August 22, 2014

Our Mega Road Trip

In mid-June, our little family was blessed with the opportunity to go spend six weeks living in the Washington DC area. Because it was kind of last-minute, flights were a little (a lot) out of our budget so we loaded up our super cool minivan and hit the road.

Steve decided that along the way, we should stop and take a picture with as many state signs as we can with whoever was awake at the time in the picture. Here are the results:

Day 1:

Day 2:

Day 3:

This picture was taken on an overpass in Kansas City at about 65 mph. We decided not to stop or get anyone out of the van for it. I know, lame. But somewhere up there, Missouri was welcoming us.

Illinois also had a poorly placed sign for picture taking. Since it was on a bridge with a guardrail, we couldn't pull over safely. Way to go, Illinois.

Day 4:


Pennsylvania's sign was also on a road with a guardrail. We pulled over un-safely.

To be quite honest, the last two pictures were taken over a month later. We drove over to the signs one day during our stay. By the fourth day of driving, we were like, "Forget you, signs. We don't even care about anything anymore. We just want out of this awesome minivan."
I drove about 25% of the way. Just enough to give Steve a break. And by break, I mean to let him go sit in the back with the screaming baby for a bit while I turned on the radio to crappy music he hates.
But, after over 2400 miles of road, three Hampton Inns with indoor swimming pools, free breakfast and the best coffee on the road, countless family mad-libs that made us laugh until our faces hurt, a few hours of "Would you Rather?" and two-and-a-half audio books, we made it to our home for the summer.
We stayed in the DC area for six weeks (I plan to blog about our adventures there, soon) and then packed up our Rubbermaid bins of loot and headed back home. We packed all of our clothes and other necessities in four Rubbermaid bins which we stacked in the back of the van. We had one small suitcase packed separately for our hotel stays along the road. This simplified the hotel stops, since we didn't have to unload six weeks' worth of clothes and whatnot, we'd just grab our hotel suitcase and the mini pack-and-play and head in.
We left our apartment to venture home on July 31.
Day 1:
Day 2:

Again, with the sign on a bridge. No stopping. Sad.

Day 3:

Note the extra family member. I wish you could see the huge beetles at our feet.
Day 4:

Isn't Nevada so welcoming? And yes, the sign was on a bridge so we didn't stop. Plus, we were so close. And so done.
We took the southern route home, in order to pick up my mom in McKinney, Texas. So day 2 was a fun day. Instead of our standard Hampton Inn, we stayed at my sister's house and the kids stayed at my parent's. And instead of our evening spent in an indoor pool, my family threw a surprise early birthday party for me and we had a big, fun family dinner. And instead of our Hampton Inn breakfast, the entire family (table for 14 plus two high chairs, please) hit up Cracker Barrel early in the morning before hitting the road to finish our trip with one extra Grammy in our incredible minivan.
Here are some of my favorite on-the-road pictures from our Mega Road Trip:

Grammy is with us!

Sometimes, when the baby was crying, we'd just let him sit with Daddy and drive.
(Just kidding - this was in a Hampton Inn parking lot)

We picnicked every day for lunch.

We stopped at some very pretty rest-stops. This one is in Colorado.

No, this is not some amazing national park. This is us behind a Chipotle after dinner in Colorado.

We also stayed at some not-so-pretty rest stops. This is in Kansas.

We always let the kids run off some energy during out lunch break. Here's Jack in a tree in Indiana.
New Mexico had a surprisingly pleasant rest stop for us, it even had a playground.
And here is our 15-hour stop in McKinney with the family:

All seven of my mom and dad's grandkids with my Grandma, their Nana

I finally got to meet my newest niece, Scarlett. She is so precious.

The three Marsh girls with our girls


I love that it looks like Steve and his brother are holding hands in this one. They are so sweet.
So, there it is. Proof that we drove *almost* coast to coast this summer. Steve and I joked that we should have just driven the four hours out to the West Coast and started there so that we could really say we drove from one coast to the other. And even though we were quite close to it, we never ventured out to the coast-line while we were out east, either. So, we can only say we drove across *almost* the whole country. But it was enough for us!