In late 2015, my Ford Fusion blew up. No, literally, the engine threw a rod and it blew up. I decided to donate it to kars for kids and in return, I got a hotel voucher. This voucher led to Jenna and I talking about a much deserved vacation. Long story short, the voucher seemed really sketchy in house it could be used, so we just decided to do a road trip to Dallas, Texas. We chose this for two primary reasons, Half Price Books Flagship store and to see my friend Bethany.
In total, driving to TX from MN is about 14-15 hours. So we decided to do an overnight both to and from, in Kansas City. Some of you may know there’s a Kansas City, KS and a Kansas City, MO, but how you might ask!? Well, I wasn’t 100% sure either, turns out the city was built right on the KS/MO border; basically the same city but split in half.
The first hotel was the Best Western PLUS at the KC Airport. This was listed as a three star hotel, and that’s a very, very generous three star rating. We ended up using the Priceline name your price tool. I had heard about this in the past, but hadn’t ever used it and wasn’t sure about it. After getting advice from my friend Kelly, I dove in headlong and I’m really glad too, we pretty literally saved about 1/2 or a little over on all our hotels over the whole weekend. If you want tips, let me know.
In the evening in KC, we decided to visit a local attraction, Zona Rosa. This is a large foot mall located in the NW area of KC. Ended up having dinner at the 54th Street Bar & Grill which is very similar to something like Red Robin or TGIFridays. The service was pretty quick for being busy, our server was great, all around a great restaurant with a good variety of options and is fully vegetarian friendly.
On the morning of Day 2, we went down to get our continental breakfast and several things happened that I wanted to share. As we sat eating, there was a nearby TV on, and CNN was on and was talking about Trump. I don’t recall the exact report, but it was just another case of Trump being a vile human as usual, and I had chuckled about how ridiculous he and the report were. A moment later I look over and there’s a man throwing me some dirty looks for my chuckle against this loathe some Trump. Almost anywhere else, I would have likely made a commen towards him, however, Jenna is not a fan of me creating conflict when it’s not absolutely necessary, so I opted not to react openly. Another reason is that there’s this thing in the United States called the Bible Belt. It is effectively the entire Southeast corner of the country. Low and behold, Kansas City is on the northern most rim of this informal region. So for that additional reason, chose my battles wisely.
And away we went, 9ish hours of driving. We decided to take I-49 to I-44 to Route 69/75. Going through Missouri and Oklahoma, I had classic concerns of a completely boring drive. All flat land, nothing to see, just plain boring; I couldn’t have been more wrong. The landscapes through Missouri were fine, but getting into and crushing across Oklahoma was pretty amazing. Most beautifully noteworthy was driving over the Canadian River in Eufaula, OK. This huge body of water came out of nowhere. I thought it was a lake at first, but turns out it’s just a huge portion of what’s normally a rather small river. The landscapes along this route were fantastic. Rolling hills, cow farm after cow farm after cow farm, just gorgeous countryside. One of the things that I noticed and found rather fascinating, was armadillo dead on the side of the road. In the Midwest, seeing raccoon and deer is pretty common, but throughout southern Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas, it was armadillo… I mean, everywhere!
At one point along the drive, I also saw a billboard promoting straight marriage. It blows my mind yet doesn’t entirely shock me that some rich jerk, paid for this billboard to be placed. Pretty sure “God” isn’t going to be real thrilled that you spoke on his behalf, fairly certain that person is no Metatron. Sad, just sad.
We finally arrived in Addison, TX and I couldn’t have been more giddy. For me, this trip was 100% new territory. My first time to everywhere south of Des Moines and I was loving it. Upon arriving in the Dallas metro, one of the things I found completely breathtaking was the bridge and overpass system. The next hotel was Courtyard Dallas Addison/Quarum. Now this is a three star hotel, very inviting, very nice. We rested for a little bit, freshened up from a long drive, then headed out to see Bethany.
Bethany is a friend of mine I have known for quite a few years now. I met her when she was dating another friend of mine, Sarah. Some time ago, Bethany was in an accident while at her job at the time and severely broke her leg. After many surgeries, many infections, and many shattered hopes of a full recovery, the decision was made to amputate the leg. I think a lot of people might react negatively to such a decision, however for her, it was a blessing due to her vast improvement in quality of life. She is a tremendous advocate for animals, amputees and aspirations. Here are just a couple of the groups and organizations that she actively supports; Legapalooza, Dallas Amputee Network, Amputee Coalition, Adaptive Training Foundation, Texas K9 Rehab, and Dallas DogRRR.
We got to meet Bethany’s boyfriend Andi while eating at this restaurant, the Holy Grail. It was a relatively typical pub with both an indoor and outdoor eating area, but the most noteworthy element was how intensely loud this restaurant was. The food was pretty good, fantastic beer and drink options, but obviously the most important part, was spending time with good friends!
This was the big day in Dallas! Our first stop was to get some breakfast, where else than Waffle House! This is a chain diner that doesn’t exist in Minnesota, but in the southern part of the country, they’re everywhere. The service was quick, the food was tasty, and all in all, a very fine place to chow some delicious waffles. Immediately following was our true first stop, the mecha of bookies, Half Price Books Flagship store. You may be asking yourself “wait, so you drove that far to visit a book store?”, yes we did!!! This is THE store for anyone who loves HPB; it is gigantic people, just huge.
After the book store, we went to the Dallas Museum of Art. We are always in need of some culture, and where better at one of the best museums of art in the country. Instead of rambling about it, here’s a whole bunch of photos from the museum.
Right outside of the DMA is this brilliant park called Klyde Warren park. So get this, they built a park over a section of highway. For those in the Twin Cities, think basically the Lowry Tunnel, but instead of making it a traffic area on top of a highway, they turned it into a gorgeous park. It has about a dozen food trucks, game tables, game carts, a butterfly garden, several pavilions, and a ton more to see. We ate at a delicious food truck, Greek Lover, they make super good falafel.
Afterwards, we did a drive around an area called Deep Ellum. It’s an artistic district with a bunch of tattoo shops and music venues. We had thought about visiting this as part of a nightlife, but wanted to scout it out first. After doing a ton of walking and looking around, we went back to the hotel for a little rest and relaxation. After a much needed nap and some quiet time, it was nearing dinner and we decided to instead visit the nearby restaurant, the Magic Time Machine. Sweet bippy, this place is a TRIP! So get this, the entire restaurant is effectively a different theme at nearly every table. Their salad bar is an old car, there was a pumpkin shaped Halloween table/room, Peanuts character themed area, and so much more, I honestly can barely remember it all. The best part beyond the decor, was that every server was dressed as a character. We saw Princess Peach, Mario, Luigi, Katniss Everdean, a Leprechaun, Belle (Beauty and the Beast), and our server, was Rapunzel. There were a ton of kids in the place, several birthday parties. Each kid had a card with a list of characters, effectively a scavenger hunt of characters. Each time they’d find one, that character would then sign their card, a clever souvenir. After our tasty dinner, we decided to just go back and do some soaking in the hot tub at the hotel.
It was sadly time to go home. Today was the long haul back to Kansas City and boy was it! The only real visit of note was the 3 Rivers Pecans Fudge Factory and Amish Store in Calera, OK. On the way to, we had been seeing a ton of fudge places all over and were determined to get some and this was the first fudge place we found.
On the way back, we wanted to go a slightly different route, and decided to travel north through Kansas on the way to Kansas City. I was so pleasantly impressed by the landscapes through this refreshing countryside. Upon arriving into Kansas City, there was a pretty nasty storm that was hitting the area. It was split into two cells, the first much larger than the second. We managed to get into town and to the hotel narrowly between the two cells. Once we checked in and got upstairs, the sky opened up and poured heavily. Jenna pointed out that getting into this Four Points by Sheraton was bordering on spooky because there was no one around, inside was this lovely old lady who helped us, zero people in the lobby, zero people in the nearby restaurant, and a rather strange guy who was quite chatty and swore he knew me across the hall from us.
This was the last long haul, Kansas City to home! The halfway point was Des Moines, IA and so we decided to stop at Zombie Burger. I hadn’t heard about this place until Jenna told me about it, and I have to say I’m pretty torn about this place. I loved the theme, loved the decor, loved the menu options and loved the food and how instantly fast it came out. The downside was our server, he was kind of a dink to be honest. He never greeted us, never told us his name, was mouthy with Jenna when she was asking questions, and quite frankly she still tipped him FAR more than I would have.
In closing, this trip was absolutely worth it. About 2,100 miles, roughly 28-30 hours of road time, seeing a good friend, seeing some amazing sights, seeing some amazing landscapes, just a wonderful 5 day vacation.