I was the first one up which is very rare – it might actually be the first time on this trip that I have not been the last one up (I’m a lady who enjoys to sleep in). I had finished all my laundry the night before, there was a dishwasher in the hotel room that I loaded up and ran with our dirty flatware and there was a little counter space between where the beds were and where the kitchen was. As my mother would say, “it was almost civilized.” The boys weren’t far behind me in waking up and we made a slow exit from the hotel into Omaha’s high noon.
Today was going to be a driving day. We were slated to hit Wichita to find the elusive Jack Straw (as per the Grateful Dead song) and then head to Oklahoma City for… uh… well, we were going to Oklahoma City too. We got in the car and headed on down the road. The ride was going to be about five hours to Wichita where our plan was to look at a phone book, find Mr. Straw, invite him out for a glass of wine and then head two more hours to Oklahoma City to… sleep…
Well we drove and drove and drove some more and then, Toto, there we were in Kansas! I had my head buried in my laptop in the backseat, generally uninterested in the flat cornfield-esque landscape until Joey called out – CASINO! Tom pulled into the Sac & Fox Casino without hesitation and suddenly the long driving day got a little bit more exciting for us! We wondered aloud as we walked into the casino if it was on an Indian reservation of some kind since there was no town to speak of nearby. Almost as soon as we entered the building we spotted a set of five pictures of the Tribal Council which, naturally, satisfied our previous inquiry. We each took twenty dollars to gamble with and each found ourselves a slot machine that looked lucky. Tom was out of money first and said he would wait in the car until we were done. Unfortunately for him, almost as soon as he left I hit a hot streak and almost made all my money back. I tried a few more times to pull in another big win but ended up down to my last five bucks. Joey was at a machine near mine enviously watching my screen light up until I started losing again. He was down to his last five spot as well so we both cashed out and took our ten dollars on the road. 

The day was wearing on so we booked it over to Wichita. There were only eight days remaining until Joey’s eating challenge at the Big Texan Steak Ranch in Amarillo, so he wanted to get some training under his belt. Once we got into Wichita we found an all-you-can-eat buffet called Hometown Buffet and stopped off for dinner. We didn’t forget about old Jack though – we looked him up but were unlucky – no Jack Straws in Wichita, only in Grateful Dead songs, so we moved on down the line. One of the boys secured us a room in Oklahoma City and we pointed the GPS that way. We arrived pretty late, so we hauled our bags up to the room and got some sleep, ready to see what Oklahoma City had to offer the next morning.

Until next time America.


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