Road Trip! Days 17-19: TX, Hot Springs NP, TN, & HOME

We hit Texas around lunchtime and we searched for some options. There weren’t many to choose from, so we really felt fortunate when The Texline Restaurant was such a great spot. It was bright, clean, and the authentic Mexican food was so yummy.

I also couldn’t help but think it was really cool that there were some legit cowboys eating lunch the same time we were. Big guys in jeans and hats that had big old trucks with cow trailers parked outside and the nicest manners when we had a conversation. I love me some Texas!

After that we were back on the road, driving across the northern most tip of Texas and into Oklahoma. We stopped for the night about 45 minutes west of Oklahoma City for a meal at Lucille’s Roadhouse (the finest food for the hungry traveler) and good night’s sleep.

The next morning we were up and off… through Oklahoma City and into Arkansas. The kids were pretty tired so we decided we’d stop for lunch in and drive through Hot Springs but had no intention of trying to squeeze in yet another National Park.

After some googling, we set our GPS to Cafe1217. Located in an unassuming strip mall, it’s not much to see from the exterior, but inside it was painted so adorably and the food? It was fantastic; so fresh!

We all enjoyed our hearty lunches then hopped back in the car for the 5 minute drive into downtown Hot Springs. Ohhh… it was so cute! I couldn’t resist having us park just to walk down and get a peek at Bath Row.

Well, you can say we were just drawn in by the history of the bath houses, that I had no real knowledge of. The Hot Springs National Park Museum is a 4 story bath house on the main row, and once we walked in, we had to explore it. So we got the junior ranger books, and set off on a self led tour.

The hot springs are natural to the area and in the early 1900’s, these bath houses were built to offer spa-like experiences for high end clientele. There were steam rooms and baths of course, with attendants, but also a music room, a gymnasium, dressing rooms, hair salon, and more, all inside the building. It as like getting a tour of the highest end wellness spa of 1918.

Perhaps it was because I had no expectations whatsoever, but I really enjoyed the experience, as did mom and the girls. It wasn’t crowded and it felt like stepping back in time 100 years. I’m so glad we did it.

After the stroll back to our car, we buckled up and continued east into Tennessee! That’s when things really started to feel like home. However, ending up just east of Memphis by the evening, we had to stop for one more hotel sleep.

We filled up with gas and headed to Outback Steakhouse, a restaurant I haven’t been to since I was a kid. Walking in made me feel like a kid again, especially as we introduced Hailey and Kaitlyn to the famous blooming onion!

Maybe it was because we were getting close to home or maybe the blooming onion was just that good or maybe it was the fact that mom and dad had so many memories of stopping here for dinner on road trips and it made us feel close to him, but this dinner ended up being such a fun one!

We listed our favorite Halloween movies (both kids are super excited and ready for fall), all enjoyed our food, and just laughed so much, to the point that Hailey as in tears. It was really great to have our last on-the-road dinner be such a happy memory.

We all piled into the hotel room afterwards for our final night sleep on the road. The next morning, with the help of Starbucks, we were off and headed home!

The ride was smooth and uneventful, and the view was amazing. It’s like I forgot along the way just how breathtaking our own Smokey Mountains are. We made one last stop, at Nana’s insistence… blizzards from the DQ!

And with that, we were finally HOME! After a full 19 days on the road and exploring the country, home was a site for sore eyes and tired bodies.

It was really a trip of a lifetime, and I’m so grateful I got to do it all with my mom and the girls, and so much of it with David, Kris, Cara, Kyla and Lacey. What an adventure!

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