My husband, by all definitions, is a very smart man. And not just in the work place. He actually has life skills. He can cook, clean, iron, and fix things. I can send him to the grocery store unchaperoned. He can style Sara's hair better than I can. When her Brownie vest needs a new patch applied, he does it. He doesn't "babysit" our kids when I go out. I don't need to leave 10 pages of instructions. So, why would a smart, well-adjusted, involved husband and father think that driving to Orlando from Indiana as a family would be a good idea? He adamantly denies it was just to torture me for his own sick amusement. First came the packing - clothes, shoes, hats, jammies, socks, swimsuits, snacks, water, books, stuffed animals, DVDs, games, etc. Then we had to load all that into the car AND strategically place it all so the kids had free access to some items but not others. Kids zoned out on movies, me loaded with my book and pillow we were off on our pilgrimage across the midwest and south (I think. I never looked at the map). I was a charming and delightful co-pilot. I read my book for 45 minutes then fell asleep. When I woke up, I had hoped we would at least be in another state. Nope, still the cornfields in Indiana. For another 4 hours! And people say that Texas is a big state. Just how much corn does the American population need?! We occasionally fed the kids, let them out to pee but mostly we drove. All day. Finally in some other state, I spot a sign for Dino World. I shout at my chauffeur to stop. He didn't. For two reasons (he claims). One, he was on an important work call. Two, we needed to arrive at some predetermined destination before midnight or we all turned into pumpkins. After 5 years of dating and almost 12 years of wedded bliss, how can my husband deny me a stop at a tacky roadside attraction? Around 9:30 at night after 12 hours of driving, we arrived in some other state (Tennessee, I think) and pass out. We spent the next exploring Ruby Falls and watching Sara do a zip line. It was a fantastic place to stop and explore and get over the trauma of being captive in a car for an entire day. The next day was more of the same - fights over movies, games, demands for potty and snacks (by me). As I am reading the book "Kids Love I-75 (awesome book, must have for travel with kids), I delightedly point out the original Whistle Stop Cafe is nearby. He indulges me on this one. We ignore the claims of starvation from the backseat and go hunting for it. Now I am positively giddy. Being in the car for 7 hours would pay off, finally. Nope, it was closed. Now I am feeling like Clark Griswold when he discovered Wally World was closed for the day. No, I didn't put a dead relative on the roof of my car, but I was tempted. We still got out and explored it. The next day, I discover that we are within minutes of the world's largest peanut. Now, we all know that we were going to see THAT. Who can pass that up? Turns out most people do. When I asked at the gas station, the cashier had no idea what I was talking about!!! Well, we found it. And it was as tacky and cheesy as I expected. No one else was as impressed. My daughter did indulge me and pose for a picture. My son couldn't even be bothered to get out of the car. Between finding the peanut and the Big Chicken KFC, my day was complete. Yes, the beak and eyes move!! Eyes rolling, patience worn thin, my husband announces that we really need to keep driving if we ever expect to get to Orlando. My eyes peeled for more tacky attractions, I agree. Luckily for my husband, my ability to stay awake as a passenger only lasts about 1.5 hours (tops).
The drive home was more of the same but with fewer (no) stops except the occasional bathroom/food stop. Kids fighting and demanding snacks. Me sleeping. Paul driving. Now, I can cross off driving to Orlando off my bucket list. Not that it was ever on MY list.