Friday, July 06, 2018

Day 2: West Across Texas

Today was another long haul day and it felt like it. It was interminable. We started in Bossier City, Louisiana, near Shreveport and the Texas state line, and ended the day in the Texas panhandle city of Amarillo. There was a significant landscape change from wet and wooded to rolling hills to dry flat plains, but it was very gradual. Here's how we managed 10 hours in the car with kids without much to look at and no screens for the kids.


Long Haul Day #2: Going West Across Texas
Today was pretty boring, y’all. I admit it. When we stopped for a caffeine hit in Wichita Falls, TX, I felt like we had been driving forever, but a check of the google showed we still had 3.5 hours of driving to go. Honestly, I checked it twice. I was sure that was wrong. There were some rough patches in the car, but we stuck to the no electronics rule. There was more listening to Harry Potter and we made heavy use of all 6, yes SIX, Brainquest decks I brought with us. Cori loved the Cootie Catcher Maker book I bought last minute at Barnes & Noble. Making and playing with those things ate up a good 2 hours. I guess that’s a thing for 9-year-olds?
Making Cootie Catchers during our picnic break. 
Grasping at Straws of Interest
There were some interesting moments. At one rest area there was a typical sign for a pet relief area and then a second marked “livestock area.” Do livestock going to the slaughterhouses get to stretch their legs on the way there? The bathroom at another rest stop had a huge custom tile mural in the shape of Texas with the flag colors, even though it only had one working toilet and the water fountains only put out hot water. Then there were all the "big" things -- decorations -- in parking lots and on fences along the road: big shoes, big roosters, big horses, big hats. In my experience this is quintessential Texas, everything is big and if they can make it into the shape of the state, they will.

The well decorated, but functionally deficient Texas rest stop bathroom.
Just your regular old hotel breakfast option.

Seen at a gas station in west Texas.

100th Meridian
We also did our best to stop at the 100th Meridian to pay homage. There was some driving in reverse on the shoulder of the highway involved in getting there. These kinds of things should really be signed. We did the same thing nearly 30 years ago on our family’s original epic western road trip, though that time we didn’t have the benefit of GPS or Google Earth. Back then, I found it highly embarrassing to be standing on the side of the road, my Dad laden with one of those gigantic camcorders of the late 80s, while my mom narrated so she could use the footage in a lesson for her geography students. I nixed getting out of the car this time, but here’s the photo I snapped from the van. Impressive, eh?

The 100th Meridian-ish.
In case you didn't make it to the end of yesterday's post, the 100th meridian is the line of longitude that roughly marks  "the climatic boundary between the United States’ humid East and arid West." though that boundary is moving east of the 100th parallel due to climate change. So, we are, now, really in the American West.

Eating on the Road
I’ll end this post with more on the logistics of this trip. I was not looking forward to eating in restaurants, particularly the ones that typically line every highway exit in America, for 28 straight days. So, we decided to picnic and cook & eat in our hotel room as much as possible. To facilitate this we bought a plug-in cooler and an Instant Pot. I have eschewed this Instant Pot craze up until now, but a few people suggested it would work for us while traveling and it has for the past two nights. It does cook really fast and the food is pretty good, certainly better than Applebees anyway. The bonus for us is that the kids are free to run around, play in the pool etc... They aren’t cooped up in a restaurant and we aren’t admonishing them to sit down, be quiet and behave.

Hotel eating at its finest: Instant Pot Chili

Proving we ate in the room. Note the wet hair from the pool.


« Yesterday: Day 1: Pensacola to Shreveport - Tomorrow: Day 3, Stay Tuned »

All Posts From Our Great American Western Road Trip: Summer 2018

All Trips From Our Assignment to Nicosia, Cyprus

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