The countdown had ended and it was officially March 1st. As if it could unofficially be the date, not sure about that. Anyhow, the paper chain links were gone, disposed of in the bin all while a little happy dance was done. This family was ready for their road trip of all road trips. Never before had we been forced together in the comfort of "Betsy" for more than fourteen hours. Our enthusiasm for the beach and sun and all things warm must have jaded our perspective. Or not. These six are master travelers and we were prepared for the road. Was the road ready for us was the real question?
It seemed it was. So with four Things, beach towels, gear, travel bags, a cooler full of snacks and water bottles, not to mention the standard sunflower seeds necessary for any driving adventure and two full cups of coffee we began our journey. Clear driving conditions met us throughout MN and most of IA, that is until we reached the Southern part of the state. The Things happily mesmerized themselves with movies and electronics and eventually some homework in the wee hours of the night.
I'm not exactly sure what time this was, but it was so cute, his blanket over his head, PSP for a flashlight and some tunes and his math book spread out on his lap, way to go Thing 4!
I must say that Husband Jared is the master of road trips. That man can drive for hours on end so long as I'm there to be the DJ, dish out snacks and provide some encouragement every now and again. In between my naps of course. He drove and drove. Even when the sideways rain came, the sleet and then the snow that reminded me of being on Space Mountain at Disneyland. Trippy. Then he hit a wall and it was my turn to take over. A full tank of gas, somewhere right outside Kentucky and a fresh cup of coffee, my music playing and I was ready. Only after about an hour and a half the weather decided not to cooperate. Now I've driven in snow storms and ice but never in the South and certainly not across bridges with wind and semi trucks that can't stop on a dime. My knuckles were white and good ol' Betsy was having a rough go. Needless to say, Husband Jared couldn't' sleep and after I crossed bridges at little over 10mph because others just don't know how to handle the ice we pulled over and Husband Jared took the reigns once again. Thank you. And the Things thank you. Because this Mama had her stomach in knots after seeing jack knifed trucks and cars turned every which way on the side of the road.
Before long and once we crossed the Tennessee state line and I was singing the song, "sweet home...", oops, wrong state. Anyhow, where was I? Oh, the Batman building came into sight, the Things woke up and we knew that it would not be long before our beloved Chik Fil A would be within our grasp.
And then it was. Breakfast of champions, a quick freshen up in the restroom and only nine more hours of drive time. That seemed like a piece of cake. Happy Things and happy Husband Jared and we were all rocking out to some country music, knowing our toes would be in the sand before sunset. Woo hoo!
The driving continued and so did the weather and again I was so grateful to Husband Jared for his determination to bring his family safely to the beach that I happily let him choose the play lists for the remainder of our drive. You're welcome. Sometimes my generosity astounds even me. I kid, of course. Only not really.
To distract us all from the time left until our arrival I pulled the infamous road trip game out of the bag and began asking all manner of questions. Such as this one. Which we of course sent to Nani via text since she is the "bird lady" after all.
There were other questions too. Ones about dream travel destinations, must have items for road trips, personalized license plates, favorite souvenirs, which I loved the answers to. Listed below are the coveted keepsakes as told by the Things:
Thing 1: shells collected from all the beaches we've visited and evil eye bracelet from Turkey
Thing 2: shells collected from all the beaches we've visited and mosaic lamp from Turkey
Thing 3: shells collected from all the beaches we've visited
Thing 4: shark teeth found at beach in Cape San Blas 2009
And the license plates:
Thing 1: Prncess
Thing 2: Disney2
Thing 3: Scooter (family joke)
Thing 4: ManURks
The Things spent the last hour or so watching for the blue to pop up on Lindsay, our GPS, and once it did we heard squeals of delight. Lindsay decided to take us on a new route, through the back roads into Port St. Joe. What an adventure. A beautiful one for sure. Since we were staying at a different house this time we were all acting as co pilots to help Husband Jared and as soon as we saw the address and the checkered flag on Lindsay's screen the Things jumped out of Betsy, I don't even think we were in park and they ran for the beach. Literally. Shoes flew off their feet and they were in the sand, hollering for us to join them. And we did. And then I saw this.
And twenty four hours of driving didn't seem so bad. Knowing that this was our view for the next week was sheer delight and I instantly felt a sense of peace sweep over my body. I know, lame right? But not really. This is my place. Ocean waves hitting the shore, sunsets that rock my world and Creation's awestruck wonder surrounding. Thank you and thank you.
After that moment of sweetness we all were quickly brought back to reality with rumbly tumblies and an empty refrigerator. In super speed fashion we unloaded Betsy, made a grocery list and headed back into town for dinner and shopping. Thankfully the little Mexican restaurant was still there and to say that we devoured our chips and salsa would be an understatement. Within minutes of sitting two baskets of chips were but crumbs. What a sight we were. With full bellies and our second wind coming we crossed the street to the grocery.
Thing 1 has this little obsession we say with this place. Not sure if it's the name or the mascot, or what but she likes it. She even purchased a t-shirt. Love that girl.
So that about sums up the first twenty four hours and more of our Christmas present for the Things. It was an early night for all of us after the unpacking, putting groceries away and exploring our new home for the next week. We got comfy and settled in for some rest so we would be ready to face the surf and sand the next day.