If you are retired, spend time between the south during winter and at a northern cottage or cabin each summer; you’re a snowbird. But, of course, a snowbird’s favorite activity is taking a morning coffee out by the pool while your friends up north are shoveling out from the last lake-effect snowstorm.
We love heading south for the winter. The skies are clear and blue, temperatures warm up, and the sun always shines. We look forward to our road trip to Texas at the end of the summer.
Hassles With Traffic and Finding a Decent Hotel On Our Trek
Traveling between our summer and winter homes is the most stressful time of the year. It’s a seasonal migration, meaning our minivan is fully packed. The supply chain issues have caused an increase in truck traffic on our entire interstate system. For our road trip to Texas, we have started using mobile apps like Waze to monitor our routes and provide alternative ways around accidents.
In addition, finding a decent place to stay and get a meal while on the road takes a lot of work. We had an ugly experience with a chain franchise hotel in Pensacola. We learned that just because a hotel has a big-time brand name doesn’t mean it’s a quality facility. If you don’t take the time to sift through the reviews, it is a gamble each and every stay.
After some research, we found a solution with an optimal travel itinerary and a trusted place to stay each evening on our road trip to Texas that gets us to our southern paradise efficiently and within an affordable budget.
Consider Travel During the Weekend
We have started to travel on weekends for a straightforward reason: less truck traffic. According to one study, the worst time to travel is mid-week. Thursday is the busiest day for traffic, followed by Tuesday and Wednesday.
However, weekend travel during the night has some of the worst records for accidents. Inebriated driving is a significant contributor to deadly automobile accidents on weekends, especially at night, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Thus our most significant goal in our itinerary on our road trip to Texas is to be off the road by 4 pm.
Why We Choose to Stay At Drury Hotels
We learned about Drury Inns and Suites from a friend. They returned to Michigan and stayed in a Drury in Knoxville, Tennesee. They said it was spotless, the staff was helpful, and they offered an evening snack buffet with a hot breakfast in the morning that was part of the price of the stay. So naturally, we were intrigued and agreed to check it out on our next venture north.
Drury is Not a Chain or Franchise
Unlike most hotel chains, I learned that Drury Inns & Suites is a privately owned hospitality business. It is not a franchise chain, a gigantic conglomerate holding company, or a hotel corporation with dozens of separate brands. Drury directly manages each hotel.
The Drury brothers got their start in the construction business. They learned the craft well, and today it is paying off. What started as a small family business in 1973 remains 100% family-owned and operated today.
Over the past almost 50 years, Drury Hotels has grown to over 150 hotels in 25 states. A third-generation family member still runs the company. I was surprised to learn that most employees working at a Drury Inn have met the President and CEO, Chuck Drury. That is hands-on management and speaks well for the company.
Drury Hotels Built to Last
We have stayed at most of the Drury Inns and Suites with a similar floor plan. There is a large open lobby with a glass-enclosed elevator. A large indoor/outdoor pool and hot tub are off the first floor, which is a great relief for those tired road-weary muscles. In addition, it was an excellent place for kids to blow off steam and energy from a long day of travel.
The hospitality area is just off the main lobby, and we found fresh coffee available 24 hours. There is also a small business center which is great when you need a quick print-off for the day’s meetings, and a workout equipment room with a TV to catch the day’s news as you get your steps in.
Drury’s Hot Breakfast and Free 5:30 pm Kickback
You could assume you’re still dreaming when you walk inside the hotel’s breakfast room. We had scrambled eggs, oatmeal, fresh fruit, potatoes, sausage, pastries, coffee, and fresh fruit for breakfast—hot, fresh, and, most importantly, free. What better way to start your road trip to Texas each day?
Drury’s bookends your travel day with a treat called the 5:30 Kickback. Indulge yourself with a rotating menu of dinnertime snacks, cold beverages, beer, wine, mixed drinks, and more every night. Since we traveled on the weekend, we enjoyed a fresh green salad, BBQ sliders, baked beans, and mixed vegetables with an ice-cold draft beer—all free.
I learned that the staff preparing the breakfast and the 5:30 Kickback evening has been with Drury Hotels for over ten years. That is rare to say as we have been in two years of the great resignation, especially in the restaurant and hospitality industry.
Drury’s Welcomes Pets
One appreciated aspect when traveling is finding a decent hotel that accepts pets. Drury Inn and Suites do, and we appreciate that. We have a small dog and have hunted for a place to stay with our fur baby for years. Many times that was the only criteria we had in our search. It resulted in us staying in some less-than-desirable places.
Pets (dogs and cats) are welcome at all Drury Hotels if state and local regulations allow. State requirements for assistance animals apply, although service animals are welcome in any area frequented by their owners and are free of charge at all Drury Hotels. All Drury and Pear Tree Inn by Drury hotels will charge a daily pet fee of $40 per night plus VAT for rooms with pets (which may only include dogs and cats).
Travel Itinerary – Minneapolis to Galveston Island, Texas
Our three-day road trip to Texas from Minneapolis to Galveston Island, Texas, utilizes I-35. We found that we can save up to 15% at Drury Hotels along the way with promo code WARM. This includes Drury’s famous free hot breakfast, complimentary 5:30 Kickback® with dinnertime snacks and beverages, and free Wi-Fi. See Drury’s Headsouth Offer for more information and details. Here is the itinerary for the route we took.
Day One – Minneapolis to Independence, Missouri
- 449 miles – 7-hour drive
- Lunch Stop in Des Moines, Iowa. Numerous ChargePoint and Telsa Supercharge stations in the downtown area.
- Stay in Drury Inn & Suites Kansas City Independence
Day Two – Independence, Missouri, to Frisco, Texas
- 494 miles – 8-hour drive
- Lunch Stop in Vinita, Oklahoma, at Clanton’s Cafe. There is a ChargePoint station at Walmart.
- Stay at Drury Inn & Suites Dallas Frisco
Day Three – Frisco, Texas, to Galveston Island, Texas
- 316 miles – 5-hour drive
- Arrive on the Island for a late dinner or early supper.
Travel With Your Plug-in Electric Vehicle
Traveling with an Electric Vehicle (EV) or a Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle requires a little more planning to optimize your travel time. Most all-electric vehicles have a range of about 300 miles on a full charge, so a mid-day charge-up is included in our itinerary. In addition, it is an excellent excuse for taking a leisurely lunch.
Our 2022 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid has a range of 525 miles. However, it only goes for the first 40 miles on all electric before the engine is engaged. So we don’t have to recharge during the day of travel, but we want to look for a charging station at or near our final stop of the day.
Roadside Attractions Along I-35 On This Road Trip To Texas
Roadside attractions have long been a staple of American vacationing. In the early 20th century, they were popular stops along the way for travelers on Route 66; later, they became familiar sights along interstates like I-5 and I-35. While you might be more likely to pull into a gas station these days than stop at one of these sites, it’s still fun to see some of them—and there are plenty along this major highway that runs from Texas up through Minnesota!
Iowa – Stainless Steel Turkey
The Iowa Turkey Federation is the home of this larger-than-life Tom Turkey in Ames, Iowa. Larry Pearson crafted the sculpture. Visitors say to bring your sunglasses if you see it during a sunny day as it’s too bright to look at
Missouri – Jesse James’ Feather Duster of Death
This oddball attraction is the homestead of outlaw Jesse James. Local lore says Jesse was killed in the nearby town of St. Joseph using this feather duster. The mother opened the home to tourists and sold pebbles from Jesse’s original gravesite (now moved). The wad of old feathers is on display in this Kearney museum. It’s an exciting side trip on your road trip to Texas.
Kansas – The Chick Norris Rooster
Chick Norris is a 15-foot-tall metal rooster. He claims he is Johnson County’s biggest, baddest Mother Clucker! It is one of the most popular I-35 roadside attractions, with its own Facebook page. Locals dress up the rooster for holidays such as Easter, Halloween, and Christmas.
Oklahoma – Vickers Petroleum Service Station – World’s First Batwing Gas Station
This is the sole Vickers Petroleum Service Station with the iconic Batwing Construction that has survived. The batwing idea was conceived by architect John M. Hickman, who apprenticed under Frank Lloyd Wright at the University of Illinois, and was built in 1954. Vickers is still a favorite location for auto showgoers, motorcycle riding organizations, and photographers.
Texas – 20 Foot Tall Wooden Nickle
It’s a bit out of the way from our road trip to Texas, but if you head south from Houston to Carl’s Corner, you will see a massive replica of an Indian Head Nickle. The coin was designed by Texas big-road art genius Bob “Daddy-O” Wade. However, visitors note that it’s on private property with a bunch of keep-out signs and no easy way to get a close-up view.
Final Thoughts On A Snowbird’s Road Trip to Texas
They say half the fun of traveling is getting there. However, with increased truck traffic and higher fuel and food costs, it’s great to know that the hassle of deciding where to stay is a no-brainer. Drury locations along the north-south major interstate routes to Texas offer alot of flexibility in your route selection and how long you want to travel.
Related Travel Reading on Thumbwind
Jackson Michigan Train Station (JXN) – Little-Known Working History You Can Visit – The Jackson station (JXN) is one of the oldest continually operating railway stations in the United States. It was also the first “Union” station in Michigan as it serviced four lines in the late 1800s.
Wheatland Music Festival – A Love Letter – The past few years here in America have been pretty rough. But my recent attendance at the Wheatland Music Festival in Remus, Michigan, has done mighty things for my soul.
Port Austin Mi – 15 Unique & Amazing Things To Do At The Tip Of The Thumb – If you’re looking for something new to do on your visit to Port Austin, we have some fantastic and unique ideas. Here are a few of the best, at the tip of Michigan’s Thumb.
Top 14 Places To Visit In Minnesota – We look at over a dozen places to visit in Minnesota. We travel from the wild waterfalls of the North Shore to the urban landscape and culture of Minneapolis.
7 Gripping Places To Visit Near London – Traveling to Europe is an experience everyone should have at least once in their lives. And London is the perfect place to start. One of the best things about London is that it offers so many fantastic attractions that the list never truly ends.
We Reveal The Top 9 Potential Michelin-Rated Restaurants In Michigan – Michigan is becoming the home to new culinary destinations that are distinctive in their way. Michelin-rated restaurants in Michigan can offer foodies a superb gastronomic experience. The creativity of the dishes paired with unerring service makes them a prime choice for gourmet enthusiasts.