Monday, June 6, 2011

Relocation Road Trip : Fort Worth to Amarillo : Day One

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Got to start the travel section with a road trip. It all started when we relocated from Fort Worth, Texas to the southern Seattle metro area of Washington. If we had to drive half-way across the country, in a VW 2-door Golf, with a 7 year-old kid, we were gonna make use of it. No Way I am gonna be forced to sit in a car for 6 days through the desert only to stop for gas, potty breaks and hotel sleep! That would make me a VERY GRUMPY LADY! So, I designed a tour with suggestions from the hubby and kid.
Hubby says Yellowstone and no boring roads. Kid says Mt Rushmore and Ifel Tower. After a geography lesson, and a study of maps, she still insists on both locales but settles with the reasonable option of leaving the Tower for another time. Being that Yellowstone roads were still under winter closures, we went with Mt Rushmore.

I managed to only extend the trip and extra day, still remain within budget, and get us there without having to take vacation time. Packed up the little golf to the brim with travel supplies (and some more items to get us through 3 weeks till our house contents arrive) and the 3 of us, we left on our adventure. Here is how it went.

The plan: 
  • Pack car snacks to save money and be able to "indulge" once a day.
    • flavored mini shredded wheat cereal for munching - it's big enough to grab, filling with fiber and nutrients, frosted in a variety of flavors, no milk needed.
    • peanut butter - no refrigeration needed since we went with the non-natural this time.
    • your favorite buttery crackers for the peanut butter
    • loaf of bread for PBJ
    • snack bars ie. nature valley, oatmeal, nutty cookies
    • small lunch cooler with leak-proof lining
      • cheese sticks, jelly, pre-cut broccoli and carrots, small ranch dressing for the veggies
      • use the ice from the hotels to keep things cool. bonus if they have a minifridge.
  • pack accesories
    • roll of paper towels with a rubber band for keeping it together, antibacterial wet wipesWet Ones Antibacterial Moist Towelettes, 5 inches x 7-1/2 inches, - you will need them!, roll of toilet paper - you'll need that to!
    • robust plastic forks knives and spoons (we brought a bout 3 each and washed them at rest stops and hotels)
    • plastic bags for trash etc..
    • a towel (comes in handy for rainy days and other things- make sure its not one you want to keep).
    • coloring book, homework and car games for kids, music for driver, movies and portable video games are a great rescue for kiddos boredom or when adults are tires of playing car games :-)  
    • any other items like bug repellent, sunscreen, hiking gear, first aid kitsAcme United Personal Protection First Aid Clean-Up Kit in Plastic Case etc

Day one Sunday:

Leave Fort Worth after breakfast at home. Drive through Wichita Falls and stop at a really cool TXDOT  Safety Rest Area just past Vernon. Equipped with little "museum", fenced playground, covered tables, clean restrooms, and benches by a little pond to watch the red-winged blackbirds sing. Here we play and eat lunch out of our supplies. 

Keep on driving west toward I-27 and go north to Palo Duro Canyon State Park (fee). Visit the Visitor Center and see the exhibits. Then, drive the roads and stop to get photos and get up close to the formations. Don't pass up an opportunity to see this "painted desert" of Texas.

 Drive up to Amarillo, eat at the Big Texan Steak House (because it's a big tourist site, and they have decent food at a decent price). Their fudge is so good. Steaks were cooked to order, Waitress payed attention to details. We stayed at Hampton Inn Amarillo East (we are HiltonHonors members) for a clean, comfortable room.

Mileage: just over 400
Expenses for day 1 were: $250  ($10 - canyon, $110 hotel, $15 car food, $70 gas, $45 dining)

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