Saturday, August 27, 2011

Road Trip - Day 1

Yay! My awesome husband got my blog working again, and it only took 5 minutes, which is much less than the hours of pure frustration that I was attempting to get it to work and failed miserably.

Anyways....sorry for those of you who have seen these already, I enjoy being able to write commentary as well though, plus this is for my records as well.

Russ woke me up at 3am to get things ready to head out. I know we're not in a hurry or anything, but there's just something extra exciting about heading out pre-dawn. So I did lots of last minute packing and cleaning up for house showings while we're gone. Talk about stress--it is one thing to pack for a month-long camping road trip, and one thing to scrub down a house inside and out for house showings, but trying to do both at the same time?! Ugh. Stressful is an understatement, just ask Russ, lol.

We went in at 4am to get the kids. Before I could even finish the words, "Brooklyn, it's time to go" she had jumped out of bed and was hurridly getting her clothes on excitedly. Sam was another story...but by the time we got him to the car, he was all giggles.

It was pitch black and humid as hell, so we were very grateful for the coolness of the night.

4:15am was the official pull-out time. Goodbye North Carolina. One chapter comes to a close and a completely new unwritten chapter awaits us. I cannot tell you the amount of relief I felt (among many other things) at leaving. No more worrying about what I forgot to do or was done. Crazy.

I asked each person what they were looking forward to the most on this journey:
Sam: "GO CWOSER (closer)!!! I esited (excited) go Dawson's house!"
Brooklyn: "BUGS!" (Russ: "Amen!")

Russ: "To sleep in the forest with my kids."

Trista: "To explore lots of new things with my kids."

There was a lot of interesting conversation in that first half hour or so (although mostly from Sam, as Brooklyn was busy searching for deer as I had seen 2 within the first 15 minutes of our journey, and apparently this deer searching required absolute silence, so there was a lot of "SHHHH!!!"'s). Sam was seriously a fountain of conversation though--everything from raccoons to Triclops to the inevitable "I'm hungry."

Around 5:40am we hit the South Carolina border. I wanted to take a photo at each state visitor's center, but the kids were so exhausted from deer searching and talking, they were both out cold. Also, we thought we'd get to see our first sunrise of our trip, but alas, it was foggy and this is as good as either of these photo opportunities is going to get:

Around 7am, I happened to glimpse something flapping in the 70mph breeze in my side was the camper door. lovely. So a stop at the next rest area was in order, and of course any sort of braking while driving immediately triggers children to wake up. Good morning children.

The first stop of the journey.

We made it another half hour before our stomachs were harmoniously growling. A truck stop Denny's it is! We met a wonderful older couple who invited us to their church service in the rear of the restaurant. The kids were ecstatic when the woman presented them with their very own WWJD bracelets and notepads with heavenly quotes on them. You would have thought that Santa himself had brought them.

After ripping our way through 6 eggs, 5 pancakes, 4 sausage links, 2 pieces of bacon and 2 large servings of hashbrowns, we waddled out in attempt to get further down the road.

Miles down: 203

Over the previous few weeks I had been researching stuff for kids to do while camping and road tripping. Two great resources I found were books called Campout! and Carschooling. I compiled a huge bin of school stuffs--it literally takes up 1/3 of the back of our van (the back seats are folded down). It has all sorts of supplies for experiments, exploring, art, reading, games, etc. Lots of stuff to keep those little brains cranking! Sam loves the magifying glasses--here I gave him different coins and was asking him to find certain things on each one.

After another potty break, I started reading Game of Thrones to Russ while the kids rocked out to their They Must Be Giants music in the back (seriously, they have some of the most awesome kids educational music out there--Russ and I love to rock out to it too...although we can be a bit nerdy.) and played with all of their gadgets. They eventually requested a private viewing of Megamind (I'm proud to say though, that a week into this road trip and the only television watching has been 2.5 movies. WOOT!). However, shortly after starting the movie we hit....GEORGIA!!

We got to Hard Labor Creek State Campground around noon and started setting up camp while the kids explored. On a sidenote, I highly recommend going camping during the middle of the week after school has started. Campgrounds are DESERTED! We seriously saw a grand total of 6 people come by our site the entire 2 days and nights that we were there.

Anyways, everyone was more than happy to be out of the car.

And of course within the first 5 minutes, both kids found frogs. Poor frogs.

Here's our site. I love that it has multiple levels (minus the mishap of Sam falling off the top one despite many, "BE CAREFUL YOU ARE GOING TO FALL AND BREAK YOUR NECK!" 's. Go figure, he fell.). And you can see back and to the left is the creek.

Sigh...let me introduce you to Houdini. This dang dog. I'm so grateful that I was able to bring her, but geez louise, she is insane. We closed her up inside the trailer with the A/C on, food and water there for her, a nice comfy bed...and of course we not only lock the door, but bungee and jam the door closed. What did we find upon returning from our travels?? A very happy, very muddy dog sitting out front of the trailer. She had found a place where the velcro was not attached well and escaped through there. Ugh.

The kids had a TON of fun exploring and examining and identifying and documenting.

Russ picked up an insect identification book and as of this moment, 1 week into our trip, it is already getting worn out and broken.

This is a big headed ground beetle.

This is the view of our campsite from the creek. There is a little beach area out there where Russ was trying to catch dragonflies. We need bigger nets.

At least someone enjoyed the muddy water...

Then we headed back inside to document everything we'd seen in our field journals. One week into our trip and I've already had to add more paper into Brooklyn's. She LOVES to document everything.

Sleep caught up with Russ and Sam. Sam put up quite a fight before I had to bribe him--"Lay down for 5 minutes and I'll give you a prize (Jelly Bellies)." Within 30 seconds he was out cold. I decided I needed to follow suit and take a nap. However about 5 minutes into it, I was awoken by a "Mom, will you play Uno with me?" I prefer catnaps anyway.

We got tired of Uno after a bit and went for a walk. We found lots of great things--some sort of fruit, a dead cicada, and a doe and her baby!! Brooklyn, Izzy and I just sat and watched them from less than 100' away. They didn't seem too threatened (and Izzy could have cared less about them). We watched for a good 10 minutes before they bounded off into the forest and we headed back to camp to wake the boys up.

Russ got to work chopping wood (I love that they encourage you to use all of the dead wood lying about here) while the kids and Izzy did more exploring.

Russ got the fire started and I put some chili foil dinners on that I'd made the day before. We also tossed some corn on the cob on the grill. Yum!

While everyone else was busy, I decided I needed to make my favorite girl a friendship bracelet.

Dinner time! Chili, corn on the cob, avocados, tortilla chips, cheese...yum!!...although the chili looked awful. Oh well, at least it tasted decent.

After dinner, everyone was so dirty and sweaty and just plain disgusting that showers were in order. The boys went first. While I was outside washing up dinner dishes, I heard a huge splashing noise. I was so confused at what was going on until I saw the doe and the baby prancing through the creek right at our campsite! I called Brooklyn out and we tried to get closer. This time, the boys were back in time to catch a glimpse of them.

After Brooklyn and I took our showers and we hunted some fireflies, it was Time.For.Bed. These kids were EXHAUSTED. It was 10pm!!! Brooklyn had been begging to go to bed for a good 1 ½ hours, but she HAD to get a shower. Anyways, they both curled up and Izzy hopped back up with them and they all passed out. Russ and I put out the fire and I read him another chapter of our book before passing out ourselves.

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