Sunday, July 24, 2016

2016 Roadie Awards, Vol. 2

Okay, I lied.  The next stop was not actually Buc-ee's, it was 1984.  As we headed out of Dallas and north to Oklahoma, we first had a mystery to investigate.  Jacob lived in Irving, TX until he was 8 years old and we decided to go by his old house in search of a priceless artifact.  

Here is the old house!

The kids and I waited in the car while Jacob went to knock on the door and announce ourselves. After no answer and then seeing a sign that said something like this,

My kind of guy!

Jacob stealthily went to the right side of the garage and began quickly moving some junk behind the big crape myrtle tree.  After a few minutes he came back with these pictures:

Which totally qualifies him for the Best Impersonation of a low level Indiana Jones award.  Cement, why's it always gotta be cement?

Back in 1984 his dad made a cement slab and had all the kids put their hand prints in it.  And it was still there!  Yes, we definitely thought about taking it, however, it was cemented to the actual driveway and probably could not be removed without some sort of pocket jackhammer.  And we left that in Lakeland (dangit!) so we snapped the pics and said goodbye.  That was probably one of the coolest moments of the entire trip.  Yay, nostalgia!

The other sight I got to see in Irving besides Jacob's house, school, and creek behind his house was "Safety Town."  This was a miniature town that was set up as a place where kids could ride their bikes and learn the rules of the road.  Yep, that was still there too. 750,000 bonus points to Irving for not changing a bit in 22 years.  

Okay, now it was time for Buc-ee's!  Pronounced "Shuh-chef-ski." 

Buckey's is a chain of super ultra mega huge gas stations that also double as a convenience store, car wash, deli, home goods, honky tonk, feed store, gun shop, used car, beer, bait, BBQ, barbershop, tractor parts, eight tracks, trampolines, tux rentals, grocery, video, post office, taxidermy, and laundromat. Seriously, I think I could have signed up for a Tae Kwon Do class in there. Never seen anything like it.  

This one's for you, Melinda!

Uncle Mark told us to make sure we had some of these bad boys while we were there and I am pretty sure it only took about 5 miles to make this bag disappear.  

Like a pancake flavored Cheeto

After only a wussie 2 hour drive we made our way in to Ada, OK.

We almost turned right, but that road was to Roff.  Get it? To Roff?  Hahahahaha, I kill me.

Best way to announce yourself as a house guest: Luke! For throwing up in Uncle Kurt and Aunt Lori's driveway just moments after we arrived there.  Yes, Jacob got out of the car with Cindy, rang the doorbell, greeted Lori with great enthusiasm and then they all came out to see why we hadn't made it to the door.  Guess Jacob's Formula 1 driving was a little too much for Luke.  

Best Identical Twin that Looks like Karl: Kurt!  There was some really stiff competition this year, but he squeaked out the win. 

Dad, is that you?

I have said this about our trip already to those of you I have talked to, but the trip really kept getting better and better and better as the days went on. And proof of this fact is that after all the fun we had in Dallas (which was A LOT), we arrived in Ada and realized that Lori had two horses. And chickens.  AND they had a dog.  And Cindy and Luke didn't remember our names after learning that.  

Cindy and Arrow, sitting in a tree

Of course, any trip to Ada would not be complete without.....

 1. Seeing these signs EVERYWHERE:

(I also win the award for Best involuntary calf muscle flexing while posing in a photo.)

Well, alright, that was actually not involuntary.

2.  Seeing this water tower:

WHICH, I might add is totally famous.  It graced the cover of country superstar Blake Shelton's 2014 album, "Bringing Back the Sunshine."  He's from Ada.  Otherwise that would be kinda weird.  

3.  Hitting up Wintersmith Park...

I will never doubt the selfie stick again

You will notice in the above photo that Cindy was walking Holly, Kurt and Lori's dog.  A dog that couldn't get to the park unless it rode in my car.  I was a little panicked about this, mostly because I am allergic to dogs and the thought of bringing allergies with me all across the country was a little scary, but she was a perfect companion and there were no repercussions afterwards.  Holly gets the award for being the First, and Probably Only Dog to Ever Ride in My Car.  

3.  Seeing one of the "stores" that Nadine and Rufus used to own.

4.  Hanging out with Grandma and looking at Grandpa Rufus' old sports articles:

5. Meeting up with these guys:

Shane and Dianne!!!

Shane and Dianne opened up their real estate office for a big Ada family dinner.  Brisket, watermelon, corn, salad, veggies, beans, strawberry pie and Texas sheet cake.  I died and went to heaven, where oddly enough I was eating more sheet cake.

Jacob got to see his cousins Dan and Scott for the first time in, like, 50 years?

Uncle Kurt then elevated himself to the status of coolest Great Uncle in the world by taking the kids to go buy fireworks.  We then set them off out behind the office by the creek.  Cindy had a nice view from the secret balcony.  

I now present the Smiling for anyone else in the entire world but Mom and Dad Award. Gee, who could the winners be?

But wait, did I mention that before all that happened, we got to check out some of the new "toys" that Shane had lying around at the property?  Well, we did!

Old timey motorcycle

Golf cart on steroids

Beep, beep! No brakes, no insurance!

Except for Luke, we all took a turn driving around.

Luke wasn't that interested in driving anyway, which worked out good for us because we kicked him out to go climb rocks while we really let the good times roll ;)

Best realization of a life-long dream to actually be Cinderella: Cindy! for getting up at 6am and feeding these guys before we headed out of Ada and on to our next stop.  

Breakfast time, everybody up!  Hurry, hurry!

This trip marked the 5th time I had been to Ada with Jacob and all five were awesome trips.  We are treated like royalty every time we visit and we love all the awesome company.  Until November, Ada!

2016 Roadie Awards, Vol. 1

It's here, it's finally here.  Road Trip 2016 recap is hitting the blog! A blog you thought had been abandoned probably, but sadly, no.  Like a 1999 chain letter or the Obama presidency, it simply refuses to die.  This road trip was definitely our most ambitious trip to date; three weeks long with two entire weeks dedicated to driving and sightseeing.  But in the end I think we can all agree that my nine weeks of planning for three weeks of vacationing totally paid off.

And now without further ado, I present....

Best useless way to help us get ready: Luke!  We will pack the car, do the laundry and collect all the snacks. while you set a new record in  Break!

Thanks for nothing

This trip we really tried to repeat the phrase "It's not a race" over and over.  We wanted to have the freedom to take detours if we felt inclined and enjoy the journey and not just the destination.  And I think we did pretty good!  Our first day was long, but manageable.  We left Lakeland at 6am and headed to Jackson, Mississippi.

Somewhere around Gainesville we realized we were going to drive right under a hot air balloon, or as I used to say when I was a little kid, "air hot balloon."  Not a bad picture for being taken through the window!

It was the dawning of the age of Aquarius

And here is Cindy realizing a dream come true by eating one of those French macaron cookies. Nothing says authentic French pastry like a tacky tourist gift shop in southern Alabama, am I right?

It's like a mini chocolate hamburger

Cindy really wanted to take a picture every time we entered a new state.  That only worked about 30% of our trip due to sleeping, forgetfulness and giant semi trucks that blocked our view.

We got you, Mississippi

Our Fairfield Inn in Clinton, Mississippi was just what we needed at the end of day 1.  And so were the Chick-fil-A sandwiches we had after swimming it up in the hotel pool.  

I am going to smile like this the entire trip

However, what we definitely did NOT need was the LOUDEST fire alarm on planet earth that went off in the hotel at 2:30am. I personally lost at least 3 years off my life from that experience and poor Luke probably lost 10.  As an adult, after you get over the initial shock of the noise, all you can think is "I am going to murder whoever pulled that alarm!!"  But to a kid like Luke, all he was thinking was, "Holy crap, where's the fire and are we all going to die!??" In the end it was me, Luke and Cindy huddled on our bed with our fingers in our ears (I will award this as Best family members scared out of their minds while performing in a supporting role), while Jacob calmly put on a shirt and went out to see the very young overnight front desk attendant running around like a crazy person figuring out what to do. Thankfully they didn't make us evacuate the building and we all went back to bed without too much trouble.  And let's look on the bright side, shall we?  I now have something to be afraid of every night from now on for the rest of my life.

Best totally unplanned road side stop:  Duck Dynasty Headquarters, West Monroe, Louisiana!

Day 2 was a rather short drive over to Dallas, TX to stay the night with Jacob's Uncle Mark and Aunt Melinda.  As we made our way through Louisiana, we saw a sign for "Willie's Diner." "Willie" being Willie Robertson from the show Duck Dynasty.  This of course jogged our memories and had us Googling just how close we were from DD HQ.  Turns out we were just minutes from the exit!  We didn't tell the kids where we were going and decided to let them figure out it for themselves.  Since they have seen every episode available on Amazon Prime at least twice, they had no trouble recognizing where we were.

Remember the episode where they made the giant duck call?  

Remember the episode where they flooded the loading dock and filled it with ducks?

Remember the episode where my kids came and smashed a Duck Dynasty penny?

Remember the episode where I was standing in line to buy Duck Dynasty postcards for my dad and then all the registers broke down and I had to leave empty handed?  Seriously, it happened.  I failed you, father.  

Notice anything missing here, Willie and Jace??

Best Enthusiasm for seeing more temples: Cindy! She expressed it as, "Are we seriously still doing this again?" Heck yes we are!  Don't be fooled. Her lips say no, but her eyes say 'read my lips.' 

Even though the Dallas temple grounds were under some minor construction and it was hotter than the surface of the sun, we still enjoyed walking around and making a stop there before heading to our final destination.

If there is one thing I learned during this trip is that Jacob has some truly awesome relatives.  Uncle Mark and Aunt Melinda treated us like kings while we were in Dallas and my kids were definitely not in any sort of hurry to head out.  Utah? What's Utah?

Wanna go to the most ridiculously fun game center and play games for hours and hours?  Sure!

Wanna drive my new Mercedes convertible?  Umm, is this a trick question?

I know what I want for my birthday now

Wanna watch the Lego Movie on the big screen?  

Everything IS awesome in Dallas!

Wanna go out to eat AND go on a dessert adventure?  Si Senor!  This was the chocolate pinata Melinda ordered from Julio's Mexican restaurant in Dallas.  

Best use of a giant wood stick to let loose fresh fruit and mini churros: Luke!

 On the count of three, unsheathe your mini churro.  To Mark and Melinda! You guys ROCK :)

Next stop, Buc-ee's!  Be honest, you have no idea what that is or how to say it.  Muhaahahahaha!!