Raleigh to Houston: the long way around.

In June I moved from Raleigh to Houston. This trip happened in two parts: driving a moving truck out then flying back, and then taking a road trip on my Ninja 1000. The goal of this trip, and the reason for nearly every stop along the way, was to visit friends. The only exceptions were getting a replacement chain in Missouri, and touring a submarine in Oklahoma.

Leaving my apartment for the final time.

Made a stop in Winchester, Virginia and visited a dear friend and her SO; so glad I got to meet them in person at last!

Dinner in the gayborhood of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with several friends, both old and new.

You know you’re in the midwest when… Somewhere around Columbus, Ohio. I’d stopped there to visit with a few friends.

A restaurant in St. Louis. I spent two days in town to visit with the number of friends, do laundry, etc.

As I got close to my hotel in Clayton I was struck by a sense déjà vu, particularly due to the kinetic sculpture in front of an office building on Bonhomme Ave at Hanley Rd. After a bit I remembered why: I had been there for a DRA (library system software) user group meeting 20 years ago. Then I stayed at the Holiday Inn which is now a Sheraton, and it was a block behind my hotel this time.

On my way to Kansas City I needed to get gas and food. I spotted a sign low off I-70 that said “Iron Horse Hotel and Restaurant” in Blackwater, Missouri. I decided to give it a try. I take the exit and find that the town is a few miles further. As I get to the edge of town I saw a sign listing the population as 299 and though “this is either going to be really good or really bad; there is no in between!” The windmill in the main intersection of town didn’t add much. The planter with the tree is the edge of the central parking area for the block.

The Iron Horse Hotel and Restaurant. Still undecided but I walked in.

…did I just walk into an old western movie set?!

The restaurant was good. It was father’s day, though, so the menu was limited. I would not hesitate to suggest it if you’re traveling through the area.

Onward to Kansas City, where I met a friend and her husband for ice cream, and then to a friend in Lawrence, Kansas. I walked a bit of downtown that night and this restaurant front caught my eye.

The next day was to Springfield, Missouri. A bit of a backtrack but it had to do with my friends’ availability. I found a lovely little cafe with some notes on the mirror in the bathroom.

Springfield was along Route 66 and there was a museum setup in an old theater. I was pleased to see a display about the Green Book.

I stayed at a Best Western that was formerly Rail Haven, a classic Route 66 inn.

My next stop was Tulsa. However, I got on the road early and my friend there wasn’t available until pretty well into the afternoon so I decided to ride some of old Route 66, stopping for lunch at Clanton’s in Vinita, Oklahoma. I didn’t realize it at the time but this was a classic Route 66 restaurant that survived.

The evening with my friend was great and I got to see some of the sights of the city. This was my second time in Tulsa and with this friend, but this time without an unhappy wife along for the ride.

After Tulsa was Dallas and that friend was working during the day, too, so I decided to take a small detour and tour the USS Batfish.

Dallas was fine, though traffic was a bit interesting when I left the next morning as a wreck had closed the entire High Five Interchange was closed due to a truck wreck. I was staying in a hotel adjacent – it had access from the frontage road – so it took a bit to get through the morning commute traffic but once through it was smooth sailing to home!

Well, it’s not home anymore, but it was for 4 months.