Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Day 1 - Austin to Oklahoma City

Saturday August 18, 2007
Total miles 427
Total travel time 8 hours
States: Texas, Oklahoma

We finally hit the road, a mere two hours behind schedule (gulp). Between extremely restrained packing and Stephen’s amazing abilities at loading vehicles, we got everything in we wanted to bring, with one exception: Stephen ended up bringing his mandolin except his guitar. He didn’t take the seat out, and we didn’t have to put anything on the roof. It is a bit cramped, but not really that bad. I’ve definitely traveled tighter... I am reminded of a trip in New Zealand on which I had to sit on pillows and couldn’t move my legs... remember that Mom, Dad and Dave?

All loaded up and ready to go:

We started by going the back way to the highway so Stephen could show me all the new natural gas pumping rigs that have popped up in our vicinity. This is, as you can imagine, something of a disappointment to us. At this point there aren’t any particularly close to us, but Stephen is worried about the potential for bad smells on the wind.

Little Guy had trouble the last hour or so before we left, and once we started driving fell right asleep. We were only about 45 minutes down the road when The Princess said “Are we almost there?” Stephen and I just looked at each other and laughed. We spent about an hour playing 20 questions. At one point I was thinking “giraffe” and Stephen and The Princess were guessing. They took surprisingly long, but they determined it was an herbivorous animal with horns from Africa that could be seen at a zoo, and at last the questions, “Does it have a long neck?” and “Does it have spots?” were asked. “Finally!”, I thought. Logically the Princess guessed “Is it a reindeer?” More laughter.

We got several hours of road behind us and stopped in West, TX at the famous Little Czech Bakery. I love trying unusual foods, especially when I am traveling, so I had a sausage and sauerkraut kolache, a poppy seed kolache and a cottage cheese kolache. I didn’t manage to eat them all in one sitting, but it was an interesting taste sensation. The rest of the family stuck to the more traditional flavors.

We drove on, with a few more stops for coffee, bathroom and nursing breaks. Little Guy did not sleep in the afternoon, which was a surprise since he seemed really tired. We did have one unpleasant stretch of crying, but he settled after nursing.

At long last we rolled into Oklahoma City, and pulled up to Jenny’s house at 6:00pm. Jenny is my foster sister from the Philippines... this is SUCH a cool story. My mom and dad sponsored her through Pearl Buck when I was a kid, and we wrote periodically. She ended up marrying an American and moving to the states, and became an even bigger part of our family. My mother considers her a daughter, so that makes her my sister!

Now she has two children, ages 16 and 9. It just happened that the 16 year old’s birthday is 8/19, so she cooked a big meal to celebrate. I told her it was like a delicious sampling of all the places she has lived! She made ribs and beef strips and chicken, she made yakisoba (she lived in Japan for 4 years when her husband was stationed there), and she made lumpia, these amazing egg roll-like treats from the Philippines. I ate until I could hold no more!

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