Sunday, July 24, 2016

2016 Roadie Awards, Vol. 1

It's here, it's finally here.  Road Trip 2016 recap is hitting the blog! A blog you thought had been abandoned probably, but sadly, no.  Like a 1999 chain letter or the Obama presidency, it simply refuses to die.  This road trip was definitely our most ambitious trip to date; three weeks long with two entire weeks dedicated to driving and sightseeing.  But in the end I think we can all agree that my nine weeks of planning for three weeks of vacationing totally paid off.

And now without further ado, I present....

Best useless way to help us get ready: Luke!  We will pack the car, do the laundry and collect all the snacks. while you set a new record in  Break!

Thanks for nothing

This trip we really tried to repeat the phrase "It's not a race" over and over.  We wanted to have the freedom to take detours if we felt inclined and enjoy the journey and not just the destination.  And I think we did pretty good!  Our first day was long, but manageable.  We left Lakeland at 6am and headed to Jackson, Mississippi.

Somewhere around Gainesville we realized we were going to drive right under a hot air balloon, or as I used to say when I was a little kid, "air hot balloon."  Not a bad picture for being taken through the window!

It was the dawning of the age of Aquarius

And here is Cindy realizing a dream come true by eating one of those French macaron cookies. Nothing says authentic French pastry like a tacky tourist gift shop in southern Alabama, am I right?

It's like a mini chocolate hamburger

Cindy really wanted to take a picture every time we entered a new state.  That only worked about 30% of our trip due to sleeping, forgetfulness and giant semi trucks that blocked our view.

We got you, Mississippi

Our Fairfield Inn in Clinton, Mississippi was just what we needed at the end of day 1.  And so were the Chick-fil-A sandwiches we had after swimming it up in the hotel pool.  

I am going to smile like this the entire trip

However, what we definitely did NOT need was the LOUDEST fire alarm on planet earth that went off in the hotel at 2:30am. I personally lost at least 3 years off my life from that experience and poor Luke probably lost 10.  As an adult, after you get over the initial shock of the noise, all you can think is "I am going to murder whoever pulled that alarm!!"  But to a kid like Luke, all he was thinking was, "Holy crap, where's the fire and are we all going to die!??" In the end it was me, Luke and Cindy huddled on our bed with our fingers in our ears (I will award this as Best family members scared out of their minds while performing in a supporting role), while Jacob calmly put on a shirt and went out to see the very young overnight front desk attendant running around like a crazy person figuring out what to do. Thankfully they didn't make us evacuate the building and we all went back to bed without too much trouble.  And let's look on the bright side, shall we?  I now have something to be afraid of every night from now on for the rest of my life.

Best totally unplanned road side stop:  Duck Dynasty Headquarters, West Monroe, Louisiana!

Day 2 was a rather short drive over to Dallas, TX to stay the night with Jacob's Uncle Mark and Aunt Melinda.  As we made our way through Louisiana, we saw a sign for "Willie's Diner." "Willie" being Willie Robertson from the show Duck Dynasty.  This of course jogged our memories and had us Googling just how close we were from DD HQ.  Turns out we were just minutes from the exit!  We didn't tell the kids where we were going and decided to let them figure out it for themselves.  Since they have seen every episode available on Amazon Prime at least twice, they had no trouble recognizing where we were.

Remember the episode where they made the giant duck call?  

Remember the episode where they flooded the loading dock and filled it with ducks?

Remember the episode where my kids came and smashed a Duck Dynasty penny?

Remember the episode where I was standing in line to buy Duck Dynasty postcards for my dad and then all the registers broke down and I had to leave empty handed?  Seriously, it happened.  I failed you, father.  

Notice anything missing here, Willie and Jace??

Best Enthusiasm for seeing more temples: Cindy! She expressed it as, "Are we seriously still doing this again?" Heck yes we are!  Don't be fooled. Her lips say no, but her eyes say 'read my lips.' 

Even though the Dallas temple grounds were under some minor construction and it was hotter than the surface of the sun, we still enjoyed walking around and making a stop there before heading to our final destination.

If there is one thing I learned during this trip is that Jacob has some truly awesome relatives.  Uncle Mark and Aunt Melinda treated us like kings while we were in Dallas and my kids were definitely not in any sort of hurry to head out.  Utah? What's Utah?

Wanna go to the most ridiculously fun game center and play games for hours and hours?  Sure!

Wanna drive my new Mercedes convertible?  Umm, is this a trick question?

I know what I want for my birthday now

Wanna watch the Lego Movie on the big screen?  

Everything IS awesome in Dallas!

Wanna go out to eat AND go on a dessert adventure?  Si Senor!  This was the chocolate pinata Melinda ordered from Julio's Mexican restaurant in Dallas.  

Best use of a giant wood stick to let loose fresh fruit and mini churros: Luke!

 On the count of three, unsheathe your mini churro.  To Mark and Melinda! You guys ROCK :)

Next stop, Buc-ee's!  Be honest, you have no idea what that is or how to say it.  Muhaahahahaha!!

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