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”.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Day 18

Day 18 – Sunday  - June 23, 2012
0745 Wake up.
Get coffee and check Facebook.  Lots of pictures from the fire near Colorado Springs.
0900 Go to breakfast but the place is packed with families.  Grab a banana and yogurt and go back to the room.  Not worth the fight.
0930 At the Chattanooga children’s museum.  Julie walked over with the kids.  Ron and Ryan go back to the hotel for some male bonding (aka shaving lessons) while the girls get started having fun at the museum.  Kim and her kids come in right behind us.
1100 Time for Kim and her kids to leave and head back to Birmingham.
1130 Lunch at Sugars with Kim and Jim.
12:50 p.m. Leaving the hotel and on the road.
1:06 p.m. Georgia
1:12 p.m. Central time zone and back into Tennessee.
12:17 p.m. Tennessee River and Nickajack Lake.  Chattanooga really is a nice area.  If we ever come when it’s not so hot, there are lots of outdoor activities.
12:21 p.m. A tractor equipment sales “showroom” in the median… lots of different tractors and equipment parked out there.  What is it with roadside tractor parking in this state?
12:28 p.m. A stop at McDs for iced coffee.  We must be in the south because Ron was called “hon” and “buddy” by the window workers.  This is a very busy exit.  Also, if anyone needs to buy gas and fireworks, this is the place.  The fireworks shops have gas stations too – sounds dangerous to me!
12:37 p.m. Gas, $3.04.  Not quite as good as $2.99 but way better than the $4.25 I paid the day we left California!  Also, we stopped at a regular station, not a fireworks station.  Seems safer…
12:48 p.m. Alabama
1:09 p.m. Hollywood, AL
1:51 p.m. Huntsville, AL.  Current temperature is 96 degrees.
2:00 p.m. At the Space and Rocket Center. 
3:41 p.m. Leaving the rocket center.  It is hot outside today!  We all decided that the Florida NASA center was better overall and a better value for the big bucks they charge, though the VonBraun exhibit here was pretty interesting.
3:55 p.m. Huntsville Airport.   98 degrees.  There is a golf course right outside the airport – quite an interesting location for golf.  Ron is leaving now for his long overseas trip.
4:06 p.m. 101 degrees! 
4:14 p.m. Tennessee River.  Again!
4:20 p.m. Stop at Burger King for a snack of chicken nuggets all around.  I also got an iced coffee which unfortunately turned out to taste like ashtray.  Ugh!
5:12 p.m. Warrior River
5:41 p.m. Arrive at Kim’s house.   Gee, we haven’t seen these guys in hours!  Haha!
We spend a nice evening at the house.  The kids played Wii.  We grilled hamburgers and hot dogs for dinner.  We watched Tropical Storm Debby on the weather channel, trying to decide if we should go to Florida or not.  And then finally we got the kids to bed, later than we had planned.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Day 17

Day 17 – Saturday – June 23, 2012
0615 Get up.  Get the laundry from the dryer.  Merryn let the dogs come downstairs but didn’t put them out.  They wanted into Fritz and D’Arcy’s room so I let them in.  Sorry about the wake-up call, guys!
0645 Shower time.
0730 Wake up the kids and Ron.
0835 Leaving the Ruthlings.
0842 Starbucks drive-thru for coffee.  Ron is complaining about my dirty windows and trying to clean the inside of the windshield with a napkin.
What was the best part of the visit in Memphis?
Bella – playing card games
Ryan – seeing Logan and Merryn
Felisa – swimming
I love seeing our friends and how welcome they always make us feel.  Logan and Merryn are awesome examples to our kids of how to be a terrific host.

0858 Mississippi
0902 Construction.  On Saturday?
0922 Airplane outlines are painted on the road.  Does that mean this highway is also a runway?!  Uh oh!
0923 Ryan comments that he can tell we’re in the south again because there is ivy growing like crazy on everything.
0925 Smoke.  Burning trash maybe?
0959 Gas, $2.99/gallon.  Happy birthday to me!  Wow!  I haven’t seen a two in front of a gas price in a couple years.  Also, the gas station had a Happy Birthday message on the sign out front.  It really is my birthday.
1005 News story about I’ll Have Another’s horse racing career.  His record was 5 wins out of 7 starts, including the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness.  That’s a pretty short and pretty amazing career.  Now he is a stud horse on a Japanese horse farm.
1007 Pass the Vietnam Traveling Memorial.  Decide to get out and take a look.
1020 Tennessee
1027 Goats
1035 Shiloh National Military Park
1041 Shiloh visitor center.  Current temperature, 87 degrees.  After the visitors center, we drove through part of the park.  We took a picture at the Confederate memorial.
1119 Drive past the Shiloh church and cemetery
1126 Open my birthday cards.  I found the one from James and Betty Lou but now I can’t find the one from Dad.  Bummer!
1134 Tennessee River and Savannah, TN which is apparently the Catfish Capitol of the World
1139 Sonic for lunch.  This Sonic is very busy – almost every slot is taken.   While we’re waiting Felisa gives me a present.
12:20 p.m. Open my present from Ron – an iPad.
12:55 p.m. Lawrenceburg, TN – the home of David Crockett.  Who is this David Crockett guy?  Do they mean Davy Crockett?  Because I know who Davy Crockett is.  In my opinion, if you are associated with a famous person, you should use the more commonly known name.
12:56 p.m. See an Amish buggy driving down the road.
12:59 p.m. North South Military Street… guess you’d better be careful which side of the street you live on!
1:02 p.m. A field of white horses.  Cool.
1:05 p.m. A tractor dump lining both sides of the highway.  I guess this is where the tractors go to die.
1:18 p.m. Chicken Creek Road
1:25 p.m. It’s getting hillier.
1:32 p.m. Crossing I-65.
1:52 p.m. McDs for iced coffee
2:46 p.m. Cowan, TN. Stopped by a train.  And then the train stops.  Right in front of the tracks.  Hmm…  We could go to the train museum right next to us while we wait.  Ron takes off and… passes the museum!  Where is he going?  Back to the highway?  No.  Just going around.  Except that there is no way around.  Maybe we’ll go back and wait.  Nope.  Off we go again looking for another way around.  Ron wants it to be known that he refused to be stopped by this train!
2:56 p.m.  We made it!  Take that, train!
3:00 p.m. What is that up on the hilltop? A house?  A hotel?
3:12 p.m. I-24 – made it to the highway!
3:35 p.m. Tennessee River
3:41 p.m. Eastern Time Zone and Georgia – now 4:41 p.m.
4:44 p.m. Traffic jam
4:46 p.m. Tennessee
4:47 p.m. There is a group of kids walking down the side of the highway.  Not sure why.
4:56 p.m. Across the Tennessee River and back again.  I guess Ron should’ve listened to the GPS, not to his wife!
5:01 p.m. Made it to Julie’s place.  We let ourselves in and relaxed while we waited for Julie, Jim, and Kim and her kids to get back from Rock City.
Dinner at Mellow Mushroom then we walked around a bit.  We stopped at the moon pie shop then walked across the bridge to the carousel.  Unfortunately we were too late again this year and it was already closed.  No one really wanted to play in the fountain so we walked back across the bridge and got ice cream.  The kids watched Cars and got ready for bed.  Our kids spent the night at Julie’s house while Ron and I got in one last date night at the hotel before he leaves on his long work trip.  I forgot that I hadn’t changed the time on my watch so we ended staying up later than I realized.  Oops!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Day 16

Day 16 – Friday – June 22, 2012

0700 Wake up.  The grandfather clock chimes first and then my cell phone alarm rings.

0745 Leave for the airport to pick up Ron.

Stop at Panera for coffee and a four-cheese soufflé.

0835 At the airport.  Traffic was okay, not too bad.  Pull into the cell phone lot to wait.

0910 Ron is here!

0932 Stop at Starbucks to get Ron some coffee.  He’s a bit tired after the red-eye flight.

A nice day full of fun and relaxing with the Ruthlings.  The kids swim, watch a movie, and play Mario Kart.

6:30 p.m. Dinner.  Tonight is lasagna.  After dinner they surprised me with a birthday ice cream cake.  Yum!

After dessert, the kids go out for one last evening swim.

9:30 p.m. Sending everyone to bed.  Maybe the kids will go to sleep earlier tonight?

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Day 15

Day 15 – Thursday – June 21, 2012

0630 Wake up.  It is really bright and sunny outside already.

0700 Time to get up.  Check Facebook and email.  Upload a few pictures to Facebook.  Get coffee.

0745 Shower

0800 Wake up the kids.

0830 Go to breakfast.

0930 Leave the hotel.  It is hot and steamy out here this morning!  85 degrees.  Oh no!  My oil life is already down to 10%!

0932 The GPS can’t find the Clinton birthplace.  Decide to follow the sign we saw last night when we exited the highway.

0940 The signs can’t find it either!  Decide to go to the Hope Visitor Center and ask for directions.

0945 Hope Visitor Center and museum.  The lady working is very nice but I was having a hard time understanding her accent.

1015 President Clinton’s birthplace.  As we are leaving we see the big sign that we missed on the way in.

1101 Stop to buy a giant Hope watermelon.

1104 Gas, $3.21/gallon

1114 McDs for coffee (me) and chicken nuggets (kids).

1119 I have been thinking and I think that moving to a new place with all new people makes it seem longer than a year since we have seen the friends we are visiting on our trip.  Instead of going from home to see people and then back home, we went from home to see people to a brand new place that didn’t seem like home.  Maybe next year it won’t seem like that?

1128 See a Honda crosstour.  That’s kind of a cool looking car.  I wonder if Ron would like it.

1152 There’s a new Big and Rich song playing on the radio.  I thought they were split up?

1159 Friendship, AR.  Ryan thinks that is a great name for a town.

12:43 p.m. Rock on the windshield – ouch!

12:47 p.m. Little Rock, AR.  92 degrees

12:52 p.m. Arkansas River.  Sign for the Plantation Agriculture Museum.  That sounds interesting for a future visit.  There’s also a sign the highway is closed ahead.  Hmm.  That could be a problem.

1:15 p.m. Sonic in Lonoke, AR for lunch.

1:41 p.m. Leave Sonic.  Should I stay on this back highway or take a chance that the interstate is open again?

1:50 p.m. Yep.  It’s closed.  Should’ve taken the back road.

2:09 p.m. Finally get off the interstate (such a backup of traffic!) and now I see a sign for the Trail of Tears.  That’s not a good sign.  I hope we’re not crying by the end of this detour.

2:27 p.m. Now we’re on the Butterfield Trail.  Not sure what that is.

2:40 p.m. Road crew working, causing another back up.  Construction on a detour route should be illegal.

2:44 p.m. Des Arc, AR

2:49 p.m. White River

2:56 p.m. My phone has no signal out here in the middle of nowhere.  It has been beeping and beeping since we left the highway.

3:03 p.m. Cache River

3:08 p.m. Cotton Plant, population 960.  Ryan thinks it looks like a ghost town.  There is a rickety old house on the corner.  I wonder if anyone lives there.  Ryan points out the satellite dish on the roof.  Okay then – someone must live there after all.  Someone who likes to watch tv.

3:12 p.m. Plane wash

3:13 p.m. Lots of trucks on the road headed the other way.

3:24 p.m. Gas, $3.25/gallon

3:34 p.m. Finally back on the interstate.  Our new ETA is 5:08 p.m.

3:48 p.m. My knee is really hurting.  That detour was rough!

4:36 p.m. Tennessee state line and the Mississippi River

5:03 p.m. What was that beep for?  Huh.  I think the GPS is telling me about a red light camera ahead.

5:14 p.m. Arrive at the Ruthlings.  Logan and Merryn are home to welcome us.  D’Arcy is out at Costco picking up some food for dinner.  Fritz is flying.

The kids played Apples to Apples and Kemps then moved on to the Wii.

8:15 p.m. Dinner time – chicken alfredo.

11:00 p.m. Bed time.  Yet another late night.  Is this going to be the summer of late nights?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Day 14

Day 14 – Wednesday – June 20, 2012

0630 Get up.  Take a shower.
0700 Go to the house for a cup of coffee and pick up my now-dry laundry.

0715 Get the kids up.

0800 The car is loaded and ready (an hour ago I wasn’t sure if I could make my 8 am deadline!).  Time for breakfast.

0911 Pictures are taken.  Vacation Mouse almost got left behind – he was still in Betty’s car after our trip to San Antonio.  Oops!  It is 78 degrees and cloudy as we hit the road.

0914 Back gate

0918 Sheep with white bodies and black heads.  Interesting…

0946 God Bless Texas is on the radio.  The song before that was Austin.  Perfect driving music for Texas.

0949 Pass the Fort Martin Scott Historic Site in Fredericksburg.  Maybe we should check it out sometime.

1000 Dead armadillo.

1005 Wet roads.  Must’ve been raining here.

1015 Johnson City has some cool-looking shops.  Maybe we should come here too some time!

1030 Rain for about 5 minutes

1051 Rain for about 2 minutes

1058 Traffic  jams up as we near Austin.  I really don’t like this part of the drive – it always has rotten traffic.

1119 Toll road.  75 cents.

1128 Arrive at Round Rock Donuts.  The Texas donut is REALLY big!  And yummy too of course.  We ate half and saved the other half for later.

1156 Genie can’t find a Schlotsky’s.  I know there is one in Temple – we stopped there two years ago.

1159 Two police cars have stopped to help change the tire on a third police car.

12:05 p.m. Finally found the Schlotsky’s in Temple.

12:15 p.m. See a billboard for a closer Schlotsky’s.  Let’s go to that one instead.  I seem to recall the one in Temple being hard to get to.

12:23 p.m. Schlotsky’s in Belton, TX.  A sign inside says that the first Schlotsky’s opened in Austin in 1971.

12:56 p.m. Leaving Schlotsky’s

12:59 p.m. Gas, $3.25/gallon.  Why are there always yucky dead bugs in the window-washing bucket at gas stations?

1:17 p.m. Rain

1:25 p.m. Should we go on the interstate or the back roads?  GPS has us taking the interstate but the highway has been very busy today.  Lots of semis and cars.  My personal space is feeling a bit crowded so I’m leaning towards back roads even though it will be longer.

1:30 p.m. Lorena, TX

1:38 p.m. Ryan finished the book he bought yesterday.

1:47 p.m. Waco, TX.  89 degrees.  I decide to go for the back roads.  Keep your fingers crossed for a smooth drive…

2:21 p.m. Donkey

2:23 p.m. Karl from the insulation company called to give a report on the finished work.  Conveniently, there is a picnic area right here to pull off and take the call.

2:29 p.m. Kids are watching a movie – Sky High

3:22 p.m. Sonic in Malakoff, TX.  I need a driving break.  It’s happy hour and it’s the half-price shakes all day celebration today.  Cool!

3:39 p.m. Leaving Sonic.  I’ve done a map check to figure out which way the GPS is sending me.  My oil life is at 15% remaining.  I’d love to make it Virginia before I get my oil changed but not sure I can make it that far before I get to zero.

4:09 p.m. Cows standing under the sprinklers out in the field.

4:10 p.m. Fainting goats for sale.

4:33 p.m. We are in the Eagle Capitol of Texas (but we didn’t see any eagles while there).

4:39 p.m. Dead armadillo #2.  It is on its back, all four feet straight up in the air.

5:16 p.m. See a truck carrying bags of feed.  The labels are horse feed and creep feed.  What is creep feed?

5:17 p.m. Rest area.  This place is packed!  Guess I won’t stop here after all.

5:33 p.m. McD’s in Mt. Pleasant, TX for a bathroom break.  We hear that strange bird call we heard at the ranch the other day.  The kids say that it is a speckled tree goat.  I don’t believe them.

6:05 p.m. Listening to NPR to the stock report.  They are listing agricultural products one by one by one.  Yawn!

6:22 p.m. Now NPR has a story about Coe State Park in California and how a private donation is keeping the park open.  It had been on the budget cuts closure list.

6:31 p.m. Arkansas

6:45 p.m. Red River

6:59 p.m. Arrive at hotel.  After checking in we watch tv for a bit then go swim in the outdoor pool.  Someone had left a ball behind and the kids were having fun playing with it.  Luckily the mosquitoes were not too bad.  The sheriff came to the hotel three times while we were swimming.  When we finally went inside, we saw that he was using the hotel breakfast area as his lunch break/office. 

Showers then we ate the rest of our donut.  Watch more tv then go to sleep late.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Day 13

Day 13 – Tuesday – June 19, 2012
0645 Felisa is awake.  I told her it is too early to be up so she goes back to sleep.  Of course, I’m awake now so I work on my blog typing for awhile.
0745 Brushing my teeth.  Out of the corner in my eye, in the mirror, I see something on the arm of my pajamas.  I look and see a giant grasshopper climbing up, almost to my shoulder.  Eek! Ick! Uck!  There is seriously some sort of bug conspiracy to give me a heart attack!
Get ready to go to San Antonio.
1000 Leave for San Antonio.  On the way we stop at AAA so Betty Lou can get some maps for her upcoming road trip.
Heading downtown for lunch at Mi Tierra.  We tried to follow the mapquest printout way but failed.  We tried the iPhone map way and failed.  We tried the gps map way but failed.  So finally we just went the Betty Lou way (which included driving straight from a left-turn only lane!) and we made it.
The food was delicious, the service was fast, and the decorations were great.  Yum! Yum!
After lunch we walked through the Mercado then drove to Mission Concepcion.  We found a street called Felisa Street near the mission.  Felisa did the Junior Ranger program while we were there and earned a badge.  We had the whole mission almost completely to ourselves the entire time we were there.  Just as we were walking out to take a picture by the sign out front, a bus pulled up and a bunch of people got out and walked into our picture area.  Darn!
We had originally planned to see two missions but it is already time to go to the airport and drop Dad off for his flight.
On the way home we stop at Barnes and Noble.  Each kid bought one book.  Ryan got the last book of the Kane Chronicles which he has been waiting for since it came out in May.
We stopped at Costco for gas.  $3.19/gallon.
Back at the ranch it was time for margaritas.  I got online to check maps and routes and things to do with Kim and Julie this weekend.  Ron said he can get a flight from Huntsville, AL on Sunday at 6.   Should we stay in Huntsville?  Do Birmingham first?  Stick to the original plan of Chattanooga first?  I just can’t decide!!!  I also have to figure out a modified plan for next week since we won’t be going to Pensacola anymore now that Ron won’t be with us.
We have a late dinner tonight.  Frozen pizza – yum!  I haven’t had pizza since before the CIA Bootcamp fitness challenge.  Cake and ice cream for dessert.  We have lots of ice cream left but we finished off the birthday cake.  We don’t finish dinner until 8:30.
After dinner I realized that I forgot to start the dryer earlier and my clothes are still wet.  Dang it!  The kids go to the barn to get ready for bed.  I wait for the dryer to finish while Betty finally gets a chance to look at the scrapbooks.
I give up waiting for the dryer to finish so I go to the barn to get ready for bed.  I call Ron.  I download my camera – 700 pictures so far this trip.  And at last – bedtime!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Day 12

Day 12 – Monday – June 18, 2012
Breakfast.  While we were setting the table, the Trix box spilled on the floor.  Sunny found a loose trix that was under the china cabinet.
After breakfast the kids baked a cake then we finished our Mexican Train game.  Felisa won.  Ron called to tell me about his travel schedule change.  Instead of leaving DC on July 2, he is leaving on June 25.  He will still meet us in Memphis Friday but will have to leave from Chattanooga or Birmingham.
For lunch we had hot dogs.
After lunch the kids decorated the cake then watched tv while Betty Lou and I went to town.  We went to the liquor store to get more margarita supplies and HEB to get food for dinner.  They had samples of bacon jam which was pretty yummy.  It was buy one, get one free so I got one as a gift for Julie and one for myself. 
While the kids were playing with the dogs, Ryan said “Sunny! Flyswatter!” which did not have the same effect as just showing her the flyswatter.
Pinata time!  We had a hard time finding a tree branch tall enough and strong enough.  Once we found a branch, we had a hard time getting the rope over the branch.  Finally we are all set.  The kids busted it with just one turn each.
Dinner tonight is tacos and birthday cake and ice cream for dessert.  We would need almost 300 candles to celebrate everyone’s birthday.  Instead we opt for 10 candles – one for each person and dog.
Feed the animals again.  Tonight they got lettuce which they also liked.
Sent some emails about the proposed schedule change for the weekend.  Tomorrow I will have to check the map to see which way we should go.
9:00 p.m. Start another round of Mexican Train.  We made it through two hands before we decided it was too late to keep playing.
When we got back to the barn, I found a scorpion on the floor.  Eek!  Ick!  Yikes!  I killed it but had the heebee jeebies for the rest of the night, certain another scorpion was just lurking in the shadows, waiting to jump out at me.
9:45 p.m. Bed time.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Day 11

Day 11 – Sunday – June 17, 2012

Finally a day to sleep in a little bit.  Breakfast at 9.  After breakfast the kids made water gun paintings.  It took longer and was much messier than Betty thought it would be.  After art we have to hurry to have lunch so we’ll be ready for our trail ride.
Trail ride muster:
Ryan – Smoky; Bella – Sonny; Cole – Wrangler; Sheila – Bulldog

When we got back from the trail ride, the wranglers let Felisa have another pony ride on Hollywood.

Late afternoon/evening fun was Mexican Train dominos and margaritas.  For dinner we had spaghetti.  After dinner we fed the animals again.  They were a bit braver tonight.  They really enjoyed the leftover spaghetti that Ryan brought out for them.  While we were there, the kids came up with some names for the animals.  We had the Goat Gang, Deer of Doom (including Captain Fearless), Cow Criminals, Sheep of Shame (but only because we couldn’t think of a better name for them), and the Horrible Horses.  It sounds like a pretty dangerous neighborhood, doesn’t it?

Before bed we had a showing of the St Pat’s Talent Show DVD.  A storm blew in while we were watching so we had to run through the thunder, lightning, and wind to get back to the barn.  We made it just in time before it started to rain.  Whew.  The kids played DS for awhile while I did some blog typing.

10:45 p.m. Bedtime

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Day 10

Day 10 – Saturday – June 16, 2012

0315 Bella fell out of bed and bumped her nose on the floor.
0630 Wake up
0745 Leave for Cowboy breakfast and kids’ rodeo.  At the rodeo, Bella rode Smoky and Bulldog.  Neither horse was very cooperative.  Felisa had two “pony” rides on Doc and Drifter.

After the rodeo, back to the house for lunch.  A neighbor called to tell us about something she saw out in her yard by the shed so after lunch we drive over to check it out.  You’ll never guess what it was – a hand!  We have quite the collection now.
After the hand adventure, shower time.

2:30 p.m. Leave for the family reunion party in town.  There was swimming, dancing, Mexican food, and a piñata.  Also lots of relatives we have never met or haven’t seen in many years.  Overall, a fun time.
On the way home we ran into a cow ambush.  A mommy was feeding her baby cow in the middle of the road.  When we stopped to wait, a few other cows started to come up and surround the car.  We escaped just in the nick of time!

9:00 p.m. The deer and sheep are outside so we try to feed them.  Unfortunately they are shy and scared and just keep running away.  I tried to take pictures but my camera battery was so dead it wouldn’t even turn on anymore.
I put our laundry into the dryer.  Ron and the kids are watching Cars on TV in the barn.

10:05 p.m. Bed time.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Day 9

Day 9 - Friday - June 15, 2012

0500 Wake up.
0530 Get the kids up.
0614 Leaving Rio Rancho.  65 degrees - it's a lovely morning.
0627 Rio Grande River
0629 Twisterz for yummy breakfast burritos!  There is a used book store in this shopping center.  Maybe we should check it out sometime.
0635 Starbucks
0645 Getting onto I-25 South
0648 A news story about Siri users filing a class-action lawsuit because Siri doesn't work very well.  The John Malkovich-Siri commercial is nothing like real life experiences.  I'm not surprised after the hilarious demonstration we got when Dad was visiting us in May.
0657 A water usage report.  Apparently water use was up in May... time to conserve, Albuquerque!
0701 I-40 East.
0728 Cows
0750 Clines Corners - getting onto 285 South
0813 Encino, NM.  Elevation 6,280 feet
0819 An engine train is coming up on the tracks from behind us.  It has just 3 engines and no cars.  I wonder if it will be able to pass us.
0824 It seems really strange to be driving east in the first legs of the trip.
0828 Vaughn, NM.  This town is half run-down ghost town and half up-to-date.  Both halves just intermingle which gives an odd impression.
0848 Sheep and baby lambs.
0857 A dog riding on the back of a flat-bed truck on the highway.  He doesn't appear to be tied down at all.  Kind of scary!
0934 Roadkill - looks big.  Too big to be a deer?  I can't get a good look because we are passing a semi as we pass the roadkill.
0938 Deer roadkill - half in my lane and half on the shoulder.  Seeing this deer makes me think the other animal must've been a deer also.
0945 Roswell, NM.  The welcome sign says that it is the Dairy Capital of the Southwest.  I have to admit that dairy is not what I think of when I think of Roswell.  In my mind (and probably most people's minds), Roswell is the Alien Capitol of the Southwest!  Current temperature, 82 degrees.  Stop for gas, $3.16/gallon.
1031 I have been watching but I haven't seen any signs of smoke from the Ruidoso fires.
1040 Stinky cows on a feedlot.  Then I see a road sign for Funk Road.  Coincidence???
1050 Artesia, NM.  This is not a water or natural springs area as I was imagining it to be.  Looks like it might be oil?  It is definitely a very industrial town.
1106 Seven Rivers Highway
1117 Carlsbad, NM.  Elevation 3,110 feet.  94 degrees.
1120 Sonic for lunch.  There is a sign annoucing half-price shakes all day on June 20 to celebrate the longest day of summer.
1150 Leaving Sonic
12:21 p.m. Black River
12:37 p.m. Texas state line.  Central Time Zone.
1:40 p.m. Lots of oil rigs out here.
2:20 p.m. Pecos, TX.  99 degrees.  Home of the world's first rodeo.
2:27 p.m. Mosquito Lake
3:10 p.m Fort Stockton.  Stop at McD's for iced coffee for me and Rolo McFlurries for the kids.  It is very busy here.
3:26 p.m. Gas, $3.54/gallon
3:38 p.m. My knee still hurts.  :(
3:43 p.m. Windmills
3:58 p.m. Passing a truck hauling a windmill blade.  Those things look much bigger up close!
4:23 p.m. Fort Lancaster Scenic Loop sign - says it is only open from 8 to 5.  I've never seen operating hours for a scenic drive before!
4:25 p.m. Pecos River
4:30 p.m. I'm glad the scenery has improved.  Looking at desert-ish hills is much nicer than flat, boring desert.
4:44 p.m. Reuben from Acclaimed Services called.  They will refund us part of the charges but I need to call the office to have it done.  Since I'm driving with minimal cell signal, that call will have to wait until next week.
4:46 p.m. That leapfrog car is really starting to annoy me.  I'm using cruise control so I'm not the one with the constant speed changes!
4:47 p.m. Kids are watching a movie - Space Jam.
5:00 p.m. The police have stopped a car that passed me back when we first got on the interstate.
5:44 p.m. So the guy that just got a speeding ticket has passed me again.  Seems to be really pressing his luck today!
5:48 p.m. Text from Ron.  His flight into Houston has been delayed.
6:00 p.m. New transmission power lines are going up.
6:02 p.m. Junction, TX for a potty and stretch break.  My feet are swollen from driving all day.
6:52 p.m. Culver's in Kerrville for dinner.  I am so hungry!  Should've stopped earlier but really wanted to hold out for Culvers.
7:25 p.m. Gas, $3.38/gallon.
7:55 p.m. Arrive at the ranch.  Almost 8:00 right on the dot!
10:00 p.m. Everyone has finally settled down and is in bed.  Ron is on his way, driving from San Antonio.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Day 8

Day 8 – Thursday – June 14, 2012

0325 Wake up.   Yawn!  It is much too early to be awake.
0350 Leave for the airport.

0425 Rental car returned.  We met a Dutch guy on the shuttle who was telling us about the movie “Soldier Orange”.  I’ll have to look that up later and then tell my new Dutch friend, Els, about it!  We are checked in and our baggage checked for the flight.

0500 Made it through security and down to the trains to wait for a ride to the concourse.  Once there, we find that it is too early for any food places other than Starbucks to be open.  I got a latte and Ryan had a hot chocolate and a muffin.

0600 Flight leaving on time, headed for Denver.  On the flight, the flight attendant sang to us at the beginning.  Then at the end she made an announcement to thank veterans for their service.  The pilot welcomed us to Denver and said that we were stopping for “gas and directions” for the continuing flight service.  Once inside the airport, the view is very hazy.  Someone stole the mountains!  I think it is a combination of the Denver smog and smoke from the wildfires.

1005 Arrive in Albuquerque.  The landing is a bit rough and it seemed like the pilot must have been standing on the brakes, trying to get us slowed down before the end of the runway.   Someone’s iPad even slid up the aisle several rows. 

Grandma R and the girls meet us in the baggage claim area.  We go to brunch at Weck’s.  We stop for gas in Bernalillo ($3.45/gallon) so we’ll be full for our drive tomorrow.

3:00 p.m. Grandma takes the kids (all but Mark who is napping) to the pool.  I get to stay behind.

3:45 p.m. Remember that I have a few bills to pay.  Unfortunately my notebook is in the car, at the pool.  I’ll have to check it later to make sure I didn’t miss any!

For dinner we had Dion’s pizza.  For dessert, fudgesicles for the kids; cake and ice cream for the adults.  Then the kids decide to make some fresh-squeezed lemonade with some of the lemons we brought from AG.

After dinner I am finishing laundry and trying to gather all our stuff.  The downside of showing up several days after the van is that I have no idea what has been unloaded and where it has ended up!  I think I managed to get everything reeled back in though.  I hope!

10:00 p.m. Need to get some sleep for our long drive to Texas tomorrow.  I am very close to finishing my book, Caravans, so I do that before I finally go to sleep.  That puts my total for the week at 4 books read.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Week 1 - Team 2

Day 1

1:26 p.m.  Leaving Santa Maria airport with two girls and a burrito.
1:36 p.m. Cows

2:11 p.m. Lake Cachuma is looking really low this year.

2:50 p.m. Driving along the Pacific… current temperature 68 degrees… pretty nice.

3:19 p.m. Radio traffic report – bad on 101.  Decide to detour to Highway 23.

3:50 p.m. Passing Reagan library.   Really need to visit some time.

4:20 p.m. Pear Blossom Highway.  91 degrees.

4:30 p.m. Felisa spies a tumbleweed.

4:44 p.m. Lots of cacti

5:16 p.m. Victorville, CA – stop at McD’s

6:00 p.m. Gas in Barstow - $3.99/gallon

6:07 p.m. I-40 – only 2,554 miles to Wilmington, DE

8:12 p.m. Arizona

8:56 p.m. Kingman, AZ.  Pizza Hut for dinner and Best Western for a bed.

Day 2
0720 Leaving hotel.  Gas, $3.89/gallon

0740 Dunkin Donuts!

0900 Bearizona in Williams.  Looks cool.

0922 Arizona Divide.  7,335 feet elevation

1120 Gas at Navajo Shell.  The girls say they have been here before.  $3.94/gallon.

1156 New Mexico

12:20 p.m. Lunch in Gallup at the truck stop.

12:46 p.m. Leaving Gallup.

2:30 p.m. Gas, $3.33/gallon at Route 66 Casino.

4:20 p.m. Arrive at Grandma and Grandpa R’s house

7:00 p.m. Chicken enchilada for dinner

7:30 p.m. First showing of the St Pat’s talent show DVD.

9:00 p.m. Bedtime

Day 3
0730 Wake up.

12:30 p.m. BBQ for lunch

1:30 p.m. Pool time.

4:00 p.m. Church

6:00 p.m. El Pinto for dinner

Day 4
0430 Take Ron to the airport.  He is headed to Knoxville, TN for work.

Day 5
2:30 p.m. Take the kids to see Madagascar 3 at the theater.

5:30 p.m. Pick up Panda feast

6:00 p.m. Pick up Grandpa R in Albuquerque

6:30 p.m. Dinner is Panda Express food.  Elena made a chocolate cake with whipped cream for dessert.

Day 6
0930 Felisa went with the boys to watch their swimming lessons.  Bella and Mark stayed with Grandma.

6:00 p.m. Grandpa and Jared went to a community meeting.  Hot dogs for dinner.  Watermelon for dessert.

Day 7
0930 Felisa went with the boys to swimming again.

Pork roast for dinner with mashed potatoes, long grain wild rice and green beans.  Popsicles for dessert.

Day 8

0930 Leave for the airport to pick up Ryan and Sheila.

Week 1 - Team 1

Day 1 – Thursday - June 7, 2012
0815 Take the kids to school.  Go to eye doctor to pick up my trial prescription contact lenses.  I really hope this prescription works because I’ll never last a month with the one I’ve got now.  Killer headaches!

Breakfast at McD’s and fill the van with gas.  $4.25/gallon

Return home and frantically finish packing and loading the van and finishing all those other things on my “to do before I leave” list.  Think to myself that packing would be a lot less sweat-inducing if I didn’t wait until the last minute.  I also think that having a plane to catch at a specific time is much more stressful than just driving.  When I’m driving, I have a projected departure time but nothing bad really happens if I’m running late.  A plane ticket is a different story!

1118 Running down (and up) the driveway with the trash cans.  I am so late!  Drop off the key and a note for the neighbors who so kindly offered to watch the house for us.
1125 Leaving the house.  Not as bad as I feared.  And I just might make it to school before the designated worry time. (I told the kids I would be there between 1115 and 1130 but they shouldn’t start worrying until around 1145 – noon.) 

Beginning mileage = 105,393.  Current temperature in AG is 80 degrees.  It’s pretty hot out today!
1151 Leaving St. Pat’s.  Three kids and two out of three report cards.

12:05 p.m. Leaving Subway with lunch in hand.  Just beat the rush.  Phew!

12:12 p.m.  See a truck pulling a double trailer, both filled to the brim with spinach.  Wow – that’s a lot of spinach!

12:37 p.m. Arrive at Santa Maria airport.
1:05 p.m. Ron arrives from work to pick up the girls.  He leaves to drive them to Albuquerque.  Ryan and I get on the plane to Los Angeles.

We have a two-and-a-half hour layover at LAX.  We played Monopoly on Ryan’s Kindle Fire for about an hour.  It was very fun and we were definitely the loudest people in the area.  Ryan commented how most of the time people are very quiet in airports.  Since we didn’t finish the game before the flight, it is to-be-continued.  Which strategy will ultimately win out?  Ryan with the railroads, utilities, red properties and Boardwalk?  Or Sheila with all the other properties and Park Place?
We get dinner from Baja Fresh to take on the plane with us.  Unfortunately for Ryan, they forgot to put the steak on his steak quesadilla.

1:10 a.m. Arrive at Dulles.  We’re a bit early.  Yay!  We pick up our luggage and then proceed to the correct car rental company (we had gone to the wrong rental company when we were here over Spring Break-oops!- and it led to quite an adventure).  We’re feeling good – no problems so far.  But that appears to be too good to be true.  When we exit the toll road in Reston, we run right smack dab into the middle of a construction zone with no idea which way we should go.  Eventually we wound our way around and back and made it to the condo.  Good parking luck though which was nice.  Once again, arriving in the middle of the night makes our trip more of an adventure!
Mom is awake when we get inside.  We deliver her copy of the Flat Stanley scrapbook and chat for a bit then it is time to go to bed.

3 a.m. – Bedtime!

Day 2 – Friday – June 8, 2012

0900 Get up even though I really don’t want to.  Ryan is still sleeping.
1055 Make Ryan get up.  Mom made breakfast for us – bacon and scrambled eggs and muffins.

1:40 p.m. Grab a couple ham slices to eat before we head out to errands.
Go to Vienna.  Stop at the post office for mail.  Go to the house.  The tenants are here already working on the garden.  Mom and Ryan go to get groceries while I stay at the house and walk through with them.  This is the daughter’s first time to see the house.

After groceries, Ryan stops by Zoe’s house and mom and I hang out for a bit while the tenants are working outside.  Then we pick up Ryan and go back to Reston.  We pick up Five Guys for dinner.  After dinner we watch tv for a while then it is bedtime.
8:30 p.m. I am tired!  It is time to read for a bit then go to sleep.  I end up finishing Catching Fire (I couldn’t finish on the plane because they turned off the cabin lights and my reading light didn’t work).  Of course, the end of the story is a cliff-hanger for the next book so I have a hard time falling asleep.

Day 3 – Saturday – June 9, 2012
0600 Go for a walk with Mom.  It was quite enjoyable to be out walking on such a flat trail.  Nice break from the steep California hills!

0706 Back from the walk.

Hang out all morning doing not much of anything.  Ryan is on the Kindle, Mom works on the jigsaw puzzle, and I work on the scrapbook I owe Mrs. H.
1130 I leave to go to the Stampin’Up Open House with Jeannette.  She is of course busy talking to all the customers and helping with the make-n-takes so I end up talking to her husband, Gary, for a while.

3:45 p.m. I’m back at the condo and it’s time to hit the pool.

5:17 p.m. We are leaving to go to Vienna to see Jacob’s baseball game.  We are late though because I forget how long it takes to get to the car from the condo.  It takes much longer than just walking out the front door at home and getting right in the car.  Luckily I get a text while we’re driving that Jacob won’t be playing until the second half so we’re not late anymore.  We decide to grab dinner at Noodles and Company before we go to the game.  Noodles was very busy.  I don’t miss the crowds of people in this area.
6:35 p.m. Arrive at the game.  We came in time to watch Jacob bat.  He got a hit and scored a run.  Will Hemmingson is playing on the opposite team so we are able to say hi to his family as well.  The sun is quite bright and hot – shining right at us in the stands.  Unfortunately, Jacob’s team lost.

After the game we go back to the Kohls’ house for awhile.  The boys had fun playing.  The adults had fun talking.  Lynne and I even went to Giant and bought a cake and ice cream sandwiches to have for dessert.  We were having so much fun it was hard to tear ourselves away.  We didn’t get home until 11:00!

Day 4 – Sunday – June 10, 2012
0645 – Wake up.  I missed the walk time this morning.  I woke up with my alarm earlier but was so sleepy I fell back asleep.  Oops!

0745 Get up.  I am really feeling very tired this morning.  Jet lag and late nights catching up with me!
I take Ryan to the barber shop in Vienna for a haircut.  Afterwards, we grab a snack at Jerry’s Subs.  Then a stop at Giant to pick up salad for dinner.  On the way out of town we stop at the used book sale at the Freeman House then peek inside to see the exhibit about the Vienna Woods neighborhood and building of the houses there.  Our house floor plan is the “Star”.

When we get back to Reston we go to the pool.  After the pool we have “Surprise Vegetable Stew” for dinner.  We thought we were thawing out spaghetti sauce but it turned out to be vegetable soup.  Mom added some sausage and mushrooms and it ended up as a quite delicious stew.  We also ate the Caesar salad that Ryan made.
After dinner I am reading Mockingjay until I finally finish.  Then off to bed around 10.

Day 5 – Monday – June 11, 2012
0545 A short walk with Mom.  Then shower and coffee before I go to Vienna to take care of more house business.  Ryan stays at the condo.

0800 Arrive at the house.  At the house today I have a plumber to replace the leaking shower diverter valve.  It is a bigger job than I anticipate and includes cutting a hole in the wall of the girls’ room since the access door isn’t quite big enough.  At lunch time I make a run to Home Depot and get a sandwich from Johhny’s.  While I’m there I stop by Whole Foods to pick up a few snacks for the house.  After lunch a second plumber is supposed to be coming to patch the hole and fix the hot water heater emergency release valve which is currently stuck against the wall and unable to release in an emergency.  I set up an appointment for the blinds repair guy to come tomorrow and I meet with the insulation company to get a quote for attic insulation. 

5:30 p.m. Finally done with the house stuff for today that I thought would only take an hour or two.  My tailbone is sore from sitting on the floor all day.  Mom drove Ryan down from Reston so we can go to the 6th grade party at Marshall Road.
After the party, Ryan and I went to Arties for a snack and a visit with Bill and Christy.  When we got back to Reston we could not find a parking spot anywhere.  Everything is 1-hour and 3-hour and no-overnight parking.  We finally end up at the bus commuter lot around the corner from the condo.  The parking situation here in Reston is just not great.

Another long day and late night comes to an end.

Day 6 – Tuesday – June 12, 2012
0615 Wake up.  No time for a walk this morning.  I have to be at the house by 7 to meet another guy from the plumbing company.  Hopefully this guy can actually enlarge the access door since the guy yesterday afternoon couldn’t do it.

0830 The painters arrive just after the carpenter/plumber finishes patching the wall (he couldn’t build me a door either so I finally ran out of time and gave up – just patch it!).
0930 – 12:00 p.m.  6th grade class picnic in the rain at Nottoway Park.  No thunder or lightning, just a light rain, which all the kids seemed to be enjoying.

12:30 p.m. Blinds repair guy comes to give us a quote.  So far this repair has been the easiest and the cheapest!
2:30 p.m. I was finally able to find a lawn service company that can come out to give me a quote on yard clean-up.

4:30 p.m. Painters leave for the day.  Today I finished the book I started yesterday, “Impossible”, and started “Caravans”.
After the painters leave, Ryan and I go to Zoe’s house.  I had tea with Nesli while the kids hung out.

5:30 p.m. Ryan stays with Zoe.  I go to dinner with my scrap buddies at Logans Roadhouse.  I-66 is of course a traffic jam.
After a fun dinner, I go back to Vienna to get Ryan then head for the condo.  We have better parking luck tonight and find a spot on the street.

Day 7 – Wednesday – June 13, 2012
0540 Wake up to go walk with Mom.

0730 Leave to go to the house.  Today the painters are coming again and the insulation guy is coming to give us another quote on additional work.  I also went to the bank and stopped by the Sprint store to get a car charger for my phone.  The battery just doesn’t last all day anymore when I’m in a low-signal area or spending lots of time using my email and Facebook on it.  I’d hate to be out on the road with a dead phone so it is time for a car charger!

2:00 p.m. Go to Marshall Road for the Moving Up Ceremony for the 6th graders.  After the ceremony, Ryan goes home with Ryan C. and gets to go to the pool with Ryan, Eduoard, and Owen.  One last hurrah with a couple friends before we leave tonight.
While Ryan is otherwise occupied, I go back to the house to do a final walk-thru with the painters.  After that I head to Red Robin for dinner with Mom.  I get a free burger for my birthday!  After dinner I stop by Target to pick up some swiffer pads.  As I was leaving the house I noticed that even though the painters mopped the floors, they didn’t really do a very good job.  There was spackle dust smeared around where they had used the mop.  Time for Cinderella to do her job – on my hands and knees cleaning the floors.  Ugh.  It looked better when I was done but still needs some work.  As I was leaving I also found more spackle dust on the mini-blinds in the bedrooms.  No time to deal with it though so I had to leave it.

6:15 p.m. Pick up Ryan from Ryan’s house.  Stop by Kana’s softball game for a few minutes so I can say hi to Shani.  Too bad she was too busy for us to see each other this trip other than for these few minutes.  Jon was at the game too so we talked to him as well.
Stop to fill up the rental car on our way back.  Gas was $3.59/gallon.

Now time to get back to Reston and pack for our early flight tomorrow!