Monday, April 8, 2013

Crazy, Vacation, and DIRT!

Our 16th wedding anniversary is coming up in a couple of weeks.  We had thought to get away together for a mini-vacation.  He'd take a few days off work and the two of us would hit the road.  We'd get time alone together, see some sights, and I could gather more world for my collection.  (To be completely honest "World Collection" isn't sticking around here.  It is most definitely a Dirt Collection.  OK, I can own that.  So, I collect dirt, so what?  I LIKE my dirt!)

Unfortunately, a perfect storm of family scheduling means Mom won't be able to stay with the girls.  And 4 days (our plan) is too long to be away without supervision.  *sigh

So, we started thinking about postponing the trip, but extending it longer and taking the munchkins.  (Hmm...they are almost not even munchkins anymore.  Need to come up with another affectionate diminutive.)  Make it a family trip, see more than the previous plan called for.  (Plus spend a lot more on food and hotels!  yay)

I am halfway getting excited and halfway terrified.  Will it be cool?  Will it be awful?

SNAP OUT OF IT!!!  (That is my inner sane voice.  She has to yell, because I often don't listen.)
You were dreading last year's Epic Roadtrips, but those were fine.  Even St. Louis at rush hour.  (No, St. Louis at rush hour may have scarred me for life.  St. Louis at rush hour is what has me terrified of Buffalo / Niagara.) 
PSSHAW!!!  Just be careful about scheduling WHEN you get to town.  Look at the plan, it is a 9+ hour drive from Colonial Williamsburg to Niagara.  The thought that you would arrive before 6pm is ludicrous! (Good point.)

Do I have to go through Chicago?
No, Sweetie.  Babysteps.  We'll go around Chicago.

This is going to be AWESOME!!! Extended trip means choosing some places to stay longer, and going to places we would not have been able to before.  More fun, more places, more dirt!

There is a lot of stuff to get done first.
 BUDGETING!  (That is just bold for emphasis, not my sane voice yelling.  She has been rendered harmless, tied up, and gagged.) Must see how we can keep costs down.  Fast food twice a day for 10 days is NOT going to cut it.  (Get that gag back on!)  But cargo space is at a premium.  It is all fine and good to say "Pack your own food,"  but we are going to also be packing our own clothes, and various electronics, and eventually little baggies of dirt.  We'll probably pack some food, buy some along the way, and yes, eat out a few times.  I already plan to make sure every hotel has breakfast included.  duh!
MAPPING!  Who am I kidding, this is my favorite part.  GoogleMaps is like a video game to me.
BOOKING!  This is one of the last pre-pack things I do.  Must always wait until the decisions are made, then book.  Cancellations are a pain in the tookus.  Also, I always do this online.  I hate talking to people on the phone.  (I am a freak.)
APPLYING!  Passports!!!  It would be a crying (weeping, bleeding, oozing) shame to get that close to Canada and not be able to get some Canada for my collection.  This will begin to make it an actual WORLD collection, instead of a state collection.  This won't be the first time I apply for a passport, just the first time in over 20 years.  It also won't be the first time I have been to Canada.  Just the first time in over 20 years.  (Oddly, those two "over 20 years" facts are not related.  You didn't need a passport to visit Canada in 1990.  The passport was for Chile, Argentina, and Brazil, which you did need a passport for in 1991.)

Wow!  This post has gotten long and really isn't telling you much about what is going on around here.  Sorry.   I am just excited.  I don't have much to say about how things have been going.  I have been a little depressed and feeling like a lump.  Planning this trip has been a nice wake up.

Let's see if I can find some of the pics form last year's Epic Roadtrip 2012 1, 2 and 3  (Yes, there were 3.)

Paducah, Kentucky  DD14 (then) and I on our way to see the National Quilt Museum.  It is an ok way to spend an hour if you like quilts.
DD14 at the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri.  That is her, right at the base of the arch, being peaceful.

Here is another shot of the arch.  I love this shot.  I am seriously tempted to have it framed.

Here is DD13 (then) being peaceful in southern Minnesota.  We didn't really HAVE to go to Minnesota.  But we were close and I didn't have any Minnesota in my collection...
I didn't tell them to throw the Peace sign, and neither girl was present at the other photo...just a thing between sisters, I guess.

The trips were to take my brother to Des Moines for a seasonal job and then pick him up again.  I took one girl each trip, for company and ... well, just for company.  I love being with my girls and we don't often get one on one time.

That left one girl out of the action, though.  So, when her birthday came around she got a special, long weekend with Mom in Atlanta.
 DD11 (but only for 2 more days) and I were at the GA Aquarium.  Which was FANTASTIC!  Here she is at the petting pool.

The aquarium was such a hit with her (and me) that we are planning to make it part of the family trip coming up.

And, because it has been such a focus for this post, one bonus pic...
I currently have ten states (Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, S. Dakota, Minnesota, Missouri, Kentucky, and Georgia) and one bottle of water (Christmas Snow 2012).  I had more water, but after gathering Sardis Reservoir, Puskus Lake, and the Talahatchie  River I left the bottles in the car and forgot to get them out a few days later when I assigned the girls to clean out the car.  At least those are local and can be easily replaced.  (Which is why I don't have any Mississippi or Tennessee.  I keep putting it off because I could get those any time.)
   The Nebraska is from a field where my friends and I played when I was a child.  We made up Narnian adventures (among other worlds.)  I wanted THAT to be my Nebraska dirt.
   The Kentucky is specifically from my in-laws' yard.  The snow was as well.

   After this trip, if all goes as currently planned, I will add Alabama, S. Carolina, N. Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, Ontario, Michigan, and Illinois.  On the water side, I will add the Atlantic Ocean, the James River, the Potomac River, Lake Erie, Lake Ontario, Lake Huron, Lake Michigan, and (I am hoping) the Mississippi River.  Oh, and some Myrtle Beach, separate from South Carolina dirt.
   I need more glassware.  I filled the antique spice bottle set you see in the picture.  I have GA, and KY in jars.  I have one empty jar ready.   I need to move the snow water to a smaller bottle and use that jar for dirt.  Colonial Williamsburg has a glass blower, so I may pick up something there to keep the Virginia dirt in.  Other than that, a trip to the thrift store should help, as well as the grocery store.
   Have you ever bought a certain food just because of the jar it came in?  This won't be my first time.

I had better sign off before this post gets too long and rambly...too late!

Haha, I just realized that when petting the rays at the aquarium we were instructed to use just two fingers.  So, while they were not exactly the same, she is also sort of giving a peace sign.  3 for 3!

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