Day 5: the sound of Silence. If you can believe it, everyone slept most of the afternoon. Seriously—well except for me. I drove. But I drove like a madman out of Albuquerque east through Texas foothills to the plains of Oklahoma. We’d hatched a plan: wear them out, put them in the car, drive until there’s a fair amount of screaming. Finally by day 5 it worked.
Why is it the days that are suppose to start off simple never are? The day before a bag of coffee exploded open behind the kids seats in the car. As a result the car smelled like a mellow blend of Kona roast, which while pleasant, still needed to be vacuumed up. I figured I could go to any gas station in Albuquerque and use their vacuum to clean it up. WRONG! I checked out 4 gas stations and no one had a vacuum anymore. When did this happen? Are gas station vacuums used to make crystal meth or something? I finally drove a few miles down the road to a car wash to pay all my quarters for 5 minutes of vacuuming. I also had to get some milk for my older daughter’s cereal.
Now I’m no genius, but you’d think a Circle K would have milk. WRONG! While they might have 87 flavors for your e-cigarette, they don’t carry milk. How does a Circle K not have a couple of pints of milk?!?! I ended up going to a Whole Foods and paying a lot more than I should. Oh well…the four year old was happy. I got back to the hotel and opted to run outside, knowing my calf still was tight. I managed a meager 3.5 miles again. It hurt but I did it. I high fived with my wife who went on her own 30 minute run. Next it was time to wear out the girls at the pool and then hit the road for Oklahoma shortly after noon.
There wasn’t much in the way of philosophical discussions with the 4 year old enroute to Oklahoma. Mostly I looked at the vast terrain. And then we got to Amarillo, Texas and things got big…really big…and there were Cadillacs too.
If you ever swing through Amarillo TX stop in off I-40 at the Cadillac Ranch and see the 10 Cadillacs planted in the ground in the 1960s. The thing to do is check them out and graffiti them some. You’ll find cans of spray paint littering the sight and you can drop your sign on one of the Caddies. Naturally I taught my daughter the art of graffiti on a couple of the Caddies. How could I not?
And oh yes, I tried more beers at that all American of establishments: the Big Texan (with its infamous 72 oz steak deal!). And we sat in the world’s largest rocking chair!
Here’s the rundown:
Total distance: 431 miles
Total time: 9 hours
Pit stops: 5
Infant meltdowns: 3
Toddler meltdowns: 0 (seriously, I thought she was sick or something—turns out she was just “being cool Daddy”)
# of times the Lion King soundtrack played: 8 (Dad sing-a-long failed)
# of Cadillacs half buried in an Amarillo farm field: 10
# of cans of spray paint required by the 4 year old to try and draw a smiley face: 8 (to be honest most were empty)
# of band aids required by my 4 year old to cover her quarter inch scratch: 4 (it’s healing apparently)
# of bottles of wine consumed: 0.5 (it was late…we were tired)
# of times I nearly lost my sanity: 0.5 (when I’m driving and everyone’s asleep, I’ve found my zen)
As I mentioned we also went to the Big Texan Steak Ranch in Amarillo for dinner. Its claim to fame is that it has a 72oz steak that if you can eat in an hour it’s free (there are billboards in like 8 states advertising this).
They don’t tell you that you have to eat the salad, baked potato and a couple of other things with it. Real Man vs Food stuff. I went to the brewery instead and had a tasty Pecan Porter. Again, I was in my happy place.
We drove on tempting the gods of fate with our kids and the pup, but finally made it to Elk City, Oklahoma around 9pm. I wish there was more to tell, but there just wasn’t. We’re were in the endgame now; next we were on to Arkansas! There may be a light at the end of the tunnel after all (and it’s not an oncoming train)!!!