I got up at 5 am to pack the van and set up the DVD player. Yes, my TV deprived children were going to have 2 screens, 4 speakers, and 400 hours of movie entertainment ahead of them. At 6:45 when I woke them up and plopped their butts into their car seats, you would have thought they'd just won the lottery. It was a good beginning to a long day.
We headed out to Chicago to pick up my Grandma Esther, who was coming along for the ride. She is a young 83, and was in the car to help me with the kids. When juice boxes ran out, Grandma Esther was there to the rescue. She also packed a picnic lunch, which we ate under a shady tree at a rest stop in Indiana. Dinner, well that was in Kentucky. And we stopped for the night outside of Chattanooga, TN.
Overall, the drive that first day and night was really enjoyable. While a lot of people didn't think I would be able to go that far without another driver to help me, I didn't have a choice and just kept going. And once you get into Kentucky, the scenery is really beautiful. We drove past horse farms and rolling hills, and then of course there are the mountains in Tennessee. The kids had their TV and Grandma and I chatted well into the night. The only delay we encountered was some construction on I-24. The road was closed and so we sat in park for about 25 minutes. The moon was full and bright, and surprisingly pink, so it wasn't a bad wait by any means.
Maybe the delay was a bit more of a problem then I'm letting on. See, it was dark, and it was late, and I had run out of coffee. And we were at that point on the expressway in which we were about to descend out of the Appalachians...you know the part with the runaway truck ramps...and did I mention I was out of coffee? I put the van back into drive and immediately knew I needed to stop. We passed a motel, but I was too tired to safely change lanes and exit the expressway. We kept going and going and going. It was like the Magic Tree House, we kept going faster and faster even though I was riding the break! How we got down the hill and to the next town in one piece is beyond me. But we did, and turned into what I thought was a parking lot. It turned out to be the lawn of the Super 8. Crap. What to do? Keep going...the van has a V-6...and I drove up the lawn and into the parking lot. Thank God my Grandma has a good sense of humor. She was laughing with tears pouring down her face. No harm no foul I say, and no ticket either.
Emily never even woke up to see her first motel room. Nora put on her new jammies and was asleep in a matter of minutes. Momma too.
Here's a link to some more photos...note the grassy hill: http://picasaweb.google.com/IvyDally/2010_1287_Miles?authkey=Gv1sRgCOjotfn02dORugE#