Mt Vernon, Illinois. Center of the Universe.

Well, I guess it's the center of the universe of your universe is southern Illinois. If not, it's sort of just a wide spot in the road.

Around noon today I made a run to the airport to pick up a rental van that I'd pricelined. With a little deft negotiation (always bring a cute kid to the counter) I managed to upgrade for the price of a couple of pizzas. Major upgrade. Major Mondo Upgrad. Like, Uber-Upgrade to one of these bad boys.

I didn't quite realize how big it was until I found myself thinking I ought to stop at all railroad crossings. The third row seat is in a different zip code than the front, and no ten Herfords has ever sported more leather. It's a bit of a beast around town but it's a dream on the highway. We quickly adjusted to the ride height (about 30,000 feet) as we looked down on all traffic. Yes, we see you in that little Jeep. And we laugh. Ha! You there, in the Hummer H2. You are driving a mere roller skate! We are on an excursion. In an Excursion. We excurde.

We didn't leave town 'till around 6 pm, as Grayson was doing his best John Hancock at school...and a stellar job, might I add.

I drove to St. Louis and handed off to Miss Kelsey, who kept herself alert by binge-listening to back editions of Nightline podcasts.

We are now holed up in a hotel and will finish the run to East Tennessee tomorrow, down through Nashville and hanging a left to Johnson City. See you soon!

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