Trip West 2014: Traveling West

This is a long post, so I don’t blame you if you only look at the pictures and don’t read all the details.

This summer, Tony and I had the chance to go out west. Aunt Jane invited us to the ranch again (thank you!) and I really wanted to visit Jean. I don’t fly and Tony and I looked into taking the train, but the timetable was ridiculous, so I drove (with Mom) and Tony flew out to meet us.

Day 1

I drove the first day – through Virginia, Tennessee, and part of Arkansas (we stopped in Little Rock). I wanted to make good time in those states because I feel like we’ve already seen most of what there is to see between here and there – at least on the interstate. I really wanted to make it further west before we played.

Day 2

The second day, Mom drove through part of Arkansas, Oklahoma, and part of Texas (we stopped in Amarillo). These are some of the highlights:

I was pretty excited that my phone could get the crop dusting plane in the picture.

When we stopped for lunch (Massey’s in Okmulgee, OK – it was good) we noticed just how many bugs we’d splatted. Imagine what the windshield looked like….

Since we’d made it across the Mississippi River (and then some), I was good for stopping. I wanted to do something in Oklahoma, so we stopped at the Route 66 Museum in Clinton, Oklahoma. I thought it was a good place to stop – it wasn’t so big you felt like you had to spend a lot of time there, but it was big enough to feel like I got my money’s worth. They had a smallish room set up for each decade, so if you’re looking for a lot of detailed information about Route 66, I don’t know how satisfied you’ll be, but if you’re looking for a get-out-and-stretch-your-legs stop that isn’t too museum-y, this is a cool place to stop.

We finally made it to Texas! Which was a lot greener than I thought it was going to be.

Day 3

While we were in Texas, we stopped at Palo Duro Canyon.

The prickly pear cactus was in bloom, as were lots of other plants.

This lizard was poking around in the dirt when we saw him. It looks like he was eating some bugs or something (he was poking his tongue at the dirt while I was photographing him).

We were really disappointed to find that one of the trails we chose to walk was closed. Unfortunately, no one mentioned it when we entered the park or at the visitors’ center. We had a nice hike, but we were disappointed we had to stop earlier than we’d planned.

We had lunch at Boot Hill in Vega, Texas. It was really, really good. Even the vegetables were cooked well, and that’s saying something.

The car started acting up when we were in Texas (we suspect it was an O2 sensor), so I was glad we pushed as hard as we did through Tennessee and Arkansas. We stopped at a garage in Tucumcari in the afternoon and they were awesome dealing with me (honest, explaining what was going on and how they reached the conclusions they did, and not at all expensive), but they didn’t have the parts to fix the suspected problem. We thought we might be able to get the parts in Albuquerque, so we kept driving. We didn’t make it a whole lot further before we just called a tow truck (Mom has AAA, so it wasn’t a huge deal, other than the fact that we had to wait a really long time).

Day 4

We had planned to arrive at the ranch on this day, so I was pretty upset to wake up in Albuquerque with a broken car. We took it to another shop to get it checked again and they reached the same conclusion as the first shop did (much more expensive, but they were also willing to talk to me like I knew what I was talking about, which was nice).

We finally made it out of Albuquerque before lunch. I have to say, New Mexico and Arizona are awfully pretty….

We had planned to stop for lunch, but couldn’t find the place, so we pushed hard to reach the ranch before dark. That, at least, was successful.

There are more pictures in the album.

The following are the posts in this series:

  1. Traveling West
  2. Activities at the Ranch
  3. Wildlife at the Ranch
  4. Cowpunchers
  5. Las Vegas with Dad
  6. Jean’s Promotion
  7. Visiting Jean & Family
  8. Return to the Ranch (Friday)
  9. Return to the Ranch (Saturday)
  10. Teturn to the Ranch (Sunday)
  11. Return to the Ranch (Monday)
  12. Nevada and Utah
  13. Utah and Colorado
  14. Colorado, Kansas, Missouri
  15. Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, West Virginia, and Home
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