Inspired by our previous efforts in driving California, we planned a more ambitious journey - Flying Melb to DFW, Texas, and then driving to Florida to pay homage to Harry Potter. And to pay homage to aviation at Pensacola, Florida, which was to be a stopover for us on the way.
Totally and absolutely exhausted and spent, after our arrival in DFW early afternoon, we headed for the car hire terminal. Car hire is set up to provide a good customer experience at DFW. We caught the shuttle to a separate car hire terminal where the car rental companies are stationed in the one location. With air conditioning, food sellers and restrooms, it made for a bit of respite while we planned the beginning of our trip on the back of getting off such a long flight. We have found that the Impala is fantastic for family road trip travels, as it fits all of our suitcases neatly in the boot, and means we can stop enroute with no sign of baggage in the car and have plenty of room inside the cabin. We were under some time pressure, as we had to make an arrival deadline at Pensacola in order to see the Blue Angels fly as there were no more displays for the duration of our holiday. So that meant no resting up overnight in DFW to prepare for our trip. Ambitiously we hit the road, and drove perhaps 2 hours to get well out of DFW and into the countryside. Dinner first night was Whataburger! Not sure where we stopped, but it may have been Terrel. In the same town we found a telecommunications vendor to obtain a sim and at least get local mobile coverage. The sun started disappearing and we started panicking, not having organized a hotel. Some surfing thru the travel apps found us a hotel, no 2 bedroom options appeared but we went with old faithful, Quality Inn, getting a rollaway for one of the sons. On this trip, the Choice Quality/Comfort Inn chain was one we ended up using frequently.
Next morning, feeling somewhat fresher and not quite so stressed, we headed for Jefferson, about 2 hours drive away. Jefferson is a beautifully preserved town, with historic shopfronts, picturesque residential streets and a spectacular dining scene.
We had lunch at Riverport BBQ, our first introduction to Brisket, something that is starting to hit Australia, but not done in anyway matching what we experienced in USA. And the locals made us feel like rockstars, once we opened our mouths and spoke with our Aussie accents!
A walk around the town to walk off the amazing lunch was followed by a massive Icecream at Jefferson general store. Just the thing to acclimitize to the heat, warm and humid, a contrast to the cold Melbourne winter weather we had just left. It was a lovely stop, and reluctantly we had to hit the road to continue our journey.