December 7th, 2015

SMOF License

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.