Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Recap: Summer Road Trip 2018!

We decided to take a road trip this summer: 15 states
Some of the places we enjoyed, others...not so much, the overall experience though: A+ awesome!
We had planned a vacation to go see my mom who lives in another state. It wasn't an unusual plan, we were going to get in the car, take the fastest way there and enjoy our visit. What did we dread the most? The time in the car!! So...my youngest came up with a plan. "Why don't we stop and visit states along the way?" What??? Duh. We had the time, so...why not??? It turned out to be a great idea! We left our state and decided to just stop where we felt like it along the way. I've blogged about our 4 favorites (Savannah, Georgia; Charlotte, North Carolina; Sandusky, Ohio; Put in Bay, Ohio), and now I just want to sum the trip up, noting a little about each state we traveled through: there were 15 in total.
We made our plan while we were still in the state of Florida. We live pretty far south, so it's an all day drive just to get through our state. When dinnertime rolled around, that's when my son came up with his brilliant idea to stop and site-see instead of just driving through with a tunnel vision destination in mind. We pulled out our maps (he had his Lonely Planet travel map and I had a traditional atlas my mom once gave me). Savannah jumped off of the map so we pulled over, got our sleep in for the night and set out first thing in the a.m., freshly rested, fed and showered, we made our now very short trip over the state line and before you know it we were at our first official destination. As noted in the blog post about our visit to Savannah, it turned out to be one of our most favorite stops! It was a very family-friendly destination with beautiful scenery at every turn and an awesome, busy waterfront. The history in the city was evident, and quite honestly we could have stayed a few days or even a week and been happy. There really was that much to explore.


The next state we got to was South Carolina. We ate a meal there, and took out the maps. Nothing really jumped out at us, so we just decided to drive around and see what might appeal. We ended up inadvertently getting back on a road that led to the highway and we just decided to go with the flow. Next time, S.C.!


That flow led us to North Carolina. We pulled in to get gas, and my son was intrigued by the tall buildings just over the horizon that we could see. 'Let's go there!' he said, and so we did. The city was Charlotte, and we fell in love with this place too. The laid back, sweet city ended up being an instant fave, and I blogged about it here. We stayed most of the day. It was a leisurely morning and afternoon. The people were nice, the weather was perfect and the attractions were plentiful too. 


Our drive through Virginia was brief. Too brief to visit, but that was okay by me. I'll drive through the mountains to get to my family, but I'm definitely not a fan. With that in mind, that's why the sign they had on display at the Welcome Center. Pretty hilarious, all things considered, so I had to take a picture. I knew my family members would get the joke. ;) 


We stayed long enough to check out the welcome center, gas up the car and go. One interesting thing here though, was that just beyond the gas station in Fancy Gap, VA., there was an old car in the grass. I instantly recognized it as a sheriff car from the Andy Griffith show. What?? That's cool, but why is the car so run down?! Seems like they would want to keep that car in pristine condition. It's not a car you see every day, and it's from a television show people loved...


or was it? I don't know if it was authentic or not, but it did have a Mayberry license plate.


West Virginia was our next stop. To say I'm not a fan (see previous note about hating mountain driving) would be an understatement. This turned out to be the most harrowing portion of our trip. I knew from previous experience to stop and get gas, so I could avoid off-highway driving at all costs. What we were met with besides the hairpin turns on steep and very high mountains going at too fast of a speed for me (a.k.a. the speed limit), was 1). rain 2). a text message accompanied by a loud sound so we wouldn't miss it that said, 'Imminent Severe Alert: Flash Flood Warning this area til 10:45 PM EDT. Avoid flood areas. NWS.' Great. All kinds of thoughts flashed through my mind (haha, sorry), such as Where are the flood areas? How would I know? Is the storm ahead of us or behind us? Can I outdrive it? Where in the world should we go? Is it safer to stay on this ridiculous road that is at least paved, or should I get off (onto who knows what kind of road), and wait it out? Will the return to the road be worse then, due to flooding? I just decided to keep going and if the weather got worse, get off at the first exit we came across. Just when I thought it couldn't get worse, it started to get dark and we ran into fog. *sigh* Have I mentioned I hate mountain driving?

The only pros I can remember were some cool bridges and driving
through the under-mountain tunnel (which also had road construction going on, lol!).
I knew I was in for it, but I didn't realize just how 'in for it' until we hit road construction. It wasn't typical road construction with orange cones and a barricade on one side, and a mountain dropoff on the other (oh, it was that, but it was more too). It was also grooved road surfaces that made an obnoxiously loud and continuous sound as you drove over them. I was first in line, and of course cars behind me were anxious for me to go faster, which there was no way I was going to do (I went exactly the speed limit). After an hour of that, I was tired, and through with driving. I was contemplating getting off of the road when the road construction ended (and it did briefly end) but then the same kind of noisy-road was under my tires again. I decided to just power through and get out of the state. The words 'Welcome to Ohio' had never been so welcome to see.

A better sign had never been seen. It meant we were out of West Virginia, and on to flat land!
And just like that, we were on flat land. I breathed a sigh of relief, noted the security in the rest area (lots of it) and pulled over into a spot, next to lots of other sleeping drivers and took a nap! I needed it after that drive. My son was smart and slept through all of the above. His mother white knuckling the steering wheel and leaning forward just a bit while driving will not be in his trip memory bank. Thank goodness.

He's almost as tall as my mom!!!
And maybe that is me giving her bunny ears in the middle, because hey, I'm a kid too...her kid, anyway. ;)
The 'nap' lasted two hours. I woke up feeling refreshed and raring to go. I was 'this close' to my mama and on my merry way. I woke the boy up to see if he had to go to the bathroom. He mumbled something incoherent and promptly went back to sleep. I hooked his seat belt back up while he was snoozing, and we were on our way! Ohio was marvelous, as it always is for us. Heartstring Visits, I call them. My hometown. Memories and the city/people who shaped my life are there. I enjoy it to the fullest whenever I get the opportunity to go (which isn't near enough). My mom was good, and delighted to see us. We stayed with her the whole time we were in town. There were people I didn't get to see. People I absolutely should have seen!! But our days were so busy, and we were starting to miss the cat (haha, I know, ridiculous but true) so we felt it was time to get home. The person watching our house was there as much as we would be (her sewer line had problems that needed fixed, and her a/c broke, so that worked out just right for everyone as she was able to relocate into our place while things at her place were getting fixed). She was about ready to go home though, which meant the cat might get lonesome. She's adjusted to us (we adopted her, she's older) but hasn't quite adopted to others as well yet. She hides a lot when we have company. Anyway, I digress, but these were the things running through our minds. I swear I'm going to be a cat lady when I get older, and I'm embracing that...stigma and all, lol.

There were a lot of changes at Cedar Point.(it's always amazing, and they're always improving).
 The skeleton town is still seen on the train ride though!
My kids have all loved this one so we were glad it was still there. :)

Anyway, back to the trip. We visited all of my old haunts, went to an island for a day (Put-in-Bay) and visited Cedar Point amusement park. We also chilled with my mom, a lot, and just generally had a wonderful and very relaxing visit. It was good to get to spoil her a bit, and awesome for her to get that time with her youngest grandson. My daughter was considering going too at one point, but she's 19 and has a boyfriend she likes real well now (no need to say one more word, moms everywhere are nodding their heads 'getting it'). He's a nice young man but they are definitely hooked at the hip and we only had so much room in the car, and so much $ set aside for the trip. Plus, he might have been bored at my mom's house and that would have changed the mood of the trip (not negating him being along, just noting he might not appreciate that family time like we would!). I do know my mom would have loved that time with her though.

The older I get, the more I miss my mom being so far away. I'd consider bringing her down here, but she's so happy where she is...always on the go, and has a ton of friends she just loves (and who love her) in her high rise. I don't know if she'd even want to come here, which is okay too (I want her happy and not sure an uprooting would allow that). Nostalgia just beckons when I visit. I am never tempted to stay though. I hate winter. Period. We left Florida once, moving up north for a stint that was far too long. Florida is my home (despite not being born here), and there is no physical place that I love better. It was wonderful though, to see my mom.

Top-left, the boy is charting his visits as we go through the states.
Indiana was too close to Ohio for us to want to stop. We'd just started the trip, and we've been to Indiana before, when we lived in Michigan, so we passed it by. We did go through Indianapolis though, and snapped a few pictures from the car. It looks unlike any other area I've been to in Indiana, and I might like to go here. Little man wanted to take a pit stop, just to stretch his legs and get a drink. We ended up at a Starbucks that had a really cool train going by the parking lot. Public transit?


The same for Illinois. If we weren't going to Chicago (we love it but were nowhere near it), we weren't stopping. We did go into the visitors center for a pit stop though, and I snapped a picture. If we stopped in the state, it counts for one of the 15 we went through, right? Right! Kiddo marked it on his map.


I'll admit, I was excited pulling into St. Louis, Missouri. I'd never been or considered going until we started out on this trip. We decided in Ohio to take in this city on the way back. The Gateway Arch is awesome of course, and you can see it from anywhere in the city (helps so you don't get lost!). We did a drive around when we first got there to get acclimated. It was early, not a lot of cars were out yet. We were met right away by a lot of one-way streets, including one where a pickup truck was headed toward us at full speed (he was in another lane though, thank goodness but it was still unnerving), blaring his horn at me, like I was the one going the wrong way. -_-  The cars behind me beeped at him as did I, so hopefully he got the hint and got off the road, geez. Driving in St. Louis was like driving in any other big city though. The best thing we found was that there really is a ton of fun, free or reasonably-priced things for kids to do. I'm sure it could be an amazing city. Our experience wasn't so great...

Unfortunately for us,  non-stop aggressive panhandlers (from the moment we arrived, until the  moment we left, in every part of the city that was 'touristy' ruined it for us. I'm talking running up to you or your car, as quickly as they could get to you before you were out of their range, with their money cup outstretched, type of panhandlers (that is the perfect description of so many of the panhandlers we came across). We didn't stay too long, even though I really wanted to see some other things, including the art museum that I read was wonderful. We had initially planned to stay the night and explore for 2 days, but no. I hope the city gets a hold on that, it's the worst I've ever seen for panhandling in the U.S.

Park at a truck stop in Arkansas
Arkansas was the next state on our ride. We didn't know where we were going for sure, like I said we were just deciding as we went for most places.  "AR-KANSAS," my son incorrectly announced (and now purposely calls the state), when we saw the welcome sign. Yay! Let's go explore!! We were both ready to happen into a great area, like we had on the way up with Savannah and Charlotte. What's in Arkansas? Little Rock is... but how close were we to it? We pulled over at the rest stop and looked at the map. There were some museums close by...should we go? We stretched out and ran around in the rest stop's park for awhile, got a bottle of water and decided to go explore the city we were closest to at the time, not veering too far this time from the highway. Such lovely rollercoaster hill roads. So many had NO lines on them though, which felt 'off' to me.

We went to get gas. A motorcycle was there, and left his bike on while he went inside to shop (what?? who does that...not where I'm from, lolol). I hoped that was indicative of the overall feel of Arkansas (trusting, nice, etc.). Turns out that short drive on the rolling hills was all we enjoyed. We did not hit the lucky draw for the city we came across. The stop we made had us in a building that was just plain grooooossssss. Mold-filled, crumbling building gross (and as an aside, and the bathroom was unusuable dirty). Oh, and the exit was a two-way street exit (yeeikes, never saw one and expected it to just be one-way!) that was about 10 seconds long. I'm sure there are wonderful areas in Arkansas to visit, if you have a plan. We didn't, and it was a fly-by-your-seat kind of trip so we just decided to move on.


Tennessee? I didn't realize we were going to go through Tennessee! We've been quite a few times, but never on this side of the state. Wait, it's over??? We were there long enough to blink an eye, and then it was gone. We'd just gone through the tiniest portion of it and headed right through to Mississippi. For the fifteen minutes or so we were there though (and I didn't time it, but that feels about right), no one on the highway used a turn signal while they were whipping in and out of traffic. No one. -_- I'm a Tennessee fan though! With the exception of the mountain driving which I personally am not a fan of, as you now know, TN is a state where we have done tons a wonderful things on previous trips (Ruby Falls being my absolute favorite!).


Mississippi was a pleasure to drive through! I swear they had THE best interstate on the whole trip, to and from our home state. Very little road construction, excellent condition, quiet, tree-lined but so beautiful it wasn't at all boring. THIS is a state I'd like to return to see. Fortunately enough for us, it's close enough to go back when we have time.This day though, my son was sleeping for most of the way through, so I just kept driving. We'd picked a destination on the map when we were leaving Arkansas...New Orleans! Both of us were excited. Me because it's one of the most popular spots in the U.S. The boy because he'd just finished reading a story (from the "I Survived" books, which are great if you haven't heard of them yet...perfect stories for a 10-year-old!) about a boy from New Orleans. My son was more excited than I was in fact. It was bringing the story to life for him, just thinking about being able to visit a city he'd just read about in depth. So...we got snacks in Mississippi (and gas), and drove right through. It wasn't a short drive, but it was a lovely and very pleasant one. 


I hooked up my old iPod, the one with 32,000 songs on it and sang my heart out for hours. We're talking songs I loved as a kid, my grandparent's music, my mom's music, music the kids loved, my music favorites (Harry Connick, Jr. came on just as we hit the Louisiana state line, which was funny to me since he's from there). 

When we hit New Orleans, we ended up on a bridge that was over water, but we didn't even realize it at first. Then the bridge went on forever (half an hour or so). We were on it so long I looked at the gas gauge to make sure we were good. We were 'goodish.'  This fast-moving traffic bridge is not where you want to run out of gas. We found out later we were on the world's longest continuous bridge passing over water, a floating bridge over Lake Pontchartrain. Immediately leaving that bridge, we thought, hurrah we can get gas, but no... we ended up in multi-lane high-speed traffic that had no tolerance for out-of-towners trying to figure out what was going on. We were beeped at (grr) and I got up to speed and tried to see the signs while traffic pretended there were no rules. Turns out we were on a multi-layered infrastructure that looked a lot like my son's Hot Wheels garage, only this wasn't cute. I finally just took an exit and got off. I had to get gas. We ended up in such a poor area of town. 

There were homeless people living under the bridge across from the gas station (we could have thrown a stone and reached them, or vice versa)... a lot of them. They had furniture, so we surmised they'd been there awhile. They weren't bothering anyone. Open-sided buses went by with drunk women screaming out things about partying. Then one went by with men and women doing the same. I made my son stay in the car while I filled the tank as quickly as humanly possible. I thought it was just a part of town, and we'd move on to something that felt more safe. We left to find more tourist-friendly areas and ended up slamming through a pothole big enough that it could have flattened 3 of my tires in one fell swoop. Honestly, it came out of nowhere with cars flying behind me too, so I know they had to hit them as well. That turned out to be a theme. New Orleans, except for the highways I came in on and hated, has potholes as big as Texas; everywhere. Potholes, huge bumps on the road, you name it. So I slowed down and paid rapt attention to the condition of the roads in front of me.



So, so happy to say we didn't get a flat (there...we did get one the moment we got home, right in our driveway, but that is unrelated to New Orleans). 15 states, and no flat until we got home (oh yeah, I said my prayer of thanks :) ).

So...New Orleans. My son and I both had to take a bathroom break and we were starting to get hungry. We went to Decatur Street which had a Cafe Du Monde right there in the flesh. I'd heard so much about it that I was excited to go!! Still, we had to park the car. The street and all of those around it were SO crowded. All of the meters were taken and it was starting to get dark There was a premium parking lot. We went in and a teenager on a bike was circling the spot where you have to get out of your car to pay. No thanks. He looked, and it felt, like he was up to no good. I left and went to McDonald's in a neighborhood close by. Surely they'd have a public restroom. No restrooms for the public. What? Wendy's. Same. So I got food for my son, and we parked in the parking lot so he could eat and I could formulate a plan. Clearly winging it was not going to work in this city. We didn't go inside. We tried but the doors were locked. While my son was eating, our car was approached by a big man on a bike. I shook my head vigorously no at him, backed out and hightailed it out of there, as fast as one can safely go over potholes the size of states. Not fun. Back to the area with tons of people.



We circled around to find parking, determined that we were going to do so. NOTHING. There were so many spots, but all of them were taken. I went to the premium lot again (know your license plate number because the machine will ask for it), which is right in the middle of everything, but hit-or-miss for safe. I drove up to read directions, circled the lot to look for creepos (we truly did not feel safe) and went back to it. I got out, locking my son in with the phone, lol. Sounds dramatic, but hey...your instincts are not usually off when it comes to safety. I paid $18 for 2 hours of parking and we set out to explore. Like I said, we were right in the middle of everything, so I figured we'd come back and pay more if we wanted to stay longer. Turns out there was no need.


First stop, a bathroom! We went to Cafe du Monde and waited half an hour to use the potty. It was very dirty from a lot of use, but we were relieved (haha, literally) just the same. This is the cafe that has beignets and cafe au lait so famous people know about it worldwide, hurrah! And despite the hour, it was very crowded. I took a picture with my phone, since I intentionally left my camera locked up in the car, and wasn't convinced it would be there upon our return...but I was even less sure we'd keep it if I carried it. We saw a cockroach the size of Houston and winced. OMG. No way I was eating a beignet (sorry, I know that's wimpy to most, but yeah, nope). My son felt the same. We left. Yes, we left Cafe du Monde with nothing to eat or drink. Turns out it was cash only (something I found out later when we headed back to the car and I went to buy coffee as a 'souvenir' for the grown kids). I just mention that, in case you go. This is not the place you want to go with cash, but you have to have it in many establishments, or you're not establishing. ;)  Now you know.


We saw a trolley car going by and looked around. There were people of all ages all over the place (in the streets, on the sculptures, hanging out on stairs, in buildings, yelling off of balconies, etc.) and they all seemed to be having a good time. Maybe I was being paranoid. We'd give it a try. 


I already knew from our drive to look for parking that venturing off to a side street for any reason was a big no. Even in the neighborhoods people were sitting, walking or stalking, and nowhere felt safe (and I'm not overly paranoid about these kinds of things, honestly). The street we were on was huge, had a lot of tourist attractions. Everyone loves the French Quarter, Jackson Square was right there, and the buildings were just as they looked in pictures...but not as inviting once you were there. We decided to walk it and see what we came across.


There were open front stores, just like a lot of tourist towns have and we usually enjoy. There were unusual to us stores too, that we didn't want to go see (voodoo stores, tarot/palm readers, LOTS of bars, of course, since it was NOLA). In fact, we were more or less forcing ourselves to go check things out because we didn't really want to stay. There were a lot of families around, and the kids were laughing and having a grand old time. Single women were sitting in the dark on stoops using their phones, etc. No one seemed overly concerned about safety. It was getting darker and the very busy street was now hitting a desolate spot. Garbage bags were lined up, people on bikes were looking at us, and we were backtracking going back to the crowds quickly. We got back to the action and took a picture to have the memory for the road trip photo album we are likely to make. 


Tons of people were in this spot. They were taking pictures with the sign. New Orleans is celebrating it's 300th birthday. People were in a festive mood. My son wanted his pic next to it too. We waited our turn. Even with all of those people a child-sized cockroach scurried underneath the step I was about to step on. I was glad I didn't have my real camera. It might have tried to wrestle it from me (and here I was worried about potential criminals).


The explorer in me was craving a better look around. We discussed it and decided to get a hotel and wander around in the daytime hours (like I said, it was dark by this time, though you'd never know it for the crowds!). We didn't want to sit in the car to plan our trip (it was in the parking lot that didn't feel so safe), so we went back to Cafe du Monde. I started calling hotels and none in the area I called had vacancies. I was surprised, but not surprised. We decided to drive to the section we'd seen coming in with a ton of hotels in the area. We walked around a homeless man who decided to put a cardboard tent over his head and sleep right in the middle of the very busy sidewalk (hey, he was probably smarter than most, no way I'd want to sleep in one of those side streets or parks), and got to the car. I'd parked intentionally right at the end. We went to a hotel that had a luxury rating, figuring it would be safe to get in and out of the car, and safe to leave the car while we were inside too. The first and only one we went to had people skunking around that felt like predators. We couldn't believe it. I decided we were leaving. It was a good decision.

NEW ORLEANS GETS UNDER YOUR SKIN!

I'll tell you one thing about New Orleans though. It gets under your skin. It's the place I've thought the most about since we've returned. It's the place I've researched the most since we've returned. It's the one I Google'd to see if others felt like I do (They don't. People LOVE New Orleans). The poverty is so thick and in your face. It's heart-wrenching sad. The crime is underlying yet very present as well, and it was frightening.

Thinking of people running around drinking while they were there made me feel alarmed for them!! The one thing that I kept reading online after we left New Orleans, is to always watch your drink if you're in a bar or public place because it's super common for people to 'put something in it' and rob you or worse. What? What? What? We weren't going to any bars, but I know it's one of many things the city is famous for, so it's good info. to share.

We got on the highway (not over the bridge, the other one going towards home) and we never looked back. I won't lie, I felt relieved when we got out of the city. It may be a wonderland for you (like I said, I know a lot of people love it), but I am not a fan. I will say though, it's unlike any place I've ever been. I can see the draw, especially true if you like to 'party.' 

Underwater tunnel leaving Louisiana
Leaving Louisiana we went underground again, though not through a mountain. This time it was under water!! The picture isn't so great, but you get the idea. Cool, right? "What if it gets a leak, mom?" Good question...and not one I want to think about at the moment. ;)  It was very fast, and when we got out we were marveling at what just happened. People build some crazy things!


After a shower, a good night's sleep the ride home went relatively fast. Once we were back on the highway we stopped at the rest stop in Alabama to have a look around. We weren't looking to visit though. By this time, though we had loved our trip, we were both ready to go home.


I did love that they had a 'Sweet Home Alabama' sign up above some comfy looking rocking chairs.


Truth though...our "Welcome to Florida" sign never looked so good.  Though it takes awhile to get to our house, neither of us wanted to explore anything in Florida. There was a city we passed through in the rain though, that had a TON of accidents, more than a normal highway should (Cocoa Beach). The highways were concrete, not blacktop. I wonder if that had anything to do with it? I always hate those roads when they're wet because you can't see the lines as well, they kind of just blend in. There were so many wrecks, for such a long stretch, that something had to be going on. That's the one thing on a road trip that I always hate to see. We took extra caution driving there, and thankfully got home in one piece.

It was a trip to remember. Will we do it again? Probably, but we'll likely have a plan next time, with our hotels pre-booked and a set amount of time put aside to stay in an area. We'll also be checking the crime rates before we go (which incidentally did turn out to be high in St. Louis and in New Orleans). 

Road trips are always a fun adventure, and this one was no exception. Despite a couple of snafus, it's still our favorite memory from summer. :)

48 comments:

Elephant's Child said...

What an amazing way to turn a necessary trip into an adventure. I am glad that on balance you had a great time.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

You stopped and saw a lot.
I wish my parents were closer, but like your mom, they have a ton of friends where they are at.
I enjoy mountain driving but not in the rain. (And certainly not when it's icy!)

GiGi Eats said...

Yay for road trips!!! I love going on them because I just love to explore new places! I especially love going with my husband, well cause I mean, he's my bestie!

jjmon2012 said...

WOW you put a lot of miles on your car and your bottoms. Maybe I missed it but how long were you on the road. I think it would be fun to do the trip you did. My sister and I did this up in New England states about 5 yrs ago. It was fun to see something and just stop or turn around. Our GPS got really missed at us because we kept missing turns. :-)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Rosey - what a great memoir blog post of a wonderful holiday-travel time for you both ... loved seeing all your visits - and I'll be back to re-read this properly ... looks a lovely reference tool for us too - should we be able to get to visit - cheers Hilary

Joyce Lansky said...

Yes. Tennessee drivers are bad. I give a ghost tour in Memphis where I talk about our curse of the bad drivers. Unfortunately, we've been out of commission for several weeks because a driver on the wrong side of the street hit our bus.

krish said...

Beautiful narrative...l lik vely pics a trip across so many states..yes hill hiiving is not everyone's cup of tea...
I love travelling by my car on holidays..
Enjoyed reading your experience...very informative..

Evelyn Hernandez said...

Amazing car trip! I hope to overcome my car sickness one day and take such a beautiful trip myself.

Sandee said...

Your son is not only handsome, he's brilliant. What memories were made.

Have a fabulous day. ♥

Fran Jorgensen said...

What an incredible trip you've had! I love the fact that you have shared with us the highlights because sometimes you look online and the pictures look totally different from reality. Thanks for sharing!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Rosey - just read about New Orleans ... sorry that was so unnerving. But I was interested to read about the bridge - that would span the English channel - if it was one span ... but glad you got home safely and in one piece - cheers Hilary

Pat Hatt said...

Sure turned that into a trip to remember indeed. Blah to the pot holes, good no flat tire came until you got home. I keep CAA handy for that. Nothing wrong with missing the cat or being a crazy cat lady, as long as you don't get too high in the double digits lol Yeah, winter sucks. Need to win the lottery and buy a winter home in Florida. The cats and I can migrate there until the snow goes. I'd want to pump gas and get away from that spot too.

CityrockaP said...

Looks like a fun time indeed. Loads of fun for all. Would like to check this place out one day!

Serena H said...

What a summer!! I would be exhausted with all of that travel but of course with it bring back so many memories. You have visited some of my favorite places.

Monidipa Dutta said...

New Orleans is live

Monidipa Dutta said...

New Orleans is love to me. And I really enjoyed reading about your adventurous trip. You really balanced well.

Rhian Westbury said...

That's good that you stopped on the way. It can break up a long journey so much and it seems like you maximized your trip well x

Delhi Fun Dos said...

It was quite a relaxing read. Your travel pictures and courageous to travel even more. Virginia is our next destination. Mountains calling us again.

Iya - Louisa said...

This looks like you all had a great time! I would love to do a road trip style getaway soon!

Nidhi Fouzdar said...

One hollywood tv series named The originals is based on new orleans. Ilove the place it's so beautfiul

Jeannine said...

Wow that is full travel such a great trip together. What a happy experience this road trip..

Olga Zak said...

Travelling is my favorite hobby. I really enjoyed reading about your adventurous trip. You really balanced well.

Monidipa Dutta said...

Looks like you guys had great time.! I love road trips, but even I hadn't ever had the idea of stopping in between and enjoying the Views and other places.

The Mommyhood Life said...

Looks like such an amazing time! This was our first summer not doing an out of state road trip and now I have the travel itch, so trying to plan one for the next holiday break :)

ewuzie kingsley said...

what an amazing trip, full of wonderful and great experience i trust you had a splendid time with your kids.thanks for sharing your experience.

Scott Gombar said...

Turn necessity into fun...sounds like a good idea to me. We wanted to take a summer road trip from CT to the Carolinas but with all these destination weddings it wasn't in the cards this year.

Anzah said...

Wow, amazing places. The world is so beautiful. Unplanned trips sometimes turns out amazing. You take a right decision to make your trip so adventures.

alissa apel said...

That is great that you got to see so many things! It's great that your son thought of it. Not only did you get to experience new things, but you also got to stretch your legs. A fun summer for sure!

Binky said...

Wow, that was quite a trip! I hadn't realized you went through so many states, and made so many stops. I'm sure it will be a very memorable trip for years to come.

Holly Hood said...

You guys covered a lot of ground. This had to be so much fun!! That is the way you do a family vacation. This is a great and very interesting post.

Elizabeth O said...

It looks like you had a really great road trip! The pictures you took are lovely and taking a stop off to break up the journey is a great idea.

Susan Kane said...

What a great thing to do! He will never forget the experience.

Jessica Hughes said...

Road trips are SO much fun. It looks like you had an amazing time and made wonderful memories for a lifetime.

Dr. K. Lee Banks said...

What a fun trip - glad your child suggested it! It's also nice to virtually partake of the trip, with all your great pictures and descriptions.

Scott said...

Downtown St. Louis is notorious for panhandlers. Too bad you didn't venture out into some of the other areas - they're much nicer!

Blair Villanueva said...

This is such an amazing adventure with your family! It doesn't look like in US, thought initially was in Europe :)

Theresa Mahoney said...

I like that you did a fly by the seat of your pants road trip. Sorry to hear about the few uncomfortable moments, from the panhandling to feelings of being unsafe in NOLA, but I'm sure this is a trip you'll remember for a lifetime.

We did the underwater tunnel on the train going from England to France. I had to try to keep myself from wondering about leaks too lol

Glad you got to see your mama. Seeing family is so precious, it was a good vacation well spent.

Adessa Young said...

wow, this is really one great road trip! I love road trips but yours is amazing since you went and see so many places. The pictures you took make as imagine what it is like there, so thank you for sharing them!

Neely said...

What an incredible road trip! So cool to be able to see and read all about it

momi berlin said...

So great that you were able to document that road trip. I also love those kind of spontaneous trips. The best to share with family and loved ones

Annemarie LeBlanc said...

Wow! How awesome it was for you to be able to travel to all those places! I would love to go on a grand road trip like that. Thanks for sharing your photos. I loved the virtual tour of the places you've been.

Stephanie Moore said...

wow what a adventure! you have fitted in so much and took some fab photos of all the things

jenniferrluna said...

Wow what an exciting, scary and fun adventure you had. I love how you shared the good and the bad for each place. I don't think people do enough of that and it really helps to know some of the things to look out for. New Orleans sounds like it was really interesting.

Sayanti said...

Looks like you had lots of fun there. I am though not a fan of road trips, but after witnessing the adventure you had recently, I might as well give road trips a try.

Makeupadda said...

Road trips are so much fun. Look like you had fun on your road trips.

tat2gurlzrock said...

Awww you should have stayed awhile in SC(I live outside of the capitol city) Lot's of fun things to do!

Bushra Shaikh said...

Oh My God, the pictures are amazing... and seems like you had an amazing time.... :) Great article... :) Thanks for sharing... :)

Liev Cruz said...

Your Tour Summary was really awesome. I would like to join you on the next tours. I always wanted to visit Virgina, because I love mountains and farms. Thanks for sharing your experience here!