The longest car ride in
recent history a very, very, very, long time.
We journeyed from Franklin, PA to Norfolk, VA, about 545 miles.
(and then the 545 mile drive back again)
I'm not sure when I felt we were on a never ending odyssey. Perhaps it was at hour 6 when I found Addie in the snack aisle at Sheetz after a potty stop. She was doing high kicks.
Or maybe it was noting the car interior after a mere 2 hours. The minivan borrowed from Matt's parents appeared as if we'd been living in the car and on the road for several months. Covering the floor, an onslaught of smashed Goldfish crackers in rainbow colors, Kleenex, plastic farm animals, crayons, juice boxes, and paper. The windows were no better off. Smeared with handprints, the view of a world beyond carseats held evidence that someone tried to lick their way out of the back of the car.
Instead, it might have been the fleeting moment I overheard Emory shout to his sisters "Smell my feet!" at which we had reached the point of no return.
No, no, I think it was really at the 15 minute mark, when we hadn't been on the road for, well more than 15 minutes. The first, inevitable question, "Are we there yet?"
The next question, "Are we on Route 66?"
Because we lived on the tiny island of Guam for almost 3 years, and because you can't drive too long before ending up in the ocean there, the kids have not been accustomed to a long road trip.
We've travelled lots around Europe, but typically use mass transit when possible.
Lengthy car rides have been somewhat limited.
And all that time, (because of kids, about 12 hours each way) behind the wheel was worth it
because we got to see family.
The toughest part wasn't the road trip, the back seat screaming, the unlimited potty stops and diaper changes at precisely 10 minutes apart, or baby Arleigh's continuous requests to pick up lovey 'bun bun'.
Granted, tolerating Stella's roadside time out or Emory dancing on the 'potty' in Sheetz gas station to Bee Gees "Night Fever" were difficult, but not the worst of the trip.
The most awful part, was having to say goodbye.
Those difficult goodbyes were said not once, but twice.
We set out twice for the return. Twice.
It's hard enough to say goodbye once.
After 2 different flat tires and an extra night in Hampton Roads (which we aren't complaining about) we finally made progress on our way back.
Addie, apparently beating long-road-trip-boredom, made this video of herself.
How resourceful kids can be!
She was just passing time from a back car seat when she turned her camera on herself.
Check this out. I truly believe on any sad day at the office, this video may just turn things around.
Matt announced "Hey guys! We just crossed the Potomac River! We're in Maryland now!"
Emory excitedly cheered in response, "Helll-ooo Penn-syl-vaaaan-ia"!
Poor kids - 6 states in less than 3 weeks, apparently it's time to pull out the geography book.
Matt's not the most spontaneous person.
So it was with much surprise that in a split second driving decision, we decided to detour a bit off the beaten path and onto Skyline Drive through Virginia. The scenic route did not disappoint. Within 15 minutes the kids spotted a turkey, 2 deer, and mile long views across the Blue Ridge Mountains and Shenandoah Valley.
Stella decided we must have been "a bazillion miles above sea level" here.
(To tell the truth, it was closer to 2,769 feet). She was close.
We'd do it all over again in a heartbeat.
It was great to see everyone!