This year, Tony and I decided to keep our vacation easy and affordable by taking a road trip to visit family and friends in Oklahoma and Missouri. We were gone for eleven days -- the longest trip we've ever taken! We weren't sure how Jackson and Olivia would handle being away from home for so long. They did have their wild moments, due to the absence of their usual routine and surroundings. But they really are awesome little travelers. Everything is an adventure for them.
We left on July 3rd after Tony got off work. We grabbed some Subway on our way out of town. I got the veggie patty. Have you heard that some east coast Subways are offering vegan sandwiches now? Go, Subway!
We arrived at my mother-in-law's home, near Oklahoma City, after midnight. The next morning, we slept in. Once we got out of bed, we immediately started cooking out. While Tony grilled steaks, I roasted some potatoes and made corn, salad, and fruit salad.
We had an easy, relaxing Independence Day, hanging out with family, eating and drinking.
The next day, we set out to visit our friends Rick and Carla and their family in St. Louis. It's a long drive from OKC, so we elected to drive halfway and spend the night in Springfield, MO.
We heard that the number one attraction for kids in Springfield is the original Bass Pro Shops store. I was a little skeptical. What's so exciting about a store? But this particular store is the size of an amusement park.
There is a waterfall. Inside the store.
The main floor is nothing but boats, 4-wheelers, snowmobiles, etc., as far as the eye can see. And you can climb all over them. For a two-year-old and almost-four-year-old, this was heaven.
Boat Captain Olivia.
Jackson thinks I should trade in my car and take him to school in this monster.
Olivia will take this Arctic Cat over a Barbie doll any day of the week.
I decided this would be my boat. You know, if I was going to own a boat. Isn't she yar?
Moving along, we encountered some huge fish tanks. There was also a live crocodile, just hanging out in his enclosure right in the middle of the store. I meant to circle back and take a picture of him, but I forgot.
Downstairs, there was a camping area. I was amazed by all the pre-made meals you can buy. When my family went camping in western Maryland every summer when I was a kid, we lived on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and smores. Now you can feast on lasagna while you're crouching around the campfire.
Some of the options weren't so appealing. Giant tin of beef stew, anyone?
Uh-oh! While I was pricing camping gear (I'm determined to take the kids camping this fall), Tony went and got himself mauled by a wolf! These taxidermied creatures lurked everywhere. I guess they add to the ambiance.
Strangely, the kids wanted to hug all the stuffed and mounted animals in the store, but they would have nothing to do with this overall-clad bear statue out front. Sorry, Mr. Bear.
Springfield doesn't have a ton of exciting dinner options. We ate at the Ruby Tuesday by our hotel. As far as family-type chains go, Ruby Tuesday is considerably more vegetarian-friendly than your TGI Friday's or your Chili's. I hit the salad bar first. Gotta get your veggies while you're traveling!
Then I had the veggie sliders, made with shredded zucchini. They were a tad mushier than I would've preferred, but had a pleasant flavor.
Tomorrow -- on to St. Louis!