"We said we would cut each other slack," Kelly Clark, 34, said. "And
give each other grace. We were saying that up front, to sorta set the
Steve Clark, 40, drove. He's sadistic that way, he says, and jokes
that he can't sleep when his wife's behind the wheel. On July 30, the
couple flew to St. Louis, Mo., rented a silver Ford Mustang -- no, it
wasn't a convertible, though everybody asks -- and drove through the
Midwest and East Coast, stopping to see 14 different sets of family
members and friends.
"We didn't want to drive from here because it would've taken us three
days to get from here to Texas," Kelly Clark said. "And it was cheaper to
fly to St. Louis and rent a car than it was to drive from home and do
that whole trip."
In Wisconsin, the couple lodged at a relative's bed-and-breakfast on
the lake. They water-skied and canoed, Kelly Clark said, soaking in as
much lakeside peace as they could.
In Kalamazoo, Mich., they stopped at the Boys 16/18 National Tennis
Championships to recruit possible players for UC Irvine's tennis team,
which Steve Clark coaches.
At Niagara Falls, the couple of 11 years enjoyed yet more water and
lodged at another hotel. But for the remainder of the trip, they stayed
with family and friends.
"That's what's important to us and that's why we went," Kelly Clark
said. "And Steve turned 40 on this trip, so we celebrated all along the
way. Every chance we got, we put a candle in something and sang Happy
Birthday with whoever we were with."
Fortunately, there were no flat tires. No engine problems and no
illnesses, either. But Kelly Clark remembers one woman who had hit a hole
in the freeway, wrecked her car and got out to lay in the street until
help came. The Clarks stopped, called 911 and stayed with her until the
"It was scary to realize that coulda been us," Kelly Clark said.
But that incident aside, the view from the car most days was of trees.
Trees on the left, trees on the right, trees in the beginning of the day
and also at the end.
"It's all trees everywhere and they really put the towns far away from
the freeways," Kelly Clark said.
The couple also marveled at how cheap the tolls could be -- the lowest
was 15 cents -- and shocking gas prices around the country. The cheapest
they found was $1.14 in Georgia.
"Everything turned out fabulous," Kelly Clark said. "But the glamour
of the road trip has slightly diminished."
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