Our 2010 family vacation adventure began as planned. Packed and waiting for Daddy to get home from work, the kids began asking all kinds of questions about our destination. Where were we headed? Eventually, Cocoa Beach, FL, would be our first official stop, with a brief rest between Birmingham & Atlanta. Daddy arrived home from work, we ate a quick dinner, loaded up the truck, prayed safety and fun over our trip (and that our A/C would work just fine), and away we went.
I took the first shift of driving, kids occupying themselves with their DS’s, and Greg attempting to nap before his turn. Within 45 minutes of our departure, we already had the dreaded question…’Are we getting close?’ I answered it with a ‘Closer then we were at home.’ (Before falling asleep we only had the question ‘Are we still in Arkansas?’ 2 more times or so…not bad.) After enjoying a beautiful sunset, another call from the back, ‘Are we going to take a potty break?’ So we pulled into the nearest gas station to take turns taking in the kids…while the other parent stayed with the truck. Having all our clothing & stuff hanging off the back of the truck made me a little nervous to leave the truck unattended. Upon returning from taking all the girls to the bathroom…which was a 10 minute ordeal, we were notified our vehicle was under attack. Greg and Grayson had killed 14 mosquitoes that had infiltrated the truck during our absence. After winning the battle we continued on our journey along with our new found friend…Red Bull.
Wow. I was skeptical that this magical beverage would be able to keep me awake since no matter how much sleep I get I can only stay awake to drive for 2 hours max once it gets dark outside. I was blown away. When it was my turn again, I was ready to drive straight through to Cocoa Beach. I was for sure I could make it at least until Atlanta. There were periods of surreal-ness…not another car on the road, streetlights glowing in the early morning haze…that were reminiscent of the Spongebob episode when he accidentally boarded a bus out of Bikini Bottom. At one pit stop at a huge gas station, it was only us, the unfriendly gas station attendant, and one other patron who was limping & dragging his leg walking through the parking lot.
Needless to say, I was in a bit of a hurry to get out of there. When we hit the Talladega area, Greg and I decided the kids looked a little miserable in their strange contorted sleep positions and that they really needed to be able to stretch out. Unfortunately, all the decent hotels in and around the area were booked due to an event where Corvettes were racing at the speedway. We ended up in a cheap, but icky hotel. Not the worst I’ve stayed in, but definitely in the bottom 20%. We rolled into our hotel ‘Americas Best Value Inn’ around 4am, and were fed, showered, and headed to Atlanta by 10:30am.