– Denton, Texas to Dumas, Texas –

It’s almost time for school to start for the fall. With Mark and I both back in school (me for a master’s, and him for a PhD), we really wanted to send summer off with a bang. We decided to take one last summer trip, right before school actually starts on the 28th.

Originally, we were going to go to Wyoming and play around in Yellowstone and the Tetons, but unless you’ve been living under a rock, you probably know by now that didn’t work out. Why? Well, the solar eclipse Monday. In Wyoming, visitors will see a complete eclipse, not just a partial one, so an extra 80,000 people are expected in the parks this week. Hotel rooms have been booked up for months.

Tacoma’s bed pre-trip

Next, we thought about doing something really ambitious, like visiting Banff or maybe Acadia, but since we only have 9 days, and it would take us about 3.5 days to reach either of these locations (one way!), we decided to stick a little closer to home.

Mark has been wanted to do a big trip around Colorado for a while now, and I’ve been wanting to revisit a few of its national parks, including Great Sand Dunes and Black Canyon of the Gunnison. I’ve also had my eye on Dinosaur National Monument for a while. We’re missing a few in the southwestern part of the state that we could’ve seen, but it is still blazing hot down there. We’ll get you someday, Canyons of the Ancients.

That’s a sad face

In any event, Mark and I both had to work on Friday, so we didn’t end up getting off until 3pm. We were on the road around 4, which is a little later than we wanted, but not impossible. Since our goal was Dumas instead of Amarillo (so we could get a little closer to our destination today), we knew we had a long drive ahead of us.

We stopped for dinner in Wichita Falls at a Qdoba. I could definitely have one of those in Denton. Mark and I had burritos, and Ripley had kibbles. She was a little sad later on (pictured above), when Mark was snacking on some popcorn he’d gotten at a gas station. At home, Mark drops a lot of popcorn on the floor when he eats it, since he can’t put it in his mouth without dropping half of it, for whatever reason. Ripley loves to snatch fallen popcorn. It was just killing her that Mark was dropping popcorn without her assistance in the clean-up process.

Nope. Not doing snakes.

We stopped at a few of the safety rest areas in the panhandle area. Those sure are nice to have, even if they don’t always have the best facilities. One of them had a tiny, air-conditioned visitor center, and then non-AC bathrooms. What’s up with that, Texas? Some of the others didn’t have grass up to Ripley’s exacting bathroom standards. That’s just Texas in general, but Ripley was offended nonetheless, and refused to use the facilities.

Our hotel finally came into view at almost 11pm, and we rolled into our beds gratefully. With it being so late, we decided not to run tomorrow morning, so we can get a little extra sleep. Besides, we usually take one day off a week on the weekends, and we should be able to run in Great Sand Dunes National Park on Sunday morning.

– Trip Total : 372 miles

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