Pop tarts for breakfast then we broke down the camp and got on the road by 10:15. It's all interstate driving today, which makes it easier. Plus, it's Memorial Day holiday, so none of the road crews are working on the roads. Only things that is odd is that there are basically no rest areas in the state of Oklahoma. There are several places you can pull over and "rest" with trash cans, but no where to go to the bathroom. Looks like we will be stopping at Walmart, Dairy Queen, or Sonic along the way.
For those of you who haven't seen the minivan, here is what it looks like all loaded down for the trip. The thing on the back is our "saddlebag" or "fanny pack." It's a great way to carry a lot of stuff without having all of the wind resistance of a top carrier. All of the sleeping bags, air mattresses, tent, and pillows are in the fanny pack. All of the clothing bags are in the car, along with the food. So far we've gotten great gas mileage (22-23 mpg), but that will change as we move out of the plain states and into the mountains. This picture was taken in Shawnee, Oklahoma where we stopped at Denny's for lunch. The kids are hoping that we get to the new campsite in Amarillo early enough that they can go swimming before dinner.
We just passed Hinton, OK whose motto is "Crossroads of America with over 65 hotel rooms". Makes you really want to stop and sightsee, right? David has been counting road kill as he has been driving to keep himself entertained. The exchange kids keep trying to get a picture of a smooshed armadillo since they've never seen on (of course live would be better, but we've only seen the roadkill version thus far).
We also passed Stillwater, OK (shout out to George Cline). It's right before Oklahoma City, so I guess it doesn't count as a podunk town out in the middle of nowhere. Oklahoma City has a new bypass around the city which is very nice (much nicer than the non-improved sections of road which seem to be competing with Mississippi). But, the GPS was very confused and thought we were driving off in the middle of nowhere and it kept trying to get us back onto I-40.
Yeah! Only 201 miles to Amarillo! At this rate we should get there by 5:30 and the kids can swim for a hour or so before we head off to the Big Texan Steak Ranch Steakhouse. I thought the kids were adventurous in trying out alligator the other night, but none of them want to try Mountain Oysters (caption on their menu reads "If you think it's seafood, you should order the shrimp"). Daniel would like to try for the 72 oz steak contest (if you can eat it all in one sitting, it's free), but I don't think we are going to gamble with that. I think he'll just have to settle for the 24 oz T-bone!
I must say that even though there are just miles of corn, wheat, and windmills, this state is prettier than Mississippi. At least there are some rolling hills here. Btu, there are a lot of the new wind energy wind turbines here which tells you that is is also fairly windy. I saw one of the old Lindy gas stations for Route 66 off the side of the road, but wasn't quick enough with my camera to get a picture. We also just packed a black billboard with a small yellow smiley face in the middle that said "Shiny, happy billboard". What's that supposed to mean?
So we did eat last night at the Big Texas Ranch Steak restaurant. It was great! Daniel and David had two 8 oz filets (each), Erin had a 12 oz rib eye, I had a 16 oz NY Strip, Jaeyong had an 18 oz rib eye, and Bow had a full rack of pork ribs (she couldn't decide if buffalo counted as beef or not, so she opted for pork). They also have a competition there that if anyone can eat a 72 oz sirloin, 3 fried shrimp, a salad, and a baked potato in an hour, it is free. I wasn't letting the boys try it (you have to sit on a big platform in front of everyone with a timer over your head counting down -- an you pay $72 for the meal if you don't finish), but three guys did attempt it while we were there -- a guy from France, a guy from Russia, and a guy from Kentucky. We didn't stay long enough to see if they finished.
But, we did get to swim in the pool for an hour which was a lot of fun! Our Kamping Kabin (gotta love the KOA with everything spelled with a K) was also really nice.