Tuesday, August 7, 2012

2012 Vacation Day 1 ~The Drive

July 21st we, Todd, Ethan, Noah, my Mom, and I packed into our rented Malibu and started our journey to Washington DC.  We all, including the boys, have always wanted to go to Washington DC and since we have less children at home or able to go on vacation we decided to do something different and go farther.  We basically spent the same amount we have in the past because of less people.  I thought it would be cool to take a picture of each state's welcome sign.  I am just kind of corny like that.  Todd and the boys loved the idea.  We left at 9:45 Saturday night planning to drive until we reached Washington DC, both Todd and I would switch off.  We live in Iowa.  We planned on driving for 3 hours and then switching.  This was the original plan.  Todd started us off.  We live close to an hour away from the Illinois border and some how we missed the welcome sign.  We were not too concerned because we knew we had to drive through it again on our way home.  The plan was Todd was going to wake me when we were close to Indiana so I can take a picture.  I was just starting to get comfortable as much as I could in a car seat.  Just as a car sped by I saw a deer on the side of the road and called out "Deer!"  Todd slowed down quickly and the deer jumped out of the way.  He never saw it and thankfully the car speeding by scared the deer and made it turn off the road.  If it were not for the car or myself our vacation would have ended 30 minutes within the state of Illinois.  Now anyone who knows me, and I am sure there are a few of you, know I am a worrier.  Yes, this was enough for me to worry and not sleep.  I was on Deer duty from that moment on.  Indiana came upon us and Todd pulled over on the side of the road for me since it was dark.

I am glad he was driving because I would have been lost or frustrated driving through or around Indianapolis.  I think we did a full circle around the city.  Shortly after Indianapolis Todd pulled over and I started my 3 hour shift.  It was near 1 am and I will admit I was a little tired, so when we stopped not only was it a chance to stretch the legs and a bathroom break it was time for caffeine.  A real Pepsi for me and Cappuccino.  I then became the captain of our vessel and drove while everyone slept.  I kept the music low so everyone could snore away and I do mean everyone.  It is funny because the boys told me there would be no way they will sleep in the car, yet I do know they both slept.  Noah not as much but he did sleep for a good 2 hours during my driving time.  As we approached Ohio everyone was asleep, so I grabbed my camera and took this picture as I was driving.

After the sign I noticed how beautiful the sky was with the sun beginning to rise, so I snapped another picture about 15 minutes later.

I wanted to drive as long as I could allowing Todd to sleep more.  It was getting close to 6 am and I was fighting sleep.  I needed to either have him drive or get more caffeine, so I pulled over.  This naturally woke everyone up, so we used McDonalds as a bathroom break and picked up some milk for the boys, and coffee for my Mom and Todd.  Todd decided it was his turn to drive, so I wanted to see if I could get some sleep.  They all moaned when they realized we were in Ohio already.  It was funny they all thought I missed taking the picture but I reassured them that I WAS JUST THAT GOOD.  I was able to drive and take the picture.  We opened the trunk and pulled out the bagels and cream cheese we had in a cooler and doughnuts for those who did not want bagels and we prepared our bagels and jumped back into the car once again for more driving.  I ate half of my bagel and tried to sleep, only I could not sleep.  The music was too loud and Todd would talk to me every now and then.  He was excited about everything and I could not blame him.  I think it was also helping him stay awake, so I rode with my eyes shut listening to him until we came close to the next state.  Pennsylvania

We stopped again in Pennsylvania for gas and another bathroom break. Then we came upon the mountains. Mountains and the road construction.  Wow! Is all I can say about Pennsylvania.  I started to take pictures of the mountains.  I was wide awake.  I could not sleep at all.  I was also grateful Todd was driving because I am sorry Pennsylvania, you all drive crazy!  You drive fast and then suddenly drive slow, then you are fast again.  This went on and on.  I had the camera ready for West Virginia for a long time for about 30 minutes.  I did not want my batteries to die, so I finally put it down.  West Virginia finally came up fast and I nearly tossed the camera trying to take the picture and...I missed it.  I missed the darn sign.  Everyone moaned a little except for Todd.  He laughed, he thought it was funny how I was fumbling with the camera and how I was ready for so long and then missed it.  I just looked at him and asked him if we would be entering West Virginia on the way home where I can get the picture, he answered back with a no.  I sat then in my seat, just thinking how horrible it was that I missed my chance.  All of a sudden Todd was driving on an exit ramp and turning us around.  He looked at me and smiled.  My Mom asked him what was he doing.  He answered, "We are going back to get our picture." and then winked at me.  My Mom made a comment on how sweet he was.  I heard the boys say something like "yeah!"  I just smiled at him, knowing I am very lucky to have him as my husband and placed my hand on his knee and gave it a rub.  So I was able to get my picture.

This stretch of the driving was not fun and Todd would not pull over and allow me to drive.  He knew I would be afraid and to be honest I think he was afraid of me driving too.  However we found out I had 3 more opportunities of getting my pictures of Welcome to West Virginia because we were driving back and forth between Pennsylvania and West Virginia what seemed like forever.  West Virginia, you drive just as bad as Pennsylvania drivers.  What is with it, why the speed up and sudden slow down?  We stopped again for gas and another time for a restroom break.  No one had lunch.  We just kept driving and driving.  We had some snacks in the car, so people were snacking.  Here are is a picture of a mountain we drove through.

We finally made it to Maryland and then we started to see Washington DC signs and we knew we were close.  Our hotel was actually in Capital Heights, Maryland. 

The traffic the closer we drove to DC area was grid lock due to an accident and this was Sunday driving.  Oh crap is what I thought.  It is just like Chicago.  I love Chicago but I hate driving or riding in it.  Approximately 16 hours and 6 stops later we made it to our hotel and checked in. 
 Our Captain for most of the 16 hours drive.
Two of the Three passengers in the back.  Ethan refused to have his picture taken.

We ate at IHOP and then just relaxed the rest of the first day in our hotel.  The boys went swimming, the adults read and watched television. We all slept well that night!

2012 Vacation Day 1 ~ The Drive 
2012 Vacation Day 2 ~ Washington D.C.
2012 Vacation Day 2 ~ WWII Memorial
2012 Vacation Day 2 ~ The Lincoln Memorial
2012 Vacation Day 3 ~ Washington D.C. 
2012 Vacation Day 3 ~ The Smithsonian Air & Space Museum 

2012 Vacation Day 4 ~ Washington D.C.
2012 Vacation Day 5 ~ Delaware
2012 Vacation Day 6 ~ Pennsylvania
2012 Vacation Day 7 ~ Cleveland, Ohio 


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