It wasn't 12 hours.
It was more like 14.5.
But since I don't want this blog post to take as long to read as the trip took to drive (and because typing on an iPad is harder than I thought), I'll try to hit the highlights.
More than once while I was driving, particularly through the seemingly endless 323 miles of the great state of Virginia, I thought to myself, "Man, what a grueling drive." It wasn't until I was better rested this morning that I had time to reflect on that thought.
Naturally, I thought about the game Oregon Trail. (Wasn't "grueling" one of the options for the pace?) And when I thought about it from that perspective, there wasn't much that could be counted as grueling about my trip. At all.
Instead of a covered wagon, we were riding comfortably in the Honda Odyssey, which, let's face it, is a pretty bombin' mom-mobile. They are designed with large families hauling loads of
When we got hungry, we pulled off at an exit and enjoyed a leisurely fast-food meal at whatever establishment boasted a playground. Those poor souls in the covered wagons could pull over just about anywhere (after all, they weren't really traveling on real roads), but once they did, they had to prepare their own food. I can hear my kids now, "Not salt pork and cornbread again!" Funny thing is, none of them complained that they had McDonalds nuggets for lunch and Chick-Fil-A nuggets for dinner. I guess those are two entirely different things.
The majority of our trip I traveled on interstates with a speed limit of 65 or 70 mph. Those wagons covered 15-25 miles a day. I'd literally be in Virginia for no less than the duration of our entire planned vacation. (Don't get me wrong, Virginia is a lovely state and gorgeous along the mountains, but good grief it's bigger than you realize...especially when you travel through it diagonally.)
Bathroom breaks were, of course, not fun. With four kids, one of which is a different gender and one of which is an infant, it makes things interesting. We survived, however, without any fear of contracting dysentery or cholera. We even stopped at a beautiful rest area in the mountains of (you guessed it) Virginia and didn't get killed by a serial killer.
To pass the time, we had a large collection of books, things to color, printable scavenger hunts I found online, the exciting views of a new, uncharted route, and a plethora of electronic devices, including a DVD player for which I rented a new movie from Redbox which I returned in Roanoke and rented another one. What did the wagon kids do for fun? Who knows? Something about a pig bladder? I think need to re-read the Little House books. (Clearly.)
As with any adventure, there are always unforeseeable events. In the case of the wagon people, it might have been a broken leg, or a snake bite, or even death. For us, it was just Sarah falling out of the van and cracking the back of her head on the Chick-Fil-A parking lot, which, fortunately, was forgotten about by her first sip of sweet tea.
We did have something really cool happen whilst traveling. No, we didn't find any wild berries, or have enough grass for our oxen, but we were able to meet up with some dear friends at dinner that we hardly ever get to see for a brief, but awesome bite to eat. Even if, in the process, my penned-up children erupted from the van onto the CFA playground like Banshees and taught the innocent, onlooking children how to scale the poles that aren't exactly meant to be climbed. You win some, you lose some.;
One thing my trip did have in common with those wagon folks - coffee. I know we both drank coffee. The best things never change.
Well, now I know, I can successfully drive the kids halfway up the coast. I won't call it a rite of passage, but I will call it an accomplishment. And I certainly came to appreciate Sam in his absence.
Sam, if you read this, Sarah prayed for your safe travels tonight. The exact prayer was, "Keep daddy safe on plane so he won't get in trouble, and he will be happy." I hope you were able to keep yourself out of trouble in the air, given your apparent history of doing otherwise.
For those of you who prayed us through our adventure yesterday, I sincerely thank you. Your prayers were felt. Perhaps the most amazing testament to that fact is that I did not raise my voice a single time. I can't manage that on a good day at home, let alone on a "grueling" 14.5 hour road-trip whereby I have to drive and care for our 4 kids all by my lonesome. God is pretty neat like that. That's good grace. He was watching out for my sanity.
Maybe I will add some pictures when Sam gets here on Friday with the computer. Maybe I will keep trying to post on this iPad. Maybe I should go to bed.
PS - Don't even think about robbing my house now that you know I won't be there for 3 weeks.