Road Trip 2015, Day 13: July 6, 2015 (Charles Town, WV to Harrisonburg, VA)

Tracing the Civil War
(click here for today's pictures)
We needed to catch up on some rest and we certainly did it this morning.  We didn't leave the hotel until after 10 and were in no hurry at all during breakfast.  Robby took Graham, Campbell and Anderson to breakfast.  Then he came back for Keaton and finally came back for Reagan.  It helped that we had an awesome first floor room right by the breakfast area.  

I started on my shower while Whitman hung out in his pack n play turning the lights on and off.  Then Robby brought back those who were still eating and I had my breakfast with them.  You can not beat a Holiday Inn Express breakfast since it has those delicious cinnamon rolls.  I would buy them at the store if they sold them.

Everyone seemed to be in a really good mood this morning so I guess the extra bit of sleep helped with that.  The first stop of the morning was the grocery store for Robby.  He ran in to pick us up some drinks and then we were on our way.

The drive continued to be really pretty today as we headed to Antietam National Battlefield.  We were last here in 2005 and not much had changed!  Actually, I don't remember going there then!  We walked through the exhibits and then the gift shop.  We all caught the last bit of the movie-well, Robby and all of the kids except Whitman saw the last of the movie.  I had to take Whitman out because he wanted to talk to loudly about the "same flag"-he was seeing a flag on the screen and then noticed that it was the same as the flag standing beside the screen.  After he had said "same flag" and "two flags" over and over again, I decided that it would be best if I just took him out!

After the movie was over, we walked around outside and experienced some camera problems.  While Robby and I were working on the camera, I looked up to see Anderson and Graham shooting pretend guns at each other as they crawled up an embankment of rocks.  Those crazy boys...last night they had on their bathing suit bottoms on only and started chest bumping each other.  They would slam their chests into each other and then just laugh and laugh.  I asked what in the world they were doing and Anderson shouted "we are doing the changing off the guard."

Then we started our drive around the battlefield.  The movie was really good (though a bit deep and long) but we were able to imagine the men battling in those very fields.  We walked down to a bridge and were swarmed by gnats.  Seriously, there were hundreds-they were in Campbell's eyes, Whitman was spitting them out of his mouth.  

Robby had gone to get the car during the heaviest part of the gnat attack.  While we were waiting on the van, I had everyone walk back and forth trying to loose the gnats.  When Robby did pull up, we all started swatting at the gnats and piling into the car as fast as we could.  Anderson hopped out of the line getting into the van and said "I will be the bait while y'all get in."  Thankfully, out bait (Anderson) worked and we didn't even end up with too many gnats in the car.  

From their we headed on to Harper's Ferry National Historic Park.  The plan had been to have a picnic there but we climbed out of the car and the boys started playing with the football.  Before we could even get out of the car, we could see them swatting, slapping and flailing their arms trying to get away from the gnats.  So instead of a lovely picnic, I just slapped some peanut butter on tortillas and threw them to everyone in the car.  

Robby drove us down to the bottom of the Harper's Ferry area and then he dropped me and everyone but Whitman off.  The kids and I headed to the visitor's center and stopped a bit to work on their Jr. Park Ranger books.  Keaton became very upset that I did not have her a book so she had herself a fit-which was observed by a park ranger who went inside the building and came out with a sticker for that girl.  (And I was about to give her something else.)  

Robby found a parking spot and him and Whitman joined us just as the kids were being sworn in as Jr. Park Rangers.  They were all pleased with their accomplishments and happy to move on to our next park of the day.  We weren't in Harper's Ferry very long but it is just a quaint small town and Whitman left a happy man-the train rolled through while we were there.

On the next drive, we started smelling something in the car. I checked my shoes but nope, it wasn't my shoes.  We drove some more and then thought about Whitman-yep, it was him!  He was sound asleep and didn't wake up-as we changed him, changed his shorts, cleaned his legs and feet (yep, that messy) and then even had to clean the car seat that we laid him down on.  Then we put that sleeping baby back in his car seat and headed on down the road.

It is just pretty land around here and there has been plenty to see all day....but most of the day I was the only one looking around since I was driving.  The kids were playing their kindles and Robby was working on the dvd player (it is working this second-we have debated not turning the car off for the rest of the trip and we have also debated why it is working-because we bought a disc cleaner or because Robby in frustration slammed his fist into the roof of the van), or he was working on his camera (currently working better-one part was stuck like some water or something made it stick-hmm, possibly Niagara Falls?) or he was working on his phone (works one second and doesn't the other-this frustration has shortened Robby's life span by a good two years!)

This a National Park kind of day.  We went on to Shenandoah National Park and drove some of Skyline Drive.  As we were driving, we saw overlook after overlook and when I pointed one out of the kids, Reagan said "can Dad drive now?"  I think I might be a bit offended!

The drive was pretty and I was enjoying it very much-so much so that when Robby suggested taking a little hike, I agreed.  It was a nice trail at the beginning...then it started sloping down a hill, then it became even steeper.  It was fine except I know that what goes up must come down...and I was a bit worried about bears.  I had already sprayed "bear repellent" on the kids (bug spray) and my little people were sure we didn't have to worry about bears because of that.  We didn't see any bears but we did finally make it to the waterfall that we were trying to find.  The kids walked around it for a bit-probably soaking their shoes and then we started up the hill.

Surprisingly everyone did well walking up the hill-even Whitman and Campbell.  We had to carry Whitman a bit and Campbell only complained a few times (much better than our walk to the Unknown Soldier yesterday).  Graham started shouting "victory" when we were finally able to see the car and I was certainly relieved that we were not stranded and mauled by a bear in the middle of the woods!

Speaking of bears-while we were on our walk, I felt a bit silly thinking about bears.  But as we were leaving the park, we saw another car pulled over and looked the same way they were...a momma bear and 3 baby bears.  We watched them until they crawled back into the woods and then drove on.  Everyone unbuckled and we all saw them.  After watching those bears can you imagine how hard it was to get Campbell and Keaton out of the car to go to the bathroom on the next stop.   

At one point, we were driving through a cloud and Campbell kept asking, is this my first time to be in a cloud.  I said that she probably had in a plane before but then she asked "is this my first time to be in a cloud in the car?"  We were about to turn off and head to our hotel but we were just a bit from the tunnel so we had to keep going and take a few pictures there.  

It didn't take too long for us to realize that all of our gallivanting around has caused us to be out a bit later than we would like and we haven't even had supper yet.  Reagan said she wanted "real food" and then saw a Burger King and decided that was "real food."  I tried to explain that was not "real food" but she didn't care and neither did Campbell and Keaton because Burger King had a playground.  Speaking of "real food"-we can only think of 2 times on this trip that we have sat down and had "real food" which was at the buffet the first night and then at the wing place in Buffalo.  The only other place close to real food was the cheese steak but it doesn't count since we ate it in the car.  All that to say, I really can not wait to eat at the Apple place in Gatlinburg.

Conveniently right across the parking lot was a place called Flotzies-an ice cream stand.  It was all lit up like what we see at the fair (must be common around here because there was another one down the road).  It is not a Dennie trip without ice cream daily (or at least every few days) so we just had to stop.  Everyone had their ice cream and then happily climbed back in the car for our last bit of the ride to the hotel.  

Campbell has been our hotel spotter for the last few nights-quickly spotting our hotel.  Tonight she had already told us that she was tired so we urged her to start looking for our hotel and again, she was the first one to see it.  The plan was to not do laundry tonight but go to bed early (midnight) but since laundry was right next door to ours, how could we not do it?  

You could probably guess that someone with a 6 page packing list would make notes about what else I need to bring and what I do not need to bring on our next trip.  But I would just like to mention that we seem to have the getting into and out of hotel thing down.  Here is how it works: Robby runs in to check in while the kids straighten their rows, I clean up our area and start collecting trash.  Then Robby returns with the cart and starts loading it.  The boys help loading as well-2 large bins with clear lids, 2 large bins with blue lids, 2 bags with sleeping bags, 2 ice chests, diaper bag, Robby's backpack, a cord box, an extra bag, a dirty clothes bag and the pack n play.  All that goes in every single night.  

Then as soon as we get in the room I start putting things on the bed.  The kids know to take their shoes off as soon as we walk into the room and Whitman immediately begins asking about his trains.Robby starts showering the kids and as soon as he gets all of the dirty laundry off of them (even if they have to sit in a towel until their shower turn) Robby starts the laundry.  As I go through the boxes pulling out what we need for the night and next day, straightening and reloading, I take them off of the bed and put them where they belong in the room.  

This craziness continues as we get everyone in and out of the shower and then have everyone brush their teeth. All the kids except Whitman lay down and he and I look out the window while Robby unfolds his bed.  Then he goes to bed and then everyone else does.  All of this is done is super fast mode-the sooner we can get laundry started, the sooner we can go to bed and the sooner the kids can be out of the shower, the sooner they can go to bed.  This traveling stuff is not for sissys!

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