When we share with folks our plans to travel the States as a family in our mini van the response is typically “really are you crazy?! You have four kids”. That statement is usually quickly followed up with their shared memories of wonderful times in wood sided station wagons, a heap of blankets and kids and dad threatening to pull the car over and turn around. I think we have it easier with the ease of CD’s, audio books and head phones; when we start to get overwhelmed with the close proximity we can zone-out for an hour and find sanctuary, at least until some one farts.
We decided to circle some of the southern states since we are living in the “south” it will mean less drive time. Sunday afternoon to Sunday afternoon we covered Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas. Six of these states were new to us so that meant we has to stop and do something in each of those states; it could be checking out a local hot spot, a historical site or restaurant. We try to make the event more memorable then a rest stop.
My husband took great trips with his family and learned the secret of planning awesome places to stop. This gem however was found thanks to google maps. You know a BBQ place is good when the line goes out the door and around the corner. The kids were champs. Although the spicy smokey flavor did not greet their taste buds with excitement, I loved it! Their hot and sweet was my favorite and I could eat a bucket of their beans. So that was Memphis. We have traveled through Tennessee before but it was our first time in this part of the state.
When near the bayou, “alligator hunting” is a must. We didn’t know that we would also see wild boar, crayfish and blue crab on our boat tour.
We stayed over night in Louisiana and day tripped New Orleans. We checked out the French quarter, ate alligator and say a juggler perform. We ate in New Orleans but the gumbo was like cardboard and no one was thrilled. Right about the time the interesting residents began to emerge it was time to get the Kids back to the hotel for a nap.
We stopped at the Turtle Cove Landing for lunch in Mississippi. We were informed, “Oh, honey. Not on Tuesdays”. Apparently this place never actually serves food…Sam used their bathroom and we headed back to Louisiana for amazing Gumbo and Po-boy sandwiches.
The kids were excited to journal their activities each day with new art supplies from Christmas, thanks grandma and grandpa.
We grazed the corner of Texas ate steak in a cute snowy village town called Jefferson, wishing we had more time to see it when all the shops were open. We pushed on and saw the cowboy Eiffel tower in Paris.
Oklahoma, was a lot of driving, shaking off the crazy and sleeping. We spend two nights in Tulsa. We ate at a super hipster dinner on New Years Eve, while we waited for our sandwiches they invited the kiddos to play in the play house they have at the back of their property. We really enjoyed the architecture.
We only saw one buffalo the whole time, and it was someone’s pet…
In Kansas we stayed in a super nice hotel, went to church Saturday night at Res Downtown and Sunday morning at Church of the Resurrection. Just like us, Adam Hamilton was on vacation. But is was cool to check out and learn about their multi-site ministry as we continue moving toward multi-site ministry with Birmingham 1st UMC in Berkley.
Before leaving for home we had to add one last BBQ taste to our palette and it was amazing!
We have said that this was by far the best trip we have taken with the kids; and are excited that they are all great travelers.