We are on a 2-month cross-country road trip! We are driving an entirely inefficient but fantastic route zig-zagging across the US from Los Angeles to Florida, visiting friends and family (and all their pets) everywhere from Denver to Texas to the Midwest to New England.
We already needed to alter the beginning of the road trip plan because of a cat-tastrophe. Jyn’s three cats were supposed to have new homes for the duration of our trip, but unfortunately, both Plan A and Plan B fell apart at the last minute. This led us to the more extreme Plan C. Since there were no options for two of the cats to remain in LA, they had to be moved to Denver. If you have ever moved cats, you know it is pretty terrible for everyone involved, including the cats. In order to minimize the stress on the cats, we made them a comfy carrier (nicknamed “Ritz-Cratelton”), had their vet give them a stress reducing medication, and decided to get them to Denver as fast as possible… in my car. For about ~18 blissful hours, we chauffeured them to their loving long-term temporary home. We are glad that issue is finally resolved… So we think.
In Denver, we stayed with a friend who has four chickens, a small bird, two dogs (one of them loves vegetables directly from the garden), a turtle, and bees. Truly a friendly homestead. Seeing chickens wander into the kitchen is an unusual but enjoyable experience. Outside of the house, we went to downtown Denver to see the walls filled with colorful murals, ate at Beatrice and Woodsley (wow, delicious crawfish beignets and unique atmosphere!), went to the gym, danced at the Mambomania Anniversary Social (Cherry Creek Dance Center), and browsed a yarn store (Fancy Tiger). We spent time with Jyn’s mother and brother, had tea at the Dushanbe Tea House in Boulder, took the tour of the Celestial Seasonings production facility (a must do), saw prairie dogs, and walked the downtown area.
After a recuperative stay in Colorado, our next destination was Oklahoma, but we had a couple of stops to make along the way. We left Denver and headed to Cawker City, Kansas, to see the Largest Ball of Twine. Since we knit, we had to stop there to see the distant cousin of yarn. Six hours later, we were there and it was massive. Over 20,000 pounds of twine! You might recognize it from the movie Michael. A quick hug and sniff, and off we went.
Our next destination was Lucas, Kansas, to see The World’s Largest Collection of the Smallest Versions of the World’s Largest Things. For example, a replica of the largest ball of twine that is the size of a marble and a buffalo that’s the size of a thumb nail. Unfortunately, we could not get in to see the entire collection, just a few items in the window. The shop was closed and a sign informed us that it would only be open “by chance or appointment.” We tried to call, but there’s no cell service in that area. Alas… We did find a silver lining though. A talkative lady from the art gallery across the street mentioned that we must see the $65,000 bathroom that was created by an artist. Unsure what to expect, we walked a few buildings over and sure enough, there it was. A building with a front yard designed to replicate a cement toilet bowl and a path into a giant glass mosaic toilet seat. Adjacent to the building is a short walkway to a huge cement roll of toilet paper. Inside, the mosaic continued. Surprisingly, the bathroom was very clean. It seemed like a good to time go… and then leave for our final location of the day: Lawton, Oklahoma (another 6.5 hours away).
After a warm Lawton welcome, a good night’s rest, fun conversations, and an entire pot of crab soup, we were ready to go to Dallas, Texas. On our way to Dallas, we realized that we have the most friends in Texas (outside of Los Angeles and Florida). In Dallas, we met up with one of my fraternity brothers and his family. The next morning, we ran to the gym at 5am and lifted as we did in our college days. Afterwards, Jyn and I took a free trolley downtown and rode Lime scooters to get familiar with the area. Jyn may have enjoyed that experience more in retrospect, after she knew that she survived the divots in the roads, crazy drivers, and operating the scooter. A bubble tea turned that frown upside down.
In Los Angeles, we are accustomed to delicious Mexican food. In Texas, it is rare to find Mexican food, specifically. Texas is almost exclusively Tex-Mex. At breakfast, we learned the difference between Mexican food and Tex-Mex. Tex-Mex uses primarily yellow cheese, covers the food in a sauce, uses flour tortillas rather than corn, and focuses on beef.
From Dallas, we visited Fort Worth and stayed with a lovely couple. They have a house that is decorated and laid out beautifully (in our opinion). We even had a quick photoshoot there. During our time there, we visited the stockyards where longhorn cattle walk the streets twice a day, got inside the Madeline Tosh warehouse (very lucky if you are into yarn), West 7th Wool, and took a day trip back to Dallas to see the JFK museum in the 6th floor of the book depository. The JFK museum is set up in the exact space where Lee Harvey Oswald shot from. You can get within 10 feet of that window. It is an eerie but rich experience that connects the tragic history to our current reality.
On a lighter note, we spent a night with a friend, his wife, and his two toddlers. After breakfast, he took us to the Dallas Arboretum. This delightful sanctuary was set for the fall event where thousands of pumpkins are organized inside the beautiful landscape.
We learned another fascinating tidbit about Texas. Apparently, in Texas, you can get an alcoholic daiquiri from the drive thru of Daiquiris To Go. The sealed container law permits it, as long as there is scotch tape over the hole for the straw. Yep. Here’s a picture of one that our friend bought (from the store front) so she could see it for herself. Hilarious.
The last thing that we did in Houston was go salsa dancing on a Tuesday night at Club Tropicana, just off of Richardson. The night started off a little slow, but got better after 11pm. It doesn’t really matter if a bunch of dancers show up or not, because we can have a fun night anywhere. It was a great way to conclude our stay in Texas.
As with each of the stops along our road trip, we must say goodbye to continue the trek. It is always bittersweet to leave, but each place reminds us how lucky we are to have such wonderful friends and family. We are off to the midwest before we get to the east coast. Adios Texas!