Monday, May 1, 2017

Final Thoughts and Tons of Pictures

I certainly hope that I am not the bringer of doom and destruction.  Somehow, each time we take a road trip we manage to visit places that soon find themselves in peril.  Example, for the most recent trip, Missouri experiencing massive flood, while Texas is hit with tornadoes.  The last trip we took the bad weather was just a step behind us, this time we managed to stay ahead of the curve as well. 

After spending a night in Kansas City and visiting two states within a matter of minutes we head south to Lebanon, Missouri.   Kansas City is right on the border between Kansas and Missouri.  As you drive through Kansas you enter and leave both states more than once.  We made it to Lebanon and the next day spent the majority of the afternoon with my cousin and her family.  We had a great time finding her place outside of Falcon, Missouri and thoroughly enjoyed our visit with her and her family.
Mia and I with cousin Dorothy, her son and grandson.
Their homestead is amazing

The next day we moved on, heading further south with our destination, New Orleans.  Our route took us through Arkansas, Mississippi and Louisiana.   We ended up spending several nights in downtown New Orleans.  Our hotel was within walking distance of the French Quarter as well as an easy trolley ride to other destinations.  In New Orleans, businesses are shut not closed.

While we enjoyed New Orleans but I think we both agree that we were there and we really don’t have any further need to go back.  We aren’t the party type folks who tend to frequent the city.  While everyone was friendly, there is something that just doesn’t seem right.  I never could put my finger on it.  Several of the folks we talked too, still bring up the flooding of the city, as though they still expect it to happen again.

We moved from New Orleans, west to Houston, Texas.   We spent a couple of days in Houston and went to the Houston Space Center, which we both enjoyed.  I said in an earlier blog that looking at all we have accomplished in space; I wonder why we can’t do more here on earth.

After Houston, we had one thing left on the agenda.  I wanted to visit a friend in Kingman, Arizona and after doing some research I found out that the longest remaining section of Old Route 66 goes from Seligman, Arizona to Kingman.  So, we stayed in Seligman and went to Kingman via Old Route 66.  Since the road has been preserved it isn’t a bad ride.  They have even install Burma Shave ads along the highway just outside of Seligman.  From Kingman, we started our trip home.

This trip started out with catching up with family while doing a little research into the history of the family and where we came from.  Many of my cousins, on my dad’s side of the family, share an interest in the same thing.  Originally we had intended to go to Chattanooga, Tennessee but after discussing the weather issues and the distance traveled, we chose to forgo that trip this time around.  As it is, the car is right at service time again.

I have to say, overall, that I do enjoy road trips.  When we had the RV, it was nice to have clothes, food and bed in one place.  Setting up and taking down the RV was a bit of a pain as you travel.  With going from motel to motel, living out of a suit case there are issues as well.  Packing and unpacking the car each time you stop to name one.  But, overall, I think motel to motel is much easier than campground to campground.  You always have clean towels and bedding, the rooms are, for the most part, clean, you still have a private bathroom and there is free breakfast most everywhere you go.  Some of the breakfast’s suck, while others are full of all kinds of good stuff. 

Both Mia and I managed to lose a couple of pounds during our trip.  After talking with one of our cousins we have decided to change our eating habits and cut down to two meals a day.  Breakfast and a big meal around mid-day and some health snacks later in the afternoon.

Our Subaru Forester performed impeccably.  I had it serviced before we left, checked the oil often and didn’t have a stitch of a problem with it mechanically.  On long drives, the Forester seating isn’t exactly comfortable for my 6’4” frame but I made do.  Unfortunately, it is in bad need of a detail since the back roads in North Dakota did a job on the interior with the fine dust that is common in farming areas and the bugs, some very large, committed bugicide on every front facing surface.  I suspect there will be a lot of elbow grease required to clean it up.

One final thought.  We decided to stick pretty close to a couple of hotel/motel chains during our trip.  One primary reason was the fact that many of the locations within the chains are dog friendly with a slight extra charge.  The charge isn’t uniform form state to state and some of the places didn’t even charge the fee or chose to charge less.  We were very happy with our stays and the Choice Hotel group as well as La Quinta inns.  Both provide rewards programs that allow you to use points for free night stays.  We used a couple during our trip.

As I said above, the hotel/motels were clean and usually priced under one hundred dollars.  It depends on where you are as to the amount being charged.  Rooms are comfortable with all the amenities you would expect to find at home.  WiFi is not generally protected so I suggest bringing your own hotspot.  Reservations are easy online and at most there was very little time required to check in.  Check out was easy as most just slipped the bill under the door at night.  We stayed and Sleep Inn, Comfort Inn, Quality Inn and EconoLodge within the Choice group and with the exception of the one stop at the EconoLodge we would recommend Choice group.  We would also recommend the La Quinta Inns as well, however, you should expect to pay a little more for your stay with this chain.

That is all for this trip.  Off to work on the family tree with some new information while I await further information (I hope) from the Dunn Center Historical Society.

Hope all is well.

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