Fortunately, “Gianna time” was on our side as we began our longest day of driving. Before leaving the beloved Panhandle we made two very important stops.
The Donut Stop – because Shipley’s and Round Rock Donuts aren’t even in the same hemisphere – and Edes Meats – that jerky really is worth the 400+mile drive. #ikidyounot
The kids enjoyed meeting Melvin Edes, the owner, who’s been butchering meat for 56 years, and then standing in his freezer. “Don’t worry, they won’t stay in there long,” said one of the butchers. Edes is one of the last great meat butchering plants in Texas, especially since they now serve a 300-mile radius! And, if you’re wondering what crazy mom takes her camera into a butcher shop, one who has two boys with a 4-H record book in food and nutrition, that’s who. We have to document field trips like this, scholarship $$$ is on the line!
Fully loaded with jerky, we were off to Lubbock to snap a pic of Buddy Holly’s glasses, avoid the Texas Tech campus (HA!) and enjoy a quick pitstop at my high school BFFs house. Heather opened up her home, and her refrigerator, to our crew. Can I tell you how nice it was to use a real bathroom, nurse Gianna on a real couch and drink an ice cold DP with one of my very best friends? She even did my toes as we were walking out the door. You can catch a peek at her nail art handiwork over on Instagram. That’s a friend to love. A hug and a promise to see one another soon and we were on our way to Midland to see my other high school friend, Kim. While our boys played with pellet guns and shot Anna-Laura in the arm, we enjoyed some Texas tea, great conversation, a bathroom break and a sweet nursing baby. I think Luke may have lifted a few toy cars while we were there, too. Sorry if your boys’ stash is a little lighter, Kim!
We had some good daylight left and made the game time decision to head to west Texas via Pecos (PAY-cus), my dad’s old home town. It gave us the opportunity to hug cousin Mickey’s neck and show the kids the house my dad grew up in and the one my grandmother grew old in. Memories. Sweet, sweet memories. As we walked down memory lane, Clare says from the back seat, “Why do you keep telling us things we don’t know?”
Kids. They keep it real.
Those house pictures are for our family. Aunt Betty and Uncle Dee, can you believe how much that house has changed? And I know all the kids would be proud to see the new owner’s of Granny’s house taking such good care of it.
A lightening storm and afternoon rain showers sped up our travels through Pecos so we turned south to venture through the Fort Davis mountains, Balmorhea (bal-mow-RAY) and Marfa. We were amazed at the number of oil pumping and engineering companies we passed from Midland to Balmorhea. And, I’ve never seen that many oil pumpers pumping so quickly. They say hotel rooms go as high as $400/night in Pecos and the Midland ISD is giving out $10,000 signing bonuses to new teachers thanks to the oil companies. Take the boom while you can, West Texas!
Just as we hit the Fort Davis mountains, the kids all crashed and Scott and I got to enjoy the beauty in complete silence. God even gave us a rainbow. It’s too bad the kids fell asleep, because the spring-fed pool in Balmorhea would’ve been a real blast.
We were so stoked to arrive in Marfa for dinner.
And then we weren’t.
We realized, a bit too late, that Marfa is only open on Friday and Saturday evenings. The kids were starving and the only place open in town was the Dairy Queen. After a small “discussion” we decided to head on over to Alpine, another half hour away, eat dinner and hit the sack. Our original plans to view the Marfa lights would have to wait until another night.
The dinner choices weren’t much better in Alpine, but we did score some great pizzas at Guzzi Up. While Scott and the boys picked up dinner, I got the girls bathed and ready for bed at the hotel. That may have been our latest night. Dinner at 10:30; lights out at 11:30!
One of the very best parts of the first half of the trip was seeing so many family members and friends. This day’s drive also afforded Scott and I the precious commodity of talking to one another. While the kids watched movies and beat the tar out of each other, we were reminded just why we love one another so much. If anything, this trip was about making memories and having some fun. As Scott said, we should’ve just gotten a hotel room in Austin, let them swim in the pool and then headed to Bucee’s for an Icee. Instead, we drove 2,400 miles.
Tomorrow we learn what to do if a bear attacks, discover how big Big Bend really is, see evidence of our tax dollars hard at work and finally solve the Marfa light mystery.