Spring Vacation – Day One


Spring road trip 2011

One of the things love most about my husband is a healthy sense of adventure.  One of the ways this manifests itself is that at least once a year we take a road trip. Note I didn’t say plan a road trip.  We pick an end destination, figure out how long it would take normal people to get there – I.e. People who actually care if they reach the final destination or not, and double the time it would take them to get there.  Then we pull together a travel kit of comfortable clothes, a few snacks, and the first aid kit to prove we are responsible and head out.  This year our destination was a small town near Durango, CO with a planned stop in Farmington, NM.

After a flurry of last minute packing and instructions to the people caring for our menagerie at home, we tucked ourselves into bed with the intention of getting up super early and beating the morning traffic.  The third time I hit the snooze alarm I finally extracted myself from a dream state enough to remember why I had been silly enough to set it in the first place.   Only an hour later than we had intended to leave, we topped off the gas tank, pointed the GPS toward Taos, NM which seemed reasonably close to Farmington, and headed onto the open road.

Our first stop on these adventures is usually breakfast and of course coffee for me. (My husband manages to function reasonably well without coffee which is, as far as I am concerned one of the great mysteries of the universe.)  We picked Whataburger this morning since road trips always require something that is decadent and off diet to start out with so you are in the proper mood.

After creeping along with traffic for an hour to get out of the Dallas area, accompanied by much muttering under the breath and grumping about the misty, rainy weather on the part of my husband, however we played our favorite game on the road – creating dialogue for other drivers. We usually get a lot of confused looks as we do this since we often get into character with odd facial expressions and gestures.  We made it as far as a Love’s truck stop about two hours north of Dallas where we stopped for “supplies” and a quick bathroom break. Supplies this time were in the form of trail mix (for me) and beef jerky (for him). The first serious stop was in Childers, TX where we found what looked like a small little antiques shop. Inside however, it was like falling into the Rabbit Hole – filled with all sorts of odds and ends, and using TARDIS technology to expand it 3 or 4 times to the exterior size. The clerk was delighted to see us (she told us so very effluently).  It was a little over priced however for our budget and we didn’t really recommend it since many things there were billed as antiques but were in fact reproductions. We escaped with a small candle.

The real treasure in Childress however was a half mile down the road in the form of the 501 winery.  Just three blocks off the highway, the 501 winery was quite a treat.  We sampled 8 different wines, all from Texas wineries in the Wichita Falls area.  Ranging from a sweet Muscat to a cabernet dry enough to pucker for, the wines were excellent.  We ended up taking 3 – a Riesling, a rose and their own bottling of a petite syrah that is definitely worth of a special occasion.  If you are in the area, it is definitely worth a stop.

Our next stop was a serious contrast -we stopped at the Bobcat Den for lunch.  We always try to find as many locally owned places as possible when we travel.  This place was a shrine to the local high school- whose mascot is *Drum roll* the Bobcat. The inside was decorated so fully with the school football, baseball and cheerleading uniforms it was actually initially confusing to find the counter to place our orders. While we waited for our food, we chatted with the locals about the wildfires that are plaguing the area, In Wichita County alone, there have been almost 12,000 acres burned.

Further down the road we discovered fields covered with what looked like snow – turned out this was the left over from the cotton harvest.  I personally had never seen cotton growing, and we actually pulled off to the side of the road to gather some up – it is amazingly soft, I was really impressed!

There isn’t really much else going on in this part of the world, great expanses of open space and quiet. Even the radio seemed to be fading, so we rode most of the way just watching the road go by.

About half way between Amarillo and Santa Rosa, and pretty much right in the middle of nowhere, we discovered a family by the side of the road staring glumly at a blown out tire. Overcoming the flashes of horror movies in our head we stopped and offered to help. Turned out they just needed a tire iron, to change the tire and get them to where they needed to go.  We didn’t have the right size so we drove up to the next intersection (about 20 miles) and back to pick one up.   We didn’t mind the detour since we were pretty much floating anyway, and ended up stopping an hour later for the night in Santa Rosa.  Along the way we recited much of the movie Cars to each other, and just because of that, stopped at the ‘Route 66 Diner” and watched for Tow-Mater and Lighting McQueen to come by.

Thus ends day one of the road trip – Our travel time was about 12 hours. The GPS thought it should have taken us 8.  I will be posting the remaining days as I get my notes sorted out.

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