Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee

The Road from SMOFCon, Day 1: Fort Worth to Amarillo TX

Today's journey was Fort Worth to Amarillo, 340 miles by Google Maps calculation, although it was twenty miles longer by the route we actually took.

Kuma in Charge

I had some initial hope of an early start today, but when I woke up briefly at 6 AM, I decided we needed more sleep and reset the alarm for 8 AM. Just before 10 AM, we were ready to go. travelswithkuma perches on the heavily-laden luggage cart and says, "Lets goes!" We were very grateful that the Sheraton let us use the luggage carts to move ourselves in and out.

At 10:05, we rolled out of the Sheraton's parking garage. Unfortunately, I misread the signs multiple times and didn't have a good map of downtown Fort Worth, and consequently got on the freeway downstream from the Northbound I-35W exit and then after doubling back and taking the I-35W NB exit, turned left instead of right, which routed me back into downtown Fort Worth. At that point I decided to simply head up Main Street (US-287 Business) toward the Stockyards, where I'd already been twice on two separate dinner expeditions, and take the time penalty as we made our way to breakfast, on the grounds that trying to turn around again would probably use just as much time.

Good Food Fast

Thus it was 45 minutes later (instead of the 12 minutes the original plan showed) before we pulled up to the Waffle House along I-820 in Saginaw. A big breakfast with lots of tea for Lisa and coffee for me made us both feel a bit more ready to face the road, although as it happens it was Lisa who was better suited for it than I was.

Road construction on I-35W up to the US-287 junction further slowed us down, but presently we were on the open road heading northwest at a good clip. However, within half an hour or so it started getting clear that I was not in a good shape to drive. I was gasping and straining to stay awake. Eventually, about 100 miles from Fort Worth, Lisa took over, as she got a good night's sleep last night and was much more alert. I dug out my neck pillow and laid back. I may have slept for a little while before we got to Wichita Falls, where we refueled. Lisa was to drive us the rest of the day.

Trailer Trouble

North of Wichita Falls, we drove carefully by this incident, where a mobile home ran off the road while being towed. Ouch!

We made rest stops in Vernon and Childress, with me drinking coffee and cola to try and stay somewhat awake, but I was really grateful for Lisa doing the driving.

Towers over Texas

Presently wind farms once again appeared. Later on, after sunset, we could see a forest of red lights blinking in unison in the distance from the turbines.

We're refueling more often than strictly necessary (the minivan has range in excess of 450 miles) to continue to take maximum advantage of gas costing less than $1.70/gallon, numbers that boggle the imagination of this transplanted Californian. We stopped to refuel again at the Pilot on the east side of Amarillo just after US-287 merged into I-40. As we were leaving, we saw a genuine Texas limousine with long horns on the hood. I always thought people just made that up. Continuing westward to the exit where our hotel was, then stopped to get some groceries and finally arrived at the hotel at 7:25 PM.

Holiday Inn Express Amarillo

We got an upgrade to a full suite: separate living room with a door between it and the bedroom area. (More photos in case you're curious are available by clicking through.) We moved our luggage and groceries into the room, ordered a pizza, and tired to relax. After dinner, I worked on catching up on messages, entering travel expenses into Quicken, and transferring the raw data from the Fannish Inquisition from the camera cartridge to my computer while Lisa took a bath.

Including stops, we took 9 hours 20 minutes to travel 360 miles, for an average speed of 39 miles per hour. Considering that we stopped to have lunch for an hour and had quite a few other rest stops along the way, this should tell you something about how fast Texas highways are. Tomorrow we have a trip of 430 miles from the trip planner (which means it will probably be about 470 miles of actual travel), and it's likely to be a long day. Fortunately, the weather is good and I-40 is a fast road while driving at legal speeds.
Tags: kuma bear, lisa, smofcon, travel

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