4 stops… 10 days… 12 states… and more than 2100 miles.
The kids were awesome. Every stop was a delight. We can’t wait until the next one.
Today was a busy and active day in Charlotte. After a pancake breakfast, the Fishers and we headed out to the Whitewater Center for some outdoor fun. We only had time and budget for one activity, and rock climbing won the day.
We weren’t up for that one just yet, so we tried a few easier courses. They also happened to be in the shade. Samantha was the only experienced climber in our family, having gone once before as part of a Brownie expedition.
Jake wasn’t about to let that deter him. He didn’t quite reach the top, but he made it about 15 feet up one of the courses. I think floating down may have been his favorite part.
Kerri took to it as well. She made it to the top and was already arranging a follow up date back in Dayton by the time we were leaving.
With appetites on full alert, we next brought picnic lunches from Price’s Chicken Coop to the park. Now that is finger-lickin’ good food.
The day ended with sandwiches and sweet potato fries at Duckworth’s. I believe we duly earned the beer sampler.
One last bit of news to wrap up a loose end from yesterday: Anne won the game of Catan that we finished this afternoon. I believe my students may see the game, too.
Today was the most hectic and sundry day of our holiday. We started in Seneca, and after a complimentary continental breakfast at the motel we dropped in on a long-time family friend, Jane Foster. It was a wonderful treat to see her.
Our next stops were drive-bys of our old places in Clemson. First we visited the house on Oak Street…
…and then we drove past the house on what is now called Tant. We also went past the YMCA and my old elementary school.
An hour’s drive later we were having lunch with my brother outside Greenville. I think tackling him may be the single event toward which the boys were most looking forward.
Our last stop of the day is the Fisher home in Charlotte. We’ll be here until Monday, and if Tom has his way we’ll spend every spare moment playing board games. This is a new one I bought jus for this occasion, Catan: Settlers of America. There is a good chance that my students will see this at some pint I. The near future.
Not a lot to day about this day of the vacation. We packed up and hit the road early toward our next destination, Seneca, South Carolina. I had a webinar to participate in this evening, so Kerri picked up some carrying to eat in the hotel room. Tomorrow, I’ll show off a couple more of my childhood homes, we’ll have brunch with my brother, Jeremy, and then we’ll ouch on to Charlotte for a couple days with the Fishers.
Day 5 was the last day of our holiday’s Florida leg, so we were off to the beach once again. We went to the more tourist-centic Panama City Beach the previous day, so this time we headed the opposite direction toward Mexico Beach. I was hoping to show Kerri and the kids my old house on Tyndall AFB, but the security checkpoint was moved years ago. We did, however, get to make one stop.
This is he first house I lived in when we moved to Florida nearly 30 years ago. It seems pretty much unchanged; i don’t remember blue trim to be honest. Surprisingly it has not been washed away by a hurricane. We stayed there for just a few minus while we waited for base housing to open up. Out the sliding door, turn right, and 60 steps later you’re in the Gulf.
After paying on the beach, building sand castles and what-not, we headed back to the house to rest before the magic show.
Luke and I were both pretty excited, and the show didn’t disappoint. The grand stage illusions were fine, but I most enjoyed the smaller, audience-centered, bits. The show was quite funny.
The kids got autographs and a photo afterward.
Our second full day in Florida got us out of the house and down to Panama City Beach to play tourist for the day. The goal was simple: Give the kids their first salt water swim and come away with neither sunburns nor jellyfish stings. Mission accomplished.
My mom and step-dad treated us to a day at Gulf World. All of us loved it, though the kids are still adjusting to the fact that summertime in Florida means heat. I heard a few complaints.
We saw most of the shows – birds, dolphins, scuba, etc. – but the highlight for me had to be Otto, the sea lion. Poor guy had a bit of an identity crisis on stage. By the end of it, though, I think we had him convinced he wasn’t actually a dolphin.
Tomorrow night we are headed back for a magic show featuring a local magician whose star seems to be rising fast, Noah Wells if memory is correct. My mom has been poking forward to the show for months; I’m just hoping I don’t get asked to volunteer.
Just a quick post on the holiday yesterday. No travel; just a whole lot of pool time. Between the five of us I think we averaged about four hours each in the pool.
We continued to eat our weight in food. Tradition around here is to cook up a turkey with all the fixings for the Fourth. “When in Rome…” yeah?
The night ended with fireworks in TV and sparklers in the backyard. We finally dragged the kids out of the pool around 10, because today we’re off to Gulf World.
Let the vacation continue!
Day two of the family vacation sees us in sunny Florida. After twenty years I’m headed back to Panama City to visit my mom and step-dad. Why has it been twenty years, you ask. That is a story for another time. But let’s just say that up until recently I wasn’t sure if this day would ever come.
After a wonderful breakfast we were off for another eight hours in the car. Everyone is traveling really well. I don’t think I can blame any of that goofiness on the close quarters.
We arrived safely. The house is much as I remember it. Details have changed, but not a lot else. The biggest physical change is the pool in the backyard. I sense that the hardest part of the next few days may be getting everyone out and dry long enough to do something else.
Mom and my stepdad are well. They are more frail looking than I remember or anticipated, but I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised. They both went through a number of health-related issues last year. 2011 has seen them come through the other side doing quite well all things considered.
The evening was spent swimming and eating. Kerri got a chance to chat with my mom; the two of them have never had the opportunity to get to know one another. For all the nerves that bubble to the surface driving down Hwy 231, things have gone really well. Now I’m just left being my own socially awkward self. That’s at least something I have experience managing.
Tomorrow: Uncle Sam turns 235, in this house that means turkey and stuffing.
Today begins our first family vacation. We’ve done shorter trips before, but this is four stops, nine states, four stops. one car.
Destination 1: Spring Hill, TN, to visit neighbors who moved south.
Everything has started out well. We hit the road at 5:50, a bit ahead of schedule. The kids didn’t go back to sleep, of course, but they kept busy with books and games. There was a delay just south of Louisville due to an earlier accident, yet we still made it to our destination in time for lunch.
After catching up we ventured into downtown Franklin for some window shopping followed by dinner at Papa Boudreaux’s.
The crawfish and shrimp étouffée was delicious, as you can see.
Now, we’ll relax at the pool for a bit before turning in for the night. Tomorrow we continue the journey south to our next destination.