Sunday, July 16, 2017

Route 66 Wedding Road Trip

We spent most of the week following the Mother Road back to Oklahoma for Diamond’s sealing to Caleb in the Oklahoma City Temple. Along the way, we revisited some sites we saw on our December 2010 trip (what?! That long ago?) and found some new ones to add to our treasure trove of memories.

Monday would be the most “normal” of all the days this week. Hallie had her usual therapy, and everyone took time to do some more packing for our trip and for moving. We did get a sunshower from the monsoon moisture off to our east. That was kind of fun.
Rain is falling, such as it is.

The kids had gymnastics in the afternoon. Grandpa and Grandma O. and Alie came to watch the kids for a while, and it was nice to have them visit and watch the kids.

Tuesday morning started with Eliza and Hallie getting their nails done in wedding colors while Landon and Mike packed the car in preparation for the trip.

After picking up the girls and getting a few last-minute details settled, we headed on the road a bit after noon, bound for Kingman, AZ.

The GPS had us take a route that added a few miles but bypassed traffic en route, so we drove through the heart of the Mojave on rolling two-lane roads that reminded Mike and Hallie of the way the Pearblossom Highway used to be.

After grabbing a bite to eat at In-N-Out and enjoying a monsoon sunset, we stayed the night in Kingman at the Ramada Kingman, which is covered with murals inspired by the heyday and lore of Route 66.

Mike and the kids took a late evening dip in the big outdoor pool before we finally settled down for the night. 

Here's a strange and cool little part of the trip: Both kids decided they wanted to take their parents' teddy bears along for the trip, so Landon has slept with Dad's Teddy, and Eliza has slept with Mom's "Beary." Go figure. 

After breakfast in the morning Wednesday, we spent most of the day on the road driving to our next stop in Albuquerque, NM.

Not too long after we started, we stopped in Seligman, where we shopped at the Route 66 General Store.

Landon had a splinter in his finger that he hadn’t let us know about until it got sore and red. We had tried working on it a little Tuesday night without success. In Seligman, he decided he had enough, so we had to pull over. Dad helped get the splinter out (yay!), and while he was doing so, a cowboy/panhandler/horse rescuer came up to Eliza and Hallie and gave Eliza and then Landon a ride on his horses. The kids were sure impressed! The cowboy was super nice, the horses were really well behaved, and Hallie wishes she had a bit more cash to give him for the ride and time he spent with the kids. This ride definitely took Landon’s mind off of the splinter that was just taken out.

Later, we made a quick stop at the Jack Rabbit Trading Post in Winslow near where some of Mike’s ancestors used to live in the 19th century. We have decided on our next trip Eliza doesn’t get to drink anything! Her bladder is not doing us any favors, but it is doing the small business owners on Route 66 a favor when the restrooms are for paying customers only.

From the Jack Rabbit, we crossed the border into New Mexico and continued on to Albuquerque.

Thursday morning after breakfast, we made a stop at the temple and distribution center so Hallie could get a few needed items. There was a Sister who was quite interested in Hallie’s weight loss, and the two had quite a good chat. The kids took in the grounds, and Mike was even (kind of) able to help a Spanish-speaking member with his transaction at the distribution center.

At around lunch time, we got into Tucumcari, so we made a stop at Tee Pee Curios where Landon bought a switch blade comb that he can’t seem to stop playing with and Eliza bought a soapstone skull.

We then dined at Watson’s BBQ, a charming restaurant inside a hardware store. The proprietors fawned over us, inviting us to scribble messages on the walls, take a picture with a stuffed brown bear, and pet a mongoose. Our sliced brisket was delicious! Hallie was so excited her small stomach could not eat it all as that meant she could have more for dinner. The kids loved looking all over the store, and the owners could not have been nicer to the kids.


From Tucumcari we continued on into Texas, stopping outside Amarillo at the Cadillac Ranch, which is much more entertaining by day. We all got to make our temporary marks on the sculpture with spray paint, and the kids even climbed on the buried cars. Thanks to some folks leaving who gave us their leftover spray paint. If you ever go make sure you take at least one can of spray paint with you so you can leave your mark.

We continued on to the famous Conoco gas station in Shamrock before continuing on to Oklahoma. 

We stayed overnight in Elk City, home of the National Route 66 Museum. Like the last time we came through, we got there too late to actually see inside.

On Friday, we finally made it to Yukon and got to meet up with Diamond and Caleb! We hung out with them for a little bit, then Mike took the kids to the pool while Hallie ran some errands and the newlyweds-to-be canoodled in the hotel lobby. After everyone got back together, we had dinner at the local Olive Garden. We had a fair amount left over that sadly did not end up getting eaten.

Later, after we said our goodbyes to Caleb, Hallie and Mike went to Braum’s (a regional favorite that is three stores in one: a grill, a soda fountain, and a grocery) for some ice cream. Yummers! Thanks Diamond for babysitting! The ice cream was yummy and one scoop was super big and well-priced. Hallie needs to remember that a junior size would have been better than a single scoop for her stomach. It was nice hanging out with Diamond while we ironed our clothes and just lay in our beds talking before the big day.

Mike had the sweet privilege of giving Diamond a father’s blessing this evening. It was great to see the priesthood being used in such a special way for this special occasion.

Saturday was Diamond and Caleb’s big day! We got to the temple a little late, as we got a bit of a late start on the morning and had to rush around to get dressed up and our stuff all collected up so we could head out the door, but we did make it!

Mike transferred Diamond’s luggage to Caleb’s car, but in the process he locked Caleb’s keys in Caleb’s car. Hijinks might have proceeded from there, but fortunately Caleb carried a spare. Phew! Good job, Son-in-Law!

Before and after the sealing at the Oklahoma City Temple in Yukon, we became acquainted with some powerful local heat and humidity. We’ve felt similar in St. Louis and at Mount Vernon, but that one-two punch threw us (especially Mike and Landon) for a loop! Somehow while the boys poured out sweat, the ladies just glowed.

Hallie and Mike went into the temple with the other adults while the kids and the Cragun’s youngest son Zane stayed in the foyer with a kind sister from the Cragun’s ward. Mike and Caleb’s dad were witnesses, and Caleb’s grandfather acted as sealer.

After the wedding, we all ventured back out into the heat for pictures. Several months ago we found our photographer Stephanie Crandall when Diamond called the temple asking for suggestions for a photographer. Stephanie was so very nice, and we can’t wait to see the photos.

Hallie, the hottie MIL

A luncheon was had at Hideaway Pizza, and the food was amazing! The Craguns had set up a private room for our group where there was salad, many different types of pizzas, and even deep fried mushrooms. Landon thought they were chicken, and he liked them. We haven’t broke the news to him yet.

We then drove out toward Bartlesville, where Caleb’s family lives, for the wedding reception. Along the way, we stopped at Ree Drummond’s The Pioneer Woman Mercantile in Pawhuska. Hallie was in love with all the cute items for the home, the kids loved the toys, and Mike enjoyed the baked goods. If you happen to ever be in the area, avoid the meal line and just go upstairs to the bakery. Everything we tried was so yummy! As we were dressed up in matching colors, we got a couple of questions and comments about how cute we looked. 

We high-tailed it over to the church in Bartlesville for the reception. The newlyweds chose a geek/nerd theme in black, white, yellow, and orange. Turned out pretty cute overall!

At the father-daughter dance, Diamond and Mike danced to a song from the movie Meet the Robinsons called Little Wonders. Little did Diamond know when picking it that both the movie and the song are a couple of Dad’s favorites, as they touch on themes relating to adoption, hope, and moving forward. It all brought a tear to Dad’s eye. Aww! Landon and Hallie tried to have their own dance which was cute when Landon told Hallie the only kind of dancing he knew how to do was break dancing.

After sending the happy couple off, we helped clean up and then stayed overnight at the home of a couple from the ward. Many thanks for the comfy bed and hospitality! Hallie said it felt good to sleep in a home after so many hotel nights.

We had breakfast Sunday morning at the Cragun’s and said so long to Diamond, Caleb, and his family before heading out on the road for home. We made one last stop outside of Arcadia, passing the Round Barn before stopping at Pops 66, which (like Rocket Fizz) sells a variety of unique and craft pops (among other things). Mike even found a yerba mate-flavored soda from Germany called Club Mate, which of course he had to buy. He also got some Leninade, a soda for the PEOPLE. Landon got Australian Bundaberg root beer (he liked the shape of the bottle. Mike had Bundaberg ginger beer in New Zealand), and Eliza got Cool Mountain Blue Razzberry (she liked the color). We also got a couple of local drinks: Round Barn root beer and Catoosa cream soda (named after the famous blue whale outside of Tulsa).

Leaving Route 66, we wended our way south along increasingly smaller (but fast!) roads from Oklahoma down into Texas, stopping in Sweetwater for the night. As today is National Ice Cream Day, we celebrated with some of Texas’ own Blue Bell mint chocolate chip.

We ended the day with the kids taking a dip in the pool and finding a lot of other kids in the pool to play with. Now it is time to hit the bed as tomorrow we head our way just a bit more west so we can get home and get ready for our next adventure: Our move to Utah.

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