Road Tripping: Deep In The Heart Of Texas

Part 3 of a series. Road Tripping

Destination: Arlington, Texas (32° 44’ 8” N  97° 6’ 29” W)

Origination: Colby, Kansas (39° 23’ 45” N  101° 3’ 8” W)

Traveling Party: Dad, Mom, Jennifer (age 6), Chad (age 3), Kim (20 weeks in utero)

Date: August 1977

Other than camping at the lake, this is really the first major road trip I can clearly recall. I know my brother and I were psyched for it because I remember telling him to bring along his toy guns, because after all, we were going to Texas.

We embarked on our journey in a 1973ish Ford Grand Torino mint green station wagon. In case you haven’t seen one of these beauts, picture a hearse, only bigger, and not as tasteful. The 70’s were grand. My parents put both back seats down, threw a foam mattress back there, and let Chad and me roll around loose with our pillows, blankets and toys. What, seat belts? Not even sure it HAD seat belts. Didn’t matter anyway, the thing was made of reinforced steel, I think.

Here are the things I remember. Some of it may or may not be accurate.

  • Staying overnight at a hotel in Salina, Kansas. There was an indoor pool. And my dad took me downstairs poolside in the evening, presumably while my mom was putting Chad to sleep, and bought me a bag of Doritos from the vending machine.
  • We saw Arlington Stadium.
  • My parents dragged us to some place called the Texas Book Depository in Dallas where it was dark inside and there was a big picture of some guy with slick hair. They showed a movie about this guy, whoever he was. Someone apparently shot him. Then we took some pictures outside the building at a place called Dealey Plaza. Just a bunch of stupid white monuments. Most boring thing to do on a vacation ever.
  • My mom made me wear long jeans to Six Flags Over Texas. In August. In Texas. Where the humidity makes the simple act of breathing a monumental task.
  • My mom and I went on a ride at Six Flags where centrifugal force makes you stick to the wall while the bottom of the ride drops out and the g-forces paralyze you and render you completely immobile. Six year-olds do not understand physics. They only understand that their dad knew what the ride entailed and wisely opted out while letting them go on it. I felt like barfing for the rest of the day. I have never gone on a ride that spins since, and never will. I even tried to steer clear of the merry-go-round on the school playground.
  • We had car trouble. Not sure what. But it was bad enough that we did not continue on to the Galveston portion of the trip, where we were supposed to see the ocean. It took me almost ten years before I finally did see it for the first time.
  • My parents took us to a mall and let us each pick out a toy. I picked out a Malibu Barbie. Chad picked out a Winnie the Pooh stuffed doll. We were cute. He was always my little buddy.
  • I threw a raging fit at a restaurant because they put gravy on my chicken-fried steak.
  • We stayed with some friends of my parents in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma on the way back.
  • On the drive home, Chad had to make a pit stop and my mom let him pee on the side of the road. My dad took a picture of it. His ass became the high point of every slide show after that moment. Wish I had that picture to include.

© Jennifer Alys Windholz, 2011

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