Road Trip!

Later this summer, my wife and I will be embarking on a glorious road trip.  We had been debating what to do for my vacation this summer.  We tossed around a few ideas, but nothing seemed to be sticking.  One idea that we had floated around was to drive to Pawhuska, OK.  This one kept coming back up, even though we kept on dismissing it initially.  No matter what else we considered this one kept coming back into our mind, so we decided to look into it.

Now why Pawhuska, OK?” you might ask.  Or maybe more likely you’re saying “where?

My wife is a big fan of Ree Drummond, better known as The Pioneer Woman.  Her blog, cookbooks and TV series all revolve around her life on the ranch.  Okay, to be fair, I’m a big fan of Ree as well.  We’ve often made use of her recipes in our home, and everything has been delicious.  To date, I think my ultimate favourite recipe of hers is her Burgundy Mushrooms. Sooo tasty!  They may take 9 hours (yes, 9 hours!) to cook, but the house will smell amazing and the taste is exquisite.

Ree and family live near a small town in Oklahoma called Pawhuska.  Over the past year, she and her husband have renovated and opened an old mercantile store.  The Pioneer Woman Mercantile has a bakery, a deli and a general store.  All things Ree can be found here.  So this was our final destination.  (Look out Ree, we’re coming! Given that the town of Pawhuska is relatively tiny, we opted to book a hotel in Bartlesville, about 30-miles away.

Map route
Our big road trip for the summer

To make the trip that much more fun, we’re heading off to Gatineau, QC first to spend a couple of days with Isabelle’s goddaughter, Elise and the family (including newborn twins).  From there, we’ll continue on to Niagara Falls and spend a night there.  This will be Isabelle’s first visit to Niagara Falls, my second.  I was 7 or 8 the last time I went, so not much recollection.  This is where we’ll cross over into the US and make our way to Oklahoma, driving through St. Louis on the way.

We’ll spend a couple of days visiting the area around Pawhuska and Bartlesville, spending lots of time (I’m sure) at the Mercantile, soaking it all up.  I may need to hide my darling wife’s credit card once we get there…

The road home sees us stop in Louisville, KY and then heading on towards Wrentham, MA to do a bit of outlet shopping.  We’ll be leaving Wrentham on my birthday.  Rather than drive all the way home and have a boring kind of birthday, we opted to spend another night on the road.  We’ll be heading through to Kittery, ME so that I can get me some Bob’s Clam Hut and then one last night at a hotel in Portland, ME before heading home.

All said and done, we’re looking at a little under 7,100 km (4,400 mi for my US readers) and about 67 hours of drive time.  The longest road trip that I’ve ever taken was when I visited my friend Heather in Ohio some years back. That was about a 20 hour drive each way on my own.  This time, at least I’ll be sharing the task.

One of the other fun parts of this drive is that we’ll be able to check off a number of US states from our list.  After my grandmother passed away a few years ago, I was looking through her photo albums.  My grandparents had traveled quite a bit in their later years.  One of the finds in the albums was a handwritten list of all the states they had visited.  I made a copy of the list and Isabelle and I will endeavor to check them all off, and then some!

My grandmother's handwritten list of all the US states she and my grandfather visited

I’m sure that there will be further posts detailing this trip later this summer.  Stay tuned!

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