A Travellerspoint blog

Road Trip Day 4: Oklahoma City to St. Louis(ish)

sunny 80 °F

Another full day of driving was ahead of us. Today the driver of our truck called to confirm that he would deliver our stuff on Sunday. It's great that we will be able to unpack and settle in soon, but it rules out taking the trip at a more leisurely pace.

Once we crossed the border into Missouri, where the exits and services are more frequent, I grew less paranoid about my daughter announcing the need for a potty break at a moment when we were far from a bathroom. Before Missouri, I would cajole and bribe her to go every time we stopped. My cajoling sometimes worked, but my bribing never did. I suppose I should be happy that she isn't easily won over by sweets!

Lunchtime has been a real challenge for us on this trip. We need outdoor seating so that we don't have to leave the dog cooped up in the hot car. At the same time, it would be ideal to have a play area to give my daughter a chance to run around. Unfortunately, we haven't come across a place that has both when we have needed to eat lunch. We have been opting for the outdoor seating because it is easier to find and the dog can be with us. We did notice some nice rest stops in Missouri that had picnic tables and a play area, but no restaurants. If we had known about them in advance, we might have hit a drive-thru just before then and stopped to eat at the rest area.

Our search for a dog-friendly hotel near St. Louis that wasn't too far away from our route took us to Mascoutah, IL. We thought it was a suburb at the edge of the metro area, but it ended up being quite rural. There weren't any restaurants nearby, so we backtracked a few exits for dinner and then went to bed.

Posted by amikulski 19:05 Archived in USA Tagged children cars Comments (0)

Road Trip Day 3: Albuquerque to Oklahoma City

sunny 85 °F

The trouble with the Western US not being densely populated means that there are fewer places to stay while traveling. It gets even more complicated when you need dog-friendly hotels. Looking at the map, Amarillo seemed like too short of a distance to stop from Albuquerque. Oklahoma City seemed doable, but would require a full day on the road: Google Maps said it was an 8 hour and 45 minute drive. We opted for Oklahoma City, just because it would bring us closer to our destination.

This was the stretch where we left the mountains and had some flat, boring driving. We broke up the monotony a bit by visiting Cadillac Ranch outside of Amarillo. It was surreal to see spray-painted old Cadillacs standing up in a field. My daughter liked talking about the cars and their various colors.


Because we moved into the Central Time Zone, it was 7 PM when we checked into our hotel. We were trying to stay in sync with the local time, so we had dinner and then did our bedtime routine. I had imagined us being able to go for a swim at our hotels in the evenings, but so far the timing just hasn't worked out. Maybe we'll have better luck later in the trip.

Posted by amikulski 19:07 Tagged children cars texas Comments (0)

Road Trip Day 2: Grand Canyon and Old Friends

sunny 75 °F

We originally had hoped to leave Phoenix early enough on the first day of our trip to allow for an afternoon visit to the Grand Canyon. Even though the movers loaded us too late for that to be possible, we didn't want to give up on a visit to the Canyon. We had lived in the Grand Canyon State for almost 6 years but hadn't been there, and we didn't know when we would be in the area again, so we didn't want to pass up the opportunity. We spent just a short time at the Mather Point overlook at the South Rim, but the views were incredible.


We definitely would like to return when my daughter is older. Not only will she remember more, the walking won't be so hard for her. Even though we stayed on the level, paved paths to and at the rim, her little legs got tired.

After the Canyon, we returned to Flagstaff for lunch. We had trouble finding a place that had outdoor seating and/or a play area, so we ended up just going through a drive-thru.

We pulled into Albuquerque, our destination for the night, around dinnertime. One of my friends from college lives there, so we met her and her family at a local restaurant. It was great to catch up after so many years!

Posted by amikulski 18:58 Archived in USA Tagged children canyon arizona grand cars Comments (0)

Running Behind: The Road Trip Begins!


Running behind is an appropriate title to start my entries on our cross-country relocation. First, the past 6 weeks have been so crazy that I haven't had time to blog about the local spots we visited and the trips we made in that time (I hope to catch up once this trip is done). Second, we got off to a very late start today. Our plan was to drive to Flagstaff as soon as our stuff was loaded onto the truck. The movers showed up in the morning and had loaded over 90% of our stuff by 1 PM. The problem? The remaining items didn't fit on the truck they brought. This meant that we had to wait for the movers to bring a second truck to load what was left. They didn't show up until after 5 PM. My daughter and I spent some of that time at the mall running around in the play area because we didn't want her to get stir-crazy and bored with the few toys we're taking in the car before we even left the house. Once we were completely loaded, it was dinner time. We decided that it would be easier to eat before setting out: we could leave the dog at home and let the evening rush hour die down. We officially left on our trip, dog and all, just after 7 PM. Fortunately, Flagstaff is only a couple of hours away from Phoenix, so we didn't have a terribly long night ahead of us. So far, it's going well, though I have answered questions about if we're going to Pennsylvania or if we're still in Arizona about once every 5 minutes.

I'll write more from the road when I can!

Posted by amikulski 07:03 Archived in USA Tagged children arizona cars Comments (0)

App for Traveling Kids: Dora's Skywriting

This app recently was a pick of the week at Starbucks. My daughter is a fan of Dora, so I thought I'd give it a try. We played it for the first time a couple of weeks ago on the plane to Phoenix.

Basically, this app is a game with 2 objects:
1. Trace letters using your finger to move a plane and pick up acorns. The plane leaves smoke, thus "skywriting" the letter. You can choose uppercase letters, lowercase, or a combination.
2. Tilt the screen to make acorns fall into holes. When every hole is filled up, it reveals an object that starts with the letter you just traced.

My daughter enjoyed the animation and letters, and the game kept her engaged for a about an hour of our flight. The game is a bit finicky in that you need to trace the letters very accurately for the game to progress. This is a tricky thing: I understand that the game designers wanted kids to correctly trace the letters, but doing so can be difficult for the game's target audience--and even I didn't trace up to standards sometimes. Because my daughter has the fine motor skills of a kid her age, she had trouble tracing the letters as accurately as the game wanted. She eventually became so frustrated by this that we had to stop, even though she wanted to keep playing. I'm hoping that this frustration factor will decrease as her fine motor skills improve.

Overall grade: B

Posted by amikulski 22:00 Archived in USA Tagged children apps Comments (0)

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