"It was a total disaster! We are never driving home for Christmas again." That's the exact opposite of what we encountered on our first road trip as a family. From our previous post, you know that we were driving down to Alabama to spend the Christmas holiday with Brad's family. Now granted, we didn't start off well as we kind of missed the mark on the targeted departure time we had planned ... okay, actually, we blew right through it. We had planned to leave at 9am for our trip, but we both waited to pack ourselves and the dogs until the morning and that put us a little behind.
Needless to say, we didn't end up leaving our place until 11am ... this was right before we realized we needed to head to the pet store to pick up dog food for our dogs. We need this special kind of food otherwise our dogs have a tendency to have "the rhea," and we didn't want that as we headed to Nana's house. So, we made a swing by Living Ruff on our way out to do a drive-by pick up (I love city life). Honestly, it's the best thing! You can call in your order, pay with your credit card, and then they will run your dog food (or whatever) out to the curb as you drive by. The cars behind you on Georgia Ave can get a little fussy when you suddenly stop in the middle of the road, but we're there for about 15 seconds tops as someone runs out your order. Then off we go!
So as we headed out on the capital beltway, we realized we needed to pick up some drinks and snacks for the road ... plus we desperately needed Starbucks. We decided to wait until we got into Virginia until we would find a place to stop ... big mistake. We have no idea where we are going in Virginia, so we used the GPS to find a grocery store off of highway 66. Well, the damn thing took us a few miles off the highway into what seemed like the depths of suburban Virginia. Once we found the place, we made three stops: 1) the Giant grocery story, 2) Starbucks, and 3) Subway to pick up 2 sandwiches for later. Rush! Rush! Rush! By that time we got back into the car and plugged the GPS for directions back to 66, the clock read 12:30. So much for getting an early start. I'll have to admit, at that point I was being a little sour-puss Sally because we were leaving so late. I just knew we had a long day ahead of us and I didn't want to be pulling into the hotel in Knoxville so late. However, there's nothing like a good ol' hazelnut skim latte from Starbucks can't fix ... even a sour attitude.
With Glee blaring in the speaker, a fresh attitude, and clear roads, we were finally on our way. Kyler was asleep by the time we got back on the highway and slept like a champ 95% of the way. In fact, he was sleeping and feeding so well when we made stops that we decided to not stop for the night in Knoxville and drive straight through to Alabama. We were both dreading the idea of needing to unpack our car at the hotel and then repacking it again the next morning. So we called Nana and asked if it'd be okay if we came tonight .... arriving around 11pm. Of course she said that would be fine with her (even though it would be about 3 hours past her bedtime). So onward we went!
Kyler was being a prince .... the dogs, well, that's another story. While we're on the road they are fine. If we happen to stop and one of us gets out of the car (let's say for gas) they tend to freak out. It's a known fact that, although very sweet, our dogs are crazy. For the journey, they were both seated in the back seat right next to Kyler's car seat, which was placed in the middle. The whining would start and then they would try and climb on the back seat, or worse yet, the Kyler's car seat. They are still learning about the no-doggie-zone around Kyler and his car seat. At one point, I opened the back door on the passenger side (Brad was inside the gas station), and both dogs were standing right on Kyler in the car seat. My head might have exploded right at that moment. I had no idea if they had a paw right in his face or in his gut or God knows what. With a quick push, I discovered they were barely standing on the inside of the car seat ... Kyler unharmed. Whew!
Virginia is long state ... too long. It seemed like we drove in Virginia the entire time. Finally, we stopped at one rest stop in the southern part of Virginia to pee, feed Kyler and let the dogs pee/poo. Brad sat in the passenger seat to feed Kyler while I walked the dogs. Upon my return, I opened the door to let the dogs in and went to put my gloves on top of the car ... and then I saw it. I couldn't believe it. I started howling. Brad was asking me what happened and the dogs were both staring at me and saying, "Uh, dude, let us in the car." There it was ... wedged into the back part of the luggage rack on the top of our vehicle ... Kyler's last dirty diaper. Apparently when I was changing him at the first rest stop I had put the dirty diaper on top of the car to get it out of the way and then take it to the trash. I am positive I either got distracted by our crazy dogs, or I just plum forgot about it. I'm betting on the dogs. So we had been traveling for the last 3.5 hours with a dirty diaper on top of our car ... leading the way. We must have looked like idiots on the road. Maybe that's why it seemed like cars weren't staying behind us. Do you blame 'em? I wouldn't want to take the chance of a dirty diaper to the windshield. SPLAT!
At about two hours outside of our destination, we finally figured out that our GPS does take into account the time zone change. So since we were moving from East Coast time to Central time, we actually had an additional hour of travel time. Ugh! three more hours ... could we make it? Will Kyler keep sleeping? Would my eyes stay open? Well, it was a 'yes' to the first one, another 'yes' to the second one, and a 'no' to third. At this point my eyes were going out of focus, so we switched drivers and Brad took over the driving the rest of the way (thanks, honey!). The next three hours passed rather quickly and without any issues. We made another call to Nana to tell her we'd actually be arriving around midnight. Again, it was obviously okay, and she informed us that they were having a pajama party waiting for us, consisting of Nana, Brad's grandmother, Brad's brother, and his brother's partner. They were all waiting for us. It's such a heart warming feeling to know you have loved-ones eagerly anticipating your arrival, especially when they are staying up way past their bedtime ... true love!
As we pulled in at 12:15am (after roughly 14 hours on the road), the feeling was of pure elation and celebration for we were welcomed at the door by the entire family and the flood of attention and "oooohs & aaaahs" for Kyler had started ... as it should be. This was a true home coming. This is what family is all about. This is going to be a great Christmas.
We'd love to know if you've ever done a road trip for the holidays? What was the craziest thing that's happened to you on your journey...good or bad? Would you do it again?
Stay tuned ... more to come about our time here down south with Brad's family.
[as seen on Goodkin]