Trip To Oklahoma : 2016.05.02-04

Morning Light
A small flowering plant on my parents’ property, with dew drops
(Copyright © 2016 by Wil C. Fry. Some rights reserved.)

Finding a good spot in everyone’s schedule, we planned and executed a quick trip to Oklahoma to see my parents (the last time was Christmas 2015), and my brother and his family were able to make it too. The entire round trip, including our time at my parents’ house, went smoothly and was very enjoyable. If I had to name a downside, it’s that BWF is not fully potty-trained yet — he did fine in the car but not at my parents’ house; he received several extra showers.


Inaccurate road construction sign in Denton, Texas
(Copyright © 2016 by Wil C. Fry.)

Notable:

• This is the first time we’ve stayed the night at my parents’ house since before BWF was born; we usually stay at Seminole’s Best Western hotel (we did stay at my sister Heather’s house once when he was a baby, and at Granny’s when we visited for Dad’s 70th birthday). The last time we spent the night there was October 2012.

• This was also the first time BWF has been to my parents’ house without seeing the Morrows (my youngest sister’s family). He probably thought they lived there. :-) April 2013 was the last time I was there without seeing them.

• For the first time on this route, we took the Chickasaw Turnpike, which saved us time/mileage and only cost $0.65. (I think I’d been avoiding it because I got a speeding ticket the last time I drove it — November 2007.) On the way back home, I missed the exit for it and added miles to our trip.

• It was our second-fastest round trip with children, at 12 hours exactly, which is good considering that that last several trips have been measured to the hotel and back, while this one included the extra 10 minutes to and from my parents’ house on both trips. If we measured only to the hotel and back, this was our fastest trip with children. (Compare to other trip times.)

◊ The First Day

We began our day (May 2) as any other, with me drinking coffee and the other three having breakfast. My wife and I had decided in advance that we’d enjoy the trip more if we didn’t try to rush it be leaving too early. We didn’t leave our driveway until 08:20.


Violet was very happy to see us
(Copyright © 2016 by Wil C. Fry.)

Just as we crossed the Brazos River in Waco (09:20), I saw in the distance that a city fire truck was parked across two of the three lanes, and that traffic was converging into a single lane. Beyond, we could see traffic stopped as far as the horizon. Luckily, there was an exit ramp there, and we took it. I’d hoped to continue north on the access road and rejoin I-35 as soon as we saw it was clear, but the access road was blocked by “road closed” signs and giant piles of dirt, so I wasn’t sure what to do. M pulled out her phone and quickly accessed Google Maps, telling me to go right, so we did. She deftly directed me through a neighborhood on Orchard Lane to US77 (Marlin Highway), which took us back to I-35 a little further north. It was still blocked, so we stayed on US77 (New Dallas Highway) until the Loop 340 intersection, from which we could see that I-35 was clear again. We turned right and made it back to I-35, having only lost a couple of minutes (instead of half an hour, had we stayed on I-35). Traffic was nearly non-existent at this point, since most northbound vehicles were still stuck behind us.

Twelve minutes after that, one of the kids had to use the restroom, so we stopped in West, Texas, for nine minutes, and then got back on the road.

We made it to Denton before stopping for lunch. It took 13 minutes to use the bathroom, get our food to go, and get back on the highway. (This is the McDonald’s in northern Denton; the old one we used to stop at has been torn down as part of highway construction.)

Those were our only two stops; we got to my parents’ house at 14:20, to learn that Zane, Jae, and Violet had arrived not too long before us.

Violet seemed overjoyed to see RnB (and the toys they brought), though I’m certain she doesn’t remember the last time she saw them (Christmas). Despite the age differences, the kids seemed to fit in well together. And then we went outside, most of us. RnB ran to the swingset almost immediately. BWF rode over to Granny’s house with Dad and I in the “Ranger” (a golf-cart type vehicle) and talked with her a while.

Happy Violet
Violet is interested in Marline’s necklace
(Copyright © 2016 by Wil C. Fry. Some rights reserved.)

For supper, we had “hobo dinners”, which is ground meat, carrots, potatoes, and onions wrapped up up in aluminum foil and baked. It was tasty and filling, along with homemade bread.

Because RnB had napped a bit in the car, they took a while to go to sleep. M finally gave up and went to bed too, eventually getting them to sleep. I stayed up too late talking to Zane and Dad.

Whee!
BWF enjoying the old wooden swing
(Copyright © 2016 by Wil C. Fry. Some rights reserved.)


BWF hikes across the pasture during our morning walk
(Copyright © 2016 by Wil C. Fry.)

◊ The Second Day

Our only full day (May 3) in Oklahoma, we packed in quite a bit.

I made a few photos in the morning, then went on a walk with MRB and Karlee the dog, who quickly became BWF’s best friend. BWF got soaked running through the dew-laden pasture, and was disappointed when I said it was time to go back to the house. Then I went on a solo walk through the canyon, hoping to find a good place to get the kids down there for their first-ever walk in the canyon. I couldn’t find a spot.


Yours truly, photographing my children
(Copyright © 2016 by Alex Z. Fry.)

The kids played inside and outside, and all nine of us took a walk around the short trail (to the bench and back), which the kids loved. Then Dad and Zane and I walked on down the rest of the trail, and I found a good spot to get RnB down there; I determined to bring them in the afternoon.

After a lunch of sandwiches, chips, and grapes, Dad and Zane and I did a little target practice on the southeastern edge of my parents’ lawn. In the direction we were shooting, there is nothing but woods for a mile and a half. Dad fired his Sig Sauer .380 pistol and I used my .45 Glock, both of us doing decently at 10 yards. Zane shot both. I noted that the .380 rounds lodged in the wood of the dead tree behind our targets, many of them visible on the surface, while the .45 rounds disappeared into the trunk entirely or went on through the other side.

After this, I took RnB down the longer trail, occasionally helping them over fallen trees — though they both surprised me by finding their own way several times; BWF can still go under things that I’ve long forgotten could be gone under, and RLF was good at finding alternate paths. The weather was perfect and we didn’t see many bugs. Both enjoyed their time in the canyon and I made several photos.

Back at the house, they played outside some more, until Granny showed up — indicating that supper was nearing — and then my sister Heather arrived with her husband and one son (the oldest was working). We had a big supper of teriyaki chicken, rice, vegetables, and more bread.

This time, M had a pretty easy time of getting RnB to sleep (relative to the previous night), and the remaining adults played a game called “5 Second Rule”, which M won and Heather was close behind.

Explorers
RnB during their first-ever walk through the canyon
(Copyright © 2016 by Wil C. Fry. Some rights reserved.)


RLF was fairly adept at moving around in the canyon; I was very proud of her
(Copyright © 2016 by Wil C. Fry. Some rights reserved.)

◊ The Third Day

Again, we decided to not pressure ourselves about leaving, and had a relaxing morning. After breakfast, M and I got most of our stuff in the car without hurrying, and then I set up to make photos on the porch. Having brought my tripod, remote control, and the Joby GorillaPod to hold the off-camera-flash, I managed to make decent portraits of the entire group of nine Frys in attendance. I was quietly proud that I’d managed to guess the correct settings on the first try.


Nine Frys
(Copyright © 2016 by Wil C. Fry. Some rights reserved.)

And then we said our goodbyes and left, driving out at 10:05. We stopped in Seminole for gas, which took only three minutes; since that could have easily been done the night before, I subtracted that three minutes from our total trip time. Going south, I exited a bit early to hit the Chickasaw Turnpike from Ada, adding several miles to our trip by going west to Stratford and then south (but I did take the last leg of the turnpike to skip Sulphur). Zane said he had just about caught up to us when he saw us take the wrong exit there; they had left a few minutes after we did.

We made it to Gainesville before stopping — lunch at McDonald’s — and then stopped again for a bathroom break at Grandview, Texas. We arrived home at 16:08.

Because the wind was out of the north for our entire round trip, I expected our gas mileage to increase on the trip home, but it didn’t. Perhaps running the A/C on the southbound trip negated any help from the wind. We got 21.843 miles per gallon on the northbound trip and 22.007 mpg southbound.

It was a good quick trip overall, and we enjoyed ourselves immensely.

To see all 135 images from this trip, click here.


Snapshots of Violet while she ate
(Copyright © 2016 by Wil C. Fry. Some rights reserved.)

__________

(Note: I finished this entry on May 10, but backdated it to May 5.)

2 Comments
  1. Sherry says:

    I enjoyed your visit. So glad the weather was perfect to be outside and you were able to share the canyon with the children.

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