Thursday, July 16, 2009

Vacation Part One

When I think of our summer vacation I break it down into four parts. Long, horrible, never ending drive. My parent's house. Kevin's parent's house. Lastly, back to the long, horrible never ending drive.

Starting at the beginning, I was excited about being with my family, but not too terribly excited about the long, excruciating drive. We had decided to stop in a hotel this time, to break up the drive a little, but we wanted to get as far as possible the first day to minimize meltdowns the second day. We planned to leave at 4! a!m! and stop at 9 at the Florida Caverns for a tour. We did this. The internet said the first tour was at 9:30, and my heart sunk as I we passed the part of FL that switches over into the Central Time Zone. We had allotted enough time to let the kids play for 1/2 hour before the tour. But waiting for a full hour and a half before the tour wasn't on our agenda. We still had to make good time to get to our hotel in Marshall, TX which required driving through the rest of the FL Panhandle (it is slightly maddening how long it takes to get OUT of FL. 4 hours up and a million hours (or maybe 3)across that panhandle. They need to consider a giant bridge across the gulf from Tampa Bay to New Orleans, or at least Alabama. I know, self serving of me to think this but it's sooooo long) and then a few hours each in Alabama and Mississippi, and an eternity (I want to say 6 or 7 hours) in Louisiana. I'll spare you my feelings on Louisiana, which I'm sure is a perfectly lovely state except for their extreme lack of REST STOPS on the highway. That's a story for the way home though.

Anyway, I apologize for my tangent, but I like to accentuate how long of a drive this is. We lucked out and the first tour actually began at 9. We wandered and explored and then went on the tour. This was a perfect outing, the boys were in awe and Eric was so cute at the end when the lady asked if there were any questions and he asked many, many questions about stalagmites and stalactites. Finally, Kevin pulled him back and said we needed to give someone else a turn. His curiousity thrills me!

Back in the car and we did make it to Marshall, TX at about 8 PM. Right on schedule! Despite the drive being insanely long, the kids were a dream. I had worried a great deal about Ben, who has very strong opinions screaming much of the way, but he was perfectly happy most of the day. I will say the dvd player is a lifesaver. It averted many tired of being in the car meltdowns.

Once in our hotel, it wasn't long until we all drifted off to sleep (not before I went and sat *alone* in the hot tub for a few minutes. The next morning my boys were up uber early (SURPRISE! Thank you central time) and we had breakfast and were on our way.

Day two was shorter, a mere 6 hours through TX and into central Oklahoma. A grand total of 21 hours on the road (plus the time we stopped at the caverns & for the night.) But we made it! Let the fun begin!

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