Tuesday, August 17, 2010

To Durham and Beyond: Part Four-Homeward Bound

Our trip from Greenville to Iowa was via Indianapolis for the night, and Greenville to Indy was going to be the longest leg of the journey. Because Iain was "car-ed out" by this time, and was getting cranky after the 10 minutes it took each time we drove to our hotel from downtown, we weren't sure what to do. We wanted to be to our hotel in Indy by check-in, but also knew that the trip would take way longer than the 8 1/2 projected hours, what with much needed stops. We also agreed that the more time we could drive while Iain slept, the better, but we were just too tired to think about a 5am wake up call.

In the end, after our busy, busy day in Greenville, we decided not to set the alarm and just "see what happened". We were sure that Iain was super tired, and that he'd sleep solidly, and then we'd get up and go. Well...as Becky's dad says..."You can count on that!" At home, Iain is a pretty consistent sleeper, waking up somewhere around 6am for his bottle of "milk breakfast" and then promptly going back to sleep until 9am or so, but on this trip, sleeping in strange places, getting teeth, and bunking up in the same room with Mom and Dad, he'd been all over the place. Some mornings he'd wake up at 5am and take over an hour to go back to sleep. Other days, he'd sleep straight through until 7:30 or so, and then decide it was time to be up for good. Well, of course, this night he woke up screaming at 3am! We weighed our options: do we let him cry (thus disturbing us and everyone around us) in hopes he'll go back to sleep for a few hours? do we feed him, go back to bed and sleep in, thus dashing all hopes of getting an early start? or do we get up and go? In the end, that's what we did.

We fed Iain, and packed him into the car in the dark, and were on the road by 3:30. It turned out to be a good decision, because he DID sleep for much of the trip, which made for a more pleasant (and faster) car ride! But we were sad that our entire drive through South Carolina, North Carolina and Tennessee was in the dark, so we missed all of the mountainous beauty we'd caught a glimpse of the day before. I will say that we climbed for what seemed like hours, and even the stars were obscured by the peaks around us, so they must be impressive! Once again, we'd love to go back!

As we started our downward journey into Kentucky, the sun stole over the horizon, and we spotted a familiar southern icon.
I had never been to a Waffle House, though Neil had, and we decided that our trip to the south wouldn't be complete without patronizing the restaurant you see on EVERY corner. Besides...we were stinkin' hungry! If you've never been to a Waffle House (and perhaps I'm the only person in the world who hasn't!) don't let the name fool you. It could just as easily be called "Egg House" or "Breakfast House" or "Sandwich House", and it wasn't the massive selection of waffles I was expecting. But it was pretty good (for a Waffle House) and they had coffee, and it was a nice little break. Did you know you can still smoke in restaurants in Kentucky? Strange, right?

We made it to Indianapolis by about 2pm, and made a quick stop for lunch at Yats. Apparently this restaurant is a Indy landmark, and it was one of our favorites on the trip. They have four locations, the owner is from New Orleans and they serve Cajun and Creole food. They have about five things on the menu each day, and you can order a full size, a half size, or "half and half" (two things) and it comes with two slices of garlic bread and and it's a fixed price. Neil got a half order of red beans and smoked sausage with rice, and I got a half order of chicken with mushroom and spinach on rice, and our total came to $8. It was fantastic food, and plenty of it, and the restaurant decor (in Neil's words) "looked like a record store"! Very cool experience. If you're ever in Indy...go to Yats!

From there, it was off to our final (free) hotel, and we were pretty excited about this one, as it was brand new, and a two-room suite, which meant our little bunk-mate could have his own room! Our hotel also had a kitchen area, which we were excited about. After seeing just how nice the kitchen was, (and in particular the sweet stainless steel cookware they had to offer!) we decided that some Pitman chefery was in order! After a quick dip in the pool, we hit up Trader Joe's, which was just down the road, and got all the ingredients for a gourmet dinner, made by us! Here's what was on the menu: Parmesan crusted chicken, linguine Alfredo with mixed vegetables, Caesar salad, wine for Neil and sparkling cider for Beth, and mint chip ice cream for dessert. Our dinner was mostly made by Neil, and it was fantastic! (The picture doesn't do it justice!) Along with the ever-present hotel Food Network marathon, it was a perfect night!

Sunday morning, we slept in a little, dallied over breakfast, went for another swim, and then packed up the car for the final time. We were pretty sad to have an entire day of "States beginning with I", but we made it home okay, after not too many tears on Iain's part. As you can see below, he busied himself by playing with his hair (his sleepy-gesture), feeding Mr. Lion some snacks, and a nice long break for lunch at a park on the way.

Although the trip held many moments in the car when I wanted to tear my hair out and swore that I'd never take a baby on another road trip, I can give him the benefit of the doubt now. Looking back, I'm sure the 3000 miles we traveled seemed like a lot for a little boy, and (we counted on the way home) the 15 states Iain has visited in his 15 months of life might be considered a bit much. But somehow it all seems worth it in retrospect, and the hours of frustration in the car fade, while the good memories of the trip remain. We're glad to be a well traveled family, and we hope Iain will look at these pictures and know that we had fun together, even though he doesn't remember it. (And since we don't have any pictures to document him screaming in the car, maybe it's good that he doesn't remember it!) And (unless we've scarred him for life, and he never wants to take another road trip!) we're all looking forward to our next vacation together! Got a state for us to visit?

1 comment:

    2. You're inspiring me to plan our own family road trip and see what fun extra-ordinary things we can find to do around here!
    3. How are you getting all these free hotels?
    4. I want to vacation with you! You find such good restaurants and like to eat as much as I do! (Some of these Californians are too obsessed with healthy eating!)
    5. We should road trip and meet in the middle sometime. Is Salt Lake City about halfway between Dubuque and Brentwood?
    6. I miss you, Beth!