Thursday, November 15, 2012

Reflections of our Adventure - Road Trip Day 1

The ending of our first day. Sunset behind the mountains of North Carolina.

It is hard to believe that November is just two weeks from being over. When my boys and I returned from our American Adventure life was suddenly very different, wonderful, but different. I truly haven't completely adjusted just yet. However, as you may see I believe that the Lord was truly preparing me for what was about to be such a drastic change in our lives. Reflecting is really a wonderful habit!

How in the world does one say all they want to about a trip that took over 10 days and was the most amazing adventure ever for my family. I wanted to journal about it day by day, but honestly, the computer was the last thing on my mind. The camera however was with me the entire time.

So I'll just type and show pictures and see what happens. I'll probably start by doing a day-by-day, especiall in the beginning because the road trip was such a part of the adventure...which is kind of nice because I get to relive it over and over again. Yes, I like that idea! Then most likely I will post some of the great things we did in Kentucky while we stayed there for 7 days.

If you were keeping up with our journey (which was lived out on Facebook because my husband couldn't go with us. He was so thankful that we did was a lot cheaper than calling all the time) then you remember this post which explains our preparation. This trip was a first for me. Never driving more than 3 hours at a time in my life and taking my 3 boys by myself through 6 states...woohoo...what a task. We had more fun that my words will ever express.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012. One of the reasons why I love my man so much.
5:30am...we are all set to get into the car...and there are priorities. He prayed for His family! I cried. I was going to miss him like crazy! Mike would be starting his new job the very next day as a nurse. This job would require him to work the graveyard shift. 11:00pm - 7:00am. Something we're still getting use to.

Huge suspension bridge in Jacksonville. Very cool!
Thanks to our good friends Jim & Marilyn and my research of history, we had this trip pretty well planned. Then there was the other fun element from my friend Michelle...our mystery trip.

Michelle had planned out some fun things to do on our road trip for both days. We were told when to open the envelope. Brendan, my responsible front seat passenger, read everything and got us to our destination. This mystery trip was so exciting for all of us. The anticipation made traveling to our next destination so exciting. I didn't exactly follow everything to a tee, fortunately other than this particular stop...everything Michelle had planned out for us..was exactly what I had already planned for ourselves. If I ever (and I will) do another trip...she is going to be my first call! This added such an exciting element! For me, it wasn't getting from point A to point was taking in and enjoying every moment. That was my big goal. Mission accomplished!  Anyway,

Just after we crossed over the boarder into Georgia, we stopped into the Welcome Center. By the way, those places are very helpful. They have lots of space to run around and they are loaded with history! We spent a little time talking to the people there, about our trip and things we could learn. We learned that there is so much more to come back and do in Georgia!! :) I should mention that at each Welcome Center we went over 50 fun facts about each state. (I had printed that up before I left!) "Good night, sleep tight, don't let the bed bugs bite!" You hear this phrase quite often today, but most people don't know it actually started in Georgia. Colonials would bind their mattresses with Spanish Moss which brought tiny bed bugs into the mattresses. Bet you'll think twice before using that saying in passing again! - see this trip was FUN!!

Thanks to Michelle, this was our first landmark stop! I didn't know this existed. How fun!

We went inside and pretended to be at church. It could only fit about 10 people maximum! What a fun little place to stop!

We heard a sermon from each boy. There was a Bible on the pulpit. Above is our very own Pastor Kyle!
After taking too many pictures, we got back on the road and tried to snap a picture of each state's welcome sign. That was so fun. The boys brought their DSi cameras..and so the three of us (Kyle wasn't into the picture taking...he was into just seeing..there is hidden wisdom there)..would get ready to snap. Usually Brendan had to snap my camera too...because I was driving of course! But, that didn't always stop me. Part of the fun was aiming the camera and not looking at what I was taking a picture of and seeing if it came out. I sounds dangerous...but I would never do anything stupid with my arrows in the car!
We stopped at the welcome center and had lunch. By the way, did I mention I was on a very strict budget? I had $300 in my envelope. Gas had a separate budget and was already calculated and accounted for.
I had packed a cooler with our favorite foods and we were quite content. Did I crave a Starbucks? YES. Did the siren try to woo me each time I would see her on a sign? YES. Did I give in to temptation? NO! Perhaps because I purchased double shots to go in my cooler.  We had a blast at the South Carolina Welcome Center. We were getting a bit tired of sitting in the car. Se we had lunch, played some soccer, completed tons of spots on our "license plate bingo". Yes, if you are trying to spot state license hit pay dirt at Welcome Centers.
This is a part of the trip I will never forget. Brendan, my boy that wore his air bands for car sickness (consequently my friend Elizabeth called and prayed with me the night before we left. We prayed that he would be healed of car sickness...Brendan and I both agree...he was healed. We didn't realize it until we were on our way home however) had dreamed about seeing mountains. My boys had never seen a mountain in real life before. As we drove through South Carolina, we started to see mountains. We were all "Wow, these must be the Blue Ridge mountains." The trees seemed enormous. It was beautiful. But then....
As we drove up and down some hills, suddenly Brendan sees this monstrous looking object up ahead. "What is that Mom?" I couldn't contain my excitement. I had seen mountains, climbed mountains in Vermont, but it had been so long...and seeing things through the eyes of your children...well there is nothing quite like it!
Those are the Smokeys!! Be still my heart! There was something so magical. The squeals in the car. My boys were so amazed. He would die if he knew I was saying this, but I quote Brendan with tears welling up in his eyes..."Mom, it is like I dreamed it would is so incredible...God did this Mom!!" Yes Brendan, God did this!
Getting to North Carolina seemed to take forever (because we were headed west), but we didn't care. The mountains kept us company and stopping at the Welcome Center was that much more rewarding. I need to pause here and say that my boy Brendan is an amazing kid. His heart is incredibly sensitive to the Lord. Puberty has begun, his emotions are worn on his sleeve sometimes, and right before our trip he was struggling with his relationship with the Lord. He told his Dad that he knows God shows up for Mom and Dad. He knows that God has provided in miraculous was for our family. His questions were, why didn't God show up for him personally? He was struggling with seeing God in his own life. My husband spent time with him before we left...talking and praying with him. Of course I had no idea what this trip would do for my boy. Even now as I type this, there are tears running down my face. Day two is when I really understood why this trip was so important for Brendan. (So stay tuned).
See the colors? The mountains? Honestly we feel like looking at the pictures...just isn't doing it justice.

We finally got to our Days Inn in Nashville, NC. I noticed a few things along the way. My boys did more adventurous things with me than they probably would have done with their Dad. Mike is amazing, but he is a bit more cautious than I am. I'm cautious too..but case in point...I took the picture of Shane sitting on the roof of my car. Right before that..he was standing, bare foot, hands in the air, in 50 degree weather, shouting..."THIS IS AMAZING"! I LOVED it, my husband would have freaked out!!

This little Days Inn was incredible. I had read several "not-so-good" reviews about the place. However, it was clean, no bugs, no hairs, and it had a complimentary dinner and breakfast. Yes...dinner. For $69 a night, you can eat whatever they are making for dinner that night and have a buffet breakfast in the morning. I wanted to try the dinner (Beef Vegetable Stew), but I had pumped up my kids excitement about eating these (because I didn't want to have to stop anywhere and pay for food):

They wouldn't hear of eating anything else. After all, when do they ever get to stay in a hotel, eat microwavable meals in bed, while they watch TV! Seriously...that is FUN! So we ate these instead. We did however enjoy a nice hot breakfast in the morning!

So far...I spent NO MONEY! (except for one stop for gas...and this hotel was prepaid).

My boys and I laughed, squealed, ran around, slept in one room together ate microwavable meals and Twizzlers and drank Yoohoos. We were having the time of our lives! Their smiles are etched in my heart...and this one only Day 1!


Doris said...

This is so wonderful Lisa...I was following your journey on facebook, but so glad you are blogging about it too! I love the pictures :) I'm all caught up at work (all 500 bulletins or so ready to go!), so I took a moment to read this :) I was thinking yesterday, what wonderful memories we can keep alive by writing about them and sharing pictures...What an exciting adventure you and your boys had!!

Thanks again, and look forward to the next post!

Michelle said...

What a great trip!