Thursday, August 14, 2008

Home Again, Home Again

Our great perambulation is over.  We're back to the delightfully high humidity of Houston, and trying to get organized for the imminent arrival of the new school year. 

Overall, the trip was great.  The girls get an A for their efforts at staying sane in the car with us for 3 days on the way up and 4 days on the way back.  Apparently a continual stream of animated movies, a pool, and free breakfast muffins are sufficient to keep them from blowing a gasket. 

Here's the breakdown on our trip.  We were gone for 23 days, 22 nights.  Of those 22 nights, we (Kirstin and I) spent them in:
Plainfield, NJ (7)
Beach Haven, NJ (7)
Providence, RI (3)
Little Rock, AK (1)
Nashville, TN (1)
Salem, VA (1)
Chattanooga, TN (1)
New Orleans, LA (1)

To fully evaluate the trip, I've made a list of pro's and con's.

PRO: Being at the beach in NJ.   7 days of hanging out on the sand, sitting outside on the deck, and bobbing around in the water.

PRO: Wearing a sweatshirt because it was actually cold at night.

CON: The water temperature in NJ was about 60 degrees.  "Bracing" is a kind word.

PRO: Mrs. Rowe's, in Staunton, VA has great pie.

PRO: Eastern Tennessee, northern Alabama, and southwestern Virginia.  In other words, driving through the Appalachian Mountains, which are beautiful.

CON: Western Louisiana.  Possibly the most boring drive I've ever been on.

PRO: Barbie movies.  Yes, I said it.  They are a pro.  Why?  Because Abby and Maddie will absolutely zone out for 90 minutes watching one of these.

CON:  Madeline throwing up all over Kirstin (twice) and me (once) the night in New Orleans.  Once again, a big apology to Uncle Jason for abusing one of his blankets so badly.

PRO: Chattanooga.  We had a good time.  We rode the incline railroad up to the top of Lookout Mountain, and did indeed see 6 different states.  Got some great barbecue at Sticky Fingers.  The hotel had a "hot, bubbly pool" (a whirlpool) and we got free room service breakfast. 

CON:  Bumble-f*$&, Mississippi, where we tried to stop for gas.  We pulled off because there was a BP sign.  Once off the interstate, all we find is a decrepit old shell of a gas station.  Two miles down the road we finally run into some decrepit old dollar store, but at least they are open and can let Kirstin use the bathroom.  Seriously, central Mississippi looks like it is barely part of the same country.

PRO: The Waffle House.  It's greasy, it's not very clean, but those are some good waffles.

PRO: Peanut butter and jelly.  We made a really concious effort to not eat fast food, and so we brought along  our own sandwich materials and did lots of snacks and lunches out of our cooler.  We also stopped and got out of the car each time we ate, which was huge in keeping the car from becoming a cesspit. 

PRO: Providence.  We went there for our anniversary trip, and it was fun to see Rhode Island again.  The people who bought our house painted it pale yellow, but it looks nice.  We got to eat at Al forno, the great Italian place, and found an excellent breakfast spot (The Brickway). 

CON: Aidan's.  This was our weekly Irish bar hangout in Bristol, RI, and we were looking forward to stopping in and sitting ont he porch for a while.  However, it's being rehabbed and was closed.  Damn you Aidan!

Alright, I think that is enough for now.  The trip was great, and the pro's are definintely better than the con's.  I don't want to get back in a car any time soon, but I'd even consider doing this again next year. 

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