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Bye-Bye Lamar, Hello Lamar: The Trip Home to Texas

Cheese House

With all the celebrating and visiting over, it was time to head home to Texas. We made breakfast at Marilyn & Lee’s place (Thanks, folks! We owe you.), a breakfast casserole that we’d put together the evening before. While the casserole heated we loaded the car and chatted with our hosts. Peeps, the peach-faced lutino lovebird, continued to work the crowd, merrily chattering away and looking for fingers to sit on. We had to be careful that we didn’t let Peeps out while we were carrying plunder booty belongings out to the car.

Mom came over to visit as well; I suspect it was for the food, of course, although she said she just wanted to see the bird.

Our scheduled departure time of 9 AM came all too quickly, and we loaded up and headed out. We had a new rider along: Lamar, the Missouri Box Tortoise. He was found by Paula Jo the afternoon before, a poor, homeless little reptile. He begged and begged, and finally we relented and offered him a ride to Texas with us. As you can see in the picture above, he’s one happy ectotherm.

It’s not much over an hour from Lamar into Oklahoma, and we were just settling in good when we left the turnpike and headed south on U.S. 69. Our goal: The Amish Cheese House in Chouteau. It wasn’t on our planned path home, but it wasn’t far away either. The cheese is clearly worth the detour! Hand-crafted blocks of goodness, made from milk that comes from the happiest cows in the region. (Must be.) They also have all sorts of seasoning blends, special tools and much, much more. There’s an attached bakery too, with really attractive prices on bread, pies and cakes. We spent a pleasant hour (almost), then took our pile of cheese and rejoined Lamar for the rest of the trek home.

Peeps

We rejoined the turnpike system east of Tulsa and kept rolling, west-southwest. At least Oklahoma lets your drive at a reasonable pace! You have to pay for the privilege, of course; but it’s worth it. Oklahoma City appeared on the horizon about lunchtime; we didn’t stop, though, as we were still stuffed okay from breakfast and the road snacks. (Lamar was napping.)

We turned onto I-35 and boogied towards the border.

Amusing sign along the way: An ad for Buc-ee’s roadside stop. We know of several Buc-ee’s in southeast Texas, as they’re a family favorite stop. However, they’re not in Oklahoma (yet). The sign’s content? “Buc-ee’s Coming 2012; 399 Miles.” Clearly advertising their upcoming New Braunfels site on I-35. We smiled, then we realized we were about 350 miles from home! Home; we could hardly wait.

The car began to complain that it needed fuel, so we turned off to a Love’s travel stop. Gas for the car, drinks for us (Lamar was still napping), and we were back on the road.

Turns out, we should have stayed for a while longer…

We got a few miles south of our stop and the highway stopped. Completely. Then we began to ooch, a bit. Nearly and hour later, we arrived on the scene s of the roadblock: A grass fire. A big grass fire! Lots of equipment, dirt-moving gear, and at least half the cops in the state directing traffic. Once we got past that we rolled nicely, but the damage was done. It became clear we would reach the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex at rush hour. And there was no way to avoid it, other than stop and wait.

We waded into the snarl of traffic, and more stop-and-go. Another hour lost.

So instead of reaching the house at 6:30 or so, we got home about 9. The good news: Everybody made it safe. (Lamar slept through the whole thing.) We unpacked a bit, put the perishables into the fridge, and crashed. Paula Jo was nearly late to work the next morning, we slept so hard…

Enjoy the (Home Again, Home Again) Heat!

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