We checked into flying...way too expensive for us...especially after buying a seat for Gracelyn. So we knew if we were to go, we would be driving. Yes, driving. 12 hours straight through, without counting the stops we would have to make for our sanity.
Call us crazy.
After much deliberation, we decided to quit driving around 10 p.m. in a place called Mt. Vernon, Ill. We thought *maybe* we could keep driving, but we didn't know if we could finish the last four hours, and we didn't know what kind of hotels were down the road. Mt. Vernon seemed as good a place as any to spend the night.
But morning came, and we started to rethink our decision. The girls woke up crying. I woke up crabby. Brad woke up ready to hit the road. Nothing jived. And the hotel's pool was under maintenance...leading to a major meltdown by Miss 3-year-old.
A limited-choice breakfast helped. (At least it was free). And we loaded up and got on our way. The going was smooth...until we hit Clarksville, Tenn., about 45 minutes from Nashville. Traffic started crawling. And then stopped. Yes, STOPPED. We drove TWO miles in 50 minutes! You can imagine the outrage from the backseat.
Once we arrived at Kelli & Caleb's, we were greeted by a shaking (not as in tail wagging, but as in full-body shaking) dog named Chloe. Poor thing. She was terrified of the two travel-weary strangers bringing in suitcases & a teal bookshelf.
We made a jaunt to the airport to pick up Brad's family, who, thanks to our road delay, had been stuck at the airport longer than they wanted to be.
We all stayed at Kelli & Caleb's house (visit That Place on Myrtle to see the house. They've done a TON of work, with more planned.)
Being all together in one house was a good time. I know, surprising, right? Especially with two kiddos & a dog...but it was wonderful to see K & C, and the time went so fast!
Pretty soon, it was Saturday, and time to hit the road...again. Clarksville passed by in a couple minutes. Mt. Vernon didn't look as appealing in the daylight. St. Louis was coming up...and we decided to stop at the Arch for some sightseeing. The construction was impressive...and we managed to beat the rain that ended up being a steady downpour after we got back to our car.
Then it was time (PAST TIME) for lunch. We decided to drive to a suburb before stopping. That wasn't a bad choice, except by the time we got somewhere, Jemma had been in full crying/angry mode for 20 minutes. We had never eaten at White Castle before, so we decided we would. Don't EVER decide that, by the way!
We ordered, tried to put Jemma in her highchair, and she fought us tooth & nail. Loud screams, kicking, lot's of stares. I held her until the food was ready. Then Brad placed a tray of mushy, greasy, terrible burgers in front of me. My stomach churned. Jemma must have been afraid, too, as she started screaming again.
And then, there was Miss Sonya. I don't know where she came from. Maybe she was an angel. She started talking to Jemma in a southern accent. And Jemma started to calm down (this was after I was about in tears from embarrassment, being tired, and being sickened by the food in front of me). We tried the highchair again. More screaming & a burger went flying. Yep. Straight down to the floor. (Inside I was cheering about that one). But Miss Sonya persisted. And Jemma eventually ate a few fries without crying. (The fries were the only safe-looking thing to eat).
The trip rebounded from there...I guess it's pretty good when the low point of your trip is a screaming child and a White Castle.
After 15.5 hours of traveling, we arrived home. We all crashed in our beds and slept a good sleep.
What can I say...There's nothing like driving cross-country!
Stay tuned for trip PHOTOS!