After a near perfect first day on the road, I went to bed optimistic that our cross country road trip to California would truly become the best trip ever. I should have realized that it was a bit early to be that hopeful.
I awoke the next morning to three kids with one thing on their mind; California. And they didn’t care how touching the memorial, how cool the roadside attraction, or how much their bellies were grumbling, they wanted to run their feet through the golden sand on Venice Beach and they wanted to be there at that very moment.
My husband and I had no intention of committing to a 22- hour drive despite the protests from the backseats that road trips were really a legal way for parents’ to torture their offspring. Yeah, it was shaping up to be THAT kind of crappy day.
A stop at the Oklahoma City National Memorial diverted their attention as we quickly slid out of the Suburban and went our separate ways.
Lunch consisted of lunch fixins’ I picked up at Walmart as my guys tried unsuccessfully to find Redbox movies to rent. We devoured our lunch meat sandwiches in the parking lot as we sipped on Pepsi from our Tervis tumblers.
Refueled and refreshed, we pulled back on I-40 and forged our way towards the Lone Star State. We hadn’t gone far when my husband’s stomach began to rumble. I probably don’t need to tell you that is not the sensation you want to feel in the pit of your stomach when you’re on a long road trip. Or any road trip. After a quick stop at a gas station, followed by an almost immediate stop at McDonald’s where we were clearly the outsiders in town, I knew this pattern could not continue. I ran into Walgreen’s to purchase some Pepto Bismal.
Our unexpected break had done nothing to improve the atmosphere in the vehicle. I began to have visions of turning back towards home, but was not going to be defeated. The kids’ moods brightened as we made a quick hop off the highway to see the Conoco gas station in Shamrock, Texas. The building that is featured in Disney’s Cars movie and they briefly reminisced about their younger days, and their fascination with Lightening McQueen and Tow Mater.
The lighter mood didn’t last long, as once again, my husband’s stomach began to rumble, causing us to pull over at a rest area for a much needed break.
My kids took their time reading the interactive displays inside and I admit, on this stop, I was ready to go before they were. I stepped outside to shoot a few photos and they picked me up when they were finished.
Back on the road, I set my sights on Groom, Texas which held two treasures that I really wanted to see; the Leaning Water Tower and the Giant Cross.
It was here that the temperature in the vehicle heated up as the squabbling turned ugly and my family divided in two camps. Those who wanted to stop at the Giant Cross and those who wanted to kill those who wanted to stop at the Giant Cross. Once we stepped out of the vehicle, and began to view the displays at the base of the cross, that anger subsided. It’s hard to hold a grudge when you’re standing in the shadow of the cross. We silently slid back in our seats and continued our journey contemplating what we had seen.
To my disappointment, we bypassed the Big Texan, where I had planned to stop for dinner. My husband’s stomach had finally settled, but he wasn’t ready to test it with a 72- ounce steak. We made our way down the highway and left our mark at the Cadillac Ranch. If you read that post, you’ll know that things didn’t go as I had planned at this stop either. I was beginning to see a pattern emerge.
It was at that point my husband decided we needed to get this road trip over as soon as possible. We drove for hours without stopping, until we desperately needed to get out of the vehicle to stretch our legs.
We finally stopped at Denny’s to grab a bite to eat and drove all the way to Albuquerque, New Mexico before calling it a night. I slumped into the bed at the Fairfield Inn & Suites, eager to curl up against my husband and fall fast to sleep. Instead, we slept in separate beds, he with one of our sons, me with our daughter because our other teen refused to share a bed with his brother, a trend that would continue for the next eight days.
What challenges have you faced on a road trip?
Day Two Expenses:
Gas/Toll Charges/Parking Fees: $138. 41
Lodging: $23. 01 (minus a $100 Gift Card that I’d saved for this occasion)
Misc.: $5.02 (Pepto Bismal)
Total miles traveled: 664