course we were all on such a high from the big win, it took forever to unwind and go to sleep! So naturally, we slept in WAY to late again on Day 22!

All I can say is it’s a good thing we did a better job functioning on little sleep during the first part of our trip! We adapted some crazy hours towards the end (I kept saying we were still on Mountain Time…but honestly, it was more like Hawaiian Time!)

Our morning in St. Louis was somewhat controversial.

St. Louis, Missouri is one of our favorite places of all time. You can find out why by reading my post, 5 Reasons To Take Your Kids To St. Louis. Mary Grace and Miller were completely consumed with our itinerary for the West, that they didn’t really know a lot of details about the other parts.

Naturally, when they realized we were stopping in St. Louis they REALLY wanted to do all of their favorite activities (City Museum, The Zoo, riding up in the arch.) And, unfortunately, I didn’t book time to do any of those things!

We compromised (sort of) and made a quick stop at the arch to get our Passport To Your National Parks Book stamped. And, of course, we took a few pictures!

We spent our afternoon driving to Little Rock, Arkansas. Crossing the border into Arkansas was significant because it was our last new state of the trip.

That officially makes 42 states for the kiddos (and 44 for myself and Brent!)

In Little Rock we met some friends for dinner and then caught the sunset from The Big Dam Bridge. And yes, that’s really the official name of the bridge!

Falling asleep in Arkansas was tough. I think it hit me that our amazing journey was quickly coming to an end! We definitely made memories to last a lifetime…but they left us wanting more!

If you’ve missed any of my travel journals, you can catch up using these links: Getting Underway; Texas; Oklahoma; Albuquerque, New Mexico; The Southwest; Two of My Favorite Cities; Wyoming; South Dakota.

Stay tuned for the LAST Travel Journal from this trip…

Meanwhile, you might enjoy reading:

Top Travel Products To Buy On Amazon

Midnight Mishaps And Other Vacation Misadventures

Montreal For Kids (Why I DON’T Recommend It!)

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