Friday, July 4, 2014

21-Hour Car Rides Call for Serious Backup

So, as I'm packing up for a long car ride - 21 hours to be exact - I go over the necessities for the trip.  It looks something like this...

1. 6 novels.  2 of which consist of 600 pages.  (I can not stress the importance of these items.)  My philosophy on travelling with books is to overestimate the amount I will need - by a lot.  So even though it's unlikely I'll finish all of these, they all must come.  And 4 of them are put into my backpack, which will stay at my side for the whole drive, just in case I'm not in the mood for 3 of them.  ;)  As for the genre of these books...I have one light biography-type book, a mystery, two fantasys, an old classic (school assignment), and one on writing structure and tips.  So typically, variety is as important as quantity.  ;)

2.  A handful of pens.  A large handful.  Mostly ink and gel pens.  Also a couple sketching pencils - only there in case I happen to feel inclined to sketch.  Usually they sit unused for the whole trip.

3.  Paper.  Also vital.  Most important is the 5 section notebook for creative writing.  Not to be forgotten is the clipboard full of blank paper; for scribbling, folding, drawing, or a spontaneous game of hangman - or tic-tac-toe - or connect-the-dots.  

4.  Snacks.  Can't live without them.  Fortunately, I didn't have to worry about these this time because my wonderful mother packed a boatload of them.  I love sweets...and cheesy cracker-type things.  

5. Some money.  Necessary, but not at the top of my list. ;)

6.  Business cards.  About a year ago, Olivia and I ordered 250 free business cards from Vistaprint with info about our book and blog printed on there.  Not sure I'll use them much, but my plan goes somewhere along the lines of leaving a trail of them in rest stops from North Kansas to South Florida. one really looks at those, do they?  Still...

Trip Journal

Day One of the Very Long Drive

So...we got in the car and started driving!  The hours flew by...I slept for the first one. :)  My mom had packed these fun little sacks to open every hour - they contained everything from Sour Patch candy, to fake mustaches, to marshmallows and aluminum foil.  (That last one must be explained...we used the foil, marshmallows and pipe cleaners to make sculptures.) 

We ate in Nashville, Tennessee, at a little burger place for some reason called Paradise Palace or something.  Sitting in the country music capital of the entire nation, I started dreaming a bit about someday accomplishing something there.  Maybe one of my dreams will come true there, someday.
mom turned on the Mission Impossible song and I started dancing.  It was about 9:30 pm, so it was dark outside...and we had one of the car lights on.  Right in the middle of my 'spy dance' (which was carried out under the restraint of my seat belt), a car pulls up next to us.  Impulsively (and very unlike me), I do a weird, dramatic like motion - half salute and half wave - at their front window...which happens to be tinted, so I can't see their reaction before I yank my hand back and start laughing, covering my face.  Can't believe I did that.  As I waved, I can recall my expression as being a cross between raised eyebrows and a weird smile.  Goodness knows if the person was even looking...but with our illuminated windows, they would have had a clear view of my friendly-but-slightly-creepy salutation.

We arrived safely in Birmingham, Alabama, and crashed in a hotel.

Day Two of the Slightly Less Very Long Drive

It's funny how when you're resigned to an incredibly long road trip, the first 10 hours go by very quickly.  But then the last 30 minutes feels like 10 whole hours in itself.  Anyways, I entertained myself mostly by reading, and writing these blog posts and other random things.  I also spent time just laying on my pillow against the window and listening to the wide range of songs my family put on, which included the 'Happy Song' (which grew increasingly less happy after it was played about 15 times), the Frozen soundtrack, Jason Mraz, country songs, and the occasional Cuban Salsa.

A certain amount of time was also spent with the six of us making duck faces while wearing stick-on mustaches.....and pig faces and detective faces...I don't know why...we kept them on for about an hour.  We went into a restaurant with them on when we stopped once, and collected a couple of stares and laughs.  It was great as long as we stayed in a group, being mutually and justifiably weird as we marched to the bathrooms.  Except, my dad walked in first, a couple minutes ahead of us.  He looked just plain weird.  


Just plain weird.

5:30 pm:
So, we drove so far south that the trees changed. That's pretty far south. Tall, skiiiiiiiinny liiiiitle trees with big, clunky, messy canopies. Kinda like a rain forest. They're pretty. I really like the leaves that look like nets over their branches. Also, the occasional lone palm tree in the middle of a field is cool. One thing I love (once we got to Naples) is how the trees lined up against the road a made something like corridors so it feels like we're driving down a tunnel.  

So far the second day has gone slower...we still have about 4 hours. I drove for 1 hour and 15 minutes in Georgia, a couple hours back. That made me kinda tired, so we watched Mega Mind. After I switched seats.

Me being sleepy
Speaking of sleepy, I just found out that the two cute, helpful, little allergy pills that I took last morning before we left home were basically generic Benadryl. Which would explain the hour-long nap I couldn't help but take very early in the trip (abnormal for me because I rarely sleep in the car). Oops. I thought I was just lacking sleep (which was probably true as well) so I pushed through it. That hour was the only hour I slept during the whole 21 hours.

Accomplished on this drive:
Slept: 1 hour
Read: 1 novel
Eaten: Many snacks
Watched: 4 movies
Written: 1 blog post

And so finally, we're here! The last two days have been great. I caught up some on sleep...and I'm working on some sun. Internet connection is not yet existing in our condo, which is why this post accounts for the last 4 days. :) We've kinda gone back and forth from the condo, to the pool, to the beach, which is great. My book has gone with me to all the places, as well as my snacks.  

We made it, guided by our faithful GPS, with Siri insisting every couple hours that we make a U-turn and leave the gas station, my mom placating her ("Hold on, sweetie, I know..."), and our fearless leader (father and designated driver) making loud and exaggerated Tarzan cries (a video of this phenomenon may or may not be available upon request).  

Us, before we started driving:

(Happy, calm, undaunted by the prospect of 21 hours together in a mini-van.  Clean car, clean faces...excited.)

Us, nearing the end of our drive:

Aged; grown mustaches and grumpy faces.  Progressively more insane.  Notice the trash and stuff now strewn across the back seat.  That was NOT there when we started. ;)


But yeah!  It was all worth it.  

Because I get to do this.....

Best. Thing. Ever.

So...peace out, everyone!  In a very small nutshell, Florida is awesome.

~Caroline M.  :)


  1. Awesome! You make me laugh. I have loved every moment of this trip, even the 1,260 minutes in the van. I am happy you are the designated family historian documenting all of our adventures. Love you!

    1. Haha sorry this was my mom - on my account ;)

  2. Sounds a lot like one of my family trips! Haha I'm glad you are enjoying yourself down there. :)