Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Gatlin - STS - Day 1

611 miles

across 7 States and 1 "District"
1 driver (someone decided to not mention her license was expired before we departed...grrrr)
We loaded the ark and called out for all local animals who wanted to drive south to safety away from the New England Biblical floods...and began our own "mission" - the Gatlin - Spring Trip South. Our ultimate goal is to cheer on our friend Col Jim Dutton as he Pilots STS-131 Discovery into space in a few days.

Here are a few highlights from the day.

The van loaded to the gills...

Kristi is the best mom ever and packs a special treat for the kids as we enter a new state. The treat somehow relates to the new state, sometimes obviously, and sometimes more abstractly. A couple of examples - CT - where vulcanized rubber was invented - the kids got a pack of oreos that represented tires; MD - apparently there is a law in MD that says you cannot take a lion to the movies - so they were given a pack of animal crackers and were encouraged not to take any of the animals to the theater.

The kids do remarkably well on road trips. However, honestly, it's not that tough for them. Unlimited movies and DS/Gameboy time does wonders for the oldest 3 for keeping them happy, quiet and entertained. When we were kids, all we had were passing cars and scenery to pass the time with. Lucy did very well and did not force any extra potty stops - but she did force the first stop of the day by pouring out her water bottle all over herself just a couple hours into the trip. She provided plenty of entertainment by singing and making crazy noises many times during the trip. However, she didn't eat very well; at dinner, I think she only ate the whipped cream off her pancakes.

Our route took us through Washington DC. This week is the peak of the Cherry Blossoms. We just couldn't pass up a chance to see that again, although we didn't want to extend our trip any more than necessary. Do you remember the National Lampoons European Vacation movie? Look kids Big Ben, Parliament? We had the DC version today. Look kids, the Washington Monument, Cherry Blossoms.

The detour into the heart of the city caused us to hit something we don't miss about DC. Traffic.

Ugh. We saved a few minutes in the HOV car-pool lanes, but still had an extended drive in the afternoon hours.
We finally made it to our hotel and stop 1, Williamsburg VA, after 13 1/2 hours on the road. Before space, we step back in time to early America...

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