Spring Break – 3/18/2023

It happened again this year where our schedules were conflicting. Danelle had other things to do and didn’t get to go with me for our spring break trip. For this trip, it would be Sonora, Coty, and myself (Hogan). Follow along and see what the heck we were up to.

We started driving Saturday morning driving at 6 am from the house. We were driving straight to West Mineral, Kansas to see one of Sonora’s favorite things, Big Brutus. This is the world’s second largest electric shovels. I thought we would need 4 hours to visit, but it only took us about 90 minutes to look through the whole thing.

The three of us watching the video about Big Brutus.

The girls standing inside the tracks. Each one of the plates on the track is over 2000 pounds.

Looking up at the boom of the shovel.

The girls had a blast sitting in the operator’s seat.

Sonora and I in the elevator that gets you from the ground into the vehicle.

There are a few other shovels on property. The girls are pretending to operate one of the smaller ones.

After the museum, we ventured down into Oklahoma towards Tulsa. We used Atlas Obscura to see what was around. There, we found Sooner Park Play Tower to climb. We went up and down a few times enjoying the 50 foot up view of the surrounding area.

As much as we were enjoying the tower, we were also just “wasting time” before our next feature of the day. We were visiting my work friend, Kurt Able. Kurt had come to STL to visit last summer and I took him out every day to see and enjoy the city. He was pleased I was coming to town and was making us pizza. How could I refuse. We had a 45 minute drive to Tulsa, OK to get to Kurt’s house and pizza.

Here is Kurt in his kitchen preparing us dinner.

Kurt had a kit to turn his dining table into a ping pong table.

Eventually, we said goodnight to Kurt, his family, and their hospitality and headed out into the Tulsa night.

The next morning, we visited the riverfront. Just a few years ago, Corvin and I unicycled along this path to an extremely flooded river. Today, the water was just a trickle and they have construction where the flood waters were working on a new white water park.

We drove around the art museum and wondered more about the fancy houses surrounding it. We made 2 laps with the Zillow app open seeing how expensive they were. Now it was time to head to Amarillo, Texas for our next overnight.

Of course on the drive we found a location to stop. Pops 66 Soda Ranch was where we stopped for lunch on the recommendation of Kurt. Its not so much a restaurant as a gas station with a restaurant in it. They have soda bottles decorating the whole storefront and the giant one out front.

The giant soda bottle out front.

We stopped at the Texas border for Coty.

After sleeping, we grabbed Subway sandwiches for a long day at Palo Duro Canyon state park. This is my third visit and each one only gets better. Its the second largest canyon in the United States. I started the girls with a hike down the canyon from the visitor’s center to the bottom. I drove to the bottom to hike up and meet them in the middle.

I hurried up and caught them about half way since they were taking their time and getting photos. Here they go back down to the car.

We were planning to do the Light House trail. First the girls wanted a rest. So we sat at this table, refiled the water and nearly finished a package of Oreo cookies.

Eventually we started the hike.

Unfortunately Sonora started feeling bad. She said she had ear buds and was happy, so she sat at a shelter and Coty and I rushed on to see the lighthouse part of the hike.

If all goes well, we’ll be standing up by the towers.

The last part of the hike was gruesome and we were rushed, but we made it!!

We ended up being about 15 minutes later than we told Sonora we would be, but she was fine right were we left her.

I had one more place I wanted to see before we left the park. So we drove there and sat to eat lunch. The girls didn’t want to hike but it was fine with me.

The cave is hard to see from the photo above, but its just above Sonora’s head. When I got up there, it wasn’t very deep and had a hole in the roof.

We visited the Cadillac Ranch before leaving town. It was far offset from the road and there was an insane amount of paint on the cars. Coty found an useful can of spray paint and did her thing.

Our final destination before heading home was just north of Dallas Texas to see Luz. Luz is Coty’s childhood friend from Argentina. They had not seen each other in over a year and happened to meet again in Texas of all places.

After an amazing visit with a cool multi-generational host family, it was time to head home.

Back in Missouri, we made a stop at the Uranus Fudge Factory for some photos.

A short whirlwind trip with a few days to recover.

Hogan Haake