Colorado or Bust! Loading up the ‘ol Family Truckster to drive 16 hours there, 16 hours back, for a grand total of 32 hours in the car with three small children. Will we survive?
COLORADO OR BUST: DAY 1
We woke up bright and early Saturday morning to start our trip out west in search of higher altitudes and cooler temperatures. Goal for the day? Make it to Amarillo, a mere ten hours away.
In the car.
With three kids.
Still, we were optimistic. I had spent weeks preparing “busy bags” for the girls. I’d trolled Pinterest with pernicious passion searching for the right combination of activities guaranteed to buy us thirty-two hours of peaceful driving. I’d even bought them “surprises” to open once we were on the road (I call them surprises, but we all know that they were bribes for good behavior). I loaded our DVD case chock-full of animated delights, and packed a large reusable grocery bag to the brim with snacks. We were prepared for every eventuality.
I wasn’t really prepared for how quickly the girls would buzz through each activity….and how quickly they would toss said activity to the floor of the car once they were finished with it. Or that A would throw EVERYTHING that I handed her, be it books, toys, or food. And that she would refuse to nap in the car. And that the only DVD she had the slightest interest in watching was “Backyardigans”, resulting in us watching the same four episodes for ten hours straight (I should mention that she also liked “Maisy”, but after thirty minutes of listening to random trumpeting from Charlie, the special needs alligator, we had to turn it off).
Oh, and the poop. In retrospect, we really weren’t as prepared for the amount of poo-splosions that occurred as we should have been. I mean, I expected a few from A, if not quite the volume that actually occurred. And believe me, there was volume. Then we hit the long stretch of road between Childress, TX and Amarillo.
Also known as No-Toilet Land.
My poor, sweet oldest. The combination of travel and juice boxes did not set well with her tummy, and she had to go. Like, RIGHT NOW. We sped down the highway as fast as we could, but there was literally nothing. She held it as long as she could. Then, about five minutes from Amarillo, it happened.
She was horrified. This child has been potty trained since she was two, and has had maybe two accidents in her entire life. We pulled to the side of the road to get her cleaned up, only to realize that the side of the road was covered in stickers. We kept L in the car, balancing on discarded coloring books and squashed granola bars, and used a pair of fingernail clippers to cut her underwear off. It’s really amazing the many ways that one can use fingernail clippers, don’t you think? After a box full of wipes and some stories of how everybody poops in their pants, we finally got her clean and the poo-splosion panties contained in a trash bag. I got to spend the next twenty minutes dislodging stickers from my flip-flop clad feet.
Nine and a half hours after we pulled out of our driveway, we pulled into the parking lot for the Big Texan. I had never heard of this restaurant until my dad mentioned it to me, but apparently it’s kind of a big deal. It’s been on Man vs. Food and Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations. They’re best known for their 72 oz steak, nicknamed “The Texas King.” If you finish the entire steak along with a salad, shrimp cocktail, baked potato, and a roll, you get your meal for free. It’s very reminiscent of “The Great Outdoors”, when John Candy eats “the ol’ 96’er”. Around 50,000 people have made the attempt, and only 8,000 have ever finished. We watched three, ahem, large gentlemen take on the challenge while we were there, but even they couldn’t do it.
Finishing that steak is now on my Bucket List.
The restaurant is hilarious, full of stuffed animal heads (including a huge bear) and boardwalk-type games. We had to play Zoltar, even if the girls didn’t get the “Big” reference. The wait staff is dressed like old ranch hands, and they look completely miserable about it. There’s a huge cow out front for photo ops, along with a larger-than-life neon cowboy to beckon Route 66 travelers.
The food itself was surprisingly good! We’ve learned from experience that most touristy attractions have blah food, so we were pleasantly surprised at how good this was. We had steak (of course) that was cooked perfectly, a baked potato with some sort of butter/sour cream/chive combination that was to die for, and salads with homemade ranch. L had steak, because she is Queen Carnivore in our house, and even the kids’ steak was a really nice cut. C and A split some chicken tenders, which looked, you know, chickeny. We had chocolate chip cookies for dessert that were cuh-razy rich and topped with whipped cream. And the best part? All of the kids’ meals come with a free cowboy hat. And it was a really cute straw one, not a crappy plastic one. Big Texan, I give you two enthusiastic thumbs up.
Oh, and did I mention the rainbow? When we started out that morning, we passed a beautiful DOUBLE RAINBOW ! I don’t think that I’ve ever actually seen a double rainbow. I felt like God was smiling on our trip….and laughing a little, too, because He knew what we had in store for us.
And that, my friends, was Day 1. Stay tuned for Day 2, where we encounter New Mexican rest stops, a Poo-Splosion Snack Time, and finally, FINALLY…COLORADO!