Our trip to Hilton Head Island once again began at night.. Since we were taking the kids out of school, this trip was going to have even more educational components in it than the last. Although a direct route would have taken us about 24 hours from home, we decided to make “just a few” stops on the way. Our first was to be Hannibal, Missouri – home of Mark Twain and inspiration for the stories of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. Since we knew that nothing there opened until 9am, we didn’t want to get there too early. We left our house at 10pm.
Bret and I took turns driving and we pulled into Hannibal at 7am for breakfast at the Mark Twain diner. After we were done eating, we still had time before we could tour the Mark Twain Cave Complex, so we went to the park and geocached for awhile. It was a welcome relief to stretch legs after being in the car all night.
Finally the caves opened and we were given an amazing tour of the areas written about in Mark Twain’s famous novels. We were enthralled. Even our daughter, who feigned disinterest, found herself smiling from time to time. On the way out, we stopped in the gift shop and found the unabridged edition of Tom Sawyer on cd. The kids had been trying to read it in the car, but the difficult language made it tough. This was the perfect solution – we listened to it for the rest of the trip and enjoyed hearing about all of the places we had just seen and walked through. A very cool way to bring a book alive.
Our next stop was St. Louis and the Arch. Although it was a windy day (while at the top we felt like we were on a rocking ship), the view was truly amazing and the ride up an experience not to be missed. That night, 20 hours after leaving home, we were in bed with the lights out at 7pm, the Arch glowing through our hotel window.