Vacation planning, eating OUT

donnar57March 27, 2014

We are planning our summer trip and thinking about local places to eat.Three years ago, when figuring our trip, I asked this question here, and was led to a couple of places to eat that were fabulous. One such place, Shad's Catfish Hole near Sallisaw, OK, was so good that we'll stop there again because our trip takes us through there. are some places we will be stopping....does anyone have a favorite place there to eat? (These are all dinner spots.)

Fort Stockton, TX
NASA/JSC area of Houston (Clear Lake, Webster area)
Springfield, OH
Gettysburg, PA (hopefully we'll make it there this time!)
Bloomington/Minneapolis Airport area, MN (going to the Mall of America)
Custer City/Rapid City/Hill City, SD
West Yellowstone, MT

Breakfasts will mostly either be out of a cereal box along the road at a picnic area, or the hotel breakfast room, and sometimes we will be eating in the hotel room at night. We loved doing that 2 years ago and have bought one of those induction burners (plus a fry pan and a saucepan) in order to be able to cook again. We are also staying with family on 3 or 4 different occasions, and will get their favorites if/when we go out for meals.


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Do NOT stop in Fort Stockton, Texas, unless you want to be extorted by the police there. They are notorious for stopping anyone without out-of-state plates, charging them with trumped up traffic infractions, and then escorting them to a 7-11 cash machine to pay fines to avoid going to the local jail. Fort Stockton is one of the absolute worst places in Texas, and I was born in Texas and grew up there. I went to Rice U in Houston and found Houston to be a nice place, however, and so I do think you could enjoy the Clear Lake area.

Instead of going to Ft. Stockton, take a southern detour on Hwy 90 through Alpine instead, and through Del Rio and Uvalde to San Antonio. There are great places to eat in Alpine and other attractions in Del Rio as well.

Other places in Texas to avoid include Pecos and Midland-Odessa.


This post was edited by publickman on Thu, Mar 27, 14 at 21:52

    Bookmark   March 27, 2014 at 9:39PM
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Lars, do you actually know of someone (or better yet, more than 1 person) who has had that happen to them in Fort Stockton?

Going to Houston via US-90 adds over 100 miles to the trip between Van Horn and the Clear Lake/Webster area of Houston. It also adds time, since over 450 miles of it is on a two lane road.

I can tell you that Van Horn was good to us back in 2012. However (bringing this back to topic), there were few opportunities for eating out. There were a number of Mexican food places, a DQ grill, a Denny's, and one other. We chose to go across the street from the motel to the grocery store, buy some ingredients for dinner, and cooked in the room.


    Bookmark   March 29, 2014 at 2:55PM
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When we go to Gettysburg we always have dinner at the Dobbins House right in town. Make reservations though because it can get crowded. We love Gettysburg! We do the whole tour of the battlefield plus there are all kinds of great little shops all throughout the town. Hope you have a great time!

    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 8:15AM
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I forgot to add the web site. You can check out the menu too!

Here is a link that might be useful: The Dobbins House

    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 8:17AM
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Same vacation, doing some planning -- we will be in lots of national parks and want to bring picnic lunches in with us, rather than eating in the cafeterias and lunchrooms. So I'm trying to think of ideas of things we could purchase in local grocery stores that would make an awesome roadside lunch.

Sandwiches, of course -- grocery stores here sell "subway" type sandwiches and those on bread, all kinds. (Is this common in more rural areas?)

Chips (hubby)
Crackers, cheese, deli meats to make our own "lunchables"
Baby carrots
Pre-made salads like chicken or Caesar salad
Hard-boiled eggs (our grocery stores here have them, is this universal?)

Does anyone have ideas that I'm overlooking?

Most national parks that we're visiting don't have fire pits or grates in the picnic areas, I've noticed, so things like hamburgers or hot dogs would not be something we could easily cook while picnicking.

I am still open to suggestions for restaurants -- we are trying to vary our food stops between restaurants, cooking in the motel rooms, dinner with family, and picnic lunches. Breakfasts will probably be a combination of motel continental breakfast, stopping at a roadside restaurant, or similar. (Thanks for the link to Dobbins House! That looks like a likely place!)


    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 8:56PM
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Try going to You can search by city/state and find good local food.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 10:31AM
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Here is a report of police stops in Ft. Stockton from another site. It is quite well known in Texas that people with out of state plates are targeted there. I was stopped after getting gas in Ft. Stockton (will never make that mistake again) and was entering the interstate. There was a yield sign, but since I could see no traffic, I merged onto the highway. I was immediately stopped by the Ft. Stockton police for not stopping at a yield sign because, as they said, there was a car a mile down the highway from me. They then took me to a 7-11 and made me pay a $60 fine or else spend a night in jail. I was not allowed to pay the ticket later or contest it - it was pay the fine right then or go straight to jail.

In that part of Texas, they follow the example of a Pecos judge, Roy Bean, known as "the hanging judge".

It is okay to drive through Ft. Stockton if you drive slowly and do not stop there. I did not break a single law ("yield" does not mean "stop", except in Ft. Stockton), and yet I was extorted. Just be prepared to pay a fine if you decide to stop there.


    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 8:23PM
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Thanks for the link, Lars. I do think that most of those prove that if you behave yourself, follow all speed laws and other traffic laws, you'll be okay. My husband and I have traveled extensively through the US and Canada, try to always follow the traffic laws, and we've been fine. I did notice that one place we know to be a "speed trap" is listed there, though we haven't personally gotten a ticket going through there in 30 years -- Wellton, AZ (on I-8).

Still looking for great picnic ideas, if anyone has some. I won't have the pre-prep that a home-based picnic would have. I'm looking more for grocery-store based ideas.


    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 11:13AM
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I do think that most of those prove that if you behave yourself, follow all speed laws and other traffic laws, you'll be okay


Don't count on it. If you have out of state tags, you'll be watched very closely and probably ticketed for something ridiculous. Don't stop long enough at a stop sign? Don't slow and stop on a yellow light? Don't stop at a yield sign? Driving too slow or too fast, making a turn without signaling 100 yards before the turn? You can bet there is something they'll get you for.

This is a money-making scam, not a safety issue, and they know all the tricks.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 12:12PM
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