This father and son walked 50 miles in the Texas heat – fueled by Whataburger
Just a summer trip to Grandma’s house – on foot
How far would you go for a father-son bonding experience? Greg Haugen decided 50 miles sounded like a good place to start.
Shoes tied, backpacks strapped, and sunscreen slathered, Greg and his 12-year-old son, Jack, took off on a 50-mile quest from their home in Arlington, Texas, to Greg’s mom’s house in Springtown.
Their goal? 50 miles. In two days. On foot. Fueled by Whataburger.
The orange-and-white roofs were a beacon for the pair, which stopped at every Whataburger on their #Whatajourney – nine in all.
Decked out in Whataburger T-shirts, the duo made it from Arlington to the first Whataburger in Fort Worth in less than two hours.
Greg chowed down a Honey Butter Chicken Biscuit. Jack got a sugar high from a cinnamon roll and Strawberry Fanta, the first of many he would guzzle on the walk. Only 47ish miles to go!
“The goal is to get something different at each stop,” Greg told a growing group of social media followers during stop No. 2, while they cooled off inside another Fort Worth restaurant.
The real goal? Time together. There were jokes and guy talk and serious conversations about church and what life will be like for Jack when he enters seventh grade in the fall. And lots of talk about their next Whataburger stop, and the cold, cold air-conditioning awaiting them.
They broke for lunch in the city of Hurst. “Just an easy-breezy 6 miles since the last stop.”
In a video-game, phone-focused world, this adventure gave the father-son duo quiet time outside. After seeking out the best path across a creek, Greg and Jack talked about getting past obstacles in life. “That led to even more great conversations about life,” Greg says.
Last stop of Day 1 in the town of Saginaw. The Haugens snapped a photo with the Whataburger staff, who were quick to serve up meals – and cold drinks.
At a hotel just across the street, Jack crashed quickly, and Greg nursed blisters on his feet.
“I was worried … that the second day wasn’t going to happen,” he says.
But Day 2 dawned with new energy – and a renewed commitment to their quest.
Counting American flags – 326 in all – took the focus off their feet. And they played word games and sang songs.
“Any time there’s a chance for adventure and a chance to be silly, that’s the route I’m going to take,” Greg says.
Jack branched out to Orange Fanta at stop No. 8, a different restaurant in Saginaw.
Seven hours and 12 miles later, stop No. 9 “was simply spectacular!”
Family and friends surprised them, and Family Members at the restaurant in Azle threw a party to celebrate their journey. “We walked in to applause and cheers,” Greg says. “We felt like Whatakings!”
Less than 4 miles to go!
Kathy Haugen greeted her weary son and grandson at 9:35 p.m. on June 28.
The trek allowed Greg to really see things along a route he’s traveled his entire life. “We’re missing a whole lot of what’s going by when we don’t take an opportunity to look around us,” he says. “I’m going to try to be more in the moment from now on.”
Whataburger has focused on its fresh, made-to-order burgers and friendly customer service since 1950 when Harmon Dobson opened the first Whataburger as a small roadside burger stand in Corpus Christi, Texas. Dobson gave his restaurant a name he hoped to hear customers say every time they took a bite of his made-to-order burgers: “What a burger!” Within the first week, people lined up around the block for his 25 cent, 100 percent beef burgers served on five-inch buns. Today, the company is headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, with more than 820 locations in 10 states with sales of more than $2 billion annually. Visit www.whataburger.com for more information.