Monday, July 21, 2008

Summer Road Trip '08

We just returned from our super-sized road trip. Our 2, 476 mile road trip from Colorado to Arkansas and back again. It was very fun and we had a great time visiting all of our family, but 43 hours in the car is a long time. After laughing hysterically at some things we experienced on the driving parts of our trip, I started keeping a record of our time on the road. Of course, I kept this list with a blog post in mind, so here it is...the Best and Worst of our Summer Road Trip '08.

Gas Prices
Best: $3.59 in Oklahoma City
Worst: $4.19 in Raton, New Mexico

Gas Station
Best: White Oak Station and Market in Rogers, Arkansas
Worst: Pilot Travel Center in Amarillo, TX (the grossest restroom I've EVER been in)

Meals on the Road
Best: homemade pimento cheese sandwiches, Kettle Chips, and Sweet Leaf tea that we packed
Worst: Braum's in Oklahoma City

Parenting Moments
Best: Laughing with our kids at family jokes
Worst: Trying to coax a very reluctant 6-year-old to use a toilet with automatic flush (she refuses to use one, I think because she's afraid she'll get flushed), and yelling at my 11-year-old for throwing away his sister's untouched milkshake. There's more, but you get the was challenging.
Names of Convenience Stores
Best: I never found a good one
Worst: Pak a Sak, Kum and Go, and my personal favorite, Toot 'n Totum

Animal Sightings
Best: horses, cows, antelope, sheep, goats, deer
Worst: opossum, armadillo, and porcupine (all roadkill)

Stretch of Highway
Best: Flippin, AR to Eureka Springs, AR and Raton, NM to southern Colorado--both were breathtakingly beautiful
Worst: west Texas

Best: the kids and I cranked it every time we heard Bleeding Love by Leona Lewis
Worst: some song by Reba McEntire about "Fancy" and her one chance. Why do you always hear the songs you don't like over and over and over?

Car Snacks
Best: Doritos, Chex mix, Cheez-Its--you know, all those salty snacks that make you retain fluid. Oh, and sugar snap peas because we needed to balance the junk with some veggies. *smile*
Worst: Beef jerky (I hate it, but my kids love it and I buy it for them when we travel).

Friendliest State
Arkansas. Hands down, this was the friendliest place. Every gas station attendant said, Hi, when we walked in. Even the car hop at Sonic (Mountain Home, AR) was super friendly. I bet she talked to us for five minutes when she brought our order out.

Ways to Pass Time in the Car
Best: Reading (Sarah), Brady Bunch dvds (Abbey), Nintendo DS (Will), talking, laughing, finding license plates, eating
Worst: Counting churches and roadside flea markets in rural Arkansas. There are so many that you lose count quickly. If I had a dollar for every church we passed, I'd be one wealthy lady.
Interesting Scenery
Best: The huge windmills in Oklahoma, a hot air balloon, Capulin Volcano National Monument in New Mexico, kudzu covering everything in Arkansas, mountains, and all the TREES everywhere.
Worst: It was all interesting to me.

States we traveled through
New Mexico
(we missed Missouri by about 15 miles)

Oddest Names of Towns We Traveled Through
I should mention that all of these are towns in Arkansas:
Grubbs, Hoxie, Beebe, Bald Knob, Possum Grape, Oil Trough, Social Hill, and War Eagle

Anyway, we're very glad to be home again. I'll bore you post some more details of our trip soon!


Becca~CapturingSimpleJoys said...

That was fun to read! Glad you're home safe and sound and had a good trip.
My kids are afraid of the automatic flush toilets as well. I have to stand in front of them at a certain angle so it won't flush while they're sitting there.
I have to agree. I love going home to Arkansas for all the FRIENDLY people!

Teri H said...

It sounds like you made awesome memories! Welcome back!

Teri H

Leah Belle said...

too bad you didn't have a good experience at Braum's. i always look forward to a burger from braums when we are in that part of the country.

i'm a little jealous that you were in OKC...i haven't been back there in 5+ years.

it was fun to read your best and worst list....great idea!

Kristin said...

What an interesting list! I loved reading it :)

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised your worst meal was from Braum's. I live in OKC and love their burgers and their ice cream is so yummy. The service isn't alway great thought, but you might want to give it another try sometime. Glad you had a great trip, I too love Arkansas and have always enjoyed my trips there.

Joanne : The Simple Wife said...

Great list! So glad you're home. Wanna come up to swim sometime next week?

Amber said...

Glad you guys had a good trip! I know you are soooooo glad to be home. Fun list...why is it that everything odd and funny sounding is always from Arkansas...hmmmm...

Kelly said...

I love this!!! I love that Flippin got a shout out! :-) And yes the people are very friendly in AR - one reason I love it so much - you were for sure back in the Bible belt! :-)

Stephanie Kay said...

Now I'm REALLY homesick!!! I used to drive through Bald Knob every time I went home from OBU. After being in RI for so long, where NO ONE makes eye contact, it's odd for me when we go to AR and random strangers are friendly. = )

Gina said...

Cute post. Sounds like you had fun. The ABSOLUTE worst gas station rest room is in Skykomish, Washington. I think you could catch a heinous disease just by opening the door.

Elizabeth said...

A few thoughts: I think I was in that same White Oak Station and Market in Rogers yesterday and it is lovely, but expensive. I never imagined NWA would have the shopping it has now.
You're right, the back roads surrounding Eureka Springs are so beautiful and fun to drive. I always get a little dizzy, though. We went to Eureka Springs on our honeymoon and I got really sick on those roads. West Texas is so desolate (boring!) but I go because my in-laws live there. It's pretty depressing there. Braum's has yucky food, but their cappuccino chunky chocolate is the best. Glad you had so much fun!

Deidre said...

Love this post. You are very brave to drive that far with three kids. I don't know if I would have the patience. We fly everywhere. I'm sure the memories are priceless, though.

Glad you're back!

Anonymous said...

You didn't really go through Grubbs, Oil Trough and Possum Grape, did you? They're up in my old "stompin' ground."

Jess said...

Too bad we hadn't "met" before or we could have literally met each other...

Glad you had a nice trip.

Have a great week.

Holly said...

Glad you are home safely, Mer!

Raton Pass has you at their mercy, don't they? Not a lot of gas stations around that way.

Did you drive through Toad Suck, AR? That is one of my favorites! They even have a festival!

Lindsay said...

Glad you're home safe and sound. Sorry that you didn't return to Arkadelphia. Hope to be able to visit y'all in CO some time soon.

*carrie* said...


This was so much fun to read--what a great way to record your trip.

Possum Grape?! Wow! I remember Marked Tree, AR, because we got 2 school vans stuck in a muddy field that we *thought* was a parking lot. What a long night. A pick-up full of teenage boys came to help us, and I wish I could remember their names. I was seriously in disbelief at one of them. That all happened on our way to . . . JONESBORO!

Marc and Charity said...

I found that really interesting thanks!!!! Sounds like a fun time!

We are up to $10.25 a gallon here! Not kidding.

Unknown said...

Man, I could kick myself for not emailing you...we should have gotten together for lunch or something while you were soooo close!! I'm sure I would've been close to the Best Lunch! Glad you guys had a great trip...and aren't Arkansas town names a hoot?! How in the world did they come up with Possum Grape?! There's also a Toadsuck, AR...strange!

Regular, with half and half and raw sugar said...

I am SHOCKED your worst meal was at Braums!!! We love that place. Surely you had the icecream and it redeemed it a little??? Wish you could have stopped for coffee! Another time. Glad you had a great trip. Loved your recap.

elaine@bloginmyeye said...

You are DEFINitely a librarian at heart. Missed you!

Jennifer said...

Welcome back! Love the list, great recap!

I have to laugh b/c my daughter is scared of those toilets too! She will basically scream and run out of toilet area! LOL

Unknown said...

Sounds like a blast!

I also have an anti-auto flush girl...

I had totally forgotten about kudzu...that stuff is incredible.

Looking forward to hearing more!

Brenda said...

Welcome home, Meridith. Aren't road trips Fun!
My 7 yr old daughter WILL NOT use a self flusher either. So annoying especially while traveling since I know she has to go. The first time I suggested we pull over so she could go outside she was 2 or 3 and informed us, "I not go peepee owside...dats gwoss!"

We lived in TX for a few years and the only armadillos we ever saw were either in a book or roadkill!
Glad you had a great time!
Brenda :)

Stephanie @ My Answered Prayer said...

I'm surprised Arkadoo wasn't the highest gas...I'd bet it's the highest in Arkansas.

I had a funny experience with L the other day at the movies w/ the automatic toilet. I had to take him in the women's bathroom b/c of the automatic toilets. Then I could see through the cracks that he was not even close to the toilet and he was covering his ears. Finally he went. Have you seen the automatic soap? That was an experience in it self.

Megan O. said...

It was really fun to read your list. It's funny how at the time being in the car as a family for such a long period of time can be the last place you want to be but then one day you look back on it as one of the best experiences of your life.

Barb said...

You've got to be kidding me -- this isn't boring -- it's one of your best posts ever, Mer. What a clever idea, the best and worst of everything on a road trip like this.

I can't imagine that many hours in the car with kids. The most we ever did was two twelve-hour days when we did road trips from St. Louis to Frederick, Colorado.

Which reminds me. Talk about a narrow escape! You missed Missouri by fifteen miles. You don't know how lucky you are - we lived there for four years and let me tell you, they wrote the book on summer heat and humidity. I grew up in what I thought was the hottest, wettest place on earth. Beaumont, TX. St. Louis has it beat by miles! Fifteen miles, to be exact. LOL

GREAT post and it's nice to have you back.

Unknown said...

Welcome back! I loved reading your road trip recap. It brought back lots of great memories of summer vacations as a kid. Thanks for sharing it with us - looking forward to hearing more about the trip!

ExploreColorado said...

Thanks for leaving a comment on my blog. Sounds like you had a wonderful trip.

Kecia said...

I'm glad you enjoyed your visit in Arkansas. You picked a good week to be here, with highs around 90. Temp today: 100. Blech. Just think, when we lived in Idaho, Denver was our half-way point. Yeah. Also...
a. Did you know Fancy's one chance was as a prostitute???
b. Jessica loves beef jerky on trips and I hate the way it stinks up the car. Or is that Mike...
c. I'm FROM Toad Suck, thank you very much. Well, actually Conway, which is between Toad Suck and Pickle's Gap.
Fun reading!

Betsy said...

I've missed you Meredith! I loved this post! That was a great way to review your trip! It sounds like you all had a great time, despite the challenges of traveling with kids and tons of "togetherness" in the car! :)

Glad you're back safely! Welcome home!

Jacquie said...

I loved this post. What a great idea to list your best and worst!!

You came right through FLIPPIN!!! Yay! If I'd known, I would'a stood at the side of the road and held up a sign to welcome y'all!

Glad you had a safe and fun trip.

Rmomof3 said...

Glad you had a good time! So I guess you didn't venture by Kanakuk - since you didn't get into Missouri! ;-) Sounds like you had a blast!
Sweet blessings!

Puva said...

This is a very fun entry!

Moriah @ Please Pass the Salt said...

Yeah, that WAS fun to read! Great idea for a post.

Jenn said...

Fun list - enjoyed reading it! Isn't West Texas the worst to drive through. :o) I had to share with J. of the Convenience store names and crazy town names.

I will email you tomorrow about calling to talk about our trip. I hope that it works for us to meet.

Glad y'all are home safely.

Natalie Witcher said...

I'm glad you waved at me! And I'm sorry your Braums experience was bad. I love their ice cream. you shoulda come to the one closer to me. I'm sure it would have been much better! Glad you're home.!

Diane@Diane's Place said...

Sorry we didn't manage to get together this time when you were in Jonesboro, but maybe we can do it next time you're here.

I was going to mention Toad Suck but several others beat me to it.

I hate the name "Kum and Go" they stuck on those convenience store/gas stations. It's just so suggestive and vulgar-sounding to me!

I love the Ozark Mountains and as you say, the drive from Flippin to Eureka Springs is a breath taking drive any time of year, but especially in the Spring and Fall. Not where I want to be when it's snowy/icy though, and I've had that experience too!

Great post, Mer. Seriously. Looking forward to the next one.

Love and hugs,


Fran said...

Why of course AR was so fabulous!
And I believe that fabulous people come from AR too! ;)

Sounds awesome. Ya'll covered some territory!

Welcome home.

Heather said...

I loved reading about your trip and all the highlights (and low lights!) What happened at Braum's? I love their food and ice cream!
Glad you're back!

Meredith said...

What a trip! Love the list. Glad you made it home safely.