Jan. 10, 2000

I'm Baaaaack

Well we're back and very glad to be home. Not that the trip was bad.. the weather cooperated (for a change) but Older Son did not (as usual). When he rejoined our family after New Year's (when his friend returned home) he assumed full teenage mode and, in his own words, "made our life a living hell". He accomplished that more by his words than any actions but it was not pleasant.

I kept a paper journal.. for the first few days. So without further ado here's the first part of my account of our road trip from Montreal to Fort Lauderdale:

Dec. 24, 1999

8:30 PM from the lobby of the Comfort Inn Southpoint, Fredericksburg VA, over 1100 km (about 700 miles) from home. Drinking complementary hot apple cider, yummmmmmmm.

Up at 5 AM today. That's only a little later than I often get to sleep. Coffee, last minute packing, checking that lights are off, and into the car before 6:30.

I don't drive on these long trips. Highway driving hypnotizes me, and Hubby would rather do it all anyway.

We take Hubby's preferred route - southwest into Ontario, turning south at the Thousand Islands into New York State and I-81. This route bypasses the large NY-NJ-Baltimore hight traffic area, and more importantly (to Hubby) has no tolls except for the bridge into New York. We hook up to the west side of the loop surrounding Washington DC and then head south into Virginia. The downside to this route is, it goes through the snow belt just east of the great lakes. Today we were lucky. No snow was falling but the road was wet in areas.

When we left Montreal it was cold (-12 C or about +13 F) but no snow was on the ground at all. As we progressed into Ontario, there was the lightest of dustings on the trees and fields. The pine trees bordering the highway could not have been more beautiful if they had been decorated and brightly lit! In the sunlight it looked as if God had taken a giant sifter and gently sprinkled icing sugar everywhere.

South of Watertown NY the snow cover was a bit heavier, and there must have been a calm, heavy snow very recently. The trees were laden with pure white clumps resting atop their branches. One small pine tree looked exactly like a twisted "sno-cone". (Duh, that's why they call them sno-cones!) I tried taking photographs from the moving car window. (Yet to be developed, hoping for the best.)

The rest of the day was fairly routine. It was an easier trip than usual in one way - with only one son there wasn't much fighting to be heard. This is the ninth time in thirteen years that we've done this, so we know what to expect. I keep detailed travel logs, mostly to alleviate the boredom, and it's fun to compare different years' progress. We usually arrive at our destination for the night by 7 PM, eat dinner, watch TV and go to sleep. If I can, I book a hotel with indoor corridors and a lobby, as I get restless, stuck inside four walls with the family. I need my space to relax and wind down.

Tomorrow we expect to make it to St. Augustine FL (our usual second stop), around another 1000 km. This leaves only a morning's drive for the third day. We try to avoid travelling on Christmas Day because it's almost impossible to find open restaurants. We packed some bread, peanut butter and drinks, just in case.

(to be continued..)

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