Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Getting To FL Is Half The Fun

Where we stayed in Florida is a good 1270 miles from our home.

 Getting there via automobile with sanity intact upon arrival took some careful planning. The route was pretty much a straight shot down I-75 with only a few bypasses so it was pretty simple route planning.

We also had my mother-in-law along for the trip, so the van was packed to the gills with stuff and people.

First we drove through Michigan into Ohio and the roads improved somewhat almost immediately upon crossing the state line.

The kids were very well behaved while being excited at the prospect of the trip.

The traditional license plate game was played, and we even had a License Plate Game board game edition with little flippable license plates that quizzed the kids on state capitals as they found cars with different plates. It did help pass the time and I recommend it if you have kids or need a refresher of our states capitals. It is the reality based edition with only 50 states, not the 57 state variety.

 Another tool in our arsenal of keeping kids happy was the laptop with a supply of the kids favorite DVD movies and a car power converter to keep the battery powered. When that failed we had some other games, books and bribery. The bribe was this: the kids really both wanted a Ty Beanie Boo, which is the larger plush version of the beanie babies with big adorable eyes. We had bought each of them one: Ty Beanie Boos Cashmere The Cat for Leah and TY Beanie Boos - MAGIC the Pink Unicorn ( Buddy Size - 10 inch ) for Abby but had not given them to them. They were $10 each where we bought them (more than Amazon but they got to pick them in person) and the deal was this: For every half hour they were good they received .25. If they fought they lost a quarter. With 22 hours of driving time they decided to be good to make sure they could get their beanies upon arrival.

 The right incentives work folks, but it doesn't hurt to start off with great kids to begin with.

 By the time we reached into southern Tennessee the van was sighing with pleasure as it cruised along smooth roads, and it was happy beyond all automotive measure by the smooth roads of Georgia and Florida, however that didn't happen for a couple days.

 First we stopped in Cincinnati after a 5 hour drive as there was a huge quilt show going on that Natasha and her mom wanted to see. Its apparently the second largest show in the US after the Texas show and they enjoyed themselves immensely. We stayed at the Cincinnati Hilton, which, while looking rather worn, small and past its better days (and no fridge) was decent enough. It did have a pool and I took the kids for a dip. Their harsh (in their words) swim coach (his motto: "you can cry but you gotta try") is really paying off - after 5 lessons they're actually swimming. We had dinner in the mall that is attached to the Hilton and met interesting cultures, namely the kids wanted to know why people were walking around with their pants falling off - a classy crowd indeed. The next morning we crossed the bridge into Covington KY from Cincinnati - having just read Harry Turtledove's alternate history of World War I - The Great War: American Front the crossing point was quite fitting considering it features prominently in the book.

We drove through Kentucky into Tennessee, stopping for lunch at Famous Daves BBQ for verily if one stops in the south, BBQ is what is for lunch. We had the BBQ Feast and it fed everyone quite suitably.

We  then entered Georgia and drove past Macon and south of Macomn there were two separate wrecks blocking the northbound lanes, and while it didn't interfere with us, an accident in just about the same place did on the return. How you can manage to completely block a highway on a perfectly clear day on a straight stretch of road takes talent and these Georgia drivers seem to have that talent in spades. We then drove on ending that night at Cordele, GA. On the early afternoon of the third day we reached paradise:

Temperatures in the 80s, the crashing of the waves, and a bright sunny day.  We quickly walked down to the beach to say hello to the ocean. Then we unpacked, had a snack and took the kids for a dip in the waves. The relaxation portion of the vacation had officially commenced.

1 comment:

Murphy's Law said...

Had I known of your route, I'd have warned you off on a night in Cincinnati. But like you culture experience!