"Road trip with mom leads to great memories made" by: Jessica Shepard

   My mom and I took a road trip over the long weekend to see my brother in Dallas for the first time ever.
   Now, I haven’t been that far north in over a decade.
   It’s not from lack of desire to do so, but having so many scheduling conflicts crop up in the way.
   But, we managed and after a few pit stops, we made the trip mostly without incident.
   Given that it was a holiday weekend, we were expecting some traffic issues.
   And some of mine were different from my mom’s – including the number of drivers paying more attention to their phones than the road and the sheer number of law enforcement officers (14) patrolling.
   While the majority of the problems were in major cities and on small two-lane state highways, it still gave me secondhand road rage as a passenger.
   For example, we ended up stuck behind a driver in Madisonville who was eating ice cream or some sort of soup with a spoon before picking their nose and fixing their hair before talking on their phone.
   Normally, I try not to stare too hard into a car’s interior from my seat, but this person was sitting at a red light when they could have turned right, as indicated by their turn signal and lack of through traffic.
All of it seems like a distraction and we try not to eat food or goof 
off in mom’s car while she drives.
   But, if we do have to eat and drive, it’s mostly with food that can be eaten with one hand rather than some utensils and a lot of common sense.
   Still, once we got there, it was a whole other trip than expected.
   And my brother is not the best at “hospitality,” because he left us with terrible trundle beds.
   All I can say about those beds is that I was more than glad to see my own when were returned.
   While in Dallas we had to spend some time planning what to do while we were there and we settled on trying out the “Candytopia” exhibit.
   It was sort of like a live-action “Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” experience and you got as much free candy as you wanted while staying mindful about others.
   We got little candy packs featuring gummy bears and worms along with Pixy Stix and Airheads.
   It was also an awesomely bright and slightly bizarre feast of sights, sounds, and interactive exhibits.
   While I’m not fond of being in front of the camera for myself, we did get quite a few photos of the sweet experience and group shots.
   My favorite part of the whole thing was the last interactive installation – the “marshmallow” foam pit where mom almost got stuck.
   It’s this combination of watching her hilariously fail to get out or even move around and being swallowed by the foam bits and my brother helping to cover her with little ’mallows.
   I’ve got several hilarious photos of her trying to get help and have been forbidden from sharing them.
   Oh well, more laughs and fun memories for me.
   Plus, there’s now a fully stocked candy jar on the countertop.
   Just to let you know, Candytopia is available to visit in Houston with tickets only available online.

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