Category Archives: Oklahoma

We Leave At Dawn!

We Leave At Dawn!

Or at least that was the plan!  We went to pick up Jonas from his dad’s and we had to buy breakfast (breakfast burrito’s and a hungry four year old just didn’t work so we had to make a dash to Chick Fila) and finish loading up the luggage when we got back to Grandma’s.  So instead of leaving at 6:00 am Central time we actually left Saginaw at 7:30 ish!

Our route was planned, we had talked to our friends Jim and Connie and they gave us advice on the easiest route to take to Utah with a 4 year old and me!  Straight up through Oklahoma and into Kansas where we made a left and straight through Colorado into Utah before heading up again! We were ready to hit the road!

We cross the Red River on I35 and it has been a while since we have seen that much water in the Red River.  It was pretty red!  The visitors center in Thackerville, OK is a welcome sight.  Jonas gets out and heads for the forest.  He stops suddenly and expresses his fear of zombies and stormadoes.  We need to get out of Oklahoma fast!

Our plan is to make it to Hayes, KS before nightfall.  I have traveling on the interstate through places I have never been before because it is really not fair to judge a state on a drive through.  We have all been to Oklahoma before and we all like different parts of the state.  So driving the interstate makes the trip faster.  We stop Edmond to eat at Cracker Barrel and we enjoy a good lunch that the OP’s would be proud of.

We don’t have many scheduled stops in Oklahoma except for gas and bathroom breaks.  But we do see this in Tonkawa:



Jonas was thankful that we didn’t encounter any storms in Oklahoma but it started raining on us in Kansas.  It’s been a long time since  lunch and not to many roadside attractions to catch our attention and we are hungry so we check on Trip Advisor and decide on Genova Italian Restaurant in the town of Newton, good food and good service made it a good stop.

Amy and Julie are not impressed with Kansas but I have a plan.  A couple of place, where I have always wanted to go but they were never on my route through Kansas.  I was  hoping a detour through Lindsborg would change their mind.

It was beautiful and we enjoyed walking, visiting shops, talking to the local people and looking the the Herd of Wild Dala horses.  Jonas had a couple of favorites. We all want to come back and stay in this town a few days.

Jonas and his horse!


We take a scenic byway to our next stop, Mushroom Rock State Park, I mean, how can you pass that up? We learn that it is the smallest state park in Kansas and one of the eight wonders of Kansas Geography (Katy and I have already seen the Monument Rocks – the Chalk Pyramids but for some reason it didn’t make the list).  You have to go down a gravel road to get there but I think it was worth the stop!

Mushroom Rock

We finally make it to Hays, Kansas!  We are ready to be out of the truck and car!  Tomorrow we are headed to Denver.

Trains, Planes and Automobiles to OKC

Trains, Planes and Automobiles to OKC

People were amazed when I told them about our sibling train ride to OKC. Here are the most common questions.

Did you go with all your siblings? Nope. Just three of them.

How much did it cost to ride the train? $60 per person RT from Fort Worth to Oklahoma City.

How long did it take? It was supposed to be 4 hours but those damn freight trains made it 5 hours.

Wouldn’t it have been cheaper to drive? Absolutely!

This trip was a trial run to see if we would enjoy the experience of train travel. Here we were riding a train, 4 siblings and two children, a multi generational experience, ranging in age from 11 to 64. I loved it. You could talk, nap, walk around and you had a lot more leg room.

Here is the Red River indicating that we are entering Texas!


Let’s go again!


Oklahoma Thunder!

Oklahoma Thunder!
Oklahoma Thunder!

The thunder rumbles and wakes me in the night along with brief flashes of lightning! I am eager to start the day so I hit the shower and head down to breakfast, after waking Theresa up of course! Julie’s teeth are chattering so I turn the air conditioner up 10 degrees.

It is still raining and looks like it will for a couple of hours. So we start the morning with a walk in the rain to the Banjo Museum. The hotel loaned us umbrellas and we stroll the three blocks “Singing in the Rain” only to find that the museum is not open! Back to the hotel. We had originally planned to spend the morning in Bricktown but the rain put a damper on those plans. We decided to rent a car and hit the road, Route 66 to be exact.

First stop the giant Braum’s milk bottle.


I love yard art and on our way we happen to see a unique mailbox, it was worth turning around for. They had some other pieces of art as well on Portland street?


As the rain stops, so do we for a quick photo op in front of a dentist office!


Riley and I are getting hungry but we still have two more stops before lunch. When I first asked the crew about stopping to see the Miss Americas, Greg was the only one who really seemed interested but to my surprise Theresa was so excited when she saw the statue of Jane Jayroe!


We drive by the state Capitol and it is pretty hectic so we park in the 15 minute section.




Lunch Time!!! We check out Trip Advisor and decide to check out the #1 spot, Nic’s Grill, but the line is waaaayyy to long so we head over to The Mule. We have about a 20 minute wait but since they are technology friendly they send us a text when our table is ready. This gives us a great opportunity to explore the nearby shops, one particularly grabs our attention but more about that later. We settle in at The Mule, Gary warmed up a barstool as he sampled the beer,

and all I can say is the sandwich selections are unique. Julie and Greg decide on the macaroni pony: Jalapeño Cornbread, Chipotle BBQ Pulled Pork, 3 Cheese Mac and Cheese, Pickle. I tried a taste and it was amazing. We also ordered fried cheese curds and they were delicious! Next stop: Pie Junkie


We get a variety pack to take back to the hotel! We are meeting up with Reatha! Back at the hotel Gary and Riley go for a swim while Greg, Theresa and I start a Gatlin Brothers singing marathon! Pie time with a choice of Drunken Turtle, Coconut Cream and French Silk! It was good pie.

Gary and Riley arrive back in the room with Reatha. After consuming the pie we go to the American Banjo Museum just a few blocks from the hotel.



The Oklahoma City Memorial is an example of beauty and peace, a wonderful memorial.





We get back to the hotel to rest before the ball game.


We can’t talk Reatha into going to the ball game so we say goodbye. The OKC Redhawks
are playing the New Orleans Zephyrs and we have seats right behind home plate!



All Aboard!!!

All Aboard!!!
All Aboard!!!

Oklahoma City here we come! We loaded up on the Amtrak and we are headed North! This time our oldest sibling has joined us. Nothing like a little family time on the train! We packed a sack lunch and picnicked on the train. It kind of reminds me of picnics with Dad back in the day.

We depart from Fort Worth on the Heartland Flyer to Oklahoma City.




We recline and watch the countryside roll by! The conductor keeps us posted on what is going on with the starts and stops. Evidently on this line the freight trains get priority so we have to let them pass first. We make stops to board and unboard passengers, the conductor apologizes several times for the delay before we arrive at our destination an hour late!

Th OKC train depot is jus a few blocks to our hotel and we enjoy the walk into Bricktown. We reach our hotel, The Hampton Inn and settle in for the night.