Monday, March 26, 2012

A Vacation Recap, with Sand Art...

What better way to escape the dreary monotony of winter, where the family is cooped up together in the house, than a Florida vacation?  One where the family (including the neurotic schnauzer) is cooped up together in the car for a 14-hour drive to Destin, FL (and back).

To put this in perspective, you must first understand how we fit in to the three types of car travelers: Road Warriors, The Casual Family, and Griswolds.

Griswolds will take the longest route. They will tackle a 14-hour drive in a cool 36 hours, stopping at roadside attractions such as the Dinosaur Museum just off I-65 in Tennessee (NOTE: Or was it Kentucky?  Is there a difference?).  We are not Griswolds.

The Casual Family will stop frequently to dine, preferring sit-down restaurants where you wait for a table, wait for your food, wait for your check, and add 90 minutes to your drive time because you stopped for lunch but forgot to get gas, requiring another stop 15 minutes later.  Then they will stop again 15 minutes after that because the four cups of coffee and/or iced tea they drank while waiting for their meals will come a-knockin.  They may even stay at a hotel, splitting the 14-hour drive across two days.  We are not a casual family.

We are Road Warriors.  We don't start looking for a gas station until the light comes on (NOTE: My kids are convinced that once the light comes on, you can only go three more feet before you run out of gas.  The panic in their voices can be quite entertaining.)  We pack a cooler of food and determine our rest stops by the strongest bladder, not the weakest one.  We have a Honda Odyssey with a DVD player and headsets for the kids so we don't have to listen to their movies, and an iPod adaptor for the radio so we can out-sing our favorite bands for hundreds of miles.

We made it to Destin in just over 14 hours, meeting up with my in-laws, who arrived the week before.  The first few days the weather was ideal...about 80 degrees and sunny.  In what may be the biggest display of irony I have ever witnessed, Ohio actually had slightly better weather than Florida, reaching into the mid-80s, leading me to the obvious conclusion that if we ever move away from Ohio, it will immediately become a tropical paradise.

The kids were the only members of our party insane enough to swim in the cold waters of the gulf, but I did enjoy the beach time by trying to make sand sculptures.  The white sand of the gulf beaches has a different consistency than the dense sand of Hilton Head, and I had many collapsed frogs.  I did make a swimmer, and while it's not my best work, it was a satisfying way to kill an hour.

When the gulf winds kicked up and blew at 25 MPH for three days straight, making kite flying dangerous and Smashball damn near impossible, we spent time in the pool, which was heated and somewhat sheltered from the winds.  When the clouds came in, the ladies went shopping and the boys when to the Air Force Armament Museum by the Eglin AFB, which was totally cool. 

We made the 14-hour drive home in 13.5 hours, because we are awesome.  We were amazed to see that spring had indeed sprung while we were away...trees and shrubs around the house were sporting buds, flowers, and leaves, and my lawn had opened its doors to every manner of weed known to man, which should provide fodder for some fun blog posts about yard work in the coming weeks.




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10 comments:

Laurel said...

It amazes me how frequently we almost cross paths. I was in FL this weekend, too, but Tampa helping my sister move doesn't sound as good as what you did.

Also, I hear you on the road warrior strategy. We do the same exact thing, including DVDs in the Honda Odyssey while grown ups listen to the iPod. And bathroom stops are for amateurs. If your tonsils aren't floating, you don't really need to go.

Rick Daley said...

I have an aunt & uncle and a cousin in the Tampa area, my wife had that on her list of places to consider moving to.

We may go to Hilton Head again in early August, are you going to be in the area?

We're used to the Road Warrior trips, considering we drive to Hilton Head and back once a year. This time the dog was the wild card, but he did great.

The iPod shuffle feature is interesting, because while I have over 2,000 songs by hundreds of artists, it seems to cycle through the same 50 or so songs.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Nice sand sculptures!
We're road warriors as well. If you have to go to the bathroom, use a cup. Well, not that bad...

Rick Daley said...

Alex- Thanks, I've been documenting my sand art for the past few summers. It was interesting working with a different kind of sand. The trick always seems to be to use as much water as possible. For this one I filled a bucket with water, then filled it with sand, then dumped the saturated sand into a pile. Over and over again. Eventually I stopped because the sand started drying out, hence his lack of legs...

Rich said...

Uncle Ron doesn't fit one of your categories for he rarely leaves home. What category is he? But you nailed uncle Roy. He is a casual for sure. He and Rosy stop often, study AAA suggestions and take 2 days for a one day trip. But fear not, you got my genes. I stop for gas, Di gets food and drinks while I fill the gas tank and empty the other!

D.G. Hudson said...

I love parts of Florida, and my crit partner lives there. Went to Key West and the Dry Tortugas for one vacation a few years ago.

What I really liked - visiting NASA and taking the close-up tour of the facility, and seeing the Hemingway House in Key West.

We're probably Road Warriors on our own, but when the kids were little, not so much.

Rick Daley said...

DG- I've never been to the keys would love to go there. We have family in Ocala, Tampa, and Melbourne. I'd like to take the kids to the Kennedy Space Center, they would get a real kick out of that!

Sharon said...

Too funny!! Glad you posted-I've missed reading!!!

Discount Hotels said...

I seem to be a combination Griswald and Road Warrior. But OMG even my blood pressure went up when I read about driving with a low tank of gas. Where I live, and where I travel (through Canada's Rocky Mountains) if you do not get gas every time you see a station you could be hundreds of miles from help, in bear country!
I am so looking forward to summer, this year we plan on going to the BC coast, and it will be a bit of a push - 18 hour drive - we only have 5 days holiday so have to make it count. Happy travels.

Rick Daley said...

Discount- The last leg of the trip was through back-country Alabama. I did make sure we had a full tank before starting on that leg, truth be told...