Day 7 – Dealey Plaza and Prairie Dogs

Aiming for an early start to our day, we rolled up the air mattress (thanks Nick!) and packed up for the next leg of our journey. We knew we’d be stopping in Dallas, but we weren’t sure where we were headed after that, we’d see where the road takes us! We were looking for a little taste of New England, so we used the “Find a Dunkin” app, and stopped at one of the TWO Dunkin Donuts locations in Houston – two?! We have double the amount in East Windsor alone!  After we fueled up at Dunkin (America runs on Dunkin, right?) we were off to Dallas. We stopped along the way to make lunch at a rest area, but dozens of bees swarmed us the minute food was on the table! Ally ran to the car and assembled sandwiches from the passenger seat. 

            We weren’t sure what we wanted to do exactly, but we wanted to at least stop to stretch in the city. We made a call to Bryan who visited Dallas last year – he gave us a few recommendations (no, we were not going to America’s largest Hooter’s). After a few hours of highway driving, we made it down Elm St. in Dallas and parked next to Dealey Plaza.

We walked around and took in the sites there – the School Book Depository Building and the precise spot where JFK was shot.

They even have an ‘X’ etched into the pavement. There were tons of tourists there who were running into the road to take pictures in between cars driving by and even some conspiracy theorists hawking their goods. (“Buy my book, I’ve solved the case!”) Overall, it was a great stop but very eerie to be in that spot and just think about the events of November 22nd, 1963.  

Thanks to the AAA CampBooks, we were able to set our day’s destination – one of three campgrounds in Wichita Falls, TX (Ally was excited about the town because it was in her favorite movie, Twister). After Dallas, we got off the main interstate and took a ‘Texas Highway’ through some pretty remote areas.

The towns had signs “Population: 345” or “Population: 1,257” – not exactly the most developed areas. Speed Limit was 70 MPH, but if you were going that ‘slow’ you were getting passed by just about everyone. During the drive, we called around to the campgrounds and were turned away from one because “We only accept RVs – absolutely no tents!” while another campground was closed altogether! That left us with Lake Arrowhead State Park as our only option.

2 hours after Dallas, we were in Wichita Falls and made a stop at Wal-Mart. We got an oil change for Bubba’s truck and replenished some of our groceries. Ally had the idea of a ‘Southwest Chipotle Chicken Salad’ for dinner and we got some extra water and snacks for our next day’s drive. After our visit to Wally World, we trekked several miles down the road to our campground.

Once at the State Park, we found a site but decided not to set up because even at 6 PM it was 116 degrees! We took the time to walk around and explore and found some WILD prairie dogs.

“They were really, really cute!” says Ally. As Bubba went to get a picture of them, the Papa Dog started what could best be described as a bark but more of a Chihuahua ‘yip’ – very entertaining.

As we waited for the sun to go down and the temperature to drop below 100, we sat and played some Yahtzee and Gin Rummy (It was too windy to play regular rummy; the cards would’ve been blowing everywhere!). During our card game we noticed ash falling on us from the nearby Texas Wildfires, pretty crazy stuff. We also took some time to start planning our trip to the Grand Canyon – getting excited! Anyone been there and have recommendations of hikes that we should go on or things for us to see? Let us know!

As the sun finally set, we put up our tent and got the things together for dinner. The chicken was pulled off the bone and the salad was made. Mmhmm, it was delicious! Once done, we cleaned up and packed everything back in the truck – ready to leave first thing in the morning. Climbing in the tent, it was still 106 degrees out. We listened to the Yanks/Sox game on Bubba’s phone as we tried to fall asleep but the sweat dripping off wasn’t helping much. Eventually we did fall asleep but tossed and turned all night as it never really ‘cooled’ down.     

Off to New Mexico tomorrow!

Houston, TX to Wichita Falls, TX – 408 miles


-Ally and Patrick

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