Dallas Life memories

The Road to Dallas

July 18, 2015
Chiweenie in the Lowertown Loft

Leaving Minnesota

I wake up at 3 a.m. and start loading my car.

My furniture is already gone, and now I just have to cram as much crap stuff as possible into my car.

I quickly realize that I can’t bring everything:

  • My nice dresser needs to go in the alley.
  • My beautiful plants and expensive pots won’t fit.
  • All of my glassware and dishes are destined for the dumpster.

Although I already donated several carloads, I still filled an entire dumpster during this move.

I felt burdened by my possessions – the total sum of a hundred innocent trips to the store. I could have saved so much time and money if I had committed to living with less earlier. That lesson made this ordeal worth it.

By 8:30 a.m., Gunter was the only thing left in my apartment.

Gunter in Lowertown Lofts

Gunter in my empty apartment at Lowertown Lofts in downtown St. Paul, Minnesota

I took one last look at Mears Park and then drove away from St. Paul forever.

Iowa – Speeding by Windmills

It doesn’t take long to get from St. Paul to Iowa.

I remembered the windmills from my trip to Iowa City Pride a few years ago. I also got nostaglic and played Banks for the majority of the drive to Des Moines.

Iowa Fields

Iowa Fields en route to Iowa City for Gay Pride a few years ago.

Iowa Fields

Iowa Fields, from my Iowa City Gay Pride trip.

Southern Iowa feels like driving through a video game – hills, curves, and high speeds. If someone is driving like a maniac, it’s usually a woman with Minnesota plates.

Iowa also has really, really clean rest stops.
Good work.

Missouri – Meh.

Missouri is nondescript. I just remember a lot of pickup trucks and construction.

Downtown Kansas City, Missouri was gorgeous however.

Kansas City Missouri

Kansas City, Missouri, Eric B. Johnson / Wikimedia Commons.

I suspect downtown Kansas City is sponsored by QuickTrip – QT signs are everywhere.

Kansas – Highway Meltdown and Dramatic Landscapes

The problems started when I got to Kansas City, Kansas, around rush hour.

I had the local Top 40 Radio Station on when I heard the traffic report: “Stalled car on 35W causing some delays.”

That was an understatement.
It took almost 2 hours to get out of the city.

35W was under construction and reduced to 2 lanes without a shoulder. This meant that the stalled car essentially shut down the highway.

So I’m parked on the freeway, the temperature is well north of 100 degrees, and my air conditioning gives out.

I roll down the windows and watch my dog start freaking out. He whimpers and tries to bury himself in his blanket to avoid the glare of the sun.

I pull out ice cubes from my QT drink and start melting them on Gunter’s head. I wonder if I’ll get my dog deposit back if Gunter doesn’t make it to Texas.

We eventually get out of the city and I pull over in Overland Park to give Gunter an ice bath.

Ice break.

A photo posted by Dennis (@lowertownjnsn) on

After Overland Park we got into “real” Kansas: The Flint Hills.

The Flint Hills region is gorgeous. It looks like a landscape from Game of Thrones.

Flint Hills of Kansas

Flint Hills of Kansas

I really expected an army to pop up over the hills and start slashing cows.

The hills eventually give way to prairie. The ground is so flat that you can see for miles in every direction – it’s kind of like a green ocean dotted by cows and bored-looking horses.

It’s already pretty late by the time we get to Wichita.

I went to school in Wichita until 10th grade, and a lot of the streets and stores are familiar.

Look! Dillards!

A photo posted by Dennis (@lowertownjnsn) on

I don’t have time to sightsee however. My new apartment building in Dallas is only staffed until 2 a.m. so I have to make good time if I want somewhere to sleep that evening.

Oklahoma – Terror


A photo posted by Dennis (@lowertownjnsn) on

The sun had already set when I got to Oklahoma City.

I realized that I was an idiot for relying on Google Maps’ driving time estimate of 14.5 hours from Minnesota to Dallas. This estimate does not include traffic and gas stops.

Lana Del Ray Gif

The gas stop in Oklahoma City was a failure – I ended up lost in a trailer park and eventually found gas on a Martin Luther King Boulevard…I was pretty sure I was going to get mugged.

I found the highway again and drove out of the city. It was around this time that I realized that Red Bull wasn’t going to help me make it to Dallas, and I should probably find a hotel or rest stop.

Unlike Iowa, Oklahoma doesn’t have rest stops every few miles. Oklahoma does have a fair amount of construction however…

An hour later: I’m on a pitch-black highway, chugging diet Red Bull, and blasting remixes of Madonna’s “Living to Love” to stay awake.

This isn’t going well.

Driving at night in southern Oklahoma is frightening.

Oklahoma is the reason why they invented high-beam lights. In addition to no street lights, the lanes are extremely narrow due to construction – but the construction zone speed limit is 60mph.

After almost getting clipped by a semi-truck, I decide that I need to stay at the next motel if I want to make it to Dallas.

That’s when I see the sign:


This rest stop is actually a parking lot with picnic tables in the middle of a swamp.

It looks exactly like where they find the bodies in a horror movie.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre Gif

The swamp lot is poorly lit, and you can’t see the highway from it.

There are a few abandoned cars and semi-trucks, and strange noises coming from the dense woods.

Although it is past midnight, the temperature is still around 90 degrees and extremely muggy.

I am too scared to sleep with my windows down more than a few inches, so I just go to sleep hoping that I don’t die of heat exhaustion.

I wake up drenched in sweat about 40 minutes later. I feel disgusting, but awake enough to try and make it to the next rest stop.

Madonna comes back on in my car, and I peel out of the murder-swamp-lot.

Texas – Getting Cruised at the Rest Stop

The next rest stop is in Gainesville, Texas. It was huge, well-lit, with vending machines and air conditioned bathrooms.

I grab a diet coke and decide to get more sleep. As I pull out my pillow, I notice the guy in the car next to me strolling around my car and leering at me…

… am I getting cruised or scoped out for murder?

I pull open my smart phone, and sure enough “REST STOP 4 FUN” Is 70 feet away on Grindr and Scruff.

Gay people are horrible.

After a few hours of sleep, I’m back on the road to Dallas, where I finally arrive by 6 a.m.

Downtown Dallas

A morning shot of Downtown Dallas, Texas.

Dallas traffic is crazy, so it takes me almost an hour to get to my apartment building.

I arrive by 7 a.m., but the building staff doesn’t get there until 9 a.m., so I can’t get the keys to my apartment. It is also already too hot to leave the dog in the car by himself, so I’m stuck roaming my neighborhood with the dog for two hours.

I’ve also been sweating in my clothes for about 20 hours, so I probably smell like a crazy hobo.

The building staff eventually shows up, I get my key, and then fall asleep on the floor of my new apartment

Made it to Dallas, y’all – hopefully it will be more glamorous than my arrival.


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