You may not think this was an adventure, but you’ll have to agree that it was excellent. On Thursday I drove from KC to Dallas to attend a Leon Redbone concert. Actually, on Thursday I drove to Ardmore, Oklahoma! (Is Oklahoma! always spelled with an ! ?), then on into Dallas Friday morning. I had a whale of a time! Even in Ardmore, where I had a great meal on Thursday evening at Budro’s Rib Joint. Great barbecue and terrific hospitality. What more do you need? Okay, there were half a dozen TVs showing baseball, football, basketball, women’s basketball, and something else. Oh, yes. News. I can’t help wondering why the news is on. You can at least watch the sports, but you have no chance of hearing anything, so the news is just silent talking heads.
I ordered an old favourite of mine, a barbecue beef sandwich and onion rings. Anyone who knows me knows that I pine for onion rings, which aren’t often available in Australia (unless I make them myself).
Breakfast next morning was just as good. I ate at the Prairie Kitchen in Ardmore and had a classic American breakfast of two eggs perfectly cooked (over easy), crispy bacon, hash browns, and biscuits. I mention all this in detail because in Australia when they ask how you want your eggs they mean fried, poached, or scrambled. They don’t know what ‘over easy’ means and there is no point trying to explain. They really don’t want to know. The bacon, on the other hand, is likely to be ‘over easy’ and not at all crispy. If you order hash browns, you will get a wedge of what was once potato, now shredded and formed into a triangle, deep fried, and frozen in a factory. And cold toast. I’m sorry, my Aussie friends. I know what an Aussie breakfast is like. So my first American ‘breakfast out’ was a real treat. And of course there was the big pot of hot coffee on the table to help myself–in an insulated pot so that it stayed hot. And half and half. Oh My Dog! I did enjoy that breakfast!
I need to talk a bit about driving on the freeways. As you know, I live in Tasmania (AKA the Slow Lane). We don’t have real freeways in Tasmania. You need to keep in mind that I:
- rarely drive over 60 mph
- normally drive on the left
- haven’t a clue where I’m going
- have a genetic problem with knowing my right from my left (which I inherited from my son, Randall)
Well, I’m here to report that I drove to Dallas and back without incident. I didn’t even need TomTom. And I didn’t get misplaced once. Not a single block out of my way. Colour me smug. I must confess, it was less about my cleverness than the wonderful signage on the freeways. It’s brilliant! Navigating by signs in Australia–not so good. I’ve never been a fan of freeways, but this little trip to Dallas made a believer out of me. I still prefer the smaller county roads, and when I drive to Toronto in a few weeks I don’t expect to take the freeways much, if at all. But for this quick trip I-35 was brilliant.
I also had to adjust my thinking about Kansas and Oklahoma!. The scenery along the freeway in both states is quite pleasant. Not spectacular, but much nicer than I expected. Not at all the flat, straight, dreary landscape I thought it would be. Rural Oklahoma! along I-35 is quite delightful, but when the song says “Oklahoma! City is mighty pretty” I don’t think it means as seen from the freeway.
In Kansas the road verges were lined with sunflowers. And the Kansas Flint Hills are beautiful. The colours were magical, making the rolling hills and occasional gullies and rocky outcrops look like a dilapidated old sofa, with lumpy hills upholstered in faded, and sometimes thread-bare brocade, resulting in patches of green showing through the many shades of gold, which changed with the angle of the light. The folds and creases in the fabric were lined with darker shades of green. The palate had only two basic colours: green and gold, but the variations of shade and tone seemed infinite.
Most of Texas is not very attractive, and they have a litter problem, but I have to say that driving in Texas was very good indeed. The speed limit was a bit lower than in the other states, and people seemed to stick to it. At least everyone drove at the same speed, so there was little lane-changing. It was very easy driving. And I found the hospitality engaging. My previous impression of Texas was significantly adjusted. It augurs well for my trip to Houston later in the year.
Before I stop I must say a word about the Adolphus Hotel: gorgeous. Okay, a few words, then. For those of you who don’t know Dallas, the Adolphus is smack downtown. It’s a beautiful old hotel, with the grace and charm of the grand old hotels of Europe. Comfort, luxury, and service–it’s the real deal. Pamper yourself. Perfect for a short stay where you can make the hotel part of the experience rather than just a bed and shower. I even put on a frock and indulged in afternoon tea–or High Tea, as the English would call it. Three courses, and a piano player. (Someone’s gotta do it, folks!)
High Tea at The Adolphus — the final course
You may have noticed that I haven’t discussed the reason for the trip to Dallas–the Leon Redbone Concert. Well, that will be the subject of the very next post, coming shortly. So stay tuned. MM
Seeing Clarely said:
I’ve been enjoying your travelogue so much that I missed TomTom in this post. Did you do away with him?
No, TomTom is fully charged and well, and will probably be called upon tomorrow to get me to a luncheon with some childhood friends. Thanks to the brilliant signage on I-35, I didn’t need him except at the very end to confirm my directions. I shall tell him you asked… 😉 MM
I have to agree with you about Aussie Breakfasts. I suspect that it’s because most of us grew up with a ‘breakfast is a meal you eat at home’ mentality, whereas North America has evolved a culture that dictates every meal be available outside the home, in every imaginable form of cuisine whatsoever, and every hour of the day, and night.
It’s great reading about your adventures!
Bill Chance said:
Enjoyed your blog post a lot! I’ve lived in Dallas for thirty years, but went to college in Kansas, so I’ve made that I-35 drive… probably a hundred times. Have eaten at Budro’s – it’s OK.
If you make that same drive again – stop in Guthrie, Oklahoma, just north of Oklahoma City, instead of Ardmore. Guthrie is an interesting town, hit a bit hard by the downturn, but still worth a visit. Also, for a break, the Arbuckle mountains in Southern Oklahoma are a nice change from the plains, Highway 77 winds away from the Interstate between Davis and Springer – it’s pretty scenic.
The Aldophus is great, isn’t it. I can’t afford to stay there, but I’ve had their tea, it was fun. Dallas is not the best city to visit – not very attractive and it’s pretty barren for tourist destinations, but it’s a nice place to live, actually.
Leon Redbone is so cool, I’m glad you got to see him. Looking forward to that entry.
Thanks for the comment, Bill, and the travel tips! I plan to drive to Houston later this year, so will bear them in mind. Had a look at your blog–some very nice stuff there! I hall visit it again. MM