Friday, August 17, 2012

On love...

Absence dimishes mediocre passions and increases great ones, as the wind extinguishes candles and fans fires.
-Francois de La Rochefoucauld

Friday, August 03, 2012


Sweat is fat crying.
-Bob Harper

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Inspiring Road Trip

This was such an interesting story.  Gunther and his wife and their Mercedes named Otto travelled the world for 23 years, driving more than 500,000 miles.

The story here and a very nice slide show here.

My favorite part - this quote from Gunther...

"The more you have travelled, the more you realize how little you have seen."
-Gunther Holtorf

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Day 43

Day 43 – Thursday – July 19, 2012

0640 Wake up.  Darn! I was hoping to sleep in a bit today.  Oh well.  Guess I’m excited to get home.  Today is the final day of Big Trip 7 – the longest one yet.
0730 Kids wake up.
0740 Felisa says that today is Buddy’s birthday – it’s the day the elves made him before he was delivered on Christmas.
0808 Breakfast
0845 Leave hotel.
0850 Cloudy this morning.
0852 Cows – lots of cows!
0913 Spooner Summit, 7146 feet
0925 Lake Tahoe, Sand Harbor.
1015 Brr! It is freezing out there today!  Not good beach weather at all.  It is very windy and starting to sprinkle.  Current temperature is 65 degrees.
1035 Construction stop.  One-lane road ahead.
1042 California!
1046 Golf ball just hit the side of the van!  At first we thought maybe it was the pine cone that the kids accidentally left on the roof but since we are driving past a driving range I’m pretty sure it was somebody’s really bad shot that hit us. Ouch!
1108 Donner Memorial and Emigrant Trail Museum
12:11 p.m. McDs for a snack and coffee
12:25 p.m. Jo has our ETA for home to be 6:23 p.m.  Lake Tahoe was pretty but overall I felt the area was just too crowded to be able to enjoy the nature.
12:26 p.m. Donner Summit, 7239 feet.
1:19 p.m. Wienerschnitzel drive-thru.
1:29 p.m. Gas, $3.79/gallon
1:42 p.m. Is it a drought year?  There is lots of dead grass, trees, and leaves around. Or maybe this is normal California summer scenery?
1:50 p.m. Approaching Sacramento. So much traffic.
2:45 p.m. A car is speeding and weaving through traffic. Ugh.
3:09 p.m. I just realized that there was no agriculture inspection station today when we came into California. I wonder why.
3:12 p.m. Rest stop.
3:46 p.m. Sheep.  They are very camoflaged in the brown grass.
3:55 p.m. We must be in California.  Half of the radio stations are Spanish.
3:56 p.m. Dead orchard.  Sign says “Congress Created Dust Bowl”
4:50 p.m. Stinky cows on a feedlot.  This a good reminder to buy organic beef and buy it from small local farmers if possible.  Seeing these feedlots is always a good reminder since I have a tendency to stray away from the good beef during the year.  Time to get back on the right path to good food!
4:58 p.m. Pleasant Valley State Prison. Interesting name for a prison…
5:17 p.m. Off of I-5 onto Highway 41. The gas prices are insane at this exit - $4.22/gallon.  Should’ve stopped somewhere else but didn’t want to make an extra stop.
5:23 p.m. Carls Jr for dinner.  The bathroom here is huge for a fast food place.  I wonder if they get a lot of traffic here because of the highway junction.
5:59 p.m. Pomar Junction at highways 33 and 41.  There is a nice, new gas station here that even has a playground.  Current temperature, 95 degrees.
6:12 p.m. Carmax commercial makes a slur against scrapbooking.  Grr!
6:13 p.m. San Luis Obispo County! Getting closer!
6:21 p.m. Antelope
6:46 p.m. Passing the mid-state fair in Paso Robles.
7:19 p.m. Look! It’s the ocean!
7:25 p.m. Arroyo Grande, CA.  Elevation 114 feet.
7:30 p.m. Stop at Albertsons for milk.  The kids want to go home first but I don’t want to have to make another trip out tonight.  Once I’m home, I want to stay there.
7:46 p.m. Home sweet home!
Total Miles for the trip this year: 9,127
Total words blogged: 17,337

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Day 42

Day 42 – Wednesday – July 18, 2012

0610 Wake up.  It feels much too early to be awake but I want to see Great Basin before it gets too hot.
0725 Leave the room.
0745 Leaving hotel.
0750 Gas, $3.42/gallon.
0758 McD’s for breakfast.  Last chance for civilization for a long time.
0809 Hit a rabbit on the highway.  Oh no!
0811 Funeral announcements on the local radio station.  Nicely timed to go with the unfortunate rabbit accident.
0834 Sevier Dry Lake Bed.
0835 I just missed hitting a deer! Yikes! That would've been much worse than the rabbit was for sure.
0836 Jo says we will arrive at Great Basin at 0835.  Guess there’s a time change involved that I forgot about.
0858 Confusion Mountains
0900 Summit, 6280 feet
0920 Nevada, Pacific Time Zone
0830 Great Basin Visitor Center.  Unfortunately they are having alarm problems and they are closed.
0845 Arrive at the Caves visitor center. Lots of people here going on the cave tours but not us.  Maybe next time.
0856 Scenic Drive, here we come!  Drive to Mather Overlook and Osceola Ditch.  Current temperature, 68 degrees.
1145 Finish our 3-mile hike on the Alpine Lakes trail. We saw Stella and Teresa Lakes.  The temperature up here is 59 degrees so just slightly chilly. The elevation was tough for me – I was having a tough time breathing and was wishing I had taken my inhaler with me but I survived.  It is just simply amazing how quiet it is out here. Priceless.
12:11 p.m. Driving back down.  See a coyote or a fox.
12:20 p.m. Stop at the first visitor’s center again to get a stamp for my passport.  The ranger says that what we saw was a fox.
12:44 p.m. Sacramento Pass, elevation 7154 feet
12:47 p.m. Spring Valley
1:10 p.m. Steptoe Valley – funny name
1:27 p.m. Ely, NV. Elevation, 6435 feet.  Current temperature, 80 degrees.
1:29 p.m. McD’s for lunch.
2:02 p.m. Leaving McD’s.  What a zoo that was.  Clearly the only one for miles and miles and miles because everyone and their brother was stopping there for lunch.
2:05 p.m. Gas, $3.59/gallon
2:17 p.m. Highway 50 – The Loneliest Road in America.  And that ain’t no joke.  Quite desolate out here.
3:06 p.m. Pancake Summit
3:10 p.m. Kids are watching Cars 2.
3:11 p.m. Tumbleweed.
3:19 p.m. Cows.
3:24 p.m. Eureka.  The sign says that it is “The Friendliest Town on the Loneliest Road”
4:30 p.m. Bathroom break in Austin, NV.
5:18 p.m. Cold Springs.  This town only has one building.
5:20 p.m. Cloud cover has kept it cool today thankfully.  I’m sure it gets blazing hot out here in the summer.
5:28 p.m. Tree full of shoes. Didn’t see it until too late so couldn’t stop for a picture.
5:30 p.m. Middlegate.  This town is an old Pony Express Station. Again, there is only one building in town.  It is a combination gas station/restaurant/motel.
5:34 p.m. Fairview Peak Earthquake Faults.  Would be a good stop for geology buffs.
5:52 p.m. Names spelled out with rocks along the highway.  Maybe intended for pilots to see as they fly in and out of the base?
6:13 p.m. Fallon, NV. Gas, $3.47/gallon.  Current temperature, 84 degrees. A lady at the gas station says that the gas price was $3.39 just 2 hours ago. We averaged 26 mpg coming across 50.
6:18 p.m. Taco Bell for dinner.  In just two days we will be back home eating our own food. Six weeks is a long time to be away from home-cooked food.  Such a warm fuzzy to have the kids comment that they miss my cooking.  The Taco Bell is all decorated with fighter jets to honor the Top Gun school that is here now.  I have to say that Fallon is not nearly as nice of a duty station as Miramar in San Diego.
7:30 p.m. Dayton.  Site of Nevada’s first gold discovery in 1849.
7:40 p.m. Carson City, NV
8:07 p.m. Made it to the hotel. Phew. Watch a little Disney channel and hit the pool then bedtime.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Day 41

Day 41 – Tuesday – July 17, 2012

0650 Oh so tired!  I do not want to get up but we have a long drive ahead.  Scott has already left for work.
0720 Kids are up.  Eat breakfast.
0802 Leave Scott’s house.
0811 Jack in the box for coffee and breakfast.
0822 Gas, $3.51/gallon
0842 Buffalo.  Decided not to stop at the overlook because I doubted the buffalo would be around.  But I was wrong.  So we missed our chance.  Boo!
0916 Eisenhower Tunnel, elevation 11,013 feet.  Current temperature, 54 degrees.
0918 Continental Divide – right in the middle of the tunnel!
0933 So many dead trees here from the pine beetles.  Sad.
0945 Rest stop.  It’s cold up here in the mountains today – 56 degrees.
0955 Vail Pass, elevation 10,662 feet
1001 Vail. Elevation 8150 feet.
1043 Colorado River.  The water is red.  There are some people floating down river on innertubes.
1046 Glenwood Canyon.
1048 White River National Forest.  Funny since the river I see right now is red.
1056 Grizzly Creek rest area.  Nice stop to be able to walk down and wade in the Colorado River.  Felisa slipped on the wet rocks and fell in.  She was not happy.  Ryan said it looked like she was covered in “rock boogers” which made her even more unhappy.  We picked up a rock here for Alexis.  Some rafters passed by while we were here.
1132 Leaving the rest area.  Current temperature, 72 degrees.
1135 No Name, Colorado
1137 Glenwood Springs, elevation 5763 feet.
1147 Amtrak train passing by.
12:24 p.m. Report on the radio that there is a six-foot long, aggressive lizard loose in Woodland Park and it is capable of eating small dogs and cats. Yikes.
12:38 p.m. Still following the Colorado River.
12:45 p.m. Grand Junction.  Gas, $3.52/gallon. Also pick up a case of water as we are heading across the desert today on a more remote road. Gotta be prepared!
12:55 p.m. Jimmy Johns for lunch
1:24 p.m. Starbucks drive-thru.  Need more coffee!
1:34 p.m. Car with Alaska plates.  I think it is a sign that I need to visit Alaska.
2:04 p.m. Utah
2:34 p.m. Cyclist with a trailer.
2:58 p.m. There is a whole lotta nothing going on out here.
3:01 p.m. Green River
3:11 p.m. Goblin Valley State Park
3:14 p.m. Finally – the scenery is starting to get more interesting.
3:16 p.m. Scenic Overlook but Ryan is asleep so I decide to skip it.
3:30 p.m. News story on the radio – someone was training for a triathlon and was attacked by an otter and was bitten 25 times!
3:35 p.m. Ghost Rock View area.  Stop this time.  Current temperature, 77 degrees – not too bad.
4:09 p.m. No radio stations and my mp3 player is dead.  Not good!
4:13 p.m. UPS triple trailer.  I’ve seen a bunch of FedEx triples today too.
4:14 p.m. Fishlake National Forest
4:41 p.m. Salina, UT
4:44 p.m. Cows
5:20 p.m. 131 miles to Great Basin.
5:23 p.m. Fresh oil and chip on the road.  Feels like it’s still wet.  Hope nothing is getting on the van.
5:29 p.m. Random sand dunes.
5:55 p.m. Hotel!  Yay!  We go to dinner at the Mexican restaurant next door then hit the hotel pool before bed.
9:50 p.m. Bedtime!  Another long day ahead tomorrow.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Day 40

Day 40 – Monday – July 16, 2012

0615 Woken up by a loud bird outside my window.  Shower and coffee.
0806 Leave for breakfast with my high school friend, Jason.  We’re meeting at Nana’s Kitchen in Falcon.
1000 Back home. The kids are still in their pajamas, playing Wii.
1121 Still packing and loading.  Just driving to Denver today so not in a big hurry to get on the road.
1133 Leave
1140 Starbucks drive-thru for coffee
1152 Sonic drive-thru for lunch.
12:15 p.m. Monument Hill, elevation 7352 feet.  There is a sudden big slowdown which almost causes a wreck.
12:27 p.m. Coal train
12:28 p.m. Cows
12:30 p.m. Castle Rock, elevation 6202 feet.
12:48 p.m. Denver, elevation 5280 feet – the mile high city!
1:21 p.m. Spicy Pickles restaurant.  Wonder what kind of food they serve there.
1:25 p.m. Arrive at Dar’s house.
4:13 p.m. Leaving Dar’s house to head over to Scott’s place.  Looks like a storm is blowing in.
4:40 p.m. Arrive at Scott’s.  He’s not home yet so we follow his “how to break in” instructions that he gave me earlier.
5:47 p.m. Scott’s home from work!  Time for snacks!
6:10 p.m. Dar and her kids are here.
6:40 p.m. Scott (the other Scott!) is here now too.
10:30 p.m. After a great time together, Dar and her family head home.
11:00 p.m. I finally get my kids to bed.
0100 Stayed up too late talking to Scott.  Could be a tough drive tomorrow.  Worth it though since we don’t get a chance to see him that often.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Day 39

Day 39 – Sunday – July 15, 2012

0630 Felisa wakes up.
0650 Get up.  The kids are all awake and chatting.  I get a shower and coffee then check email and Facebook.

0815 Laundry

0832 Leave for the zoo.

0900 Cheyenne Mountain Zoo with Travis and his family

1154 Leaving the zoo.  We were going to go to the Shrine of the Sun (I’ve never been) but the road was closed due to a medical emergency.  Oh well.  Maybe next time…  Our favorite parts of the zoo: Ryan – the view, Bella – feeding the giraffes (Thanks, Grandpa, for buying the lettuce!), Felisa – the monkeys, Grandpa – the orangutan, Sheila – the baby giraffe

12:40 p.m. Finished our lunch at Schlotzsky’s.

1:00 p.m. Back at the house.  You’ll never guess what the kids did…  play Wii!

5:05 p.m. Leaving for dinner.  The kids voted for Chili’s.

After dinner we go to see Ice Age 4. 

9:20 p.m. Back at the house.  Do more laundry.  Grandpa had promised the kids chocolate milk but it turns out that he only had hot chocolate mix.  The kids say that it’s not quite as good as chocolate milk…


Saturday, July 14, 2012

Day 38

Day 38 – Saturday – July 14, 2012

0610 Wake up.  Shower.
0640 Get the kids up.

0712 Leaving for our field trip of the day – a ride on the Leadville train.

0758 Ute Pass Summit, 9164 feet.

0806 Florissant, CO – see a couple deer running around town

0824 Wilkerson Pass – Continental Divide, 9507 feet

0829 A hot air balloon is coming down to land at the side of the road – see a great close-up view!

0915 Road closed - Detour!!!  Oh no!!!  We’re barely going to make it to the train on time as it is!  Consider calling but decide the worst that can happen is they put us on the 2:00 train instead.

1001 Made it by the hair on our chinny chin chins!  Whew!  That was too close!

12:55 p.m. The train ride was great!  Now time for lunch at High Mountain Pies.  A local pizza place with super yummy pizza.  Grandpa ordered a Black Cherry Cream soda which we all got to taste.  It was good so we asked the waiter where we can buy some more.

1:58 p.m. At the liquor store, in the rain, to buy our souvenir sodas.

2:53 p.m. Cool Beans coffee drive-thru in Buena Vista.  A yummy mocha is exactly what I need for this long, rainy drive back down the mountain.

4:55 p.m. Back at the house.  Time to relax.

6:30 p.m. Bella has a tummy ache from eating too much pizza.  She ate so much we said she must be going through a growth spurt.  Now she says, “Growth spurts hurt!”

For dinner we decide on “get your own sandwich or cereal” for anyone who is hungry.

8:04 p.m. Travis comes over on his new motorcycle.  We go out to Old Chicago’s for a snack and a beer.

10:30 p.m. Get home.  Realize I forgot to start the laundry.  Better get that done or we won’t have anything to wear tomorrow!


Friday, July 13, 2012

Day 37

Day 37 – Friday – July 13, 2012

0630 Wake up.
Quiet morning at the house.  Kids play Wii and play with my iPad.

1047 Leaving to go to the Scout store.  Ryan needs more scout socks for camp.

1125 Smashburger!  Yum!  I have been waiting for this all year!  After Smashburger, I get a chocolate croissant for dessert from Panera.  The kids are going to eat more Christmas cookie ice cream at Grandpa’s house.

12:10 p.m. Back at the house.

12:30 p.m. Dad leaves to go take his CPA test.  Good luck!  While he’s gone, we all hang out and play with our electronic devices while we wait for the FedEx man to come.

2:58 p.m. Wine delivery complete!

3:02 p.m. Leave to go to Blockbuster.  We have some old gift cards to spend and no Blockbusters around to spend them at.  Ryan spotted a Blockbuster on our way into town the other day so we’re going to go check it out.

3:42 p.m. Back at the house.  That was a very disappointing trip to Blockbuster.  Apparently my old gift cards are worthless because of the bankrupty filing they did.  So now I’m out $20.  I was tempted to not buy the movies we picked out but figured the kids would be disappointed.  They won’t be getting any more of my money though for quite some time.

4:30 p.m. Dad is home from his test.

5:25 p.m. Leave for dinner and the rodeo.  We ate at Pueblo Viejo.  The food was good but they seated us in the bar area and it was quite noisy.  After dinner the kids decided that they didn’t really want to go to the rodeo after all.  Instead we opted to go downtown to Poor Richard’s Used Bookstore.

7:30 p.m. Home.  Kids play a little Wii before bed.

9:11 p.m. Bedtime!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Day 36

Day 36 – Thursday – July 12, 2012

0700 Get up.
0803 Leaving.  Dana has already left for work and Shannon leaves now.

0813 Three wild turkeys in the median, trying to cross the highway.

0849 75 mph speed limit – Welcome back to the wild west!  Yeehaw!

0902 York, NE.  Starbucks!!! With a drive thru!!! I totally lucked out on this random exit choice.  Gas, $3.35/gallon.  McDs beat out Burger King as the choice for food.

0950 Call Travis to make sure he’s not in Nebraska.  I’d hate to drive to Colorado then find out he was in Nebraska! 

0957 Cows

1010 Buffalo County

1014 Swimming cows

1020 Kearney.  Pioneer Village sign.  Maybe on a future visit?  We saw Ft. Kearney last year.

1021  BOO!  Construction again.

1025 What about this for next year- the bridge over Kearney and the Firefighters’ Museum.  So many choices…

1048 One lonely cow.  I wonder if he’s lost…  I hope he finds his friends soon.

1057 Stop at the Heartland Museum of Military Vehicles.  Our favorite parts: Ryan-the tank (Bradley personnel carrier), Bella-the helicopter, Felisa-all the vehicles we were allowed to get into, Sheila-the MASH display

12:10 p.m. Leaving the museum.  Bribe the kids with a cookie so we can drive a little farther.  Jo says there is an A&W in Platte.

12:23 p.m. More cows swimming

12:32 p.m. Platte River

12:33 p.m.  A bunch of cows huddled under the lone tree for shade.  I wonder which is hotter – being the cow in the middle of that group or standing in the sun?

1:05 p.m. Platte, Nebraska.  Stop at Arby’s since Jo lied about the A&W.  We pass Ft. Cody which says it is free to enter but we’ve already done our stop for the day.  Maybe another time…

1:22 p.m. Go through the Wendy’s drive-thru for Bella since she didn’t want anything from Arbys.

1:27 p.m. Starbucks Drive-thru.  I’m sure this is my last chance for Starbucks until we get to Colorado Springs.

1:45 p.m. What?!  I think I just saw a cow licking another cow!

1:55 p.m. Mountain Time Zone.  Good thing I was paying attention or I would’ve missed the sign.

12:56 p.m. Sprinkling a bit

12:58 p.m. Cool gate!  It was made of different metal wheels welded together.

1:17 p.m. Ogallala, NE.  Gas, $3.73/gallon. 90 degrees. There are signs for Boot Hill.  I wonder what that is.  While we’re stopped I re-tape my finger.  The old tape was falling off.  We also bought a special Nestle crunch Girl Scout cookie bar – peanut butter flavor.  Yum!

1:39 p.m. Brush fire along the highway.  The fire is out but it is recent because there are still a lot of fire trucks and firefighters at the scene.

1:43 p.m. Stinky feedlot cows.  Ick.

1:59 p.m. Colorado

2:08 p.m. Living Snow Fence – a grove of pine trees

2:14 p.m. More construction.  Ugh. This whole day has been one long construction zone.

2:52 p.m. We Buy Antlers billboard.  I wonder what they do with the antlers.

3:52 p.m. Last Chance.  Looks there was a fire through here. 

3:58 p.m. Construction.  This time we have to stop and wait for our turn to drive through.  We are truly in the middle of nowhere – nothing around for miles and no cell signal.  While we’re waiting, a big hay truck wants to turn into the ranch driveway in front of me so I have to back up.

4:02 p.m. Oh look!  They’re recycling the road.  How cool!  They just use their machine to scoop it up, chop it up, shoot it back out and then smoosh it again with the giant roller.

4:50 p.m. Limon.  Gas, $3.59/gallon.

4:58 p.m. Elbert County is on fire watch.

5:19 p.m. Simla, CO- elevation 6029 feet.  We’re going up!

5:23 p.m. El Paso County – getting closer.

5:27 p.m. Commercial for Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo.  Is that going on this weekend? Maybe we should go.

5:36 p.m. I can see the mountain peeking out.  Is that clouds covering it or smoke?

5:48 p.m. The kids are playing a game of cloud calling.  I see this, I see that…

6:17 p.m. Arrive at Grandpa Ford’s house.

We decide to grill burgers and hot dogs for dinner but unfortunately take too long to decide so Grandpa has to grill in the rain.  The kids play Wii after dinner.


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Day 35

Day 35 – Wednesday – July 11, 2010

0645 Wake up.  Shower.  Coffee.  Pack.  Load.
0815 Leaving.  It is 67 degrees, cloudy, cool, breezy and nice!

0825 McDs in Macomb

0840 Colchester.  The Scrapbook Nook is still there.  Cool!

 0846 Dang!  I just turned onto 336.  Which means I could’ve been on the bypass this whole time but didn’t realize it.  That’s what happens when your GPS has outdated maps!

0856 Cows

0858 Carthage, IL – Does anyone know what important event happened in this town?  Anyone?  It’s the birthplace of ME!

0920 I am starting to think it may have been worth it to backtrack a little bit and head north towards I-80 after all.  Jo is taking me south through Quincy and Hannibal.  I’m still 30 minutes from Quincy and headed in the wrong direction!

0923 Story on the radio about a Japanese farmer who put pagers on his cows.  He says it only took the cows a week to know that the ringing sound meant that it was time to come in to eat.

0948 Mississippi River and Missouri

0954 Bear Creek.  On the side of the highway is a patriotic family of wooden bear sculptures.

1006 Mark Twain birthplace sign.  Hmm… Haven’t been there yet – I’ve only been to Hannibal where he lived later.

1015 Salt River

1044 Macon, Missouri – Gas, $3.25/gallon.  78 degrees

1055 Sonic

1112 Back on the highway

1125 Mailbox on highway but no houses or roads around.  I wonder who gets mail there.  Maybe a troll living under the bridge?

1133 Horses

1134 Picked up a couple flies while we were at Sonic.  Killed one!  That other fly better watch out…

12:20 p.m. Okay, I think the fly flew out the window.

12:21 p.m. DJ on the radio is talking about what your office d├ęcor says about you.  If you display trophies and pictures of yourself with important people, you are motivated and want to excel.  If you have plants and candy, you are a softie (that’s me!), and if your office is neat and tidy, you are OCD.

12:23 p.m. Hamilton, MO.  JCPenney home and museum.  Possible future visit.  I checked the GPS to see how far off the highway it is, and Jo does not have a listing for it.  She does show some Jesse James stuff along our route though.

12:35 p.m. Hey!  Who put a stoplight in the middle of my highway?!

12:44 p.m. Ryan finished his second half-book of the day.  Apparently forgetting his mp3 player has helped him get caught up on his reading.

1:01 p.m. Platte River.  Looks low.

1:07 p.m. On I-29 North.  We’ve never gone this way before.  St. Joseph has a lot more to offer in food choices along 29 than it does on 36.

1:15 p.m. Amazonia, MO

1:24 p.m.  Grr.  That fly is still here after all.

1:37 p.m. Mound City, MO – stop for a potty and stretch break.  Our food selection at this stop is gas station snacks- chips and beef jerky.

2:24 p.m. Iowa

2:25 p.m. Lots of dead trees along the highway.

2:37 p.m. Missouri River.  Nebraska.

2:38 p.m. Spur of the moment stop at the Lewis and Clark Center.

3:35 p.m. Leaving the center.  86 degrees.  I’m glad we stopped.  That was a really nice place.

3:51 p.m. See a train peeking out from behind the trees.

4:21 p.m. Outskirts of Lincoln

4:25 p.m. Skeeter Barnes – what a weird name for a restaurant.

4:30 p.m. Arrive at Shannon’s apartment.

5:02 p.m. Going to dinner at Sam and Louie’s Pizza.  Almost get run over in the roundabout by a crazy Nebraska driver.

6:25 p.m. Back at Shannon’s.  Hang out while the kids watch Disney channel.

9:30 p.m. Bedtime.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Day 34

Day 34 – Tuesday – July 10, 2012

Another pretty laid back day in Good Hope.  The girls go to the park.  Lana and Jessie come to visit.  We eat leftovers for lunch.  After lunch I go to town to run errands.  Gas, $3.45/gallon.  A stop at Walmart for finger tape, deodorant, and a supply of Kitchen-Cooked potato chips to take home with us.  Dinner at the Ponderosa buffet.  Before bed it’s time to do the laundry and start packing.  Back on the road tomorrow.

Monday, July 09, 2012

Day 33

Day 33 – Monday – July 9, 2012

0715 Get up.  Shower. Coffee and breakfast.
0915 Ryan is the last to get up – taking advantage of the opportunity to sleep in.  Girls get to go to the park alone again.

0930 Walking to the post office with Grandma.

0955 The girls are back.  Ryan has the tv on GAC so we all watch country music videos for awhile.

1100 Time for Clifford on PBS.  It sure has been awhile since we watched Clifford.

1115 Lana and Jessie come to hang out with us again.

1145 A call from Dr. White’s office.  I can take the splint off (YAY!) and buddy tape my pinky to the ring finger.  I should follow up with a doctor when I get home.  I am very happy to have the splint off – it was making my finger hurt worse!  Guess I’ll need to go shopping later to buy some tape.

The kids go to the park again in the afternoon.  After they leave a train comes through town.  I have immediate visions of squished children on the train tracks.  Fortunately they are smart enough to know how not to be run over by a train and make it home safely at the appointed time.

Dinner tonight is beef and noodles – yum!

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Day 32

Day 32 – Sunday – July 8, 2012

0630 Wake up.  I could sleep in today but I can’t go back to sleep!
Coffee and breakfast.

In amazing news… I let the kids go to the park all by themselves!!!  I gave them my watch and a return time and we all survived.  The urgent care office called to let me know my x-ray results.  There is a small fracture/chip in one of the bones but all the joints are intact.  They will call the orthopedic doctor’s office tomorrow to see if I need to go in.

Lana and Jessie came over to hang out with us.  For lunch Grandma made goulash, mashed potatoes, and corn on the cob.

After lunch the kids played chutes and ladders and hung out until we went over to visit with Tegan and Briley.

For dinner we had ham salad, chips, and ice cream.  After dinner we watched “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?” on GSN.

9:00 p.m. Bedtime.

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Day 31

Day 31 – Saturday – July 7, 2012

0552 Wake up.  Shower and coffee.  Check email and Facebook.
0700 Wake the kids.  While they are getting ready, I update my blog.  I was able to add one more day but according to the blog, we’re still in Alabama!

0735 Breakfast.

0807 Leaving the hotel.

0817 Gas, $3.59/gallon.  80 degrees.

0823 Send a text to Lana to see if she has any finger doctor recommendations.

0833 NPR story on the radio about the Texas drought of the 1950s

0927 Passed by a brand-new Lamborghini speeding down the highway

0938 Indiana

0947 Giant candle at the candle outlet

1010 Horses

1014 Cows

1024 Greenfield, IN – Starbucks!  It is 93 degrees already.  It’s going to be hot today!

1052 I am making Jo mad by going on I465 instead of going through downtown Indianapolis like she usually directs me to.

1112 Lana called to tell me about where and when I can go to Urgent Care in Macomb.

1115 Zionsville, IN.  Is this where the Pratts live?  I can’t remember.

1121 Pratts Storage.  Hmm?  Coincidence?

1128 Pretty blue flowers along the side of the road

1137 Cows

1152 Gas, $3.52 in Crawfordsville, IN.  97 degrees

1159 Subway

12:44 p.m. Illinois and Central Time Zone

1157 Pass a National Guard Convoy.  Those trucks must be hot.  They always drive with the windows down so I doubt they have a/c.

12:18 p.m. Champaign, IL  - 100 degrees

12:52 p.m. Kickapoo Creek

1:00 p.m. Passed by a car from California

1:03 p.m. Windmills

1:30 p.m. Bridge closed ahead.  Uh oh!

1:33 p.m. Illinois River

1:36 p.m. Passed by a Virginia car

1:39 p.m. Bartonville, 102 degrees

1:54 p.m. Banner Marsh

2:10 p.m. Canton, IL – stop for a potty break.  It is loud (big loud semis passing and even a fire truck with sirens on) and hot here.

2:14 p.m. Blown Away song playing on the radio again.  I really like this song.

2:22 p.m. Cows hanging out in the shade.

2:35 p.m. Felisa asks if we are lost in a cornfield?  I tell her not yet!

2:42 p.m. Super dusty cars coming from the other way.  I wonder what they were doing.

2:57 p.m. Arrive at Grandma’s house

3:05 p.m. Leave the kids behind and head to HyVee (the urgent care office is apparently in the grocery store!)

3:20 p.m. Arrive at Urgent Care.

3:42 p.m. My finger has been splinted and I am on the way to the hospital for an x-ray.  I sure am glad I arrived at the urgent care before the family of 4 showed up!

4:06 p.m. X-ray done!  That was quick and pretty painless.

4:23 p.m. Back at Grandma’s house.  The kids are watching Harry Potter #4.  When it’s over we go to Lana’s house to pick her up and see her new place.  Then we all go to Asian Buffet for dinner.  After dinner, as is tradition, we shop at Kmart.  Nothing good to be found there today.  When we get back home, we watch Harry Potter #5.

10:00 p.m.  Harry Potter is finally over and we can all go to bed.

Friday, July 06, 2012

Day 30

Day 30 – Friday – July 6, 2012

0530 Wake up.  Can’t sleep.  Is it the steroids making it hard to sleep?
0717 Leaving the condo.  Is Genie alive?  Felisa is testing her.  She’s still having trouble.  Looks like Jo is still on duty.

0739 So it took two maps (Jo and my cell phone) and one kid (Felisa) to find the Starbucks but we found it.  Ryan had some vanilla milk and the girls got vanilla scones.  I got a toffee nut latte.

0757 Leesburg

0808 Horse

0810 A giant metal rooster is outside an antique shop.

0817 Potomac River.  Maryland.

0830 What a crazy exit to get onto 70 West!  This way and that way and round and round...

0843 South Mountain, 1200 feet.  80 degrees.

0847 Cows – finally!

0910 Kids finish watching the Chipmunk Adventure movie

0918 Ryan can’t find his mp3 player.  He must’ve left it at the condo.  I give him the phone so he can call to check.  Yep-it’s there.  Grandma said she’ll mail it ahead to meet us in Colorado.  I’m pretty sure when I handed it to him this morning I said, “Don’t lose it.”

0922 Sideling Hill, 1269 feet.  The views are nice but it’s a bit hazy this morning.

0924 Sign for US40 Scenic route.  Sounds nice but we don’t have time to stray from our route today.  We must get to Columbus before the Santa Maria closes!

0928 Town Hill, 940 feet

0934 Green Ridge Mountain, 1040 feet

0935 Polish Mountain, 1246 feet

0937 Flintstone, MD

0950 Cumberland, MD.  84 degrees

0952 Haystack Mountain, 1240 feet

1006 Eastern Continental Divide, 2610 feet

1017 Keysers Ridge, 2880 feet

1029 West Virginia

1047 Cheat Lake – one of my favorite signs to pass.  The other sign must only be for the other direction because I didn’t see Fairchance Road this time.

1055 Morgantown, WV. 83 degrees.  Stop for gas, $3.39/gallon.  In a display of my eternal gracefulness, I tripped over the gas hose (not paying attention very well obviously!) and I think I broke my finger.  Ouch!

1101 Arby’s for lunch.

1131 Bella has finished Harry Potter #5

1150 Pennsylvania – our 4th state of the day and it’s not even noon yet!

12:07 p.m. We really are not that far from Pittsburgh.  Maybe we should consider going through there one of these times.

12:21 p.m. Washington, PA.  The interchange and highway are STILL under construction.  I think this section has been under construction ever since the very first big trip.

12:41 p.m. West Virginia

12:53 p.m. Crossing the Ohio River into Ohio.  This is where our ancestors, the McConnells, crossed into Ohio after the Indian Massacre.

2:55 p.m. Arrive in Columbus to see the Santa Maria.  It is 101 degrees now – oh so very hot out there!

4:13 p.m. Back at the van, all very hot and sweaty.  The tour guide says this is the hottest it has been in Columbus since the 1930s.  The air conditioning on Christopher Columbus’ ship was not working for some reason today… something about no a/c in the 1490s and no breeze when tied up at the shore!  Our favorite parts:  Bella and Ryan-the captain’s quarters (it was cooler and there was a place to sit), Ryan and Felisa – the cargo hold, Sheila – finally seeing it after driving past so many times!

4:33 p.m. Big Darby Creek State and National Scenic River

4:36 p.m. Little Darby Creek

4:45 p.m. A dead tree in a cemetary

4:49 p.m. London, OH.  Perkins does not exist where Jo says it does so we turn around and go back to the Bob Evans we passed a few blocks back.

After dinner, we check in at the hotel.  For some reason, the hotel does not subscribe to the Disney Channel!  Oh no!  Now what are we supposed to watch?!

Swimming at the hotel pool.  Even I get in so I can “ice” my sore, swollen arm and my possibly-broken, still hurts, finger.  Not long after we arrive a huge group of loud, splashy kids comes so I get out and wait on the lounge chair for the kids to finish swimming.

After showers we eat the brownies we brought from Bob Evans for a bedtime snack.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Day 29

Day 29 – Thursday – July 5, 2012

0630 Wake up.  My arm hurts and is even more swollen if that’s even possible.  Put some more ice on it and take another Benadryl.  The Benadryl seems to help with the itching but it’s not doing anything for the swelling.  Go online to make my urgent care appointment and go back to sleep for a little bit.
0845 Get up and get dressed.

0945 At the doctor’s office.  I got a steroid shot in my bottom L and a prescription for more steroids.  I can’t find my health debit card.  Ron brought the replacement card from the mail when he came to Memphis and now I can’t find it anywhere!

1115 Arrive at Mrs. Pant’s house with the kids for lunch.  We had a nice lunch of pizza, garlic bread, salad, and chocolate pie for dessert.

1:39 p.m. Drop Ryan off at Owen’s house.

1:43 p.m. At the house for the walk-through.  Send the girls up to Grandma Duffield’s house for the afternoon.

Finish the walk through with a list of things from Shannon to fix.  Go pick up my prescription.  Get coffee at Starbucks.  Stop at Wendy’s for a snack of chicken nuggets.  Go to the bank to deposit the rent check.

4:00 p.m. Back at the Walshes.  Hang out with Missy for a bit.

5:15 p.m. Pick up the girls.  Say goodbye to Grandma Duffield.

6:00 p.m. Fosters for dinner.

7:00 p.m. Hanging out at Shani’s house.  Shooting off more fireworks.

9:30 p.m. I’m tired.  My arm still hurts.  I haven’t packed yet.  It’s time to get going even though the fireworks aren’t done yet.

Lucked out and found a great parking spot outside the condo.  Perfect for loading up to leave tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Day 28

Day 28 – Wednesday – July 4, 2012

Happy 4th of July!

Bella went to play at Sydney’s this morning.  While she was there I was able to go to DSW and get some new shoes and Safeway to get some meat tenderizer to put on my sting.  In the afternoon we took the kids to the condo pool.  My arm has continued to swell from the sting all day and is hurting a lot. After dinner we went to the Kohls’ house for dessert then watched the fireworks.  They have a great view from their driveway! 

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Day 27

Day 27 – Tuesday – July 3, 2012

0645 Wake up and shower.  Breakfast and coffee.
0830 Leave for Luray Cavern and Skyline Drive.  Genie is still down so we pull Jo out of retirement.

Stop at the post office on the way out of town.  On the drive, the air conditioner repair guy called.  Looks like we need a new outdoor unit for the house.  Ouch!  Not the news I was hoping for.

Once we got to Luray, some sort of invisible, really mean, stealth bug stung me on the arm.  I don’t know what it was since I never saw it but it sure hurt!  I got some first aid cream and a bandaid from the first aid station but it didn’t help much.  An ice pack would’ve been better.  The cave tour was nice.  After the cave tour, Mom bought the kids tickets to do the ropes course outside.  The kids had a great time.  By this time we are all hot and hungry so we go into Luray and get lunch at Hardees.  We opt to skip the drive back on Skyline Drive because of the forest fires we can see up in the park.  We drive back the way we came.  In Manassas we stop at McKay’s Used Book Store.  We’ve still got a lot of credit from the books we took in last year before we moved.  After the book store, we stopped at Outback in Herndon for my birthday dinner.  Last stop – Safeway to buy milk and cupcakes for tomorrow.

Our favorite parts of the whole day: Felisa/Bella/Ryan – the ropes, Sheila – the nice drive to the cave (and NOT the bee sting!), Mom- being with us.

Monday, July 02, 2012

Day 26

Day 26 – Monday – July 2, 2012

0715 Wake up.  Muffins for breakfast.
0950 Going to Vienna.  The girls go to Grandma Duffield’s house and Ryan goes to Ryan C.’s house.

12:15 p.m. Gather the kids and head towards Fair Lakes.

12:42 p.m. Gas, $3.39/gallon and a car wash.  The gas station car wash here is almost double what I pay in California.

12:50 p.m. Red Robin for lunch with Mom.  After lunch we go to Best Buy to get a new charging cord for my iPad.  The original cord is lost in the messy car somewhere.

Felisa has a playdate with Lauren.  Ryan and Bella play with Owen and Allie.

5:00 p.m. Heading back to Reston.  The line of traffic headed out of Reston is amazing!

Spend the evening watching tv and playing with the iPad.

9:15 p.m. Bedtime.

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Day 25

Day 25 – Sunday – July 1, 2012

Spend a quiet day hanging out at the condo.  I finished my book and we took the kids to the pool.  I went down to Vienna for a dinner out with Shani.  Yay, Arties!

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Day 24

Day 24 – Saturday – June 30, 2012

Allie made biscuits and sausage for breakfast.  We convinced Felisa to try the biscuits. She said it was the only kind of biscuit she likes.  After breakfast the kids played cards and watched Phineas and Ferb.  Richard was sweating outside cutting the big branch that had fallen on the playset.  News from Northern Virginia is that there are massive power outages and branches and trees down everywhere.  They are calling it a derecho which is apparently a strong wind storm, similar to a tornado but with straight-line winds.  I called Mom to make sure she had power.  If there’s no air conditioning up there, I want to stay where I am!
1:06 p.m. Leaving the Purdys.  92 degrees and quite steamy already.

1:12 p.m. See a snapped power line hanging.  The bottom has snapped off and the top is still hanging by the power lines.

1:15 p.m. Gas, $3.13/gallon.

1:32 p.m. Stop at Kohls.  Richard found a nice pair of water shoes on sale here yesterday so we are hoping to find a pair for Ryan to take to camp.  Success!  Nice shoes and only $25.

1:58 p.m. Sonic for lunch.  One of the employees comes out to tell us that station 13 doesn’t work so we’ll have to move.  After a bathroom break we opt for the drive-thru.  The line is long but at least we’ve got the a/c on while we wait.  Current temperature, 94 degrees.

2:17 p.m. Leaving Sonic.  Genie says only 2 hours to Vienna but I don’t believe her.

2:36 p.m. James River

2:45 p.m. Oh joy – our first traffic jam.  Temperature is up to 98 degrees.

3:08 p.m. I think Genie just had a heat stroke.  Her screen has whited out so I take her down and put her away to cool off.  Current temperature is 99 and we have been in heavy traffic for awhile.

3:55 p.m. 100 degrees.  We finally made it north of Fredericksburg but are still in traffic.

4:12 p.m. Almost to our original ETA but still south of Quantico.  I am hot and tired.  I don’t want to try any traffic detours today since it sounds like there are so many trees down and power out everywhere.  In those conditions, the back roads will be worse than the traffic-packed highway.

4:24 p.m. Finally driving at the speed limit.  102 degrees.

4:31 p.m. Storm report news on the radio.  Five people have been killed and 1 million people are without power.  This is the largest non-hurricane related power outage in history for this area.  There are 2 ½ million without power statewide.

4:35 p.m. Another traffic jam.  Ugh.

5:01 p.m. Uh oh!  The left exit to 66 is closed because of the new HOT lanes.  Good thing traffic is light enough I’m able to scoot back across all the lanes and exit right instead.

5:12 p.m. Arrive at Grandma Duffield’s house.  The kids hang out there while I go down the street to check on the tenants and the house.  The house is hot (a/c not working right?) but everything else is fine.

6:11 p.m. Leaving Frederick Street.

6:23 p.m. Hunter Mill is closed past the bike path.  Hope we can find our way without any other detours since Genie is out of commission still.

6:44 p.m. Made it to Reston.  Parallel parking a minivan is HARD!

I attempted dinner out with Shani but apparently everything in the town center is closed.  I feel bad for having her drive over.  It all looked okay when we arrived – traffic lights were on and people were out walking around.

9:30 p.m. Time for bed.  The kids are resisting.  They are tired but apparently they have gotten used to their vacation bedtime of 11:00.

10:00 p.m. Turn the tv off.

10:15 p.m. Tell Ryan to turn his kindle off.

11:00 p.m. I was reading my book and now I’m going to bed late again.  Oops.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Day 23

Day 23 – Friday – June 29, 2012

Pancakes for breakfast.  John and Matthew have VBS this morning so we go too.  The kids were supposed to be joining in as helpers but the director had changed her mind.  Ryan was able to stay and help John with the water games.  Allie and the girls and I went to Barnes and Noble instead.  After VBS, we have macaroni and cheese for lunch.  It is super hot outside again today so the kids play Wii.  Then they move on to Lasertag and Nerf gun battles.  Dinner is spaghetti.  Allie’s parents came by after dinner and brought Krispy Kreme donuts.  We ate donuts and cake for dessert then sent everyone to bed.  About 11:00 the kids came back downstairs.  Apparently there was a huge thunderstorm blowing through and Allie heard a branch fall outside.  We camp out in the living room for about 45 minutes with the power flickering, watching the weather on tv.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Day 22

Day 22 – Thursday – June 28, 2012

0730 Very bright outside.  Seems like it should be later.
0810 Should I go out for coffee and gas now or should I wake up the kids and go later?

0820 Decide to wake the kids now and get the gas and coffee on the way out of town.

0852 Leaving the hotel.  We seem to be in slow-motion today for some reason.  Genie says the closest McDs is 4 miles away in the wrong direction.  What?!  Guess I have to just get on the road and find one somewhere along the way.

0903 Oh look – it’s the highway lawnmower brigade.  There must have been at least 10 of those big mowers out weaving and mowing on the side of the road.

0908 McDs

0919 Chickenfoot Road

0927 Pass a truck full of chickens.  That’s one we don’t see very often.  Usually it’s pigs or cows.

0952 Gas, $3.12/gallon.

1038 Country Doctor Museum.  Too bad the sign wasn’t out on the highway.  By the time I saw it, I was already past the exit.  Bummer.  That actually sounded kind on interesting.

1047 There are lots of Virginia license plates on the road as we get closer to Virginia.  It is a familiar sight and makes it feel like home even though we are nowhere near our current home.  California plates still seem foreign to me even after a year in California.

1104 Rocky Swamp

1117 Halifax, NC.  Apparently it is a historic site.  Any interest in stopping?  Nope.  Got 3 votes for no.  Ryan says he really just wants to get to John’s house.

1119 Bella has finished Harry Potter #4 which she started reading on the drive from Memphis.

1122 Roanoke River

1128 Virginia

1152 Nottoway River

1158 Subway and Starbucks together and both open 24 hours.  Cool!  Bella tries a new sandwich this time – the Italian BMT without the ham (so just the salami and pepperoni and cheese).  Shocker!  She’s branching out!

1:11 p.m. Arrive at the Purdy’s.

The kids play capture the flag outside for a while until it gets too hot.  Then they play a double-deck game of War with 6 players followed by a game of Apples to Apples.  Finally, they play Wii until dinner.  Dinner is very yummy – a rotisserie chicken, mashed potatoes, and broccoli.  After dinner – birthday cake!

9:30 p.m. Bedtime wrangling begins.

Once all the kids are settled in for the night, Allie and I watch half of “Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead” on Amazon until we are too tired to watch anymore.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Day 21

Day 21 – Wednesday – June 27, 2012

0630 Wake up.  It is too early to wake up so I go back to sleep.
0800 Wake up again. Felisa is awake.  Now it’s time to get up.  On the news today, stories about the Florida flooding and the Colorado wildfires.  Flying W Ranch is gone.  The evacuation zone covers the area west of I25 and north of Garden of the Gods.  That’s a lot of people!

0927 Leaving Melissa’s place.

1013 Pass an agricultural inspection station on the highway.  In Florida, only the trucks have to stop.  In California they stop everyone!

1014 Dunkin’ Donuts billboard – that looks good.

1015 Georgia.  Home of the 1996 Summer Olympics.  74 degrees.

1017 Kings Bay Naval Base

1020 Crooked River

1038 There are lots of rivers here and where there are no trees blocking the view, it is very flat.

1042 Mom called to see what I’ve heard about the fires.

1045 Turtle River

1055 Cathead Creek

1056 Darien, GA.  Gas, $3.39/gallon. 78 degrees.

1121 Bulltown Swamp

1137 Cows

12:00 p.m. Juliette Gordon Low birthplace.  Lucked out with a parking spot right in front.  The house is pretty busy today.  Maybe there are extra people visiting because of the 100th anniversary.  The house is big and nice.  I never really thought about it before that she may have been rich despite the fact that she hung out with a guy named LORD Baden-Powell.  What did the kids think? Ryan-pretty nice, Bella – good, Felisa – liked it.

1:10 p.m. On the way to Leopold’s Ice Cream.  Pass by an old theatre on the way.  A sign says free self-guided tours so we take a peek on our way past.

1:43 p.m. Finished our ice cream lunch.  Yummy!  The flavors we tried: Ryan-Chocolate Chewies and Cream, Bella-Chocolate Chip, Felisa-Caramel Swirl, Sheila-Rum Bisque (tasted like a variation on eggnog)

1:48 p.m. Driving through Savannah on our way out of town.  The weather was nice here today and it seems like a nice place.  We’ll have to come back again sometime and see more.

1:55 p.m. South Carolina already.  I didn’t realize we were so close.

1:57 p.m. A dead armadillo.  So sad.

2:21 p.m. Allie called to check on our schedule for tomorrow.

2:29 p.m. Coosawhatchie River.

2:57 p.m. Gas, $2.96/gallon.  Our best price so far!

3:00 p.m. Burger King for lunch.  Check the map to see how far we are from friends in Raleigh.  Email Michele to see if she’s home.

3:43 p.m. Leaving Burger King.  Michele is at the beach so we won’t be able to see them on this trip.

4:20 p.m. Lake Marion

5:01 p.m. See a sign for Mi Tierra.  I wonder if it’s connected to the one in San Antonio.

5:45 p.m. North Carolina.

6:01 p.m. Lumber River

6:05 p.m. Holiday Inn.  Hope they have rooms available since I don’t have a reservation and I’m tired of driving.

6:15 p.m. Success!  Move the car to the side door.

Watch tv in the room for a bit then go to dinner at the Denny’s in the hotel.  The service is really slow.  What is it with hotel restaurants being so slow?   After dinner we enjoy the outdoor pool until the mosquitos start eating me.

9:15 p.m. Showers then tv.

11:00 p.m. Lights out – bedtime.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Day 20

Day 20 – Tuesday – June 26, 2012

0600 Wake up.  The weather outside looks exactly the same.  Shower.  Check radar.  Looks like most of last night’s rain has moved out.

0645 Wake up the kids.

0718 Leave the hotel.  68 degrees and light rain.

0721 McDs for breakfast and coffee.

0740 Florida

0812 Uh-oh.  My plan was to stay on the interstate to avoid flooding. Now I-10 East is closed!

0821 Heard a story on the radio to keep your kids inside.  Lots of alligators are out roaming around, displaced by the flooding.

0834 As we’re waiting to get off the highway, I see 2 cops, 2 ambulances, and a fire truck heading north on I-75.

0858 Listening to a story on NPR about a crystal light sculpture somewhere in DC.

0859 That’s the third prison we have passed on this road.

0905 End of the detour.  Back on I-10 East.

0931 Pass Publix and Winn-Dixie distribution centers.

0940 I-95 junction

0944 Crossing the St. John River.  The clouds and wind and tarps and scaffolding make the bridge seem very spooky.

0955 Genie just told me to “navigate off road”!  What?!

0958 We’re lost.  And of course it has started raining again just when it’s time to get out of the car.

1003 Found it!

Melissa gave us a tour of her apartment.  We met Hannah (a Rottweiler-cocker spaniel mix). We watched the Weather Channel and the kids played cards – UNO and BS. 

12:10 p.m. The kids take Hannah out for a walk. After the walk we watch Lingo on GSN.

1:03 p.m. Time for lunch! It’s not raining so we take the opportunity to go out to Sonic.  After Sonic we go to Target and wander the aisles.  We bought Melissa a new coffee maker for her birthday, some new card games, and some new Scooby Doo movies.  We stayed a little too long though because it was raining again when we left. 

3:31 p.m. Back at Melissa’s apartment.  The kids play Monopoly Deal and Life while I play solitaire on my phone and take a nap on the couch.  Perfect Tropical Storm activities.

6:15 p.m. Melissa and Felisa go to the store to buy chicken for dinner.  We should’ve stopped on the way home from Target because it is pouring rain outside.  It’s raining so hard we’ve lost the satellite signal.  No more Weather Channel.

7:00 p.m. Melissa is making dinner.  It is raining, raining, raining outside.  After dinner the kids watch the new Scooby movie.  Then we watch Extreme Makeover- Weight Loss Edition.

11:00 p.m. Bed time.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Day 19

Day 19 – Monday – June 25, 2012

0600 Wake up.  Watch updates on the weather channel.
0745 Leaving Kim’s house.

0830 Pell City, AL.  80 degrees. Stop at McDs for breakfast and coffee.  Gas, $3.06/gallon.

0905 Oh no!  Car trouble! The VSA! and check engine lights are on and it won’t accelerate.  Drive to next exit and call Ron.  Sure am glad he hasn’t left the country yet.  He says there is a Honda dealer in the next town, about 10 miles or so and other service garages along the way in case we can’t make it that far.  I haven’t turned the engine off just in case so we pull out and putt putt our way down the back roads towards the dealer.

0945 Safely seated in the Sunny King Honda service waiting room in Anniston, AL.  Whew!  Hope they can fix it quickly and it won’t cost too much.  I don’t want to have to buy a new car today!

1045 Still waiting for a diagnosis.  Ugh!  This does not bode well for getting back on the road quickly.

1050 Got the word… the variable cylinder system was stuck on and a manifold something or other needs to be cleaned.  For $200 they can have us back on the road in about 90 minutes.  I had our overdue oil change and burnt out brake light to the work list.

12:14 p.m. Leaving the dealership!

12:20 p.m. Wendy’s for lunch.

12:55 p.m. Starbucks inside Target.  Good thing I know to look inside when the GPS directs me to a Target or a grocery store after I ask for directions to Starbucks.

1:00 p.m. And now finally back on the highway heading for Florida and Tropical Storm Debby.

1:08 p.m. Talladega National Forest

1:26 p.m. Road work next 35 miles?! Bummer!

1:27 p.m. Georgia and Eastern time zone.

2:32 p.m. See a “flock” of helicopters flying over Tallapoosa.

2:46 p.m. See a car with no license plate (and no temporary plate).  Then the sheriff just drives right past them.  I guess license plates are optional here in Georgia…

3:05 p.m. Genie pops up with a traffic detour ahead.

3:12 p.m. I cannot find a single news radio station for Atlanta.  No one is offering a traffic report either.

3:14 p.m. Everyone in this state is speeding like crazy.

3:22 p.m. On 285-S.  The detour is not as bad as I thought it might be. Traffic was moving and not too many stoplights.

3:23 p.m. Planes landing almost on our heads as we drive under the runways.

3:30 p.m. I am just now getting through Atlanta.  We left 6 hours ago and I feel like I have made absolutely zero forward progress driving today.

3:54 p.m. PTI (professional transport) van passes me.  It is from Indiana.  Now that would be a much better driving job than driving a semi-truck I think.

4:02 p.m. Lots of utility trucks heading south today.  Must be on the way to help out with the Tropical Storm damages.

4:21 p.m. Rest stop.  Cancel our reservation in Jacksonville for tonight and switch it to the Holiday Inn in Valdosta, GA instead.  Set Genie.  Our new ETA is now 7 p.m. at the hotel.

4:34 p.m. Leaving the rest area.

4:45 p.m. Bella saw a leg on the back of a truck.  No one else saw it.  I wonder if the truck was from Texas.

5:32 p.m. Sign for Georgia State Cotton Museum.  That sounds like a good future stop.

5:36 p.m. A few sprinkles start to fall.

5:40 p.m. Jimmy Carter State Historic Site. Another future visit possibility.

5:52 p.m. Ron called.  He changed the lock on the back door of the VA house.  The replacement mini-blind slats look fine.  The insulation looks good – nice and thick.  He was not able to pick up the closet door.  He is at the airport, getting ready to depart.

5:57 p.m. Giant peanut

6:04 p.m. A field of cows and white birds of some sort.  Egret maybe?  Something with long legs.

6:17 p.m. Gas, $3.09/gallon.  It has gotten really humid as we are getting closer to the storm.

6:34 p.m. So dark!

6:35 p.m. Rain!  We are about 30 minutes from the hotel.

7:01 p.m. Emergency message on the radio.  There is flooding in northern Florida.

7:04 p.m. Hotel!  I dropped the kids and the luggage off under the cover then park the car and dash in through the rain.  We opt for dinner at the hotel restaurant.  The have gator tail as an appetizer so of course we have to try it.  The pool here is an outdoor pool so we won’t be swimming tonight.  Instead the kids played BS (Bologna Sandwich) and we watched the weather channel.  Looks like we made the right decision to not drive all the way to Jacksonville tonight.  We finish off the night with the Disney Channel Movie “Let It Shine”.