Monday, April 23, 2012

On the Road

On March 29 my wife and I took the two kids to Disney World. With the cost of air fare for 4 being so high we opted to drive, which was all of about $300 for gas, far less than flying. This was the first we drove that kind of distance, and we aimed high. The plan was to drive straight through, no stops except for gas, bathroom, and food.

And we did it, too. We left at 8:00 p.m. I had put in a full day at work, and the kids full days at school, while Karen did the last minute packing and what needed to be done in getting supplies together because we brought food for breakfast during our stay in FL.

Karen took the first leg because she was more comfortable driving in the area she knows. Fortunate, too, because the GPS wanted to send us in strange side diversions like taking Rte 29 down to I495 rather than just taking I95. I don't know what the algorithm in that thing is thinking. Of course, it also wanted to take us around the west side of I495 instead staying with the east side I495/I95 stretch. We ignored those directions.

After about 5 hours of driving I took over. I had tried to get some sleep but didn't get as much as I would have liked. My start at 1:00 a.m. on March 30 only lasted 3 hours. I was just too sleepy. My body clock doesn't like activity when it's expecting sleep. So Karen took over again for a couple hours, which carried us through to 6:00 a.m. She wasn't on familiar ground but it was all just driving down I95.

And, man, is that some boring road. That was a good part of my problem with staying away. It's dull. The steady droning of lane markers, flashing dashed markers for passing, rare sightings of other vehicles in the wee hours, and radio station hunting made for some numbing of the mental faculties. Karen was far better than I with it, but she's more of a night person, which helped.

The last 5 yours into Orlando and the Pop Century Resort went fairly well. We had a minor hang up in Jacksonville when a part of I95 was closed for an accident, but there was another segment of local highway right there that made it a quick detour. There would have been hardly any slowing at all if people followed directions. Too many of the other vehicles were trying to go into the closed section instead of taking the easy detour. No idea why. It was closed and not moving at all.

Probably the worst stretch of the drive was in SC when we went past a sewage treatment plant that was operating to the max in the middle of the night. What a stench.

Driving back on April 2 was a lot better. We left at 1:00 p.m. I drove the first 10 hours without problem and Karen took the last 5 to home. Arriving at 3:00 a.m was a lot better than driving at 3:00 a.m. with 8 more hours to go. We unloaded the car but didn't unpack anything. Everyone just climbed into bed until some telemarketer called around 8:30.

Despite the marathon nature of the drive, there was a lot of fun. The kids are fun to be with at 10 and 13. Plenty to contribute to conversations and, especially with Hob, quick with a quip. That boy's crazy.

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