– Beggs, Oklahoma to Des Moines, Iowa –
Just like our previous trip to New Jersey, the Great Lakes trip began with a Day 0.5. We technically started with our rental car yesterday, in Denton, and drove to Mark’s parents’ house in Beggs, Oklahoma, last night to begin the real first day of our trip today. This time, however, John and Vicki are coming along for the ride.
This one is a pretty big trip. We’re marking quite a few things off of our lists. To begin with, around this time last year, we were wrapping up our Alaska trip with my parents, so this is the Phillips family version, although it is somewhat less ambitious. In addition, we will be finishing up the last of the United States national parks in the 48 continental states. Finally, Ripley, Mark, and I will be finishing up our 49th states this time. We will have photographs of us in all of the states but Hawaii. Ripley probably won’t ever get it, but Mark and I should in the near future.
In any event, we were up at 6am this morning, and had the car packed by 7am. We took a picture of us all looking bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at the beginning of our trip this morning to compare with our tired, sleepy faces at the end.
We weren’t quite ready to really get on the road, though. We stopped at the Glenpool Walmart only half an hour later to pick up some stuff for breakfast and a few things John and Vicki needed for the trip. If you were curious, Walmart croissants are generally terrible. Don’t make the same mistake I did.
After that, we drove on to the Tulsa Airport. We needed to add John to our rental agreement so he could drive the car. Tulsa’s airport is smallish, but it seems okay. It was still only about 8:20, and when we first got to the Avis rental desk, no one was there, in spite on the fact that they’d definitely opened at 8. Eventually a gentleman came by carrying about a dozen car keys, and he mumbled something about radioing someone to help us, so we did end up getting out of there in a reasonable amount of time.
Once we left the airport, we were truly on the road. We drove for several hours up and into Kansas, where we finally stopped for a break at a gas station in Chanute. Ripley had a lot of fun frolicking in the grass, which is pretty par for the course with her. Mark got a coffee, because he said the gas station coffee smelled fantastic. It turned out to be pretty good, too, from what he said. It’s really rare for gas station coffee to taste better than day-old boot polish, so he was pretty pleased. My unsweet tea was delicious as well.
We didn’t stop again until we got to Olathe, Kansas, where we got our lunch. Our food came from a little gyro shop, and the veggie gyros were basically a salad stacked on top of a pita. If the dressings that came with it hadn’t been so great, it would’ve been really lame. Luckily, the tzatziki in particular was fantastic.
It was really a short day, as it turned out. We switched drivers not long after lunch at another gas station, because Mark was getting sleepy. We’re reading Listening Woman, by Tony Hillerman, which is a detective novel set in the Navajo tribal lands in the southwest. I spent a lot of the afternoon reading it aloud.
Des Moines rolled up on us before very long, and we pulled off at our hotel at about 4:30. We unpacked the car and took Ripley over to the dog park to stretch her legs, since she’d missed her run this morning and needed to burn off some crazy puppy energy. It was really hot, so we didn’t last for long. Even Ripley wore out in about 15 or 20 minutes.
Oddly enough, it was right at 5pm as we were arriving at the park, and we happened upon a wedding. The bride and bridal party were just emerging from the building beside the park, and all of the guests we seated just across the way in front of the nearby amphitheater, furiously waving their little fans in a futile attempt to cool off. It was burning hot, and the humidity today was off the charts. The whole thing was taking place in the full sunshine. We were sweating just standing still in our shorts and T-shirts. I can’t imagine how those people in the formal clothes were feeling.
By the time we were leaving the dog park, they were clearing out. I guess weddings are pretty quick, for the most part, especially when the heat is acting as such a powerful motivator. They must’ve been having a little reception or something inside the building afterword.
Downtown was just a short trip away, so we drove over to have a look around. There’s a lot of construction going on in the area. Mark hopped out a few times to take some photos of the capitol building and the county courthouse. We were parked illegally every time he did it, so John and Vicki and I (and Ripley) sat in the car joking about what we would do when the police came by the chase us off.
Ripley was very tired post dog park, so we dropped her at the hotel to sleep while we went out for dinner. Mark and I conned John and Vicki into eating at Whole Foods with us. They had sandwiches, and Mark and I had stuff from the hot bar.
Tomorrow we’re spending the night in River Falls, Wisconsin and meeting some family friends for dinner. We’re getting up early to go for a run, and the drive will be less than 6 hours. It should make for a nice day.
– Trip Total : 730 miles –
(222 of those miles were from Denton to Beggs on Day 0.5)