With ahotel room booked, a "WrestleMania 32" ticket purchased, and the drive to Dallas, Texas all mapped out, Wednesday morning meant it was time for this journalist to officially begin his own "Road to WrestleMania" — for the tenth year in a row. While flying is sometimes the only real option, drives to WM23 in Detroit, WM29 in New York, and WM30 in New Orleans were already in the books -- a quick 10 or 11 hours to Dallas wouldn't be a major undertaking.

With approximately 700 miles to cover in one day, it is essential for mental health to make some calculated (and sometimes improvised) pit stops.For example, there are some places designed specifically for drivers on long, boring road trips such as Trex Mart, just north of Kansas City.

It's great for those who need gas, food, a place to stretch their legs, or a few minutes to snap out of highway hypnosis -- or, like me, just to pee.Not all stops are planned. The heavy Midwest rains forced me to pull over to the side of the highway.

At about 7 hours in, I decided to take a real break. Having already refueled in Perry, Oklahoma, I would be able to make it to Dallas without filling up again.

No gas needed, I visited The Outlet Shoppes in Oklahoma City, an outdoor mall of factory stores. As a Banana Republic aficionado, I couldn't resist. The money I spent there won't be calculated as part of my "vacation expense," but I didn't spend that much anyway. The only expenses for Day 1 included two gas station fill-ups, two highway tolls, two fast-food stops, and my first night in the hotel.


A bag of sensible snacks was packed for the drive: beef jerky, wheat crackers, granola bars, and protein bars. It's incredibly cheaper than picking up snacks along the way, and provides some genuine nourishment for such a long trip. When meals consist of fast food burgers and tacos, it's important to keep some good food in your system as well.

Stopping at a royal burger shop in Lawrence, Kansas, I was disappointed to find out that most of their combo meals were upwards of $7 or even $8.

I elected instead for two spicy chicken sandwiches ($1 each) and a small Diet Pepsi ($1.59) off of the value menu.

When I stopped for fast food tacos, the affordable options were aplenty. While the recent George Takei commercials do instill certain cravings, I got the quesadilla combo for $5.39. Along with the Diet Mt. Dew I picked up in Perry($1.96), the total I spent on food between Des Moines and Dallas was $11.19.


As you may or may not know, gas prices tend to get cheaper the closer you get to Texas. That being the case, I tried to wait until I was almost empty each time I filled up, wanting to be as far south as possible.

I always buy whatever form of unleaded gasoline is cheapest. In Lawrence, Kansas I paid $1.939/gallon, and then paid $1.899/gallonin Perry.

While I was creeping toward empty as I pulled up to my hotel (and left DSM with a tank about 90% full), I only had to spend $50.55 at the pump on Wednesday. There were also some tolls to use the interstate in Kansas, where I parted with a total of $11.85 ($1.85 and $10) between two different toll booth checkpoints. Total Travel expense: $62.40.


The right or wrong hotel can make or break your vacation experience (or your budget). My trip with two friends to WM29 in NYC had an incredibly bad hotel experience.

To this day, it's still the major complaint we all have about the trip.

I have a few standard essentials for my hotel room for a trip like this. Aside from needing an accessible, roll-in shower, it's also good to get a room with a fridge and microwave. Booking a trip over six nights, the rate changes depending on the day of the week. With taxes, the cost for the first night was $142.72. (More affordableoptions certainly exist, if so desired).

Total amount spent on Day 1: $216.31

Thursday will be all about setting up a personal headquarters for my Mania trip."WrestleMania 32" airs live on the WWE Network on April 3rd.

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