D.C. Trip - The Beginning

Youngest-daughter has been studying government and history in school for a while now and the Mamma-woman and I believe learning is best when you can see and touch as well as read and hear so this year we decided to take a little road trip to Washington, D.C. over the Christmas holidays. We were going to fly, but Mamma-woman wanted to visit a few other sites that we needed a car to get to, plus, flying these days is such a hassle and I love road trips so after a new set of tires, an oil change, and a dealer check of all systems, we packed our ever-dependable Honda Odyssey, dropped off Riley the Wonder Dog at the kennel, pointed the GPS to Washington D.C. 1,049 miles away, and on Friday morning, the 21st of December, away we did go.

Of course, I had wanted to get an early start, but somehow, no matter how excited everyone is to be going and no matter how early I begin gently and lovingly screaming for everyone to get out of bed or I swear I’ll leave without them, we just cannot get away before 9:30. I don’t know how my girls manage to do this (I’m just a man and can’t be expected to figure it out), but I’ve learned to accept this. Get up at 6:00, leave at 9:30; get up at 8:30, leave at 9:30. It’s called a conundrum.

We made our first potty-break stop at 10:15. Mamma-woman needed to get rid of her morning coffee. Youngest-daughter doesn’t have to go and can’t make herself. At 10:35 when we made the 2nd potty-break for Youngest-daughter, we were just east of Little Rock and after consulting the GPS to see how many more miles were ahead of us, I came to the conclusion that at this rate, we would arrive sometime around the middle of January. Things calmed down a little after that and we were able to make good progress – until 11:10 when youngest-daughter asked when we were going to stop for lunch and Mamma-woman said we might as well start looking for a McDonald’s ‘cause she needed another potty-break anyway. We were 75 miles from home and only had another 975 miles to go. I was filled with joy.

Back on the road after McDonald’s, with full bellies and empty bladders, it was nap time. Not for me of course, but I contented myself with the thought that my girls trust me enough for them to fall asleep in the car I’m driving – for several hours. I kept myself company softly singing along with my iPod tunes and making very elaborate plans for what to do after I hit the lottery for $50 million.

Over the Mississippi River into Memphis
I woke up the girls just before crossing the Mississippi River and entering Tennessee so they could see it. They were less than impressed since they’ve seen this before. The first “How much longer?” comes from the back seat almost at the same time as, “I could use a potty-break” comes from the co-pilot seat.

I’ll skip forward to the evening of the first night as there isn’t much to tell. Since we were on a time schedule with hotel reservations in D.C., we stayed on I-40 the whole day. Trust me, there’s not much to get excited about while traveling I-40. It wasn’t long until I started thinking, “How much longer?” myself as the miles slowly passed under our wheels.

We decided to stop for the night in Knoxville, Tennessee. We didn't have a reservation so the Mamma-woman used a handy-dandy little iPhone app to find a nice, but affordable place just off the freeway – Fairfield Inn & Suites, Knoxville/East at 1551 Cracker Barrel Lane. By the time we arrived, it was dark and the entrance is a bit confusing to get to as it is down a 1-way street on the other side of the freeway from the side we were on. We flat out missed it the first time with the GPS saying, “Turn left here,” “Recalculating,” “Drive 1/2 mile…” ”Recalculating.” But we figured it out the 2nd time around and were rewarded with a quick check-in and a nice, clean room. We got in our workouts by hauling most of our stuff from the car. I determined we had brought with us about 98% of everything we own.

There wasn't much in the way of food establishments around the hotel and we were pretty tired (how do you get so tired just driving/riding in a car?) so we settled for a quick trip a couple of blocks away to a Wendy’s for salads. I applauded them for hiring the elderly when I saw the lady getting us our food had silver-blue hair and was obviously no spring chicken. I’m not going to be a cad and say anything negative about the sweet dear totally messing up our order several times. She was trying and I can only hope I last that long so good for her!

Not long after returning to the hotel we all crashed and fell asleep. The room was quiet and the beds were very comfortable. We had knocked off 558 miles and the girls had pee'd they're way across 2 states when the day was done.