For the kids' fall break we decided to tackle the heartland of America.  We have been putting this region off because it is so expansive.  At first we were going to rent an RV so the kids could have a little more space to travel our nearly 2000 miles.  However, as I looked at booking RV sights I found that often the RV campgrounds were far from the places we wanted to visit.  Then when we thought about hooking up the electric and sewer late at night, and then needing to drive slowly which would make the drive even longer, we decided to save the RV trip for another time.
 We took off Friday night for 8 days of driving through the Midwest and South.  Starbucks was a must for a our midnight arrival.
 I do a count down to Halloween for the kids each October.  Most days it is just a piece of candy but some days have a scavenger hunt for a bigger prize.  I decided to pack along fun advent treats that related to our trip.  Each morning they had a surprise.  Our first day was going to be our longest drive of 6 hours.  We were headed to Fayetteville, Arkansas to watch the Alabama and Razorbacks game!  Their first treat was Razorbacks gear and a football to play with while we tailgated.  When in Rome, er Arkansas, you have to be a Hog!  Thank you eBay for all of the cheap fan gear.
 As we headed toward Arkansas we had Oklahoma in our sights for lunch.  I made little destination cards and the kids taped them around the car. After each destination we would take it down.
Miami, Oklahoma was the first card.  It is in the right hand corner of Oklahoma.  
For each state I make up a packet with a map of the state, information about when it became a state, the state's population, industry, capitol, official animals and plants of the state, and things that make that state special.  We learned Oklahoma has the largest Native American population of any state.  Oklahoma also has more miles of Route 66 than any other state.  Miami, Oklahoma was part of the road's beginning and has the longest Main St. on all of Route 66.  It serves as the Gateway to Oklahoma.  Just outside Miami is the last remaining original nine foot wide "Ribbon Road."  Apparently the Oklahoma budget was so tight it could not afford to build the road completely, so rather than covering half of the mileage, they decided to cover half the width.  This historic piece of narrow highway goes for 13 miles on the way to Afton, Oklahoma.  I figured on a road trip of this magnitude, taking a visit to historic Route 66 seemed appropriate.
Oklahoma also has the largest official State Meal.  It consists of chicken fried steak, fired okra, cornbread, barbecue pork, biscuits, sausage and gravy, girts, corn, strawberries, black eyed peas and pecan pie!  We tried to get as many of the items as we could at Charlie's Chicken.  We knew we weren't in Arizona any more when our entire tray of food was only $22!  We had a feast to fuel us up for the big game ahead.
While we traveled along Route 66 and tried okra and chicken fired steak for the first time, the most novel thing was seeing all the tornado shelters for sale.  That is definitely not something we see in Arizona.
Since we were going to be spending so much time in the car, I borrowed a bunch of movies from the library.  I tried to pick ones for each state.  Twister was perfect for Oklahoma!  The kids were mesmerized.  For in between movies we always compile a driving tract of music and include upbeat songs, favorites, and songs about the states were are visiting.  Carrie Underwood, who happens to be from Oklahoma, sings Blown Away, which tied nicely into all the tornado shelters we saw.  Oklahoma got the short end of the stick on this trip, maybe one day we will try to do Oklahoma and Texas in a little more in depth.  But it was time to roll out to get to the big game in Arkansas!

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