Tuesday, August 17, 2010

To Durham and Beyond: Part One-The Southbound Journey

Two weeks ago, marked a Pitman family first! We took a trip that did not involve going north, to Canada, and instead headed south to Durham to visit our dear brother, sister and neice who moved there in July. We decided that for Iain's sake, (and our own sanity!) we'd better break up the trip, and not just try to get there as fast as we could, (which would be Neil's and my inclination!) so we found some great hotel deals (as in FREE!) and some "don't miss" landmarks and restaurants on the way there and back, and made a real road-trip out of it! It was a week-long adventure, to "The South" and back (which we have discovered is worthy of its quotation marks and capitals, as it is basically a country unto itself!).

The adventures started on Thursday morning, July 29th, when we hopped in the car and took off for Louisville, Kentucky, our first destination. Neil did EVERY LAST BIT of driving on entire this trip, and Mommy's job was to entertain the very active boy, for the over 3000 miles we traveled, all-told. I wouldn't say that any of the car rides were idyllic, but with over two weeks of time allowing them to fade in my mind, they don't seem quite as bad! But I will say this: traveling with kids is NOT FAST. With lots of pit-stops on the way, for food, gas, bathrooms and play time, it took us about 10 hours...and this was our "short day!" But honestly, as I recall, Iain amused himself fairly well in the car, with books, toys, games with Mommy, and of course....the constant refrain of "Bears, Bears" and "Tractor, Tractor" on the iPod. (Kudos to you both, Andrew Peterson and Randall Goodgame, for inventing a kids' CD that we are still not sick of, one year later!) We even saw a "Neil Street"!

We finally crossed the border of Kentucky at about 7pm, (very grateful to be finished with states starting with the letter I after the never-ending stretches of Iowa, Illinois and Indiana!) and headed to our Destination! (Yes...that is Destination with a capital D!)

We had done some research and found a cool restaurant called Lynn's Paradise Cafe. It looked cool, kitschy, cute, and delicious, AND as an added bonus, Bobby Flay had done a throwdown there! As avid Food Network fans, this was the clincher! Let me say folks, this place did not disappoint! There were tons of strange decorations outside, the sign was made of shiny silver strips of metal, they had hanging pants made of tea bags, and fun and funky gift shop, the waiters were dressed up for "Thursday Super Hero Night!" They even had little buckets of farm animals and crayons on the tables to amuse babies. Although the lunch and dinner entrees looked great, we are a sucker for breakfast-for dinner, AND the throwdown was with breakfast food, so we decided we had to try it. Neil got a Mexican omlette with hashbrowns, I got french toast and bacon, we both got a milkshake, and we all left happy! (Even Iain...temporarily...!)

From there, it was off to our hotel! We headed down the the lovely and spacious pool, and after a good laugh at the sign that read "Occupancy: 5 Violators subject to $100 fine", decided we'd risk it even if three others came to join us. FIVE??? Typo? We're still not sure...! Iain had a lot of fun getting all his wiggles out in the pool, after being cooped up in the car for so long, and we took him back to our room, all tired out (so we thought) and ready for a bath and a good night's sleep for everyone, before another long day of driving. Well. It did NOT go as planned! We still don't know what the problem was, whether he was all rejuvenated from his swim, or he didn't like the hotel crib we'd gotten, or his mouth was sore (we later found four teeth a-poppin' through!) or WHAT was going on...but he didn't settle down and go to sleep until almost midnight. And this is the boy who has gone happily to sleep every night of his life since he was three weeks old. And he is ALSO the boy who has slept away from home almost as much as he has at home! And it wasn't just chattering or whimpering...this boy was full-out sobbing and screaming, and waking the neighbors (we're sure) and inconsolable. Needless to say, it was not our best night. We were toying with the conflicting ideas of: driving him around in the car to give the neighbors some solace, just getting up and leaving for Stu and Becky's then and there, turning around and going home, or putting him in the bathroom to "cry it out". Eventually, I carried him down the hall just to get him out of the room, and he conked out. After he finally fell asleep, we settled in for the (now much shorter) night in our comfy bed, and caught a few hours of blessed sleep.

After a MUCH needed Starbucks trip (for everyone!) we hit the road again at 7am, very excited that every mile took us closer to our dear family!
We thought this factory looked very Willy Wonka-esque!

We loved driving through West Virginia, all the beautiful mountains and trees, and were very thankful to Mom and Dad Pitman for the use of their car, as we became more and more certain with every mile that our little Hyundai would never have made it!

Thankfully, Iain did a lot of THIS in the car that day, so the trip went pretty fast!

We stopped in Charleston, West Virginia, for a much needed halfway-point lunch at Ellen's Homemade Ice Cream, which included Moroccan vegetable soup, wraps, and the BEST ice-cream ever! Getting closer....!

YAY! We're there!

We arrived at Stu and Becky's cute apartment at about 6pm, and were very glad to be there, very glad to be finished driving, very glad to see them again, and very glad to have six whole days together!! What we did there though...will have to wait for another post!

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